No Cognitive Defect XIV


Sergeant Thomas Bradley saw Trooper Robert Cadogan waiting for him along the side of Route 20. Cadogan waved when he saw the Ford Explorer approaching, and Bradley pulled off to the side of the road, parking behind Cadogan's own Explorer, which in turn was parked behind a snow plow. The plow's driver, a contractor, was leaning up against the front tire of his massive red Ford LNT8000. A steaming cup of something was in his right hand, and he raised it in greeting. Bradley could sure use a cup of whatever it was, but he put that out of mind and got out of the Explorer to meet Cadogan.

The wind gusted hard for a moment. Lord it's cold.

"What you got, Bobby?" Bradley asked.

"This is a strange one. The plow driver spotted a vehicle down the embankment, and I got the call. There's no guide rails along this stretch; they're being replaced. An SUV went off the road and down into the trees. Rolled a couple of times for good measure. Bambi's dead down below, and we found Rudolph's carcass up here."

"So the driver plowed into a mess of deer."

"Appears that way, Tom. Looks like he swerved and lost control."

"Find the body yet?"

"There isn't one."

"Information I got said he was ejected."

"Well, that's what I thought at first. But he walked out of here," said Cadogan.

"If he walked away during a blizzard he's still a dead man. You sure it's a man we're looking for?"

"Positive. The SUV's a rental. Name of the guy who rented it is Evan Nicholas. He's not here. And I know for sure he walked away."

Bradley started to scowl…he'd been out thirty hours straight, a big chunk of it looking for a missing charter bus, and he was in no mood for nonsense.

"Take a walk with me, Tom. I'm not jerking your chain."

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