Chapter Two Part Three

SAC Evan Wyatt may have had no romantic designs on Investigator Greebler, but that didn’t keep him from noticing her appreciable assets and using them to his advantage, most notably when interviewing the young and impressionable Ian Bacwell.

It also helped to abate the somewhat hostile stance of the protective older man standing over Ian. The hardened face and features told Evan the man had seen too many bad winters and hard chores and not enough happiness (or sunscreen). Yet, here he was, Evan reminded himself, that’s what counted.

Evan deduced he could be more useful talking to the father and letting Ian impress the pretty investigator with his bravery and accurate recall of events. So he and Investigator Greebler approached the two together with the tactic of “divide and conquer”. Evan let Jenny do the talking.

She left no room for argument. “Mr. Bacwell, SAC Wyatt will verify your recollection of events, while I have a talk with your son.”

The tactic worked well. Evan gestured to Mr. Bacwell to take a seat on the other side of the waiting room. The man sat cautiously, still watching his son.

“That your youngest?” Evan asked to start the conversation.

“Nope,” he grunted, “still got two others at home.”

Evan was surprised. But hard living will throw off an age judgment. Mr. Bacwell offered no elaboration regarding his other children, so Evan moved on. “What time did your son, Ian, call you tonight?”

“Quarter after six.”

“He called the house?”

“No, he called my cell phone, thank God. I wouldn’t have wanted his mother to hear first.”

Evan nodded. “And he told you he hit a dead body with his sled?”

To his astonishment, Mr. Bacwell’s eyes began to water. The man cleared his throat and he roughly wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “I would have called him out for making shit up, but Ian began bawling. You know, he’s a tough little bastard, so I knew he was telling the truth.” Mr. Bacwell closed his eyes and took a few cleansing breaths to recover his composure.

After a few moments, Evan continued. “So you called the police?”

Mr. Bacwell nodded. His head drooped quite a bit as he did so. Evan noted the stooped posture, probably from a lifetime of watching the ground. He wondered if his fiancé would inherit the same hunched back.

“I called from the landline in the milkhouse,” Mr. Bacwell continued. “I promised not the hang up the cellphone.”

“Then what?”

“Dispatch wanted me to stay on the landline until a deputy could come out and pick me up, but I told them I wanted to get to my boy, that he was hurt. I told them I’d meet them where the property line meets the road.”

“So you drove while talking to your son on the phone?”

Mr. Bacwell’s face metaphorically turned to stone for a few seconds. Evan knew he was expecting a lecture on the evils of distracted driving. “That’s right,” he confirmed with authority.

Evan ignored the reaction. “And you directed your son to leave the scene of the accident and meet you at the road?”

“Ya.”

“And he reached you without further injury.”

“Ya, um,” Mr. Bacwell stopped and scratched under his cap around one of his ears. “He got spooked though.”

Evan raised his eyebrows. “By what?”

“He scared up something big near the treeline. Thought it might be a big buck or something.”

“Was it?”

Mr. Bacwell wrinkled his nose with slight amusement. “Na, it was just a horse. Looked to be a pony. It crossed the road in front of me.”

“Hmm,” Evan mused aloud. “One of the neighbor’s?”

Mr. Bacwell shrugged. “Guess it would have to be.”

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