Chartan: The Mystery Deepens


Chartan

(Last week: Chartan senses he has a connection with the dead passengers, but finds it strange that Brazil wants to solve the mystery of why these men died in the limo. Moran orders a rookie detective to trail Chartan and Brazil. Finally, Barnes, the medical examiner, has a surprise for Moran.)

             Barnes held up a small black bead by the overhead light. “Know what this is?”

            Moran squinted. “A pebble?”

            “A rosary bead. There was one in each of our victims along with a lethal cocktail of belladonna and Phenobarbital. I estimate they drank up before they got in the limo and died shortly after take-off. “

            “There were four passengers according to the driver and the limo owner.”

            “Someone didn’t drink.”

            “So what does the rosary bead mean? Is this a Heaven’s Gate knock-off ?”

            “You’re getting warm, but there were no rocket ships involved,” replied Barnes as he carefully placed the bead in a small plastic bag.

            Moran pounded his fist. “The D.A. wants details—says he’s being hounded by the press. This rosary bead stuff will gum up the works.  Hell, I don’t even have IDs on these guys—they paid cash for the limo and gave names and addresses that don’t exist. Fake driver’s licenses. Even their destination was phony. They went out of their way to make sure we wouldn’t  know who they were.”

            Barnes chimed in, “No, they left lots of clues. The DNA of the deceased tells us they were cookie cutters of each other, brothers to a tee.  But there’s something else—come here.”

            Moran shuffled a few feet to the wall where he flicked on a switch to illuminate three x-rays.

            “They each had a mass on the frontal lobe—brain cancer no doubt.”

            “They wanted to die?”

            “Twenty-four hour migraines are tough. Looks like assisted suicide. Find the missing passenger and you’ll have your answer.”

                ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

                The binoculars shook in Grimes’ hand as he watched Chartan and Brazil standing in the limo office talking to a man behind the counter. If he could hear the conversation, he was convinced he could solve a mystery that was gaining national attention. He opened the car door.

To be continued next Sunday…

               

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