Clayton arrived back at the station at 9:05 PM. Ten minutes before Pepper was due back. He went up to the tech department where they were monitoring Pepper’s transmissions. Just one tech on duty after nine and he didn’t give the impression that anything imperative was going on.
“What’s the word?” asked Clayton. He spun a chair around and sat.
“Not a whole lot till right towards the end. Her cover is blown,” said the tech.
“What? And you didn’t call me?”
“It just happened, sheriff. There was a lot of nothing going on until Malcolm called her Ms. Black at 8:45.”
“That was twenty minutes ago!” Clayton stood and grabbed the spare headset and put it on. “Can you hear me Pepper? What the hell is going on? Are you okay?”
“Pepper?” No answer. This was not good. This was one time Clayton didn’t want to be right, she shouldn’t have gone to the book club until they had more time to check out Malcolm Sinclair.
“Give her a minute, sheriff,” said the tech. “We get a few dead zones in that area. I heard her talking to the two ladies sitting with her after Malcolm left. She was fine.”
“Fine my ass,” said Clayton.
More static came over the line—then her voice. “I can hear you, you know. I’m headed back----my car now.”
Clayton flopped back down in his chair. “Jesus, don’t do that to me.” He put her on speaker and relived his ears of the headset.
More static came through. “So you -----to know what I-------out?”
Her voice was choppy, but Clayton assumed what she meant. “What did you find out?”
“The guy is obsessed with the lonely hearts, he’s arrogant and the women follow him like puppy dogs.”
“I got pretty much the same observation from Beth at the diner,” said Clayton. “How did he figure out who you were?”
“You’re breaking up,” said Clayton. “We’ll talk when you get here. Let me know when you get to your car.”
“You want me to turn it off?” asked the tech.
“Not yet,” said Clayton. He heard the distinctive beep, beep of Pepper turning off her car alarm. “Wait until she’s in the vehicle and gives us the okay.”
“Getting in now, sheriff. What the hell …” Sounds of scuffle came over the speaker. The car door slammed—then nothing.
“Pepper?” called Clayton. “Pepper!”
Today's word – O is for Obsessed - is brought to you by Storm Amrhein.
If you would like to catch up, here is my 2013 A to Z Mystery Recap.
This post is part of April's Blogging From A-Z Challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. The rest of the A-Z bloggers can be found pinned in the links section of my sidebar.
Hope to see you tomorrow!