The Gravity of What Has Gone (12)

May called me at my hotel room the next morning. “I think I have something.”

“Yeah?” I lunged toward the cluttered desk to find a pen and paper.

“First I researched known illegal money-lending operations in the area and anyone of Scottish origin on the record as a ‘person of interest.’ Nothing.”

“Oh.” I shoveled past layers of Minnesota maps and copies of old newspaper articles.

“Then I looked for any cases of kidnapping using tactics similar to your case. Still nothing. But what about cases that weren’t cases?”

“Huh?” I dug harder, elbow-deep in notes scrawled on napkins, styrofoam coffee cups from all-night research sessions.

“Things that weren’t investigated. Like an Oakdale family retracting their story that their nine-year-old daughter was kidnapped. With the help of a teenage boy.”

The pile broke and avalanched over me, sending the detritus of a thousand false leads to settle in drifts around my feet. A lone petrified pizza crust wobbled to a stop on the carpet. “Maybe we should meet in person?”

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