"After the interview, I told Rourke that Sharkey didn't see our faces at the dam. He even thought I was a man, sitting in the Jeep. But I made a mistake. I mentioned how we discussed hypnotizing him. Even though I stopped you and trusted that you wouldn't do it without me, Rourke didn't trust you. So he did what he did with Sharkey. After we were called out there and I saw him I . . ."
She didn't finish but Bosch wanted to know everything.
"Later, I confronted Rourke and told him I was bringing the whole thing down because he was out of control, killing innocent people. He told me there was no way to stop it. Franklin and Delgado were in the tunnel and out of reach. They turned the radios off when they brought the C-4 in. It's too unstable. He said there was no stopping it without more spilled blood. Then the next night you and I were almost run down. That was Rourke, I'm sure."
She said that the two of them played an unspoken game of mutual distrust and suspicion after that. The burglary of Beverly Hills Safe & Lock continued as planned, and Rourke steered Bosch and everybody else away from going underground to stop it. He had to let Franklin and Delgado go through with it, even though there were no diamonds left in Tran's box. Rourke could not risk going underground to warn them, either.
Eleanor finally ended the game when she followed Bosch down into the tunnel and killed Rourke, his eyes staring at her as he slid down into the black water.
"And that's the whole story," she said quietly.
"My car is over this way," Bosch said as he stood up from the bench. "I'll take you back now."
They found his car on the driveway, and Bosch noticed her eyes linger on the fresh soil on Meadows's grave before she got in. He wondered if she had watched from the Federal Building as the casket was put in the ground. As he drove toward the exit, Harry said, "Why couldn't you let it go? What happened to your brother was another time, another place. Why didn't you let it go?"
"You don't know how many times I've asked that and how many times I didn't know the answer. I still don't."
They were at the light at Wilshire and Bosch was wondering what he was going to do. And once again she read him, she sensed his indecision.
"Are you going to take me in now, Harry? You might have a hard time proving your case. Everybody's dead. It could look like you were part of it, too, You going to risk that?"
He didn't say anything. The light changed and he drove down to the Federal Building, pulling to the curb near the garden of flags.
She said, "If it means anything to you at all, what happened between you and me, it wasn't part of any plan. I know you won't ever know if that's the truth, but I wanted to say-"
"Don't," he said. "Don't say a thing about it."
A few uneasy moments of silence pa.s.sed between them.
"You're just letting me go here?"
"I think it would be best for you, Eleanor, if you turned yourself in. Go get a lawyer and then come in. Tell them you didn't have anything to do with the murders. Tell them the story about your brother. They are reasonable people and they'll want to keep it low profile, avoid the scandal. The U.S. attorney will probably let you plead to something short of murder. The bureau will go along."
"And what if I don't turn myself in? You will tell them?"
"No. Like you said, I'm too much a part of it. They'd never go with what I'd tell them."
He thought a long moment. He didn't want to say what he was going to say next unless he was sure he meant it. And could, and would, do it.
"No, I won't tell them. . . . But if I don't hear in a few days that you went in, I will tell Binh. And I'll tell Tran. I won't need to prove it to them. I'll just tell them the story with enough facts that they'll know it is true. Then, you know what they'll do? They'll act like they don't know what the h.e.l.l I'm talking about and they'll tell me to get out. And then they'll come after you, Eleanor, looking for the same kind of justice you got for your brother."
"You would do that, Harry?"
"I said I would. I'll give you two days to go in. Then I tell them the story."
She looked at him, and the pained expression on her face asked why.
Harry said, "Somebody has to answer for Sharkey."
She turned away, put her hand on the door handle and looked out the car window at the flags flapping in the Santa Ana breeze. She didn't look back at him when she said, "So, I guess I was wrong about you."
"If you mean the Dollmaker case, the answer is yes, you were wrong about me."
She looked back at him with a wan smile as she opened the door. She quickly leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. She said, "Good-bye, Harry Bosch."
Then she was out of the car, standing in the wind and looking in at him. She hesitated and then closed the door. As Harry drove away he glanced once in the mirror and saw her still at the curb. She stood there looking down like someone who had dropped something in the gutter. After that, he didn't look back.
The morning after Memorial Day, Harry Bosch checked back into MLK, where he was severely chastised by his doctor, who seemed, to Harry at least, to take a perverse pleasure in ripping the home-applied bandages away from his shoulder and then using a stinging saline solution to rinse the wound. He spent two days resting and then was wheeled into the OR for surgery to reattach muscles that had been torn from bone by the bullet.
On the second day of his recovery from surgery, a nurse's aide dropped off a day-old Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times for him to while away a few hours with. Bremmer's story was on the front page, and it accompanied a photograph of a priest standing before a lonely casket at a cemetery in Syracuse, New York. It was FBI Special Agent John Rourke's casket. Bosch could tell from the photo that more mourners-albeit members of the media-had been at Meadows's funeral. But Bosch tossed the front section aside after scanning the first few paragraphs of the story and realizing it wasn't about Eleanor. He turned to the sports. for him to while away a few hours with. Bremmer's story was on the front page, and it accompanied a photograph of a priest standing before a lonely casket at a cemetery in Syracuse, New York. It was FBI Special Agent John Rourke's casket. Bosch could tell from the photo that more mourners-albeit members of the media-had been at Meadows's funeral. But Bosch tossed the front section aside after scanning the first few paragraphs of the story and realizing it wasn't about Eleanor. He turned to the sports.
The next day, he had a visitor. Lieutenant Harvey Pounds told Bosch that when he was recovered, he would report back to Hollywood homicide. Pounds said that neither of them had any choice in the matter. The order came from the sixth floor at Parker Center. The lieutenant didn't have much else to say, and didn't mention the newspaper article at all. Harry took the news with a smile and a nod, not wanting to show a hint of what he felt or thought.
"Of course, this is all contingent on you being able to pa.s.s a departmental physical when you're released by your physicians here," Pounds added.
"Of course," Bosch said.
"You know, Bosch, some officers would want the disability, retire at eighty percent pay. You could get a job in the private sector and do very nicely. You'd deserve it."
Ah, Harry thought, there is the reason for the visit.
"Is that what the department wants me to do, Lieutenant?" he asked. "Are you the messenger?"
"Of course not. The department wants you to do what you want, Harry. I'm just looking at the advantages of the situation. You know, just something to think about. I understand private investigation is the growth market of the nineties. No trust anymore, you know? Nowadays people are secretly getting complete backgrounds-medical, financial, romantic-on the people they are going to marry."
"That doesn't sound like my kind of work."
"You'll take the homicide table, then?"
"Soon as I pa.s.s the physical."
He had another visitor the next day. This one was expected. She was a prosecutor from the U.S. attorney's office. Her name was Chavez and she wanted to know about the night Sharkey was killed. Eleanor Wish had come in, Bosch knew then.
He told the prosecutor that he had been with Eleanor, confirming her alibi. Chavez said she just had to check to be sure, before they started talking a deal. She asked a few other questions about the case, then got up from the visitor's chair to go.
"What's going to happen to her?" Bosch asked.
"I can't discuss that, Detective."
"Off the record?"
"Off the record, she's obviously going to have to go away, but it probably won't be long. The climate is right for this to be handled very quietly. She came forward, she brought competent counsel and it appears she was not directly responsible for the deaths involved. If you ask me, she'll get out of this very lucky. She'll plead and do maybe thirty months tops up at Tehachapi."
Bosch nodded and Chavez was gone.
Harry, too, was gone the next day, sent home for six weeks recuperative leave before reporting back to the station on Wilc.o.x. When he arrived at the house on Woodrow Wilson he found a yellow slip of paper in his mailbox. He took it to the post office and exchanged it for a wide, flat package in brown paper. He didn't open it until he was home. It was from Eleanor Wish, though it did not say so: it was just something he knew. After tearing away the paper and bubbled plastic liner, he found a framed print of Hopper's Nighthawks Nighthawks. It was the piece he had seen above her couch that first night he was with her.
Bosch hung the print in the hallway near his front door, and from time to time he would stop and study it when he came in, particularly from a weary day or night on the job. The painting never failed to fascinate him, or to evoke memories of Eleanor Wish. The darkness. The stark loneliness. The man sitting alone, his face turned to the shadows. I am that man, Harry Bosch would think each time he looked.
BOOKS BY MICHAEL CONNELLY.
THE HARRY BOSCH NOVELS.
City of Bones
A Darkness More Than Night
The Last Coyote
The Concrete Blonde
The Black Ice
The Black Echo
The Lincoln Lawyer
Chasing the Dime
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