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    Monster by Jonathan Kellerman

    Monster by Jonathan Kellerman

    Chapter 11
    William Swig said, "you think that means something?"

    It was just after four P.M. and we were back in his office, Milo's unmarked was low on gas, so he left it at the park and I drove to Starkweather.

    On the way, he made two calls on the cell phone. An attempt to reach the sheriff of Treadway, California, resulted in a rerouting to the voicemail system of a private security firm named Bunker Protection. Put on hold for several minutes, he finally got through. The brief conversation left him shaking his head.

    "Gone," he said.

    "The Sheriff?"

    "The whole damn town. It's a retirement community now, called Fairway Ranch. Bunker does the policing. I talked to some robocop with an attitude: 'All questions of that nature must be referred to national headquarters in Chicago.' "

    The call to Swig connected, but when we arrived at the hospital's front gate, the guard hadn't been informed. Phoning Swig's office again finally got us in, but we had to wait awhile before Frank Dollard showed up to walk us across the yard. This time he barely greeted us. Impending evening hadn't tamed the heat. Only three men were out on the yard, one of them Chet, waiving his huge hands wildly as he told stories to the sky.

    The moment we passed through the end gate, Dollard stepped away and left us to enter the gray building alone. Swig was waiting just inside the door. He hurried us in to his office.

    Now he tented his hands and rocked in his desk chair. "A box, eyes - this is obviously psychotic rambling. Why do you take it seriously, Doctor?"

    "Even psychotics can have something to say," I said.

    "Can they? I can't say I've found that to be the case."

    "Maybe it's no big deal, sir," said Milo, "but it does bear follow-up."


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