فصل 11

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فصل 11

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

‘The boy needs a hot drink’

The boy was cold. Kathy had given him her coat, but he still felt cold. He wanted a hot drink, hot chocolate, he said, but there was no milk in the farmhouse, and no chocolate.

Kathy sat with her arms around the trembling child, wondering how Eddie Folsom, the man she loved, could possibly be a part of a crime like this. She knew that he was a thief. To Kathy, robbing a bank was not really a crime at all. But kidnapping a child? How could Eddie, a man who had so much good in him, do a terrible thing like that?

And what exactly were they planning to do, Eddie and Sy? Kathy had seen maps and knew that they were going to use the radio equipment. They were going to telephone King and give him some instructions. She could not understand what all this meant.

‘Eddie,’ she said. ‘The boy needs a hot drink. He’s cold. Would you go out and get him something, Eddie?’

‘Never try to understand women!’ Sy said. ‘The roads are full of cops and you want to send Eddie out for a hot drink! That really takes the prize, Kathy!’

‘One of you has to go out to make the phone call,’ Kathy said. ‘You’ll have to make the call from a store. Won’t it look more normal if you buy some things too?’

‘She’s right,’ Sy said. ‘Good idea, Kathy.’ He said to Eddie, ‘When you make the call, get the kid what he needs.’

‘Am I going to make the call?’ Eddie said.

‘Why not?’

‘No reason. Okay, I’ll go.’

‘Do you know what to do?’ Sy asked. ‘Make sure he’s got the money first. Tell him to leave the house at ten o’clock sharp. Tell him to go straight to his car. It must be the Cadillac. Be certain to tell him that, Eddie. We don’t want him to use the wrong car. Tell him it has to be the Caddy.’

‘All right,’ Eddie said.

‘Tell him to start driving away from Smoke Rise. Say he’ll be met by someone with further instructions. Make sure you say he’ll be met.’

‘Who’s going to meet him?’ Kathy asked. ‘You?’

‘Nobody,’ Sy said, and he laughed. ‘Tell him he’ll be watched all the time, and if the police are following him we’ll kill the boy.’

‘Okay,’ Eddie said. ‘What do you want me to buy, Kathy?’

‘A packet of hot chocolate and some milk. Get some cookies, too.’

He kissed her and said, ‘I’ll be back soon.’

‘Be careful, Eddie.’

‘Good luck, kid,’ Sy said. ‘Here’s the phone number.’ He gave Eddie a piece of paper.

Eddie went out and got into the car. Sy listened as he drove off down the road. Then he locked the door. ‘Alone at last,’ he said to Kathy, and he laughed.

Every policeman sees some horrible sights, and Steve Carella, too, had some bad memories. As soon as he saw Charles Reynolds come into the room, he knew that he would never be able to forget what was about to happen. He wanted to close his eyes, but he could not.

Reynolds looked lifeless, a defeated man. He stood there patiently, and waited for Douglas King, his employer, to notice him.

At last King looked up. ‘What is it? What do you want, Reynolds?’ he said.

Reynolds took a step towards King. ‘I want to ask you to pay the ransom for my son, Mr King,’ he said.

‘Don’t ask me,’ King said, and he turned away.

‘I have to ask you, Mr King,’ Reynolds said. ‘Don’t you see that? I’ve never begged in my life, but I’m begging you now. Please, Mr King. I’m talking to you as one father to another. Please save my son.’

‘I can’t help you. I can’t help Jeff.’

‘I don’t believe that, Mr King. You can save him. Who else can I ask?’

‘You’re asking me to destroy my own life,’ King said. ‘Do you understand that? I can’t do it.’

‘What do you want me to do?’ Reynolds said. ‘I’ll do anything. I’ll work for the rest of my life for nothing.’

‘Don’t talk nonsense. How can -‘

‘Do you want me to get down on my knees, Mr King? Shall I get down on my knees and beg you to save Jeff?’

He fell to his knees. Carella had to look away.

King was trembling. ‘Get up, man,’ he said.

‘I’m on my hands and knees,’ Reynolds said, ‘begging you, Mr King, begging you, please, please, save my son.’

Carella saw King’s eyes close for a moment. Then he said, ‘Please get up, Reynolds. Could you please leave me alone? Could you do that? Please?’

Reynolds got quietly to his feet. He turned and walked slowly out of the room. Douglas King stared after him.

‘Do you feel rotten, Mr King?’ Carella asked. ‘Because that’s what you are. A rotten bastard.’

Took here, Carella. I don’t want to listen to that -‘

‘Oh, go to hell, Mr King!’ Carella said angrily.

‘What’s the matter with you, Steve?’ Byrnes said, coming into the room. ‘Stop that now.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘I’ve just been on the telephone,’ Byrnes said, ‘checking our list of stolen cars, and, sure enough, there it was. A five-year-old grey Ford. They’ll have changed the number plates, though …’

He stopped, as Liz Bellew came down the stairs. She was carrying a bag, and holding Bobby King by the hand.

‘Good morning,’ she said. ‘Any news yet?’

‘I’m afraid not, ma’am,’ Byrnes said.

‘Daddy,’ Bobby said, ‘is Jeff back yet?’

‘No, son. He isn’t.’

‘I thought you were getting him back,’ Bobby said. There was a long, uncomfortable silence. Carella hoped that he would never see the look that was on Bobby King’s face on the face of his own son.

‘Come on, Bobby,’ Liz said. She said to King, ‘He’s coming over to my house, Doug.’

‘Where’s Diane? Did you talk to her?’

‘Yes, but it’s no good. Give her time, Doug. Just be patient.’

‘Why aren’t you getting Jeff back, Dad?’ Bobby asked, but Liz pulled him towards the door, and then they were gone.

‘I think I should explain,’ King said. ‘I know that my refusal looks -‘

The telephone rang. King stopped speaking, and Carella rushed to the wiretap equipment. ‘Answer it, Mr King,’ he said. ‘Keep him talking for as long as you can.’ Byrnes picked up the other phone.

‘What… what shall I tell him?’ King said.

‘Tell him you’ve got the money,’ Byrnes said. ‘It’s our only chance.’

‘Answer it! Answer it!’ Carella shouted.

‘Hello?’ King said.

The voice that replied was not the same one he had heard before.

‘Have you got the money, Mr King?’

‘Keep him talking,’ Byrnes whispered.

‘Well, yes. I mean, I have most of it.’

‘What do you mean, most of it? We told you -‘

‘The rest of it will be here soon. Five hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, you know. And I didn’t have much time to get it. They’re bringing the rest from the bank. It should arrive in half an hour.’

‘All right. Fine. Now listen. I’m only going to say this once. You will leave the house at ten o’clock sharp. Carry the money in a plain box. Go to the garage and get into the black Cadillac. It must be the black Cadillac. Do you understand?’

‘Yes, I understand,’ King said.

‘Hurry, hurry!’ Byrnes whispered into the other phone.

‘You will drive away from the house, and away from Smoke Rise. You will be watched. Don’t take anyone in the car with you, and don’t allow the police to follow you. If you are followed, we will kill the boy. Do you understand that?’

‘Yes.’

‘You will continue driving until someone meets you with instructions. That is all you have to know. Goodbye, Mr -‘

‘Wait!’

‘Keep him talking!’ Byrnes said. ‘They’ve traced the call to Sands Spit!’

‘What do you want, Mr King?’

‘When do we get the boy back? How do we know he’s still alive?’

‘He’s still alive.’

‘Can I talk to him?’

‘No. Goodbye, Mr King.’

‘Wait! You -‘

‘He’s gone,’ Carella said. ‘His voice sounded different this time. I don’t think it was the same guy that called before. Good work, Mr King.’

‘Thank you,’ King said dully.


Eddie Folsom had finished his telephone call. Now he had some shopping to do. ‘Give me a packet of hot chocolate and a bottle of milk,’ he said, ‘and a box of those cookies there.’

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