Chapter 7

Kram had been trying to fall asleep for an hour, flopping around in bed adjusting his pillows and bolster trying to find a way to relax. Every time he was almost asleep the sudden sensation of falling or drowning would overtake him, and he would wildly thrash awake drenched in a cold sweat. He was about to give up and make a pot of coffee when the siren ringtone sounded on his phone. They had another case.

Body number three was nowhere near the arts district but it didn matter this was clearly their case and they wouldn have to wait for an ID on the body. The team gathered around as Noh pulled back the tarp, though the body was mutilated they all recognized Múd.

”The attack is more vicious this time. Múd is much larger than the previous victims but the killer was still able to kill him with no witnesses. Which means he didn have time to fight back, he must have been overpowered quickly. If he was able to fight back someone would have heard the fight even this late at night. ” Said Kram

”He definitely would have fought back hard, no matter who it was. ” Said Love. Remembering the confrontation between him and Hart.

Xavier spoke next. ”The rage this time is different too. Some cuts are shallow others deep. The shallow marks might be because they knew each other, perhaps it was harder to kill someone they knew. The most obvious difference is the fact that this time the killer cut out the victims tongue and eyes. The tongue sends a clear message: This was retribution for him talking to the police. ”

Kram broke in. ”We need to go back over the tapes of his interview, and his statements, maybe something there is more important than it first seemed. ”

Noh turned to Love. ”Where is Hart? ” Love slowly tore his gaze from the body.

”The last time, the officer watching him checked in he was still in his studio, nothing unusual reported. ” Said Love.

”Go get him. Its time we have a talk, he may not be the one killing people but hes clearly part of this. If hes not helping the killer its possible he might be the next victim. I want him in my office within the hour. If he won come with you willingly. I will come to get him with handcuffs.

”Kinky, ” said Tan.

Noh glared at him before turning back to Love. Tan raised his hands in defeat and went back to unpacking his drones.

”Do you want to take Xavier with you? ” Asked Noh.

Love shook his head. ”No, Hart already doesn trust cops, bringing someone new with me might make him less likely to cooperate. But I will take someones car if thats Ok? I came on the bike. ” He motioned to the motorcycle over his shoulder.

Kram tossed him his keys. ”You better take mine or Hart will complain for sure, Nohs is a mess and Xaviers is small. ” Love snatched them out of the air.

”Thanks ” with a tired wave he headed toward Krams SUV.

Love pulled up to the patrol car parked down the block from harts studio.

”Anything to report? ” he asked.

The officer shook his head. ”No sir, he didn come out I saw him through the window a few times till he turned out the lights at 2:30 I have been patrolling every thirty minutes but everything is quiet here. ” The officer replied.

”Im sure you heard, but weve got another body on our hands. Why don you head over there Im sure they can use another set of hands keeping the press at bay. ” Love tapped the car window twice. ”Thanks, ” He said.

The officer nodded and pulled away, Love stood watching till he turned right at the end of the road before, crossing the street and opening the gate that led to the side door of the Studio. Sliding his phone out of his pocket he dialed Harts number. He could hear Harts ringtone going off in the house. Chers Believe blared over and over.

”Come on pick up the phone! Pick up the phone! ” Love muttered agitatedly under his breath. He tapped his foot, nervously, is it possible something happened? Worried, he knocked on the door while he redialed, Harts number. Still no answer.

”Hart! Hart! Are you in there? ” Love pounded on the door. ”Hart! ” How long had it been since the officer saw the lights on, he checked his watch, shit! That was three hours ago! Love jiggled the door handle, locked.

”Hart if you can hear me open the door! If its not open in 5 seconds Im kicking it down! He called. ”The office will buy you a new one probably, ” he thought to himself.

”5! 4! 3! 2! 1! ” Love aimed his kick carefully just as his foot was about to connect The door swung open, Hart stood there in a silk kimono, his hair wrapped in a silk scarf.

Love fell slightly forward as he tried to regain his footing.

”What the hell are you doing trying to kick my door down in the middle of the night!? ” Hart glared daggers at Love.

”I thought you were– ” Love stopped himself. ” Look, can I come inside, please? We need to talk and its better if Im not standing on the porch. ”

”Better how? ” asked Hart suspiciously.

”Better, as in safer, please Hart. ” Love said solemnly.

Hart rolled, his eyes, taking a step back he held the door open for Love.

”Well, come on then, ” Hart said stiffing a yawn.

Love followed Hart into the upstairs sitting area of the studio, which served as his office and sometimes bedroom. His desk was covered in paperwork and prints. A bed draped in gauzy fabrics sat to one side of the room a small settee heaped with clothes at its foot. A couch sat across the room under a set of windows overlooking the street. Hart took a seat on the edge of the bed, the kimono pooling around him. Retrieving the chair from in front of Harts desk Loved dragged it over and sat down facing Hart, So close their knees were touching.

”This is a bit dramatic don you think? ” Hart said sleepily, Love could hear the hint of annoyance.

”Im going to tell you some things and right now I need you to just listen and not argue with me. ” Love said.

Hart gave him a ”Well that depends on what you say ” sort of look but didn speak. Love took that as the closest to an agreement he was going to get.

”Normally when someone dies, we inform the family first, but tonight, we have to make an exception. A Few hours ago a body was found in Bang Na, I just left a crime scene, to come here. I know you weren close anymore but Im sorry to tell you Múd is dead. ” Love paused to give Hart time to process what he just said.

As soon as the words were out of his mouth Hart sat bolt upright, all sleepiness forgotten.

”How did it happen? ” He asked, shocked. Love winced, he knew that this was going to be the real hard part. Love picked up both of Harts hands is his before he spoke again. He looked into harts eyes to make sure he was processing the words Love was about to say.

”He was murdered– ” Love started, but Hart cut him off.

”Murdered? Are you sure! ” hart asked, panic starting to rise in his voice. Love started rubbing circles on the back of Harts hands trying to calm him and give him something to focus on.

”Im sure, ” Love continued to speak quietly and calmly. ”A few weeks ago when detective Kram and I came to your house, to ask about the goldstone, we told you goldstone had been found at a murder scene. Do you remember? ”

Hart nodded, numbly. Love squeezed his hands, trying to keep him focused.

”We, now know, that Kisa Boonnak wasn the killers first victim and tonight the same person attacked and killed Múd. Now we have three victims– ”

Hart cut Love off again.

”Kisa is dead! Why didn you tell me?! ” Harts voice came out shrilly.

”We didn know that you and Kisa had any connection until after Múd was arrested at the club the other night. ” Love took a breath and plunged on.

”You also know the first victim. We don know his name yet but perfectly matches the sketch you drew of the fake art dealer. ” Love said.

Harts eyes that had been staring through him now searched his frantically for answers.

”You mean to tell me they are all dead and you think the same person did it! Why? ” Hart asked. His eyes stared intensely into Loves eyes.

”That powdered blue goldstone we came to ask you about has been found on every victim. ” Love barely got the words out before Hart shot to his feet and to the settee to start changing.

”Ive got to go! Ill be back. I swear, and you can keep explaining things, but right now Ive got to leave now! ” Hart dropped the robe and fumbled through the pile of clothes pulling on a t-shirt and black jeans. ”

Love snatched Harts arm.

”Hart, Hart, wait I need you to listen to a minute, you have to come with me back to my office my boss needs to talk to you. ”

”Absolutely not, I have to go now, Ill come back, Ill do what ever you want in the morning right now I have to go. ” Hart hopped around putting on his Chucks before grabbing his bag.

”Hart! We think you might be the next victim! ” Love shouted, just as Harts hand closed around the door nob.

Love kept talking.

”I have to take you in to be interviewed and Im going to keep you safe. I promise, but if you leave, the head of my Department Noh, will have to bring you in for formal questioning. That means hand cuffs and a much longer process, so please Im begging you, don walk out that door. ” Love said, his voice trembling. He didn want to see Harts body under a tarp on a dirty street somewhere.

”Im sorry. ” Hart said and wrenched open the door. He was surprised to find a man in a leather jacket, holding up a pair of hand cuffs on the other side.

”Going somewhere? ” he asked.

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