The case of the Filial Blade is nearing its dramatic conclusion. Joining forces with Detective Don Tannhauser and P.I. Ms. Sharp, Delaney is relying on safety in numbers. But surely, a femme fatale such as Candy Sussman is a force to be reckoned with? Find out in the penultimate chapter of “Ray Delaney & the Filial Blade”. Remember to vote and tune in next Wednesday for the final installment!
Chapter IX: Ex Marks The Spot
Tannhauser’s face was round and pale, blotched like tapioca pudding beneath the cruel halogens. Delaney watched the words tumbling into the room, shared Sharp’s indignation when he told them that LaSalle had been released, saw the glint at the corner of Sharp’s eye when Tannhauser said that Candy had been spotted downtown.
The desk sergeant nodded for probably the hundredth time that day as they left the station. It showed in his eyes.
Delaney was the first to see the figure crumpled against the hood. Tannhauser’s car was serving as a perch for a creased and increasingly haggard Charles LaSalle.
He could get no further. Tannhauser barked: “You want to help? Get in the back.”
“I’m going to start calling you Flip-Flop.” Delaney grinned without humor and LaSalle’s expression reverted to sheepish.
* * *
“Parking privileges.” Tannhauser smiled as they pulled onto the grassy corner of Boston Common. As though transported from a different era, mounted police idled beneath the trees. Plainclothes officers monitored the subway exits peppering this side of the park.
It was rush hour. The green of the grass and trees was fading in the evening light. Bespoke angles in black and white were crowding around the subway entrance as businessmen crossed the street and made their way home, oblivious to the murderess in their midst.
Tannhauser was making his rounds, questioning the cops on duty. Sharp and LaSalle scanned the throng of people.
“Where is she, Charlie?” Delaney asked. LaSalle shrugged. Creases like fault lines showed on his face.
“You know, you’re a real shitty client,” Delaney said.
* * *
Candy dug her fingers into the dirt, and pulled it out. Damp but otherwise undamaged. Relief flooded through her. She brushed the dirt away with a sleeve and tucked the handle into her belt. She had lost the blade, a precious family heirloom, to Ray Delaney and Boston PD. She was lucky that they hadn’t searched here.
She filled the hole, patting the soil back over the gash where it had lain. Tugging at the base of her skirt, she rose and made her way towards the subway.
* * *
At Tannhauser’s shout, Delaney turned. LaSalle and Tannhauser were sprinting towards the entrance to the subway. Nimbler than his frame suggested, Delaney and Sharp struggled to keep up with the detective.
At the bottom of the stairs, they bypassed the turnstiles with a flash of a police badge. Delaney belted on squeaking shoes onto the platform, where Candy was hopping into a half-full subway car. Through the glass of the window Delaney could see LaSalle already inside. Tannhauser, then Delaney and Sharp, reached the train and climbed in as the doors folded shut.
They stood, breathless. At the opposite end of the car, Candy.
“Get over here, Charles,” Tannhauser bellowed. Other passengers gazed at the detective as LaSalle hopped through the train car, momentarily obscuring Candy from view.
Suddenly a series of shouts and shrill intakes of breath punctured the air. At once Delaney understood: Candy had pulled a gun from her waistband, and its barrel was up, swinging to and fro in rhythm with the subway.
More screams followed by LaSalle shouting Candy’s name gave way to the squeal of train tracks. Then the car pulled into a left turn and she pulled the trigger.
Delaney felt the explosion of a window pane on his left. Several people in the train car spun as though struck, tumbling not in slow motion but in blurry free fall. His hand closed on something, he was still upright. Momentary deafness. Then the shrill prickle of screams could be heard over the static hiss in one of his ears.
Passengers were scrambling away from Candy. Someone pulled the emergency brake next to him, pushing against the doors in desperation to get out. He looked right as the train ground to a halt. Then he looked down. Blood was pooling around the brown leather of his shoes.