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KEVIN GUILFOILE
CAST OF SHADOWS
4 of 6

confessions, evidence enough to convict half the North Shore of something or other. He thought there would be a window and, behind it, a chunky and gray flatfoot who would spin a clipboard in front of him and bark, “Shine heah. By numbah fouwa.” Instead, he sat at the detective’s desk and the parcel was brought to him with condolences, wrapped in brown paper and tied with fraying twine.

He took it to his office at the clinic, closed the door, and cut the string with a pair of long-handled stainless-steel surgical scissors. The brown postal paper flattened into a square in the center of his desk and he put his hands on top of the pile of clothes, folded but unwashed. He picked up her blouse and examined the dried stains, both blood and the other kind. Her jeans had been knifed and torn from her body, ripped from the zipper through the crotch and halfway down the seams. Her panties were torn. Watch, ring, earrings, gold chain (broken), anklet. There were shoes, black and low-heeled, which they must have found near the body. With a shudder, Davis remembered those bare, mannequin feet.

There was something else, too.

Inside one of the shoes: a small plastic vial, rubber-stoppered and sealed with tape. A narrow sticker ran down the side with Anna

Kat’s name and a bar code and the letters “UNSUB” written in blue marker, along with numbers and notations Davis couldn’t decipher. UNSUB, he knew, stood for “unidentified subject” which was the closest thing he had to a name for his enemy.

He recognized the contents, however, even in such a small quantity.

It was the milky-white fuel of his practice, swabbed and suctioned from inside his daughter’s body. A portion had been tested, no doubt–DNA mapped–and the excess stored here with the rest of the meager evidence. Surely they didn’t intend this to be mixed up in Anna Kat’s possessions. This stuff, for certain, did not belong to her.

He planned for a moment on returning to the police station and erupting at the detective. “This is why you haven’t found him! He’s still out there while you fumble around your desk, wrapping up tubes of rapist left-behind and handing them out to the fathers of dead girls like Secret Santa presents!”

The stuff in this tube, ordinarily in his workday so benign, had been a bludgeon used to attack his daughter, and his stomach could not have been more knotted if Davis had discovered a knife used to