Delorme was standing between her car and the snowbank. She stepped aside so Cardinal could get to his garage door.
"Well Dyson, I think he wants you back."
"I don't care. You mind backing out now so I can plug my car in? I mean, if that's okay with Dyson. Why's he sending you, anyway? Since when are you working homicides?"
"You must have heard I quit Special."
"No, I heard you wanted to quit Special."
"It's official, now. Dyson says you'll show me the ropes."
"No, thanks. I'm not interested. Who's working Special?"
"He's not here yet. Some guy from Toronto."
"Fine," Cardinal said. "Doesn't make the slightest difference. You gonna get lost, now? It's cold, I'm tired, and I'd kind of like to eat my supper."
"They think it could be Katie Pine." Delorme scanned his face while Cardinal took this in. Those solemn brown eyes watching his reaction.
Cardinal looked away, staring out into the blackness that was Trout Lake. In the distance, the headlights of two snowmobiles moved in tandem across the dark. Katie Pine. Thirteen years old. Missing since September 12, he would never forget that date. Katie Pine, a good student, a math whiz from the Chippewa Reserve, a girl whom he had never met, whom he had wanted more than anything to find.
The phone began to ring inside the house, and Delorme looked at her watch. "That's Dyson. He only gave me one hour."
Cardinal went inside. He didn't invite Delorme. He picked up the phone on the fourth ring and heard Detective Sergeant Don Dyson going on at him in his chilly quack of a voice as if they had been separated in the middle of an argument and were only now, three months later, resuming it. In a way, that was true.
"Let's not waste time going over old ground," Dyson said. "You want me to apologize, I apologize. There. Done. We got a body out on the Manitou Islands, and McLeod is tied up in court. Up to his ears in Corriveau. Case is yours."
Cardinal felt the old anger burning its way into his veins. I may be a bad cop, he told himself, but not for the reasons Dyson thinks. "You took me off homicide, remember? I was strictly robbery and burglary material, in your book."
"I changed your case assignments. It's what a detective sergeant does, remember? Ancient history, Cardinal. Water under the bridge. We'll talk about it after you see the body."
"'She's a runaway,' you said. 'Katie Pine is not a homicide, she's a runaway. Got a history of it.'"
"Cardinal, you're back on homicide, all right? It's your investigation. Your whole stinking show. Not that it has to be Katie Pine, of course. Even you, Detective Has-to-Be-Right, might want to keep an open mind about identifying bodies you haven't seen. But if you want to play I told you so, Cardinal, you just come into my office tomorrow morning, eight o'clock. Best thing about my job is I don't have to go out at night, and these calls always come at night."
"It's my show as of this moment--if I go."
"That's not my decision, Cardinal, and you know it. Lake Nipissing falls under the jurisdiction of our esteemed brothers and sisters in the Ontario Provincial Police. But even if it's the OPP's catch, they're going to want us in on it. If it is Katie Pine or Billy LaBelle, they were both snatched from the city--our city--assuming they were both snatched. It's our case either way. 'If I go,' he says."
"I'd rather stick with burglaries, unless it's my show as of this moment."
"Have the coroner toss a coin," Dyson snapped, and hung up.
Cardinal yelled to Delorme, who had stepped in out of the cold and was standing diffidently just inside the kitchen door. "Which one of the Manitous are we on?"
Reprinted from Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons. Copyright © June 2001, Giles Blunt. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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