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That night, after a quick bite at some diner, Brock locked the door of his hotel room and dropped his briefcase on the couch. He crossed the room to the minibar and took a bottle, then turned on the TV to search for a local news channel.
He sipped his whiskey, watching a rerun of the morning report on the boy’s murder. Out of habit, his eyes scanned the faces behind and around the reporter. A moment later, he sat at the table by the window with his computer. He spent the next thirty minutes browsing chronicles and pictures.
He lingered on the viral shot of the body, nodding to himself. That was why that lieutenant was asking what time the murder was called in. He leaned back in his chair. Of course, the picture had been taken by the killers. There was no way that picture came from any Crime Unit or news report.
Then it hit him, as usual. Why the hell was he wasting his time looking into this? It had nothing to do with him. Even if it were a federal case, he’d never have any part in it. Not anymore.
Yet he couldn’t help it. He just couldn’t. The thrill of the chase. Diving into the evidence. Spotting out the real pieces of the puzzle. That breathtaking, all-absorbing instant when they finally came together and fit.
He gulped up his drink, trying to digest that bitter aftertaste people used to call reality, slapping him yet again.
Not anymore, Brockner. Never again. When are you gonna get it, you **** idiot? You knew what would happen. There was no coming back, and you did it anyway. Now you have no choice but to live with it. So do it.
He went back to the minibar and grabbed another small bottle. He hesitated, dropping it back on the shelf, then snatched it up again and shut the minibar closed.