“Hello?” Officer Grady repeats. “Is anyone there??”
Detective Oliver looks over to one of the techs working behind a laptop. His fingers fly over the keyboard. He meets her gaze and nods once. She hangs up.
“Where??” she demands. He turns his laptop around, revealing the screen.
“Not far from here. Santa Monica. Looks like it’s down by the docks. We’ll know more as we get closer. I’ve got a lock on it now. As long as it stays on, we can track it.”
Detective Oliver takes a deep breath and looks around the room. Half a dozen police officers, James, Michael and Elizabeth all stare back at her.
“Alright,” she says. “This is how it’s going to go. We don’t know if the boy is in there.” She turns to James. “This could be another ploy designed to unhinge you.” Though judging by the wild look in his eyes and his thin, breakable body, she’s not so sure that he has any degree of hinge left. She pushes away the thought.
“We’re going down in formation. Detective Roberts and I will lead. The rest of you will follow in pairs. No one approaches the building until I give the okay. Not even in your cars.” She looks Michael in the eye. “No one.”
He glances at James and gives her an almost imperceptible nod.
“Okay. Let’s keep this clean, people. There’s potentially a child involved in this…We bring them in peacefully. No guns unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
“Alexander,” Detective Roberts says. Everyone turns to look at him. He meets James’ eyes. “His name,” he says, “is Alexander.”
Detective Oliver almost smiles. Almost.
“Alright,” she says, picking up Amelia’s phone. “Let’s go bring Alexander home.”