Summary[ edit ] Two colleagues, T. After a brief ride through New York, they find themselves in an abandoned warehouse district. Her initial search is fruitless until she spots what she thinks is a dead tree protruding from the ground near the tracks. She digs into the earth and uncovers the face of John Ulbrecht, who has been buried alive.

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The present in New York is so powerful that the past is lost. She wanted only to sleep. So now they were waiting for a cab. She stood in the line of passengers, her lean body listing against the weight of her laptop computer. John rattled on about interest rates and new ways of restructuring the deal but all she could think was: Friday night, I wanna pull on my sweats and hit the hay.

Gazing at the endless stream of Yellow Cabs. Something about the color and the similarity of the cars reminded her of insects. Colfax shuffled forward as the cab pulled up and squealed to a stop. The cabbie popped the trunk but stayed in the car. They had to load their own luggage, which ticked John off.

He was used to people doing things for him. She tossed her suitcase in, closed the trunk and climbed inside. John got in after her, slammed the door and mopped his pudgy face and balding scalp as if the effort of pitching his suit-bag in the trunk had exhausted him.

The Plexiglas between the front and back seats was badly scuffed and she could hardly see the driver. The cab shot away from the curb and was soon cruising down the expressway toward Manhattan. There were going to be ten thousand visitors in town. There was something wrong about the artwork, though. The proportions and the colors were off. And the faces all seemed pasty. Past the old Navy Yard, past the Brooklyn piers. John finally stopped talking and pulled out his Texas Instruments, started crunching some numbers.

They seemed half-comatose in the heat. It was hot in the cab too and T. She reached across John. His was broken too. It was then that she noticed that the door locks were missing. The door handles too. Her hand slid over the door, feeling for the nub of the handle. Nothing--it was as if someone had cut it off with a hacksaw. How do we open them? She sat forward and tapped on the Plexiglas, using her ring. And a moment later they sped past the Queensboro turnoff.

A car was moving parallel to them, passing slowly. She banged on the window hard. He slowed and pulled behind them but with a hard jolt the cab skidded down an exit ramp into Queens, turned into an alley and sped through a deserted warehouse district.

Where are? She reared back and slammed the corner of the computer into the window. The glass held though the sound of the bang seemed to scare the hell out of the driver. The cab swerved and nearly hit the brick wall of the building they were speeding past. How much? I can give you a lot of money! The screen flew off under the force of the blow but the window remained intact.

She tried once more and the body of the computer split open and fell from her hands. The driver climbed out of the cab, a small pistol in his hand. He walked to the back of the cab and leaned down, peering into the greasy glass.

He stood there for a long time, as she and John scooted backwards, against the opposite door, their sweating bodies pressed together. The driver cupped his hands against the glare from the streetlights and looked at them closely. A sudden crack resonated through the air, and T. John gave a short scream.

In the distance, behind the driver, the sky filled with red and blue fiery streaks. More pops and whistles. He turned and gazed up as a huge, orange spider spread over the city. Fireworks, T.

A present from the mayor and the UN secretary-general for the conference delegates, welcoming them to the greatest city on earth. The driver turned back to the cab. With a loud snap he pulled up on the latch and slowly opened the door. The call was anonymous. As usual. So there was no way of checking back to see which vacant lot the RP meant.

Central had radioed, "He said Thirty-seven near Eleven. Already sweating though it was just nine in the morning, Amelia Sachs pushed through a stand of tall grass. She was walking the strip search--what the Crime Scene people called it--an S-shaped pattern. You have a further-to? But one thing. For his sake. Sachs struggled over a wilted chain-link and searched another empty lot.

She wanted to quit. Call in a , unfounded report, and go back to the Deuce, which was her regular beat. Her knees hurt and she was hot as stew in this lousy August weather. She wanted to slip into the Port Authority, hang with the kids and have a tall can of Arizona iced tea. She kept going: along the hot sidewalk, through the gap between two abandoned tenements, through another vegetation-filled field. Her long index finger pushed into her flattop uniform cap, through the layers of long red hair piled high on her head.

She scratched compulsively then reached up underneath the cap and scratched some more. Sweat ran down her forehead and tickled and she dug into her eyebrow too. Thinking: My last two hours on the street. I can live with it. As Sachs stepped farther into the brush she felt the first uneasiness of the morning. The hot wind rustled the dry brush and cars and trucks sped noisily to and from the Lincoln Tunnel.

Or line up iron sights on my back. She spun around quickly. Nothing but leaves and rusting machinery and trash. Climbing a pile of stones, wincing. Amelia Sachs, thirty-one--a mere thirty-one, her mother would say--was plagued by arthritis.

Another jolt of pain as she eased through a tall curtain of dying bushes. She was fortunate to stop herself one pace from a sheer thirty-foot drop. Below her was a gloomy canyon--cut deep into the bedrock of the West Side.

Through it ran the Amtrak roadbed for trains bound north. She squinted, looking at the floor of the canyon, not far from the railroad bed. What is that? A circle of overturned earth, a small tree branch sticking out of the top?

It looked like-- Oh, my good Lord. She shivered at the sight. Felt the nausea rise, prickling her skin like a wave of flame. He hoped the victim was dead. She ran toward an iron ladder that led down from the sidewalk to the roadbed. She reached for the railing but stopped just in time. Okay, we do it the hard way. Breathing deeply to dull the pain in her joints, she began climbing down the rock face itself, slipping her issue shoes--polished like silver for the first day of her new assignment--into crevices cut in the stone.


The Bone Collector



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