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Книга EchoPark. Страница 54

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“Okay, Kiz,” he said as he knelt next to her. “I’m here.”

He could see that her left hand, holding the wound on the right side of her neck, was creating insufficient pressure to stop the bleeding. She was losing the strength to hold on.

“Let me take over here,” he said.

He moved his hand under hers and pressed against what he now realized were two wounds, bullet entry and exit. He could feel the blood pulsing against his palm.

“O’Shea!” he shouted.

“Bosch?” O’Shea called back from below the drop-off. “Where is he? Did you kill him?”

“He’s gone. I need you to get on Doolan’s rover and get us a medevac up here. Now!”

It took a moment before O’Shea responded, in a panicked voice.

“Doolan’s shot! So is Freddy!”

“They’re dead, O’Shea. You need to get on the radio. Rider is alive and we need to get her-”

In the distance there were two gunshots, followed by a shout. It was a female voice and Bosch thought about Kathy Kohl and the people up at the parking lot. There were two more shots and Bosch heard a change in the overhead sound of the helicopter. It was banking away. Waits was shooting at it.

“Come on, O’Shea!” he shouted. “We’re running out of time.”

When he heard nothing in response he brought Rider’s hand back up and pressed in against the neck wounds again.

“Hold it there, Kiz. Press as hard as you can and I’ll be right back.”

Bosch jumped up and grabbed the ladder Waits had pulled up. He lowered it back into place between the bodies of Olivas and Doolan and quickly climbed down. O’Shea was on his knees next to Olivas’s body. The prosecutor’s eyes were as wide and as blank as those of the dead cop next to him. Swann was standing in the lower clearing with a dazed look on his face. Cafarelli had come from the grave site and was on her knees next to Doolan, trying to turn him over to get to the radio. The deputy had fallen chest down after being shot by Waits.

“Cal, let me do it,” Bosch ordered. “You go up and help Kiz. We’ve got to stop the bleeding from her neck.”

Without a word the Forensics tech scurried up the ladder and out of sight. Bosch turned Doolan over and saw that he had been hit in the forehead. His eyes were open and looked surprised. Bosch grabbed the radio off Doolan’s equipment belt and made the “officer down” call and requested a medical airship and paramedics to the lower parking lot at Sunset Ranch. Once he was assured that medical help was on the way, he reported that an armed murder suspect had escaped custody. He gave a detailed description of Raynard Waits, then shoved the radio into his belt. He went to the ladder and as he climbed back up he called down to O’Shea, Swann and the videographer, who was still holding the camera up and recording the scene.

“All of you get up here. We need to carry her out to the parking lot for the evac.”

O’Shea continued to look down in shock at Olivas.

“They’re dead!” Bosch shouted from the top. “There’s nothing we can do for them. I need you up here.”

He turned back to Rider. Cafarelli was holding her neck but Bosch could see that time was growing short. The life was leaving his partner’s eyes. Bosch bent down and grabbed and held her unhurt hand. He rubbed it between his two hands. He noticed that Cafarelli had used a hair band to wrap the wound on Rider’s other hand.

“Come on, Kiz, hang in there. We’ve got an airship coming and we’re going to get you out of here.”

He looked around to see what was available to them and got an idea as he saw Maury Swann come up the ladder. He quickly moved to the edge and helped the defense attorney off the last rung. O’Shea was coming up behind him and the videographer was waiting his turn.

“Leave the camera,” Bosch ordered.

“I can’t. I’m respons-”

“You bring it up here and I’m going to take it and throw it as far as I can.”

The cameraman reluctantly put his equipment on the ground, popped out the digital tape and put it in one of the big equipment pockets on his cargo pants. He then climbed up the ladder. Once everyone was on top Bosch pulled the ladder up and carried it over to Rider. He put it down next to her.

“Okay, we’re going to use the ladder as a stretcher. Two men on each side and, Cal, I need you to walk beside us and keep that pressure on her neck.”

“Got it,” she said.

“Okay, let’s put her on the ladder.”

Bosch moved by Rider’s right shoulder while the other three men took positions at her legs and other shoulder. They carefully lifted her onto the ladder. Cafarelli kept her hands in place on Rider’s neck.

“We have to be careful,” Bosch urged. “We tip the thing and she’ll fall. Cal, keep her on the ladder.”

“Got it. Let’s go.”

They raised the ladder and started moving back up the trail. Rider’s weight, distributed among the four carriers, was not a problem. But the mud was. Two times Swann, in his courthouse shoes, slipped, and the makeshift stretcher almost went over. Each time Cafarelli literally hugged Rider to the ladder and kept her in place.

It took less than ten minutes to get to the clearing. Bosch immediately saw that the coroner’s van was now missing, but Kathy Kohl and her two assistants were still there, standing unharmed by the SID van.

Bosch scanned the sky for a helicopter but saw none. He told the others to put Rider down next to the SID van. Carrying it the last distance with one hand hooked under the ladder, he used his free hand to operate the radio.

“Where’s my airship?” he yelled at the dispatcher.

The response was that it was on the way with a one-minute ETA. They softly lowered the ladder to the ground and looked around to make sure there was enough open space in the lot to set a helicopter down. Behind him he heard O’Shea interrogating Kohl.

“What happened? Where did Waits go?”

“He came out of the woods and shot at the news helicopter. Then he took our van at gunpoint and headed down the hill.”

“Did the chopper follow him?”

“We don’t know. I don’t think so. It flew away when he started shooting.”

Bosch heard the sound of an approaching helicopter and hoped it wasn’t the Channel 4 chopper coming back. He walked to the middle of the most open area of the parking lot and waited. In a few moments a silver-skinned medevac airship crested the mountaintop and he started waving it down.

Two paramedics jumped from the aircraft the moment it landed. One carried an equipment case, while the other brought a folding stretcher. They knelt on either side of Rider and went to work. Bosch stood and watched with his arms folded tightly across his chest. He saw one put a breathing mask over her face while the other inserted an IV into her arm. They then began to examine her wounds. To himself Bosch repeated the mantra, Come on, Kiz, come on, Kiz, come on, Kiz…

It was more like a prayer.

One of the paramedics turned toward the chopper and made a hand signal to the pilot, spinning an upraised finger in the air. Bosch knew it meant that they had to get going. Time would be of the essence on this run. The helicopter’s engine started to rev higher. The pilot was ready.

The stretcher was unfolded and Bosch helped the paramedics move Rider onto it. He then took one of the handles and helped them carry it to the waiting airship.

“Can I go?” Bosch yelled loudly as they moved toward the open door of the helicopter.

“What?” yelled one of the paramedics.


The paramedic shook his head.

“No, sir. We need room to work on her. It’s going to be close.”

Bosch nodded.

“Where are you taking her?”

“St. Joe’s.”

Bosch nodded again. St. Joseph’s was in Burbank. By air it was just on the other side of the mountain, five minutes’ flying time at most. By car it would be a lengthy drive around the mountain and through the Cahuenga Pass.

Rider was carefully loaded into the airship and Bosch stepped back. As the door was being closed he wanted to yell something to his partner but he couldn’t come up with any words. The door snapped closed and it was too late. He decided that if Kiz was conscious and even cared about such things, she would know what he had wanted to say.

The helicopter took off as Bosch was moving backwards, wondering if he would ever again see Kiz Rider alive.

Just as the airship banked away a patrol car came roaring up the hill to the parking lot, its blue lights flashing. Two uniforms out of Hollywood Division jumped out. One of them had his gun out and he pointed it at Bosch. Covered with mud and blood, Bosch understood why.

“I’m a police officer! My shield’s in my back pocket.”

“Then, let’s see it,” said the man with the gun. “Slowly!”

Bosch pulled out his badge case and flipped it open. It passed inspection and the gun was lowered.

“Get back in the car,” he ordered. “We have to go!”

Bosch ran to the rear door of the car. The two officers piled in and Bosch told them to head back down Beachwood.

“Then where?” the driver asked.

“You have to take me around the mountain to St. Joe’s. My partner was in that airship.”

“You got it. Code three, baby.”

The driver hit the switch that would add the siren to the already flashing emergency lights and pinned the accelerator. The car U-turned in a screech of tires and a spray of gravel, then headed downhill. The suspension was shot, as with most of the cars the LAPD put out on the street. The car swerved dangerously around the curves on the way down but Bosch didn’t care. He had to get to Kiz. At one point they almost collided with another patrol car that was moving with the same speed up to the crime scene.

Finally, halfway down the hill the driver slowed when they were passing through the pedestrian-crowded shopping area of the Hollywoodland village.

“Stop!” Bosch yelled.

The driver complied with screeching efficiency on the brakes.

“Back it up. I just saw the van.”

“What van?”

“Just back it up!”

The patrol car reversed and moved back past the neighborhood market. There in the side lot Bosch saw the pale blue coroner’s van parked in the back row.

“Our custody got loose and got a gun. He took that van.”

Bosch gave them a description of Waits and the warning that he was unhesitant about using the weapon. He told them about the two dead cops back up the hill in the woods.

They decided to sweep the parking lot first and then enter the market. They called for backup but decided not to wait for it. They got out with their weapons drawn.


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