Cut and run, p.27

Cut & Run, page 27

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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Page 27


  “Camp Runamuck. ”

  Zane cocked his head to one side as Ty pulled it over his head.

  “Where do you get these shirts?”

  “What do you mean?” Ty asked innocently.

  Zane chuckled. “A Marine at Camp Runamuck. Hysterical,” he murmured as he started loading up his pockets.

  Ty looked down at his chest and smiled slightly. “My former brothers-in-arms send them to me,” he answered. “I get a new one about every two or three months. ”

  “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” Zane quoted as he pulled on a light jacket.

  “I loved being a Marine,” Ty responded defensively.

  Zane looked at him evenly, seeing the bottom of Ty’s tattoo peeking out from under a shirtsleeve. “You still are a Marine,” he said.

  Ty stopped his movements and cocked his head at Zane, trying to decide whether he was serious or just humoring him.

  “My brother-in-law’s a Marine,” Zane said. “He always said you’re one for life. ” He waited for Ty’s response.

  Ty’s eyes darted over Zane thoughtfully. “He was right,” he murmured finally before looking away and grabbing his leather jacket.

  Zane kept his eyes on him for a few moments longer before turning to pick up his gun, check it, and slide it into its holster. “Ready?”

  Ty merely nodded as he slid his wallet into his back pocket and looked up. His oddly colored eyes met Zane’s dark ones. A thousand things to say went through Ty’s mind, and he even opened his mouth to speak. He licked his lips and lowered his head before he could, though, and he gestured to the door to cover his discomfort.

  Although Zane was fascinated by Ty’s behavior, he made himself turn and walk. Maybe it was just that Ty had to work himself up to be such a bastard. Since he’d just had a few rounds of stress relief and a night’s sleep, he was calm. Zane sighed and opened the door for the other man, wishing he knew how to build a profile. He’d bet good money Ty’s would resemble a Rorschach.

  Ty slid his hands into his pockets and kept his head down as they walked to the elevators. He’d lost control with Zane, and he couldn’t seem to come to terms with what he’d let happen. Not only had they fucked, but Ty had let Zane fuck him. He’d given up every ounce of control to a man he barely liked. And Ty had enjoyed it immensely.

  Zane stabbed the elevator button and waited, Ty silent and nearly brooding alongside him. They both had plenty to think about. At least Zane did, and he resisted the urge to look over at Ty to try to read his face. He watched the elevator numbers change, approaching their floor. “Ty,” he said quietly.

  Ty glanced at him and frowned slightly.

  “My ass hurts, too,” Zane admitted quietly as the doors opened to other people.

  Ty looked from Zane to the several people in the elevator and bit his lip against a smile. Whether they had heard him was hard to tell, but just the fact that Zane had said it lifted a little bit of weight from Ty’s shoulders. He couldn’t fuck someone without a sense of humor. It just didn’t sit right with him. He cleared his throat, trying not to laugh as they entered the elevator.

  “Okay,” was all he managed to say in response.

  They said nothing more as they rode down to the lobby and went outside to hail a cab. It wasn’t necessarily a comfortable silence. More like a temporary truce.

  The taxi dropped them off at the massive Civil War-era gate that marked the main entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery. The rain had lessened some, but it had brought with it a chill that ate through their clothing and nipped at their bare skin. Ty shoved his hands into his pockets and peered up through the falling rain at the stonework with something like reverence. He could already see the appeal of the location as a drop spot.

  Zane stood several feet away, looking around. The weather was perfect for the location—cool and dreary, adding to the inherent quiet and sadness in the graveyard. But it didn’t take away from the strange beauty of the place. He studied the huge archway with some interest and appreciation before looking to Ty.

  Ty was still looking up when he spoke. “Hooker was found wrapped in her sheet at one of the tombs,” he told Zane quietly. “No teeth, otherwise untouched. ”

  The other agent’s eyes turned toward the monuments that stood further into the graveyard, past the darkening grass and burnt amber leaves that contrasted sharply with the dirty marble stones. Something inside Zane began to ache a little, and he frowned slightly, shoving his hands into his pockets.

  Ty glanced over at him when he didn’t respond. “You okay?” he asked with a frown.

  Zane’s eyes flickered, but he nodded right away. “Yeah,” he said quietly. He could feel the weight of the place settling around him. He imagined Ty did, too. The ambiance was too majestic not to feel and feel deeply. “Lead on. ”

  Ty watched him for a moment and then nodded, bowing his head in the rain as he headed for the gate. Burial grounds had always spoken to Ty in a way not many things did. This one in particular was a beautiful one. It was speaking to him, too, telling him about their killer as he walked over the sodden grass toward the older tombstones.

  Zane followed along behind him, eyes down. They walked in silence as the rain continued to patter through the trees above them. The soaked ground was covered with yellow leaves, obscuring grave markers in places, highlighting them in others. Ty stopped under one of the trees and looked around at the aging stone in appreciation. He drew a sheet of paper from his pocket and studied it for a moment, then looked up into the distance, frowning.

  When Ty paused, Zane almost ran into him. He was too busy taking in the yard around them; the wide variety of stones, the thoughts behind the monuments. It was very different here . . . different from what he’d expected.

  The fall weather had turned the trees into brilliant colors, painting a normally dreary location with streaks of life. It was an odd dichotomy that made his chest ache even more.

  Ty finally determined that they were in relatively the right spot, and he folded the paper and slid it back into his pocket. “This is it,” he murmured.

  They stood on the path that wound through the yard, near a set of family tombs, all lined up in neatly hewn squares. Zane didn’t say anything.

  Instead, he waited to see what insights Ty might have. This side of the search wasn’t something Zane had much experience with; he was trained to follow paper trails and details, not pick other people’s thoughts and motivations out of thin air.

  Ty was silent as Zane waited, walking around the site slowly with his head down. It was an entirely different side of him; a calm, collected one that seemed totally at odds with his usual abrasiveness. Zane could no longer tell which side of him was the real one.

  “This has a reverence to it,” Ty finally murmured curiously after almost ten minutes of silence and pondering. “Almost … romantic. There were no tire or machine marks anywhere, meaning he carried her here from the entrance. ” He looked back the way they had come. It was a long way to walk with a heavy burden in your arms. He looked back at Zane and frowned.

  “It feels old. Antiquated,” he went on in a voice that sounded slightly confused. “Like something the killer saw in a movie or read in a book and wanted to reenact. ”

  Zane had heard him, but it didn’t really sink in at first. As he’d looked around the setting, turning his back to the monuments to look back out at the yard, a grave covered with stacks of fresh flowers had snared his attention. It was impossible not to draw parallels to his last time in a graveyard. Several heartbeats after Ty’s words, Zane shook himself. “Yeah, yeah it does,” he agreed quietly.

  “None of the others seemed to be like that. Left in their own beds, dumped in random places,” Ty murmured, talking more to himself than to Zane. “Why was this one special? Was it even special at all or is that just another different element we have to add to this particular murder?”

inking a few times, Zane pulled his attention back to his partner.

  “I’m not sure I’d say it was special. We don’t even know if she was killed here or if she was moved here. ”

  Ty glanced around the graveyard, trying to let the setting speak to him. “No,” he murmured. “She wasn’t killed here,” he declared, though he didn’t know what made him think that. “But she was left here for a reason, I’m sure of it. ”

  “It would track then that all of them were left where they were. . . as they were . . . for a reason,” Zane added, shifting his weight and taking several steps along the path before turning to look around them again.

  “Not necessarily,” Ty argued stubbornly. “You yourself said that the pattern is in the method. What if part of the method is the placement of the body in one case, but not in another? What if it mattered more where this body was left than how she was killed, but it mattered more that another was killed in a certain way and not where they were left?”

  Zane’s lips twitched. “You know, I actually understood that,” he said, shaking his head. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I guess we’ll have to figure it out both ways until we get a lead,” he offered.

  Ty sneered at him and looked away, pursing his lips thoughtfully as he stared through the rain. It was coming down harder, sliding down the collar of his jacket and making him shiver. He had definitely lived through worse, but it was still uncomfortable.

  The start of the rain gave Zane a chill, and his attention was drawn back to the graves. He watched the raindrops plop onto a bare patch of dirt, darkening it drip by drip. Rivulets dappled the colored flowers that were placed along some of the gravestones, and Zane’s gaze went soft and unfocused. Rain on flowers. Wet dirt. The ache swelled and he couldn’t ignore the memories any longer.

  Ty turned back to say more and caught the look on Zane’s face. He snapped his mouth shut and frowned. “Are you okay?” he asked again with a hint of annoyance.

  The other man didn’t acknowledge him. He was standing in the same place. He hadn’t turned his head; it didn’t even look like he’d taken a breath.

  His eyes were lowered and looking out at something indefinable.

  “Garrett!” Ty barked loudly.

  A few more silent moments passed before Zane looked up at Ty deliberately. His face was now set in the emotionless mask he’d not worn for a couple days, and his eyes were dry. But the light in them was gone, and his gaze was empty.

  “What the hell, man?” Ty questioned in annoyance. “Are you okay?”

  he repeated.

  “Have you found what you were looking for?” Zane asked. His voice was brittle, but he didn’t look away from Ty.

  Ty’s brow furrowed in confusion and he cocked his head. He looked around the cemetery, knowing he could spend the entire dreary day there and still not find what he was looking for. But it was no use if Zane was going to go all wonky on him. “Sure,” he finally answered. “Let’s go. ”

  Zane turned smartly on his heel and started walking.

  Ty remained where he was for a moment and watched him in confusion. Finally, he bent and picked up one of the perfect yellow leaves and slid it into his pocket, then followed after his partner slowly.

  The long, even strides didn’t stop until Zane was through the gate and back out at the street, flagging down a cab. The first one kept going, and so he kept a sharp eye out. He still felt ill. It had come out of nowhere, the specter of memories five years old that he’d thought were just as buried as his wife.

  Ty jogged to catch up to him as a second cab stopped at Zane’s summons. They climbed in and shook off the water, and Ty gave the driver the name of their hotel. He had hoped to see more of the scenes, but he would rather do it alone than like this.

  Five minutes into the ride, Zane finally closed his eyes and relaxed a little. He propped his elbow against the window and rubbed his eyes. God, he hated memories sometimes. They brought back nightmares he didn’t want.

  Frankly, he didn’t want the good or the bad, because the good were even worse. He knew Ty wanted to know what was going on, but Zane wasn’t sure he could even spit out the words.

  “Whenever you’re ready, man,” Ty prodded irritably.

  Zane slanted an equally annoyed glance Ty’s way. “Bad memories, okay?” he muttered.

  Ty glared at him from his side of the cab for a moment and then looked away with a long sigh. Obviously there was more to it than that, and Ty found himself annoyed that he even gave a damn. He wouldn’t ask again, though.

  After another long silence, Zane gave a quiet sigh. “Becky died this time of year,” Zane said quietly. “Weather’s about the same. Fancy graveyard. ” He shrugged.

  “Who is Becky?” Ty asked in exasperation.

  Zane kept his eyes focused out the window. “My wife. ”

  Ty stared at him for a long moment, eyes drifting down to the wedding ring Zane still wore but they’d never talked about, then he looked away without commenting. He pressed his lips together tightly as they rode in silence. “I’m sorry,” he finally offered.

  Nodding slowly, Zane finally said, “Thanks. ” It was almost inaudible.

  Ty didn’t respond. His immediate reaction was to point out that if Zane had a fucking problem with graveyards he should have said something instead of wasting their time by zoning out in there. He would have been better off leaving Zane at the gate and taking his time. A day ago he would have said it out loud, but now he held his tongue. It was an action he wasn’t accustomed to or comfortable with. Forcing himself not to say anything too harsh to the man fueled the resentment Ty felt building.

  A few minutes passed. “Need to go back?” Zane asked neutrally.
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