Gone for Good Page 89

“Yeah, sure,” I said. I waited for him to say more. He smiled.


“Just remembering camp,” he said.

I smiled too.

“I loved it here,” he said.

“Me too,” I agreed. “Ken?”


“How did you manage to hide for so long?”

He chuckled softly. Then he said, “Carly.”

“Carly helped you hide?”

“My not telling anyone about her. I think it saved my life.”

“How’s that?”

“Everyone was looking for a fugitive on the run. That meant a single man. Or maybe a man who hooked up with a girl. What no one was looking for—and what could travel from spot to spot and remain invisible to law enforcement—was a family of three.”

Again it made sense.

“The feds were lucky to catch me. I got careless. Or, I don’t know, sometimes I think that maybe I wanted to be caught. Living like we were, always in fear, never putting down solid roots . . . it wears on you, Will. I missed you all so much. You most of all. Maybe I did let my guard down. Or maybe I needed it to end.”

“So they extradited you?”


“And you cut another deal.”

“I thought they were going to pin Julie’s murder on me for sure. But when I met up with Pistillo, well, he still wanted McGuane so badly. Julie was almost an afterthought. And they knew I hadn’t done it. So . . .” He shrugged.

Ken talked then about New Mexico, about how he had never told the feds about Carly and Sheila, still protecting them. “I didn’t want them to come back that early,” he said, his voice softer now. “But Sheila wouldn’t listen.”

Ken told me about how he and Carly had been out of the house when the two men came by, how he came home and found them torturing his beloved, how he killed both men, and once again, how he ran. He told me how he stopped at the same pay phone and called Nora at my apartment—that would be the second call the FBI knew about. “I knew that they would come after her. Sheila’s fingerprints were all over the house. If the feds didn’t find her, McGuane might. So I told her she had to hide. Just until it was over.”

It took a couple of days for Ken to find a discreet doctor in Las Vegas. The doctor had done what he could, but it was too late. Sheila Rogers, his eleven-year companion, died the next day. Carly had been asleep in the back of the car when her mother drew her last breath. Not sure what else to do—and hoping it would take pressure off Nora—he put the body of his lover on the side of a road and drove away.

Melissa and Dad hovered closer now. We all let in a little silence.

“What then?” I asked softly.

“I dropped Carly off with a friend of Sheila’s. A cousin actually. I knew she’d be safe there. Then I started making my way east.”

And when he said that, when those words about making his way east left his mouth . . . that was when it all started to go wrong.

Have you ever had one of those moments? You are listening, you are nodding, you are paying attention. Everything seems to be making sense and following a logical course, and then you see something, something small, something seemingly irrelevant, something almost worth overlooking—and you realize with mounting dread that everything is terribly wrong.

“We buried Mom on a Tuesday,” I said.


“We buried Mom on Tuesday,” I repeated.

“Right,” Ken said.

“You were in Las Vegas that day, right?”

He thought about it. “That’s right.”

I played it over in my head.

“What is it?” Ken asked.

“I don’t get something.”


“On the afternoon of the funeral”—I stopped, waited for him to face me, found his eyes—“you were at the other graveyard with Katy Miller.”

Something flickered across his face. “What are you talking about?”

“Katy saw you at the cemetery. You were standing under a tree near Julie’s tombstone. You told Katy you were innocent. You told her you were back to find the real killer. How did you do that if you were on the other side of the country?”

My brother did not respond then. We both stood there. I felt something inside me start shrinking even before I heard the voice that made my world teeter yet again.

“I lied about that.”

We all turned as Katy Miller stepped out from behind the tree. I looked at her and said nothing. She moved closer.

Katy had a gun in her hand.

It was pointed at Ken’s chest. My mouth dropped open. I heard Melissa gasp. I heard my father shout “No!” But that all seemed a light-year away. Katy looked directly at me, probing at me, trying to tell me something I could never understand.

I shook my head.

“I was only six years old,” Katy said. “Easy enough to dismiss as a witness. What did I know anyway? Just a little kid, right? I saw your brother that night. But I saw John Asselta too. Maybe I mixed them up, the cops could say. How would a six-year-old know the difference between cries of passion and agony anyway? To a six-year-old, they’re one and the same, aren’t they? It was easy for Pistillo and his agents to finesse what I told them. They wanted McGuane. To them, my sister was just another suburban junkie.”

“What are you talking about?” I said.

Her eyes turned to Ken. “I was there that night, Will. Hiding behind my father’s old army trunk again. I saw everything.” She looked at me again and I am not sure I ever saw such clear eyes.

“John Asselta didn’t murder my sister,” she said. “Ken did.”

My support beams started giving way. I started shaking my head again. I looked at Melissa. Her face was white. I tried my father, but his head was down.

Ken said, “You saw us making love.”

“No.” Katy’s voice was surprisingly steady. “You killed her, Ken. You chose strangulation because you wanted to pin it on the Ghost—the same way you strangled Laura Emerson because she threatened to report the drug selling at Haverton.”

I stepped forward. Katy turned to me. I stopped.

“When McGuane failed to kill Ken in New Mexico, I got a call from Asselta,” she began. Katy spoke as if she’d been rehearsing these lines for a long time, which, I suspect, she had. “He told me how they had already captured your brother in Sweden. I didn’t believe him at first. I said, if they caught him, how come we didn’t know about it? He told me how the FBI wanted to let Ken off because he could still deliver McGuane. I was in shock. After all this time, they were going to let Julie’s murderer just walk away? I couldn’t allow that. Not after what my family had been through. Asselta knew that, I guess. That was why he contacted me.”

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