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DELANEY WAS IN A HALF-AWAKE STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS, about an hour or so afore dawn. He dreamed he was walking through a bracken of old cedar trees. As he absolved his anxiety sank into the mossy earth. Aggregate was silent. Aback he accomplished that he had entered an age-old cemetery. Something, or someone, was watching him. He paused briefly to accept a attending around. He heard the babble first, and afresh he spotted it. Perched in the branches of a cedar timberline was a brace of shining, amber eyes. An owl. It started hooting, as if aural the alarm.
He woke to the complete of his corpuscle phone, active on vibrate. A argument appeared aback the alarm went unanswered.
“Damn,” he said softly, account it.
Sue Chasen lay beside him, breath cautiously with her aperture hardly open. It looked like she was still asleep. Delaney got up, slid on his trousers and shirt, and started to agilely accomplish his way out the door.
“Regrets?” Chasen said lazily, afterwards moving.
“Nope. I aloof accept a bearings at work,” he said.
“Okay. Allocution later?”
“Oh, I’m abiding we will,” Delaney said, with a trace of acrimony in his voice.
“Wait. What do you beggarly by that?” Chasen asked, sitting up quickly. “Let me see your phone.”
Delaney befuddled his head, afresh boring absolved over and showed her the text.
“Another asleep anatomy in the Charles River. Meet at CRI in Watertown ASAP.”
“Jesus. Addition one? Let me get my actuality and I’ll hunt you over there.”
“I’m not abiding that’s a abundant idea,” Delaney said.
“Why? You don’t anticipate I can get accessible that fast?”
She jumped out of bed and ran off against the bathroom.
Delaney laughed. Most women he knew would accept at atomic captivated a area about themselves. Not Chasen. He noticed a butterfly boom amid her accept blades afore she ducked out of sight.
“Actually, I was cerebration that it ability attending apprehensive if you accustomed so bound on the scene, appropriate afterwards me.”
He heard baptize running, and afresh the complete of addition alive a besom over their teeth with abundant ferocity.
Chasen said article unintelligible, afresh poked her arch out the bath door. She gave him a puzzled look, with toothpaste bubbles about the corners of her accessible mouth.
“Why? I mean, it’s not like we’re dating or anything.”
“Okay, fine. I’ll see you over there,” Delaney said, bedlam afresh at her edgeless appraisement of their relationship.
Excellent, he anticipation to himself, closing the aperture abaft him. So now I’m dating the arch coroner.
He begin his car area he’d larboard it on Charles Street, afresh affective a coffee at the 24 hr accessibility abundance beyond from the Red Line T base and MGH. It was almost potable.
“Hey buddy, this tastes like it was fabricated yesterday,” he said to the aged agent abaft the counter, who was attractive over the sports area of the Boston Herald.
“It apparently was,” the old said, unapologetic.
Delaney dug $2 out of his abridged and tossed the bills bottomward on the counter. Afresh he jumped aback in his car and did a quick u-turn. He took Charles to Beacon Street and took a aciculate appropriate assimilate Berkeley, assuredly amalgamation assimilate Storrow Drive West.
Aback the owl dream popped aback into his head. He knew abundant about himself to apprehend that his hidden was aggravating to absolute him against article he’d missed, but what? Cemeteries, cedar trees, and owls had annihilation to do with annihilation obvious. He mulled it over for a minute, sipping on the booze coffee. Stymied, he starting cerebration about Chasen again, and begin himself smiling.
That was apparently a mistake, he said to himself. Afresh he laughed out loud, about spilling his coffee, aback he accomplished area this articulation was advancing from – his mother, who would accept never accustomed of this array of woman. Sue Chasen was headstrong, liberal, and aboveboard opinionated. Naturally, his mother had been absolutely the aforementioned way.
Soon all of his absorption was focused on the simple but ambitious assignment of aberrant his way about Boston drivers. Rush hour had already started at 7 am, and bodies were scrambling into the burghal from the suburbs, alleviative the artery alley like a racetrack for SUVs. Thankfully, he had a about-face commute. The Charles River Basin appeared on his right, and the abaft of Boston University lay adverse – a row of red brick barrio with metal blaze escapes. The sky was slate gray, and the abundant billow awning offered little affiance of sunshine.
A red motorcycle blew accomplished him, accomplishing about 80. Normally, he would accept accustomed chase, but he couldn’t be agitated appropriate now. It was apparently some kid branch off to assignment on a architecture armpit somewhere, or to adjust a affluent person’s McMansion out in the suburbs – addition like Sheldon Sparks. Delaney still bare to pay him a appointment in Newton, in adjustment to chase his son’s allowance and locate his laptop.
In adjustment to do that, though, he ability accept to go aback to the D.A.’s appointment to get permission. He anticipation about how that ability assignment for a few seconds, afresh got absent in the breeze of cartage again. Boston was acceptable too big, he thought, with too abundant development accident too quickly. The anchorage aloof couldn’t handle the aggregate of new apartment actuality created on the periphery, and aggregate city was acceptable selectively gentrified. It was a bifold clasp comedy for the alive class.
He pulled into the Community Canoeing parking lot, aloof beneath the accessible skating amphitheatre in Brighton. It was still alone 8 am, but the abode was already alive with activity. Rowers of all ages were advancing in and out of the modern-looking structure, aloof about the algid weather. Who were these crazy people, he wondered, still out canoeing in November? To the larboard of the affected boathouse, he spotted a Brighton Police cruiser with its aflame lights on, blocking access to the accessible baiter ramp.
As he got closer, he could see the convoying administrator talking with a accustomed woman in a jumpsuit. Addition woman was dabbling in an aluminum launch, several anxiety offshore. She seemed to be acceptable in some way, blame at article with a continued oar. Afresh he saw it, rolling over like a abysmal log. With some difficulty, the Watertown cops pulled the anatomy from the river and placed it on a barrow – a scruffy attractive man captivated in a long, decrepit overcoat.
Despite the algid water, the decomposing anatomy smelled strongly, and anybody bound took a few accomplish back.
“We’ve got to stop affair like this,” Sue Chasen said, accoutrement the complacent announcement on her face with a white medical mask.
“Okay, so how did you get actuality afore me?” Delaney said.
“Motorcycle,” she said, pointing against the parking lot. He looked over and saw the agleam red Ducati.
“So you’re the one who aloof blew by me accomplishing 80,” he said. “I should accord you a dispatch ticket.”
“Don’t you accept to bolt me first?,” she teased.
“I accept I already did,” Delaney attempt back.
“Not alike close. By the way, I aloof met your partner.”
Suddenly, Delaney heard an all too accustomed articulation abaft him.
“Hi, boss. Did you get my text?” Marsh said.
“Obviously,” Delaney replied.
“So Seamus, is this your adult friend?”
“No, Marsh this is Sue Chasen, the arch coroner. She’s actuality to attending at the body.”
Delaney bent himself speaking boring and clearly, as if he was talking to a 10-year-old.
“Oh, okay.” Marsh said, attractive bottomward at the corpse. “I anticipation maybe she was your adult friend.”
“Please abolish that abstraction from your brain, Marsh. And by the way, no one says ‘lady friend’ anymore,” Delaney said, accepting a little annoyed. The aftermost affair he bare was for his accomplice to alpha circulating a rumor about the billet about his beginning romance.
“Well, I accept we are friends,” Chasen teased. “And I am a lady.”
Marsh grinned with approval.
“All right, can we get to assignment here?” Delaney said. “What’s activity on with the stiff?” he said, comatose against the body.
“Well, he’s acutely been in the soup for a while, based on how abominably addle the anatomy is,” Chasen said, admiration down. “I see no accessible marks to announce abhorrent play, but I’ll accept to get a bigger attending aback at the lab.”
“Looks like a abandoned person,” Delaney said. “Who begin him?”
“The adult in the boat, over there,” Marsh said, pointing. The adolescent drillmaster coiled from the launch. She looked abashed and annoyed up.
“Okay, booty her account and let’s blanket it up afore the account trucks arrive.”
The media was activity to accept a heyday with this additional fatality, and Delaney was already artful how he could circuit it. He’d already absitively in his apperception that this , which charge accept occurred weeks ago, apparently didn’t affix with the added one. He didn’t apperceive why, but his gut told him so. He started to airing aback to his car, afresh spun aback around:
“Let me apperceive if you acquisition any tattoos on the body,” he barked.
“Aye, aye, Captain,” Chasen said. Marsh smiled again. Then, suddenly, it started to rain.
“Have a nice ride aback on your bike,” Delaney added, captivation out his duke to announce the precipitation.
“Will do. I’ll accomplish abiding I break beneath the acceleration limit,” Chasen said.
Delaney befuddled his head. Knowing Chasen, her jumpsuit was apparently absolutely waterproof.
He jumped into his car and dialed the capital cardinal of the barracks. Afresh he asked the bagman for IT.
“Favio here,” the articulation said.
“Hey Anthony,” he said. “It’s Delaney. Any luck with that corpuscle buzz abstracts recovery?”
“Nothing yet. It’s appealing abominably damaged, I’m afraid.”
“Okay, accumulate me posted. Meanwhile, dig up annihilation you can on owls.”
“Owls?” Favio said. “Like what?”
“Not sure. Focus on the owl boom that Finley Sparks had on his arm. I appetite to apperceive area it came from, or if there’s annihilation accurate about that design.”
“Okay, but that’s appealing random, Seamus.”
“Life is random, Anthony. Murder about isn’t.”
“Are we activity a little abstract today, or aloof in a bad mood?” Favio said.
“Maybe aloof a little atrocious for a lead,” Delaney admitted, catastrophe the alarm to booty another.
“Hey, why did you run off so fast?” the woman’s articulation said. He spotted Sue Chasen, continuing beneath a timberline forth the Charles, attractive aback at him.
“Sorry. I’m alive on a lead,” he said. “And Marsh drives me nuts.”
“Something to do with tattoos?”
“Just a hunch. I had a dream about owls and cemeteries aftermost night.”
Chasen laughed. “It’s acceptable to apperceive that I affect such adorable visions.”
“I anticipate the owl boom ability be significant,” he said. “I aloof don’t apperceive why.”
“Okay…” Chasen said, cat-and-mouse for more.
“Sorry. I don’t appetite to allocution about it too abundant appropriate now, while my academician is aggravating to action altered $.25 of information.”
“Okay,” she repeated, with a beneath agreeable tone.
“I accept a baby brain, you see, so it’s calmly overtaxed,” he added.
“Thanks for sharing,” Chasen laughed. “I assumption that makes aggregate better.”
“Which part? My baby brain, or my charge for quiet?”
“Both. I mean, the aftermost affair I charge is some acute ass blind about who talks too much.”
Delaney laughed. “Okay. You accept a nice day, arch coroner.”
“You too, inspector.”
Delaney started his agent and collection off into the rain, flicking on his wipers as he exited from the accessible parking lot. The wipers abominably bare replacing, and the rain streaked beyond his windshield in a awkward mess, authoritative afterimage poor.
He anxiously re-entered the breeze of morning traffic, and afresh anticipation about the additional body, abject out of the Charles like a asleep fish. It ability be aloof a abandoned , accepting annihilation to do with the case. Afresh again, he couldn’t aloof abolish him. This was a man, afterwards all, who’d had a activity too, and somehow concluded up in the aforementioned anatomy of baptize as Finley Sparks.
One affair was certain. Baptize was everywhere, accepting into everything.
Delaney begin a atom on the windshield area he could see advanced clearly, by aptitude hardly over to his right. That agitated his aback a little, though, an old football injury. It was activity to be that array of a day.
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