For my Dad, Arch Forster

and my Father-in-Law, John Czuleger

Many thanks to Jerome

and Arizona Police Chief

Allen L. Muma for his insights

Before Her Eyes

Dove Connelly’s Bedroom

2:17 a.m.

Dove Connelly caught up the phone on the first ring even though it was set so low as to make the sound virtually mute. Any other human being in a deep sleep wouldn’t have heard it, but Dove wasn’t any one else.

First, he didn’t sleep all that deep anymore. Then there was the thing he had in him: it was his sixth sense that let him hear and see what others didn’t, anticipate what others couldn’t.

Most people respected his talent, some thanked God for it and others who weren’t so law abiding steered clear of it. His wife, Cherie, would swear that she would be forever faithful because he would know her intentions even before she strayed. But that was before the unthinkable happened. Now, if Cherie spoke of that sixth sense at all, she did so with regret, sad that the gift had forsaken Dove when they needed it most.

Tonight Dove’s wife didn’t move when he pushed aside the covers and got out of bed. He put the phone to his ear, padding along to the kitchen in bare feet, wearing only old sweat pants, having no inkling that he’d be putting on his uniform any time soon.

“What is it, Jessica? Hogan boys tear up the tavern again?” He kept his voice low. The house wasn’t big.

Jessica Taylor started to speak but all Dove heard was the news catching in her throat. In all the years he had known her, Jessica reported to him using a scale of verbal sorrow, outrage or downright disbelief that gave him a clue as to enormity of the crime that was waiting on him. This night, for a layer of a second, she was speechless. Dove’s blood ran cold; as cold as it had run all those months ago when another crime was over and done before he knew it had even begun.

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