Raven’s Run 93

“He was trying to shoot me, so I stomped his head into the pavement.”

“Very effectively, I’d say,” Wilkes added dryly.

It was an ugly picture. They had composed his features, and pushed his nose back more-or-less straight, but there was a curious flattening to his forehead that came through clearly in the grainy black and white.

“I don’t know him,” Cabral said calmly. After his early years with the FBI, the sight of death did not disturb him. “Do you?” Wilkes shook his head.

“Davis,” Cabral went on. “Why would he use his real name?”

“Assuming he did.”

“The coincidence with Alice Johnson’s maiden name is too great. I think we can assume as a near certainty that Davis is his name, that his first name probably is James, that he is related to Johnson-Fletcher, and that they are working together because they are related. So why would he use his real name?”

“Why not, Senator?” Wilkes said. “If he succeeded in killing your daughter on the cruise ship, it wouldn’t matter.”

Cabral drummed his fingers on the arm of his chair while he thought. I had a feeling that he was not so calm about all this as he tried to appear. Talking about an attempt on his daughter’s life had to make him angry. I thought I could see small indications of that anger, but his face was well schooled. Finally, he said, “No doubt that’s it. The simplest answer is often the best.”

I added, “Perhaps having used his real name, he was committed to finishing Raven in Marseille.”

“Or maybe it merely reinforced Johnson-Fletcher’s need. I am also assuming that she is the one Ramona had investigated, but we need to be sure.”

“I may be able to help there,” I said. “I need to make an overseas call.”

“Go ahead.”

I called Joe Dias. He was out, but Carmen said he had made an investigation. I gave her my number.

Wilkes said, “Joe Dias. The detective you worked for when you were going to college?”

“Damn, you are irritating. How much do you know about me?”

“When you applied for the foreign service, the CIA did a full background check. The Senator and I read it before we left California.”

That security check was the one thing that had made me hesitate about applying for the foreign service. It made me nervous. Especially about my time in Germany.

“Joe isn’t due back in his office for two hours. Meanwhile, I need some air. We can continue this later.”

“We will continue it now,” the Senator said.

“You daughter – Raven – has been on her own for two weeks. We have no reason to think she is in immediate danger. It will wait an hour while I collect myself.”

*       *       *

June was almost gone. In the two weeks since Raven and I had walked these same streets, the greens had deepened and a dusty pallor had come upon the sycamore leaves as the summer’s heat worked into them.

I found a bench overlooking a handful of grass trapped in a sea of sidewalks and streets. Things were moving too fast for me, and there were forces working at levels I could feel but could not touch. One thing I knew clearly, though. Daniel Cabral was a danger.

Ed Wilkes exuded a quiet competence and deadliness, but he was a pale candle in the sun of Daniel Cabral. Raven had spoken of competing with a powerful father, but that had been her wishful thinking. No child could have competed with him. Anything she might seem to have won over him, would have been a gift he had given without her knowing. more tomorrow


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