The Herald was holding four more letters and a small padded parcel under my box number when I called at their building that afternoon. I read the letters in the car. Three were from time-wasters, the last was from an ex-con, Luke Cross, who claimed to have shared a cell with Andy in Raiford. He had an address in South Kendall.
I turned my attention to the parcel. It wasn't franked, meaning that it had been dropped off at the Herald by hand. I tore open the flap and pulled out the contents: a sequence of three colored photographs of Floyd and me leaving the underground garage in Boca Raton. I couldn't be positive, but I thought they had been taken at some point near the end of our ill-fated counterfeiting operation. The first was a long range shot with the skeleton of the unfinished condominium in the background, for the other two, the photographer had zoomed in on our faces. From the angle of elevation, it was obvious that the photographer had been on the roof of one of the neighboring buildings.
A knock on the car door snapped me out of my reverie. I jerked my head up, half expecting the anonymous photographer to be staring in at me. A heavy middle-aged woman waved apologetically; she had allowed her door to collide against mine as she squeezed into her car. I breathed out and waved back at her. I double-¬checked the inside of the parcel in case I had missed something. It was empty, and I turned my attention to the outside. The letters of the box number were printed in black fiber pen and there was nothing to differentiate the padded parcel from those that could be bought at any Post Office. No clues to the sender's identification, but it was probable that whoever took the photographs had also killed Andy.
Returning the photographs to their parcel, I slipped it into the door pocket.
I took Second Avenue across the Miami river, past Rivergate Plaza, south towards Kendall. I kept one eye on the mirror until I found my tail. The red sedan was tucked in behind a delivery truck five vehicles behind. I was growing so accustomed to company I would have felt disappointed if it had not been there.
Making my way through the slow-moving traffic I thought about what motive the killer could have had for sending me the photographs. It didn't make much sense. He had tried to frame me by putting the Treasury agents onto me, so what the hell was he playing at now? Maybe the advert had rattled him, convincing him that Andy's body had not been discovered, and the pictures were intended as some sort of cryptic clue.
I couldn't make head or tail of it, but one thing was clear: as long as Andy's body remained where it was, Floyd and I were in deep shit.
I thought about my promise to Robin.
Luke Cross lived alone in a duplex in a garden development in South Kendall. We talked in the kitchen.
Andy's Raiford cell mate was a small, wiry man in his late-fifties and a more affable man than his name suggested − a career burglar, now retired, who had caught a six years stretch after being shot in the leg by an irate house-holder. He boasted that it was the only hard time he had ever done.
He and Andy had become good friends during their stint at the penitentiary. Andy had come in after Cross and had been paroled before him.
"When was the last time you heard from him?" I asked.
"He came back to visit me about three months after he was paroled. I hadn't long to go myself by then and we talked about meeting up on the outside. Both of us knew that it wouldn't happen, but it's the sort of thing old cell mates talk about."
I looked around the kitchen, noticing how carefully arranged and spotlessly clean everything was. Even the glass storage jars were ranked according to size. I was pretty sure that Cross was still plying his trade and had to be reasonably successful; felons were not known for being big contributors to pension funds. He lived comfortably enough and had the sort of habits that would serve a burglar well. A man who would use stealth and guile rather than violence.
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Paper GhostsMystery / Thriller
When counterfeiter Steve Stricker leaves prison he discovers that his former partner-in-crime was murdered on the same day he was arrested by the Secret Service. His attempts to bring the killer to justice exposes a family torn apart by incest and p...