"Not a bloody thing," said Eddie. "It's all pretty normal, innit."
"I was wondering that, too" said Mouse.
"But then I ran the son," Eddie said. "Totally different story."
"Sam?" I said.
"That's him. Olson, Samuel Joseph. 38 years. Born '04." A tapping of a keyboard, then: "He's been quite naughty."
"Naughty?" said Mouse.
"Expelled from university for harassment. Stalking."
Mouse and I exchanged looks.
"Where?" I said.
"Seattle Metroplex. Old Washington University. In '22. Then three restraining orders filed with SFPD on three separate ocassions. '27, '28, and '30. Stalking again."
"Never caught?" said Mouse.
"Caught back in Seattle. Campus Security. But charges were dropped. Olson ended up at hospital for psychological eval and treatment. I show him on antipsychotics since then."
"Oh, wiz," said Mouse.
"One more headache," I said.
"Also, never caught in San Francisco," Eddie said. "Just the orders filed. Moved back to BC in '32. No more charges or restraining orders filed since the move. But"--more tapping keyboard--"I did find him on the 'net. Signed up on twenty-two VirComm sites between '32 and '39. 'Net handle of 'WhiteKnight'."
Mouse snorted a laugh. "Delusional and on meds. This gets better and better."
"Just wait. In '38, he started getting banned from those sites. Guess why?"
"Stalking," I said.
"Right you are. To date, he's been banned or blacklisted from all of them. After '39, no 'net activity. But last year he comes back to six sites as 'SirLancelot.' Good behavior this time."
"Until now," I said. "Thanks, Eddie."
"Kat," said Mouse. "Over there.'
I looked toward the Olson house.
A woman stepped off the front porch and walked toward the car in the driveway. Tall and slender, graying hair tied back in a bun, dressed in a dark button-up sweater and dark ankle-length skirt.
She went to the trunk of the car, opened it, took out four loaded plastic bags, set those on the ground, closed the trunk lid. She squatted, picked up the bags, straightened, and started back toward the house.
Turned slowly around and began a slow scan of the area. As if memorizing everything she saw in front of her.
She stopped scanning in our direction.
"Don't move," I said to Mouse.
"Way ahead of you."
The woman continued to stare in our direction.
Held my breath. Made?
Seconds passed. Felt like hours.
Then she continued her slow scan. Full 360.
When she finished, she picked up the bags again, and went back into the house
I heard Mouse let out a sharp exhale. "That," she said, "was wicked weird."
"Olson said she was out," I said. "How'd she get back in without us seeing her?"
"Didn't see anyone drive up to the house and drop her off."
"This is getting really weird."
"Fucked up, more like it."
I stared at the house again.
There was a connection there. Somewhere. Had to be--
Then a thought struck.
"She's in the house," I said.
"Val?" said Mouse.
"Think about it," I said. "Olson's had a history of stalking women. He finally gets one. What do you think he's gonna do?"
"I'll gut him first," said Mouse.
"He's gonna keep her close by," I said.
"You mean locked up in the house somewhere."
"What about Mama Olson? Think she's involved?"
"Pretty sure. Helping out somehow. Don't have that part totally figured out yet."
"What if you're wrong about this?"
"I'll take the chance."
Another thought struck. I called Eddie and told him what I had in mind.
"I'll see what I can do," he said.
"Keep us posted." I hung up.
Mouse grinned and rubbed her hands together. "I like it. What now?"
"Gear up. Go in."
"Slice and dice."
"Yeah," I said.
* * *
Back at the Red Dog.
Back in our working clothes: dark t-shirt, black BDU trousers, and knee-high lace-up motorcycle boots. Black leather biker jacket for me. Black leather trenchcoat for Mouse.
We geared up.
Standard for me. Twins with combat loads. Eight reloads on my gear belt. Drop leg pouch on left leg with four flash-bangs.
Mouse was strapping on her wakizashi harness and I could see the handles of two Bowies in hip sheaths. A brace of throwers was slung across her chest.
I went to the gun locker next to my bed, took out the Remington 870 shotgun, and slung it over one shoulder. Then grabbed a dozen breaching rounds and shoved them into my jacket pocket. Val would be locked up behind a door. These would get us in.
I checked my optic clock.
* * *
I stepped out the back door into the alley, heading toward the loaner.
Felt the hairs on my nape salute. Whirled, dove back through the door.
Mouse said "Hey--!" when I collided with her.
And the rest of her protests were drowned out by the chatter of automatic weapons fire from the alley mouth.
We went sprawling along the back hallway in a tangle of arms and legs.
I heard rounds slam into the back of the loaner and blow out a tire before the armored and reinforced back door slammed shut.
Thank you, Tinker.
Revell stepped into the back hallway, a SPAS-12 shotgun pulled to his shoulder, barrel sweeping.
"Cover the door," I said to him.
I got to my feet, went through the bar, and out the front door.
Caught a quick glance of a brown full-sized sedan rounding 48th Street, tires squealing, heading east.
Mouse came up next to me, breathing hard. "Anything?"
"Brown sedan," I said. "Could be an Imperial or a Cascade. Same profile."
"Crap. Doesn't help much."
I looked down at the sidewalk and saw the pile of spent shells. Bent down, picked one up. "9mm," I said.
"Kat," said Mouse.
I heard the tone in her voice. Turned my head.
A dead cat hung off a spike on the Red Dog's front door.
"Again?" I said.
"Can't be David," said Mouse.
A memory came back. "Wyld Boyz," I said.
"Your friend with the dreadlocks?" said Mouse.
"I know. One more headache." I pulled my phone out and dialed Specs.
When he answered, I said, "We need another car."
(to be continued...)