TRACES SPRING 2016 - Page 69

“Well I don’t think anybody else is comin’ to sit here, so take a seat,” she smirked dryly. Rust returned the smirk and sat down across from the woman.

“Ma’am, I’m here to talk to you about your son, Derek.”

“Ain’t that usually what people wanna talk about when they talk to me?”

“I’m sorry to keep bringin’ up the subject, but this is important. Mrs. Carmichael, I don’ know if you’re aware, but your son is wanted by the police, FBI, everyone,” he urged on.

“Yes, I know.”

“Well then you also know that he killed several people, five to be exact. Tonight, he plans on killin’ his last victim, an’ he told me when we spoke briefly that it was gonna be one of three of my colleagues. This person was in the military, Derek said so. Now, I was hopin’ to get some help and save my friends, and I believe that you might be able to give me a hand, ma’am.”

When he spoke the last line, her eyes told Rust that he hit the jackpot. They started to water, and she shook her head choking out, “Of course he would do it tonight.” That threw Rustin back.

“Whaddya mean by that?”

Mrs. Carmichael dropped her head down. Rust could hear little sniffles coming from her, and he saw her shoulders bob up and down occasionally. Still looking down at the floor, she said, “I mean that tonight was the night that his father was also killed.”

Rust’s eyes widened at hearing this. It all makes sense now. “Ma’am, would you mind telling me how he died?”

Voices from the bar echoed through both of their ears, but they could not understand what they were saying. A glass broke from behind the bar.

Mrs. Carmichael sighed. “I killed him.”

She continued, “me and Alan had two boys, Derek and his little brother Jacob. We were happy, bu’ after a while, Alan never was home. He liked to party and drink too much instead o’ spendin’ time with his family. An’ I told him time and time again that his boys needed him, but he wouldn’t listen.” She hesitated, then admitted, “and I got sick of it. So on Mardi Gras, twenty years ago, he was out again, at the Federal Ballroom, ya know, the one on Carondelet? It was about 11:30, an’ I went there and I shot ‘im. Never was caught either.”

Rust’s heart dropped below his chest. He could feel it sinking further and further down. But he thought of something.

Mustard was in the military.

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