- October 19
After a few hours sleep, I was ready to track down Julian Baxter and put an end to his plans. But first, I’d have to join Nick at the station and try to figure out just where to start looking for Mr. Baxter. With any luck, we’d have the time tonight to start digging into his life but I prepared for a night of zombie hunting, just in case. I was halfway to the station when my phone rang. I glanced at the radio display to check the number but nothing popped up so I hit the answer button on the steering wheel. ‘Kincaid’ I said when the Bluetooth connected.
‘Hello, Dallis. I hope you’re well rested, I have quite a night planned for you. I thought we’d start in Millington tonight. I’ll let you try to figure out where.’
‘Julian, we will find you. You can’t hide forever.’
‘Ah, you’ve been busy, I see. No matter, even if you survive the night, you won’t find me in time. I’m almost ready to begin.’
‘Begin what? What are you planning?’
‘Oh, I have quite a surprise planned. Too bad you and Mr. Matthews probably won’t be around to see it. Even if you are, I have enough in place now that you won’t be able to stop it.’
I heard a laugh that could only have come from someone who was truly insane and then he was gone. The laugh gave me chills. Wondering what he was planning terrified me. I found myself wishing I hadn’t taken the time to rest. My mind was racing through cemeteries and other likely spots in Millington. I finally arrived at the station and practically ran inside. I was relieved to find Nick waiting for me.
‘Kincaid, Captain got the legal stuff done and Jamie spent the evening digging into Julian Baxter. She took a short break while we waited for you but she should be back any second. She said she had a very productive evening. You look like you’ve just seen a ghost. Talk to me, what’s wrong?’
I filled him in on the call. ‘Anything in Jamie’s research that might tell us where to go in Millington? Or where he’s holding Will’s wife? Or where we might find Him so we can stop whatever it is he has planned?’ Even I could hear the frustration and edge of panic in my voice.
Nick thought for a minute before speaking. ‘I think he wants to keep us busy so we don’t get in his way. Let’s notify Millington to be on the lookout and let the officers there do their jobs. They’ll notify us if they see anything. Meanwhile, we can go through the info Jamie found. The Captain already has someone watching his house in case he shows up there and there’s a BOLO out on the van he bought last month.’
I sat and stared at him while I thought about what he’d said, taking a few deep breaths to clear my thoughts. ‘Thanks for being the voice of reason, Nick. I’m sorry, I guess that last call made me a little crazy. You’re right, we need to concentrate on finding him. That’s the best way to help Lizzie. Whatever he’s planning, he wants it to be bad and he thought he could we could stop him. Let’s hope he was right about that.’
‘I guess it did make you a little crazy, that’s the first time you’ve called me Nick. There’s Jamie, let’s hope whatever she found is enough.’
‘Hey, Dallis. Captain McDermott said your case took priority so I had a couple techs helping. If you two will follow me back to my office, I’ve got some interesting information for you.’ Jamie’s desk was almost hidden beneath three large monitors. She tapped a few keys and all three monitors came to life. ‘We checked his phone records but his number has been out of service for about two months. The bank records were a little more interesting. You’re guy tried to be clever but hiding money is not his strength. He opened four accounts at four different banks and alternated deposits between them. He’s made several large deposits into each account. That’s where it gets tricky. The deposits are all from an account in the Cayman’s belonging to The Mathis Company. The Mathis Company is a shell company owned by another shell company. Several layers there and it took a little digging but we finally tracked the money back to Faulkner Jamison.’
‘THE Faulkner Jamison? The rich guy who’s running for governor? Are you sure?’
‘That’s the one and yes, I’m sure. Turns out, Jamison and Baxter were college roommates. There were two calls from Jamison’s office to Baxter just before Baxter shut off his phone. Jamison’s a lot better at covering his paper trail than your Mr. Baxter but the money ties back to him. Three of the accounts Baxter opened are set up as business accounts, three different businesses. Each one is paying monthly rent on three buildings each. On the monitor on the right, each red dot represents a building he’s renting. We checked each address, all nine buildings are vacant and they’re spread all over town. No two are even in the same zip code. Looks like he may be using the fourth account for personal expenses. He’s getting frequent cash withdrawals from that one. I looked into his credit cards, too. Just small stuff like gas or restaurants for the last few months but I put together a map of each place he’s used the card for the last three months and we have a definite pattern. The blue dots are restaurants, the orange dots are gas stations.’ A few more clicks and a new map popped up on one of the monitors. ‘Overlay this map with the map of the buildings and you get a good idea of his route between the buildings. He’s got some other regular routes, too, but I haven’t been able to figure out just where he was going.’ I looked at the map and knew exactly where he’d been going. Cemeteries. He hadn’t bought gas or eaten in a restaurant near his Collierville home in weeks so that was probably going to be a dead end. There were a orange dots in Arkansas, too. Those didn’t fit with what we had learned so I dismissed them. Right now, the building he’d rented in Millington had my attention. There were several orange dots on the road leading north of that building, the road leading to Union Cemetery.
Nick’s phone rang at the same time mine did. My call was one I’d been expecting, a zombie sighting in Millington. What I hadn’t expected was the five zombies they reported seeing headed in the direction of a popular night spot. I got an address and told the officers we’d be there shortly. ‘Suspicious activity in Millington’ I said to Nick when he finished his call. He’d know I meant zombie and didn’t want to say the word in front of Jamie.
‘That’s a problem’ Nick said, his face more deadly serious than I’d ever seen it. ‘We’ve also got suspicious activity in Bartlett.’
The pre-paid phone we’d bought earlier started ringing. I knew it should be Will but the timing had to be more than coincidence. I answered and put the call on speaker so Nick could hear, too. ‘Will, this is Dallis, you’re on speaker. Nick is here and so is Jamie Ballentine. Will blurted out ‘He just called, Lizzie’s being held in a building in Midtown, he gave me an address. He said if I want to save her, I’d better hurry. He also said I’d need help if I expected to make it back alive. I’m leaving now. Dallis, I need you and Nick to meet me there. ’ He gave us the address and hung up.
I stared at the phone, unable to believe what I’d just heard. How had we gone from 2 or 3 a week to this? ‘Jamie, Nick and I need a minute to talk. Can we borrow your office?
‘Sure, I could use another cup of decaf. Do either of you want a coffee?’*********************************************************************************