Crimes Past(10)

By: Lauren Carr

“I don’t believe it,” Mac muttered.

Even as he flicked his eyes around at different points in the hotel, always in search of any potential threat, Hector managed to arch an eyebrow in Mac’s direction. “Guilt is a useless emotion. It’s nothing more than a crutch called rationalization.”

“That’s a good point, Hector, but—”

“That’s why dogs don’t feel guilty.”

Mac blinked. “Dogs?”

“Because guilt is a wasted emotion,” Hector said. “Gnarly talks all about it in the fifth chapter of his book.”

Upon seeing the server dab Gnarly’s lips with a white linen napkin, Mac uttered a groan. “The world has gone mad.”

 “You did read Gnarly’s book, didn’t you, Mac?” Hector asked.

“Have you looked over the background checks I’ve given you on each of the guests?”

Hector held up the electronic tablet for Mac to see. “Complete with pictures of our suspects. I’ve got alerts tied in with their reservations. I’ll get a notification on my phone when each suspect checks in. Someone from my team will have eyes on everyone this entire weekend. I’ve got one question for you, Chief.”

“What if our killer decides not to come to the wedding?”

“That’s the question.”

“Four days, all expenses paid at a fivestar hotel?” Mac said with a smirk. “Plus, the opportunity to rub my nose in getting away with murder? No killer could resist that.”

“Not all killers have big egos.”

“He or she killed two detectives on their wedding night in a hotel filled with cops,” Mac said. “Don’t tell me the killer didn’t plan that simply for the challenge of getting away with it. He or she has a huge ego and won’t be able to resist facing me.”

Gnarly and Archie were posing for a picture with a family. The children were holding up a signed copy of Gnarly’s book – The World According to Gnarly.

“I don’t believe it.” Mac spun around to come face to face with Gwen, the president of the town council.

“Mr. Faraday, I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Your two o’clock is waiting and we’ve got sixtyeight pictures of that ditch to examine. After that, you have a four o’clock meeting with a parents’ committee wanting Gnarly to outlaw hideandseek within town limits.”


Hector leaned in to whisper. “That’s the game where you hide, and your opponent seeks you.”

“I know what hideandseek is,” Mac said. “I like that game. Gwen and I play it all the time, don’t we, Gwen?”

She shoved her glasses up on her nose. “I don’t play games.”

Hector covered his mouth to suppress a chuckle.

“Why would anyone want to outlaw hideandseek?” Mac asked.

“It teaches stalking,” Gwen said.

“Who says it teaches stalking?”

“They say.”

“Who are they?”

“Experts,” Gwen said with a sigh, filled with annoyance. “Hideandseek teaches children how to hunt their prey and then they grow up to become stalkers.”

“Or they grow up to become detectives stalking killers.”

“Are you sure Gnarly killed that cat?” Bogie smacked his hand flat against the side of his neck and wiped the crushed spider carcass off on his pant leg. Finding no sign of the dead body in the floral bushes that encompassed the center of Spencer Manor’s circular driveway, he made his way back onto the pavement.

“Mac seemed pretty certain to me.” Fearful of disturbing any snakes lurking among the shrubbery, David poked a stick into the hedge bordering the wraparound porch and peered through the branches. “He says he saw Gnarly grab it in the air after bucking it off his head and then snap his neck. It didn’t move after it hit the ground.”

“But Mac didn’t examine it to see if it was still alive?”

“Mac did what any good political advisor would do in that situation,” David said with a sigh. “He grabbed the mayor, threw him in the car, and got the hell out of here.”

“Then called us to cover it up for him.”