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It's a Gift (10/13)

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine




Alan woke on the couch with a start. Henry walked in with from the kitchen, beer in hand. “I was getting ready to bring down a pillow and a blanket.” All humor left him. “What’s wrong?”

“Shawn’s in danger. I don’t know how, just that he is.”

Henry put down his beer and replaced it with his phone. “Gus will know where he is. Gus, is Shawn with you? He’s home? Are you sure? No, Alan’s got a feeling something’s wrong. Okay, meet you there.” He shut the phone. “He made excuses to Gus as well.”

Alan stood and followed Henry to the truck as he continued to explain.

“Shawn told him he was going to stay in and watch movies. You’d think he’d’ve learnedhis lesson.”

The ride to Shawn’s was quiet as each man was lost in his own thoughts and worries. They arrived at Shawn’s just before Gus. Henry used a key to open the door. “What? You think Shawn’s the only one to copy a key?”

They entered Shawn’s apartment and Alan couldn’t help but smile. He does live in an old dry cleaners! There were empty Chinese takeaway containers on the table alongside DVD cases. “So, he did what he said he was going to do, just not for as long as we thought.”

“I can’t believe he did this after last time,” complained Gus.

“Last time?”

“Stupid kid thought he could solve a case on his own and was shot and abducted in the process,” Henry clarified.

“Was that the armored car heist? That made for interesting reading. All of you worked well together.”

“That doesn’t give him the right to go off on his own without telling anyone.”

Alan could see Henry was worried about his son and knew he wouldn’t admit it. “There’s something I can do that might give us an idea where Shawn is, and, more importantly, how he is.”

“Is it dangerous?” asked Gus.

“Not when I’m monitored. Basically, I can project myself into Shawn’s body. It’s like being in a cab; I can see where we’re going and feel the turns, but I’m not in the driver’s seat.”

“Will you be able to speak with him?”

“Possible. I did once before but the other person was in the same room.” Alan sat on the couch. “It should only be a few minutes.” He closed his eyes, thought of Shawn and soon felt lighter, floating.

After a few moments’ disorientation, he was riding shotgun in Shawn’s mind. Shawn was tied to a chair in the center of a room with an open floor-plan and exposed brick. There wasn’t much light but he could make out another man on the other side of the room packing boxes. From what he could tell, Shawn wasn’t physically hurt except for a growing lump on his head and a possible concussion. It was when he spotted the gun that he knew they had to hurry.

[Shawn, I don’t know if you can hear me, but we’re trying to find you. Hold on.]

He came back to his body and woke up on the couch feeling like he brought some of Shawn’s headache back with him.

“Where is he?”

“Is he okay?”

“He’s fine with the beginnings of a lovely concussion. He looks like he’s in a warehouse in the midst of conversion.”

“I know where that is,” said Gus. “Let’s tell the Chief.”

“And what do we say when she asks how we found out?” questioned Henry. “I’m sure Alan doesn’t want everyone to know what he can do. No, we have to tell them that we suspect Shawn went after Lynch on his own. Just let me handle this.” He dialed his cell. “Karen. Yeah, I know it’s late. Shawn’s gone after Lynch. We’re at his apartment now. The time stamp from the Chinese restaurant says 7:27, so I’d say he left here about 8:30. Yes, I know, but it doesn’t take Shawn long to get into trouble.” He listened while the Chief probably went on a tirade about psychic consultants. “We’re on our way.”

*

“I can’t believe the little--” Lassiter stopped when he saw Henry’s glare. “—Spencer didn’t learn his lesson after being shot. Most people would wise up.”

“Shawn’s not most people,” commented Gus.

“Thank God for that.” Vick looked at the senior Spencer. “I’m sorry, Henry, just the idea of a world filled with Shawns would be too topsy-turvy for me.”

“I’d be the first to say that one Shawn is more than enough.”

“Any word from the men watching Lynch?” asked Alan.

“They followed him from his home to his office and he hasn’t moved for a couple of hours,” reported Jules.

“Did they have anyone covering the other exit to the parking lot?” asked Henry. No one answered. “C’mon, everyone knows there’s a second entrance.”

“O’Hara, have McNabb pull up the traffic cameras to see if Lynch went out the other way.”

“Yes, Chief.” She left the office.

“OK, so, you’re Lynch and you know the police are watching. What do you do?” asked Gus.

“Check to make sure your takings are safe,” said Lassiter. “Taking a circuitous route to get there.”

“Have an escape planned,” put in the Chief. “Most likely to a country without an extradition treaty.”

Alan remembered the airline tickets. “Maybe you should check airlines for places like Morocco, Maldives, and Madagascar. Cut him off in case he gets that far.”

“Very specific places,” said the Chief, a bit suspicious.

“I’m not like Shawn. I just know where there is no extradition and figured he’d want to go somewhere warm and a place where he can live like a king with all that money.”

“Of course, if he’s desperate, he’ll kill anyone who knows too much—or he thinks knows too much.” Henry said, reminding them all that the man had already killed once.

Juliet returned with McNabb in tow.”The only car that left by the other exit was a silver Toyota Corolla.” She looked at Henry. “It was followed by a motorcycle.”

“Did you get a good look at the plates?”

“Yes, Chief,” said Buzz. “We’ve put out a BOLO on both vehicles.”

“Anything yet?”

“Henry, they’ve only just issued it,” said the Chief. “You should know we rarely get an immediate response.” She turned to Buzz. “Check the airlines for flights leaving within the next four hours. We might be able to get a timetable.”

“Yes, Chief.” The young officer left.

“Mr. Spencer,” started Juliet, “we know that Shawn can keep calm during this type of situation. He’ll be fine.”

Henry took a deep breath. “You’re right. He did handle himself well through that incident—aside from going off on his own.”

A typical backhanded Henry Spencer compliment. “Is there anything we can do to narrow down where Lynch could have gone?”

“And how do you expect us to do that?” demanded Lassiter.

“Perhaps by speculating on the best places one could hide based on the direction the car was going.” Alan was not going to raise his voice. The case had hit home for everyone in this office and emotions were running high. Cool heads needed to prevail if they were going to help Shawn.

Lassiter scoffed and the Chief glared at him. “We do need to do something to find him instead of waiting here doing nothing.”

“Okay, based on the direction he was going—if he doesn’t change—he’s heading for the warehouse district, a regular warren of bolt holes.”

“There is a section they’re converting,” said Jules. “If he were to enter with boxes, people would think he was moving in.”

“And that’s not exactly the neighborhood where people have housewarmings,” said Henry, “so he can stay anonymous.”

There was a knock on the doorframe and they all turned to see Buzz. “We’ve got him. We had a 242--”

Lassiter snatched the paper from the officer’s hand. “All right, let’s roll!” The Chief cleared her throat. “If that’s all right,” he added.

“You go ahead. I’ll put in a call to SWAT and follow.”

“SWAT? I can handle--”

“This is a potential hostage situation, Carlton. It’s procedure.”

“Yes, Chief.” He strode out past Buzz followed by Jules and Henry.

Alan paused at the doorway. “He’ll be fine.” Thing was, he didn’t know if he was saying that for the Chief’s benefit or his own.

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