Tell me your dreams, p.10
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       Tell Me Your Dreams, p.10

           Sidney Sheldon
 
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Chapter Ten

  THERE were five of them: Sheriff Dowling, two plain-clothes detectives and two uniformed policemen. They stood in the living room watching Ashley, sitting in a chair, weeping hysterically.

  Sheriff Dowling said, "You're the only one who can help us. Miss Patterson. "

  Ashley looked up at the men and nodded. She took several deep breaths. "I'll - I'll try. "

  "Let's start at the beginning. Deputy Blake spent the night here?"

  "Y-yes. I asked him to. I - I was desperately afraid. "

  "This apartment has one bedroom. "

  "That's right. "

  "Where did deputy Blake sleep?"

  Ashley pointed to the couch, which had a blanket and a pillow on it. "He - he spent the night there. "

  "What time did you go to bed?"

  Ashley thought for a moment "It - it must have been around midnight. I was nervous. We had some tea and talked for a while, and I felt calmer. I brought out blankets and a pillow for him, then I went into my bedroom. " She was fighting for self-control.

  "Was that the last time you saw him?"

  "Yes. "

  "And you went to sleep?"

  "Not immediately. I finally took a sleeping pill. The next thing I remember, I was awakened by a woman's screams coming from the alley. " She began to tremble.

  "Do you think someone came into this apartment and lolled deputy Blake?"

  "I - I don't know," Ashley said desperately. "Someone has been getting in here. They even wrote a threatening message on my mirror. "

  "He told me about that on the telephone. "

  "He might have beard something and - and gone outside to investigate," Ashley said.

  Sheriff Dowling shook his head. "I don't think he would have gone out naked. "

  Ashley cried. "I don't know! I don't know! It's a I nightmare. " She covered her eyes with her hands.

  Sheriff Dowling said, "I'd like to look around the apartment. Do I need a search warrant?"

  "Of course not G-go ahead. "

  Sheriff Dowling nodded to the detectives. One them went into the bedroom. The other one went into the kitchen.

  "What did you and deputy Blake talk about?"

  Ashley took a deep breath. "I - I told him about - about the things that have been happening to me. He was very - " She looked up at the sheriff. "Why would anyone kill him? Why?"

  "I don't know. Miss Patterson. We're going to find out. "

  Lieutenant Elton, the detective who had gone into the kitchen, stood in the doorway. "Could I see you for a moment, Sheriff?"

  "Excuse me. "

  Sheriff Dowling walked into the kitchen.

  "What?"

  Lieutenant Eiton said, "I found this in the sink. " He was holding up a bloodstained butcher knife by the edge of the blade. "It hasn't been washed. I think we're going to get some prints. "

  Kostoff, the second detective, came in from the bed-room and hurried into the kitchen. He was holding an emerald ring, mounted with diamonds. "I found this in jewelry box in the bedroom. It fits the description we got from Quebec of the ring that Jean Claude Parent gave to Toni Prescott. " The three men were looking at one another.

  "This doesn't make any sense," the sheriff said. Gingerly, he took the butcher knife and the ring and walked back into the living room. He held out the knife and said, "Miss Patterson, is this your knife?"

  Ashley looked at it. "I - Yes. It could be. Why?"

  Sheriff Dowling held out the ring. "Have you ever seen this ring before?"

  Ashley looked at it and shook her head. "No. "

  "We found it in your jewelry box. "

  They watched her expression. She was completely bewildered.

  She whispered, "I - Someone must have put it there. . . . "

  "Who would do a thing like that?"

  Her face was pale. "I don't know. "

  A detective walked in the front door. "Sheriff?"

  "Yes, Baker?" He motioned the detective over to a corner. "What have you got?"

  "We found bloodstains on the corridor rug and in the elevator. It looks like the body was laid on a sheet, dragged into the elevator and dumped in the alley. "

  "Holy shit!" Sheriff Dowling turned to Ashley. "Miss Patterson, you're under arrest. I'm going to read you your rights. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You are entitled to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you by the courts. "

  When they reached the sheriff's office. Sheriff Dowling said, "Fingerprint her and book her. "

  Ashley went through the procedure like an automaton. When it was finished, Sheriff Dowling said, "You have the right to make one phone call. "

  Ashley looked up at him and said dully, "I have no one to call. "I can't call my father. Sheriff Dowling watched Ashley being led into a cell.

  "I'll be goddamned if I understand it. Did you see her polygraph test? I would swear she's innocent. "

  Detective Kostoff walked in. "Sam had sex before he died. We ran an ultraviolet light over his body and the sheet he was wrapped in. We got a positive result for semen and vaginal stains. We - "

  Sheriff Dowling groaned. "Hold it!" He had been putting off the moment when he would have to give his sister the news. It had to be done now. He sighed and said, "I'll be back. "

  Twenty minutes later, he was at Sam's house.

  "Well, this is an unexpected pleasure," Serena said. "Is Sam with you?"

  "No, Serena. I have to ask you a question. " This was going to be difficult.

  She was looking at him curiously. "Yes?"

  "Did - did you and Sam have sex within the last twenty-four hours?"

  The expression on her face changed. "What? We. . . No. Why do you want to - ? Sam's not coming back, is he?"

  "I hate to tell you this, but he - "

  "He left me for her, didn't he? I knew it would happen. I don't blame him. I was a terrible wife to him. I - "

  "Serena, Sam's dead. "

  "I was always yelling at him. I really didn't mean it. I remember - "

  He took her by the arms. "Serena, Sam's dead. "

  "One time we were going out to the beach and - "

  He was shaking her. "Listen to me. Sam is dead. "

  " - and we were going to have a picnic. "

  As he looked at her, he realized that she had heard him.

  "So we're at the beach and this man comes up and says, 'Give me your money. ' And Sam says, 'Let me see your gun. ' "

  Sheriff Dowling stood there and let her talk. She was in a state of shock, in complete denial.

  ". . . that was Sam. Tell me about this woman he went away with. Is she pretty? Sam tells me I'm pretty all the time, but I know I'm not. He says it to make me feel good because he loves me. He'll never leave me. He'll be back. You'll see. He loves me. " She went on talking.

  Sheriff Dowling went to the phone and dialed a number. "Get a nurse over here. " He went over and put his arms around his sister. "Everything's going to be all right. "

  "Did I tell you about the time that Sam and I - ?" Fifteen minutes later, a nurse arrived.

  "Take good care of her," Sheriff Dowling said.

  There was a conference in Sheriff Dowling's office. "There's a call for you on line one. "

  Sheriff Dowling picked up the phone. "Yeah?"

  "Sheriff, this is Special Agent Ramirez at FBI headquarters in Washington. We have some information for you on the serial killer case. We didn't have any prints on file for Ashley Patterson because she had no criminal record, and before 1988, the DMV didn't require thumb-prints in the state of California to get a driver's license. "

  "Go ahead. "

  "In the beginning, we thought it had to be a computer glitch, but we checked it out and. . . "

  For the next five minutes, Sheriff Dowling sat there listening,
an incredulous expression on his face. When he finally spoke, he said, "Are you sure there's no mistake? It doesn't seem. . . All of them. . . ? I see. . . . Thank you very much. "

  He replaced the receiver and sat there for a long moment. Then he looked up. "That was the FBI lab in Washington. They've finished cross-checking the fingerprints on the bodies of the victims. Jean Claude Parent in Quebec was seeing an English woman named Toni Prescott when he was murdered. "

  "Yes. "

  "Richard Melton in San Francisco was seeing an Italian lady named Alette Peters when he was killed. " They nodded.

  "And last night Sam Blake was with Ashley Patterson. "

  "Right. "

  Sheriff Dowling took a deep breath. "Ashley Patterson. . . "

  "Yes?"

  "Toni Prescott. . . "

  "Yes?"

  "Alette Peters. . . "

  "Yes?"

  "They're all the same fucking person. "

 
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