Henry Kistle’s hand tightened on the curtain as he looked down, careful to stay hidden from view. There, in the shadow of the elm a short distance down the street, was a tall, thin man. He was talking on a cell phone. Who was he talking to? Who had managed to track him down this time? 

Don’t be nervous, he told himself. It didn’t matter if one of them had found him. He had occasionally been found before and managed to survive. It was only a matter of removing the immediate threat and then running. But he saw to it that those bastards who made him run were always punished for it when he was safe again. 

And the immediate threat was standing down there waiting for him to make a mistake. A surge of anger tore through him. It wasn’t fair. He had a right to live and take what ever plea sure he could find in this crap yard of a world. 

Who was it? A father, a brother, a cop? Which one? 

It didn’t matter. He’d find out. But he had to be ready to go. Grab a few clothes. Pack his guns, his precious memory box, and have everything in the car. 

He turned away from the window. 

Damn him. He didn’t want to have to run now. He hadn’t had his fill yet of this small, sleepy town. Cities were safer, but pitting his wits against these yokels was exciting. They felt so safe that he could walk into their lives and take whatever he pleased. 

Oh, well, there would be another time. 

Another town. 

Another child... 

Yes, another child... 

“HE WENT INTO THE HOUSE AT seven this evening and hasn’t come out,” Jedroth said into his cell phone. “The lights are still on. It’s only eight- forty. They went out at eleven last night.” 

“And you’re sure he didn’t leave the place all night, Sheriff?” Joe Quinn asked. 

“I may not be a big-city cop, but I know my business,” Jedroth said sourly. “I wouldn’t let a scumbag like that out of my sight.” 

“And surveillance during the day?” 

“I have a deputy keeping an eye on him. But we can’t keep spending the taxpayers’ money without evidence. One more night and that’s it.” 

“I don’t have evidence. I just located Kistle late yesterday. I need more time.” 

“Look, I didn’t set up this surveillance without checking you out. I have an idea why you’re so hot to get your hands on this bastard. I’m going along with you because Kistle may be a threat to my town. But I’ve got to have more than your say-so.” 

“I understand. I’ll be up there by eight tomorrow morning to take over. If you need to contact me again, don’t use this number. The cell phone number I gave you will reach me.” 

“Get here as quick as you can.” The sheriff paused. “But we’re not going to quibble about a few hours. Kistle isn’t going anywhere. I have a few questions to ask him. We had a little boy go missing three weeks ago. Bobby Joe’s tennis shoes and shirt were found on the bank of the river and he was presumed drowned.” 

“No body recovery?” 

“Not yet. It’s a fast-moving river and there are branches on the bottom carried down from flooding up north. It would be easy for a swimmer to get trapped.” 

“It could happen.” 

“That’s what I thought until you called me yesterday and asked me to order surveillance on Kistle. 

I hate child molesters. We know how to treat them in 

my town.” 

“I’m sure you do. Call me if he makes a move.” 

Copyright © 2008 by Johansen Publishing LLP.