Gone for Good Page 80

“They’d all be looking for Sheila,” I said.


“And that was you now. So you had to disappear.”

“I wanted to tell you, but Ken was insistent. If you didn’t know anything, you’d be safer. And then he reminded me that there was Carly to consider. These people tortured and killed her mother. I couldn’t live with myself if anything happened to Carly.”

“How old is Carly?”

“She’d be close to twelve by now.”

“So she was born before Ken ran away.”

“I think she was six months old.”

Another sore point. Ken had a child and never told me about her. I asked, “Why did he keep her a secret?”

“I don’t know.”

So far, I had been able to follow the logic, but I could not see how Carly fit into this. I mulled it over. Six months before he vanished. What had been going on in his life? It was right about the time the FBI had flipped him. Could it be connected to that? Was Ken afraid that his actions might put his infant daughter in danger? That made sense, I guess.

No, I was missing something.

I was about to ask a follow-up question, try to get more details, when my cell phone chirped. Squares probably. I glanced at the caller ID. Nope, not Squares. But I recognized the number instantly. Katy Miller. I pressed the answer button and put the phone to my ear.


“Oooo, no, sorry, that’s incorrect. Please try again.”

The fear flooded back. Oh Christ. The Ghost. I closed my eyes. “If you hurt her, so help me—”

“Come, come, Will,” the Ghost interrupted. “Impotent threats are beneath you.”

“What do you want?”

“We need to chat, old boy.”

“Where is she?”

“Who? Oh, you mean Katy? Why, she’s right here.”

“I want to talk to her.”

“You don’t believe me, Will? I’m wounded.”

“I want to talk to her,” I repeated.

“You want proof she’s alive?”

“Something like that.”

“How about this?” the Ghost began in his silkiest hush. “I can make her scream for you. Would that help?”

I closed my eyes again.

“Can’t hear you, Will.”


“You sure? It would be no problem. One piercing, nerve-shredding scream. What do you say?”

“Please don’t hurt her,” I said. “She has nothing to do with this.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m on Park Avenue South.”

“Be more specific.”

I gave him a location two blocks away.

“I’ll have a car there in five minutes. Get in it. Do you understand?”


“And, Will?”


“Don’t call anyone. Don’t tell anyone. Katy Miller has a sore neck from a previous encounter. I can’t tell you how tempting it would be to test it out.” He stopped and whispered. “Still with me, old neighbor?”


“Hang tight then. This will all be over soon.”


Claudia Fisher burst into the office of Joseph Pistillo.

Pistillo lifted his head. “What?”

“Raymond Cromwell didn’t report in.”

Cromwell was the undercover agent they’d assigned to Joshua Ford, Ken Klein’s attorney. “I thought he was wired.”

“They had an appointment at McGuane’s. He couldn’t wear a wire in there.”

“And nobody’s seen him since that appointment?”

Fisher nodded. “Same with Ford. Both are missing.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“So what do you want to do?”

Pistillo was already up and moving. “Get every available agent. We’re raiding McGuane’s office now.”

To leave Nora alone like that—I had already gotten used to the name—was beyond heart-wrenching, but what choice did I have? The idea that Katy was alone with that sadistic psycho gnawed straight into my marrow. I remembered how it felt to be handcuffed to the bed, helpless while he attacked her. I closed my eyes and wished the image away.

Nora made an effort to stop me, but she understood. This was something I had to do. Our good-bye kiss was almost too tender. I pulled away. The tears were back in her eyes.

“Come back to me,” she said.

I told her I would and hurried out.

The car was a black Ford Taurus with tinted windows. There was only the driver inside. I did not recognize him. He handed me an eyeshade, the kind they give out on airplanes, and told me to put it on and lie flat in the back. I did as he asked. He started up the car and pulled out. I used the time to think. I knew a lot now. Not all. Not enough. But a lot. And I was reasonably sure that the Ghost was right: It would all be over soon.

I ran it through in my mind and here was what I semi-concluded: Eleven years ago, Ken was involved in illegal activities with his old friends, McGuane and the Ghost. There was really no way around that anymore. Ken had done wrong. He might have been a hero to me, but my sister, Melissa, had pointed out that he was drawn to violence. I might amend that to say he craved action, the enticement of the edge. But that’s just semantics.

Somewhere along the way, Ken was captured and agreed to help bring down McGuane. He risked his life. He went undercover. He wore a wire. Somehow McGuane and the Ghost found out. Ken ran. He came home, though I’m not sure why. I’m not sure how Julie fit in here either. By all accounts she had not been home in over a year. Was her return a coincidence? Was she there merely following Ken, perhaps as a lover, perhaps because he was her drug source? Did the Ghost follow her, knowing that she would eventually lead him to Ken?

I don’t know any of that. Not yet anyhow.

Whatever, the Ghost found them, probably in a delicate moment. He attacked. Ken was injured, but he escaped. Julie was not so lucky. The Ghost wanted to put pressure on Ken, so he framed him for the murder. Terrified that he’d be killed or worse, Ken ran. He picked up his steady girlfriend, Sheila Rogers, and their infant daughter, Carly. The three of them disappeared.

My vision, even through my eyeshade, darkened. I heard a whooshing noise. We had entered a tunnel. Could be the Midtown, but my guess was that we were in the Lincoln, heading out toward New Jersey. I thought now about Pistillo and his role in all this. For him, it was the old ends-justify-means debate. Under certain circumstances, he might be a “means” guy, but this case was personal. It was easy to see his point of view. Ken was a crook. He had made a deal and no matter what the reason, he had reneged on it by running. Open season on him. Make him a fugitive and let the world comb through the muck and find his man.

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