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Книга EchoPark. Содержание - Part four the dog you feed

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“Nice to hear it,” O’Shea said with full sarcasm. “Too bad you weren’t so attentive back in ’ninety-three.”

He reached over and knocked harshly on the interview room door. Bosch stared at his back with anger welling up from some place deep inside. Swann opened the door almost immediately.

“We’re ready to continue,” he said as he stepped back to let them in.

After everyone retook their seats, and the recorder was turned back on, Bosch shook off his anger at O’Shea and locked eyes with Waits again. He repeated the question.

“Where is she?”

Waits smiled slightly, like he was tempted to set things off again, but then the smile turned into a smirk and he answered.

“Up in the hills.”

“Where in the hills?”

“Up near the stables. That’s where I got her. Right when she was getting out of her car.”

“Is she buried?”

“Yes, she is buried.”

“Exactly where is she buried?”

“I would have to show you. It’s a place I know but I can’t describe… I would just have to show you.”

“Try to describe it.”

“It’s just a place in the woods near where she parked. You go in and there’s a path and then I went off the path. Way off the path. You could go look and either find it right away or maybe never find it. There’s a lot of territory up there. You remember, they searched up there but they never found her.”

“And after thirteen years you believe you could lead us to this spot?”

“It hasn’t been thirteen years.”

A sudden rush of horror came over Bosch. The idea that he had held her captive was too abhorrent to think about.

“It’s not what you think, Detective,” Waits said.

“How do you know what I am thinking?”

“I just do. But it’s not what you think. Marie has been buried for thirteen years. But it has not been thirteen years since I was there. That’s what I’m saying. I visited her, Detective. I visited her there quite often. So I can certainly lead you there.”

Bosch paused, took out a pen and wrote a note on the inside flap of the Gesto file. It wasn’t a note of any importance. It just gave him a moment to disengage from the emotions that were coming up.

“Let’s go back to the beginning,” he said. “Did you know Marie Gesto before September nineteen ninety-three?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Had you ever seen her before the day you abducted her?”

“Not that I remember.”

“Where did you first cross paths with her?”

“At the Mayfair. I saw her in there shopping and she was just my type. I followed her.”

“Where?”

“She got in her car and drove up Beachwood Canyon. She parked in the gravel lot below the stables. I believe it is called Sunset Ranch. There was no one around when she was getting out, so I decided to take her.”

“It wasn’t planned before you saw her in the store?”

“No, I went there to buy some Gatorade. It was a hot day. I saw her and decided right then that I had to have her. You know, it was an impulse. I couldn’t do anything about it, Detective.”

“You approached her in the lot below the stables?”

He nodded.

“I pulled in right next to her in my van. She didn’t think a thing about it. The parking area is down the hill from the ranch, from the stables. There was no one around, no one who could see. It was perfect. It was like God said I could have her.”

“What did you do?”

“I went into the back of the van and I opened the sliding door on the side where she was. I had a knife and I just stepped out and told her to get in. She did. It was a simple operation really. She was no trouble at all.”

He spoke as if he were a babysitter reporting on a child’s behavior when the parents have returned home.

“Then what?” Bosch asked.

“I asked her to remove her clothes and she complied. She told me she would do whatever I wanted as long as I didn’t hurt her. I agreed to that deal. She folded her clothes very nicely. As if she thought she would get the chance to put them back on again.”

Bosch rubbed a hand over his mouth. The most difficult part of his job were the times he was face-to-face with a killer, when he saw firsthand the intersection of their warped and terrifying world with reality.

“Go on,” he said to Waits.

“Well, you know the rest. We had sex but she was no good at it. She couldn’t relax. So I did what I had to do.”

“Which was what?”

Waits locked eyes with Bosch.

“I killed her, Detective. I put my hands around her neck and I squeezed and then I squeezed harder and I watched her eyes go still. Then I finished up.”

Bosch stared at him but couldn’t bring himself to open his mouth. It was moments like these that made him feel inadequate as a detective, moments when he was cowed by the depravity that was possible in the human form. They stared at each other for a long moment until O’Shea spoke.

“You had sex with her body?” he asked.

“That’s right. While she was still warm. I always say a woman is at her best when she is dead but still warm.”

Waits glanced at Rider to see if he had gotten a reaction. She showed nothing.

“Waits,” Bosch said. “You are a worthless piece of trash.”

Waits looked back at Bosch and put the smirk back on his face.

“If that is your best shot, Detective Bosch, then you’ll have to do much better. Because it will only get worse for you from here. Sex is nothing. Alive or dead, it is transitory. But I took her soul and no one will ever get that back from me.”

Bosch looked down at the open file in front of him but did not see the words printed on the documents.

“Let’s move on,” he finally said. “What did you do next?”

“I tidied up the van. I always had plastic drop sheets in the back. I wrapped her up and prepared her for burial. I then got out and locked the van. I took her things back to her car. I had her keys, too. I got in her car and drove it away. I thought that would be the best way to throw the police off.”

“Where did you go?”

“You know where I went, Detective. The High Tower. I knew there was an empty garage that I could use there. A week or so before, I had gone to look for work there and the manager happened to mention there was an open apartment. He showed it to me because I acted like I was interested.”

“He showed you the garage, too?”

“No, just pointed it out. On my way out I noticed that there was no lock on the latch.”

“So you drove Marie Gesto’s car there and stashed it in the garage.”

“That’s right.”

“Did anyone see you? Did you see anyone?”

“No and no. I was very careful. Remember, I had just killed someone.”

“What about your van? When did you go back up Beachwood to get it?”

“I waited until that night. I thought that would be better because I had some digging to do. You understand, I’m sure.”

“Was this van painted with the name of your business?”

“No, not then. I had just started and was not trying to draw attention yet. I worked mostly off referrals. I didn’t have a city license yet. All of that came later. In fact, that was another van altogether. That was thirteen years ago. I’ve gotten a new van since then.”

“How did you get back up to the stables to get your van?”

“Took a cab.”

“You remember which cab company?”

“I don’t remember because I didn’t call for it. After dropping off the car at the High Tower I walked over to a restaurant I used to enjoy when I lived on Franklin. Bird’s-have you ever been there? Good roasted chicken. Anyway, it was a long walk. I had dinner and when it was late enough I had them call me a cab. I went up to my van, only I had him drop me up at the stables so it wouldn’t look like the van was mine. When I was sure there was no one around I went to the van and I found a nice private spot to plant my little flower.”

“And this is a spot you will still be able to find?”

“Absolutely.”

“You dug a hole.”

“I did.”

“How deep?”

“I don’t know, not too deep.”

“What did you use to dig it?”

“I had a shovel.”

“You always carried a shovel in your window-washing van?”

“No, actually. I found it leaning against the barn up at the stables. I think it was for cleaning out the stalls, that sort of thing.”

“You put it back when you were finished?”

“Of course, Detective. I steal souls, not shovels.”

Bosch looked at the files in front of him.

“When was the last time you were at the place where you buried Marie Gesto?”

“Mmmm, a little over a year ago. I usually made the trip every September ninth. You know, to celebrate our anniversary. This year I was a bit tied up, as you know.”

He smiled good-naturedly.

Bosch knew he had covered everything in general terms. It would all come down to whether Waits could lead them to the body and if Forensics would then match his story.

“There came a time after the murder when the media paid a lot of attention to Marie Gesto’s disappearance,” Bosch said. “Do you remember that?”

“Of course. That taught me a good lesson. I never acted so impulsively again. I was more careful about the flowers I picked after that.”

“You called the investigators on the case, didn’t you?”

“As a matter of fact I did. I remember that. I called and told them that I had seen her in the Mayfair store and that she hadn’t been with anybody.”

“Why did you call?”

Waits shrugged.

“I don’t know. I just thought it would be fun. You know, to actually talk to one of the men who was hunting me. Was it you?”

“My partner.”

“Yes, I thought I might be able to shift the focus away from the Mayfair. After all, I had been in there and I thought, who knows, maybe someone could describe me.”

Bosch nodded.

“You gave the name Robert Saxon when you called. Why?”

Waits shrugged again.

“It was just a name I used from time to time.”

“It’s not your real name?”

“No, Detective, you know my real name.”

“What if I told you I don’t believe a fucking word you’ve said here today? What would you say to that?”

“I would say, take me to Beachwood Canyon and I will prove every word of what I have said here.”

“Yeah, well, we’ll see about that.”

Bosch pushed back his chair and told the others he would like to confer with them in the hallway. Leaving Waits and Swann behind, they stepped out of the room into the cooler air of the hallway.

22

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