Numbers Page 97

Candi hadn\ expected that.

’’I\m just going to put it out there. We had four consultants go through everything and it reeked to high heaven. Your rights as a patient were violated on a daily basis. Some of the drugs they had you on went directly against the listed medical diagnosis Dr. Pess had put down. Only a hack would do what was done to you. We traced the financials out of the country to an account that belonged to a man who\d died over twenty years ago. It was opened weeks after the first Mercile Industries site was raided. We also located the homicide case from when you were a child. You witnessed the murder of your mother and the next-door neighbor?’’

Candi nodded. ’’Loud blasts woke me. I can\ tell you how many, but there were a lot. The hallway was dark and I wanted to go to my mom. I was afraid of loud noises. My mom and Mr. Cooper from next door were naked and bloody on the bed. There was a gun lying beside to them. I knew what it was, because my father owned one. They taught me never to touch it. He kept it in his office downstairs. I heard footsteps coming so I hid behind the bedroom door. My father walked in with a knife and started stabbing them. He was taking something out of their bodies and putting it in his jacket pocket. He had brought bottles from the bar from downstairs. He opened them, poured them over the bed, and started a fire. It scared me enough to make me move. I wanted to run, but I froze when he turned and looked at me. He took me to Mercile and left me there. I was moved from there to the hospital when I was sixteen.’’

’’Why?’’

Candi glanced at Breeze for help. She didn\ want to explain what had happened that day with the feline, and Hero\s violent reaction.

’’Because Mercile were assholes,’’ Kit growled. ’’They didn\ inform us of why they abused us or give us any say in the matter. They shipped us off to various locations at times. What kind of question is that?’’

Agent Garza looked up at Kit. ’’I\m just curious because I don\ understand why Christopher Chazel bothered to keep her alive. He had her moved from there and paid for her to be cared for somewhere else. I doubt he had to do that at Mercile. Do you see where I\m going with this?’’

The door behind them opened and Kat stalked in. She wore black slacks, a button-down shirt tucked into her pants, and had a badge snapped to her belt buckle. She walked to one of the chairs at the side of the table and took a seat. ’’I\m Katrina Perkins, former FBI.’’

Garza frowned. ’’I remember seeing you around. I know who you are.’’

Kat unclipped her badge and placed it on the table. She tapped it with her finger. ’’I\m part of the NSO task force now. I\ve been monitoring from the next room to get a feel for what you\ e up to.’’

Agent Garza glanced up at the camera, and then back at Kat. ’’I\m not up to anything, Perkins.’’

’’You\ e fishing. How the hell would Candi know what that son of a bitch\s motives were? He wasn\ father of the year, and he didn\ have heart-to-heart talks with her. Maybe he drew a line at killing his own flesh and blood. He could have had some guilt over the shitty thing he did when he locked her up at Mercile for all those years. You should be asking him his motives, but he\s dead. That\s like asking the victim, which she was, why the perp chose her. Move on.’’

Agent Garza clamped her lips together, but turned her gaze on Candi. ’’Penny Pess told you Christopher Chazel died, correct?’’

’’I viewed the tapes given to you.’’ Kat leaned forward. ’’You know the answer to that. She gave details about what Dr. Pess said to her in her office before attempting to kill her. Should I pull a copy of it for you and replay that part of the tape so you can see and hear it word for word?’’

Agent Garza glared at Kat. ’’You know it\s procedure.’’

’’You came in here with sympathy and kind words, but you\ e looking for something to nail her on. I don\ appreciate it. You think I don\ know the dance steps?’’ Kat smirked. ’’Let\s cut the shit, Garza. You\ e probably getting pressure from some desk jockey who hasn\ been in the field since Clinton was in office. They aren\ good with change or comfortable with the NSO. The cops had her picture all over the news and put it out there that she was a homicidal killer who had escaped from the loony bin. They had her convicted because they were too lazy to actually investigate beyond surface facts. That means the public panicked. She was spotted in what? Four states?’’

’’Three.’’

Kat shrugged. ’’Three. Then it was leaked that she was here, and some loud-mouthed idiots started tweeting about how the NSO is taking in cold-blooded killers. I have a computer and internet access. I\ve been keeping tabs. They are stirring up shit. Your boss is having his ass chewed out, which means it\s coming down the line tenfold to land right on your desk. Have I said anything that is wrong so far?’’

’’No.’’

Kat pointed at Candi. ’’She\s a victim. Period. She was five years old when she realized her father was a piece of shit who\d killed her mother. You said you saw the homicide file. Who vouched for his whereabouts at the time of the murders?’’

’’His supervisor at Mercile Industries.’’

’’There\s your link to how and why he kept her there. You\ e smart, Garza. You did your research on Mercile Industries as soon as you were assigned this case. We both know they had zero morals because of the f*ked-up research they did. You want me to level with you? They wanted to see if a Species kid would kill a human one. She was an experiment. They got their answer. Species don\ kill children. She grew up in that hellhole until they had no use for her anymore. Chazel sent her to a new hell and he probably paid for her to stay alive because...who the hell knows? Get a profiler and study him to figure it out. Candi killed Pess so she could keep breathing. You know it. I know it. Hell, your boss would know it too if he stopped playing politician long enough to give a shit about what really went down instead of trying to score points with whoever he\s trying to impress.’’

Kat took a deep breath and blew it out. ’’I\ve been where you are. That\s why I work for the NSO now. I made a choice to do the right thing over the pressure I got from my boss. Plus, I won\ deny that the benefits here are way better. Candi isn\ dangerous. She\s a survivor. Follow the facts and do the right thing. It won\ make you popular, but it will help you sleep better at night.’’


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