“I want to run through it again,” Will said. Faith nodded, and he started back from the beginning, telling her about sitting in the toilet stall, peeling off the Band-Aid so that the flusher would go off. When he got to the part about waving his arms for the camera in the pedestrian tunnel, he stood up. He told her about finding the shoe, heading out to where they now stood in front of the exit doors.
Will took her down the sidewalk, continuing the story: The red truck. The Cowboy. The cop pulling up in his cruiser. Will’s attention was diverted for a few seconds. He lost sight of Jenner and the girl.
Will turned to Faith, remembering, “There was a silver Prius.”
Will nodded. “I heard it pull up behind me.”
“If you heard it, then it wasn’t going slow,” Faith pointed out. The car was virtually silent at speeds under fifteen miles per hour. “Anything else?”
“Black interior. White female driver. I saw through to the trunk. The car was empty.” Will tried to remember what the woman looked like. It had all happened so fast. He’d wrenched open the door and scanned the interior of the car. “I scared the shit out of her,” he said. “She drove off like a bat out of hell.”
“Drove up there?” Faith indicated the steep turn at the end of the breezeway. The four-lane road narrowed to two as it merged into traffic from upstairs. The road then turned back into a six-lane stretch that allowed drivers to either loop back around to the South or North Terminal or jump onto the interstate.
Will said, “Call it in.”
Faith already had the radio to her mouth. “Mitchell to Livingston?”
Vanessa Livingston’s voice came back immediately. “Ten-four?”
“I need exit tape on a silver Prius leaving the South Terminal breezeway at approximate time of disappearance.”
Faith dropped the radio to her side. “Where was the Prius parked when you opened the door?”
Will walked a few more feet and gauged his position. “Right here.” He pointed toward the parking garage. “When I saw Jenner again, he was over there.”
“Was that when you called me on the phone?”
“Okay, back up,” Faith said. “You saw the Prius. You ran up to it?”
“Yeah,” Will said. “I opened the door and checked it. No one was inside. Just a woman. Dark hair, I think. She put her hands to her face. Like I said, she was scared. Surprised.” He shook his head. There was a reason cops hated eyewitness testimony. Nine times out of ten, it was wrong. So much had been going on when Will was chasing Jenner that he wasn’t even sure the Prius was silver anymore. “Like I said, the car was empty. I could see straight through to …” His voice trailed off. He looked up the road. He could see cars from the upstairs lanes.
Faith asked, “What is it?”
Will didn’t answer. Instead, he jogged up the road, taking the same path toward the exit as the Prius.
There was a bend in the lower road as it rose to meet traffic exiting the main terminal entrance. To discourage pedestrians from walking up the road and possibly getting hit by a car, the garden crew had planted a bunch of black locusts, a pollution-resistant bush that produces a creamy white flower and tiny, razor-sharp thorns at the base of each leaf.
Will pushed his way into the dense bushes, not caring that his hands were getting torn up. His jacket got caught on a long branch. The material stuck to the thorns like Velcro.
“What are you doing?”
Will ripped away his jacket so he could go farther into the bushes. “The TSA agent told me it takes fifteen minutes to completely lock down the airport. We were still inside that window when I caught Jenner. The Prius could’ve left just under the wire.”
“But you said the car was empty.”
“It was when I searched it.” Will stepped onto a branch, pushing down the barbs with his foot. “They both panicked. The Prius took off. Jenner ran into the garage.” He glanced at Faith to see if she was following his logic. “The road curves up right here. I was back inside the breezeway talking to you on the phone. This is the only place they could’ve handed Abigail off without me seeing Jenner or the car.”
“Or the security cameras seeing them.” Faith put her hands on her hips. “The next camera would pick up the Prius at the split that takes you onto the interstate.”
Will’s finger was bleeding. He wiped his hand on his pants, stepping deeper into the bushes.
And then he found it.
A cheap brown wig, a pair of black plastic glasses, two legs from a pair of zippered cargo pants and—worst of all—a little girl’s flowery dress with pink trim.
“It’s my fault,” Will told Amanda. “I took my eye off Jenner. I gave him the opportunity to make the hand-off.”
“We’ll deal with your mistakes later,” she said. “Tell me again about the woman in the car.”
He shook his head. Each time he tried to summon up the memory, it was lost. “I think she had dark hair.”
“Was she white? Black? Green?”
“She had on sunglasses. Maybe a hat?” Will didn’t know if his brain was filling in blanks or not. “I don’t know what she was wearing. I didn’t see any tattoos or birthmarks. I think the car’s interior was black. I don’t know anything else. I was looking for the girl, and she wasn’t there. That’s all that mattered at that point.”
Amanda seldom cursed, but she did now, saying, “Dammit, these people have been one step ahead of us all day.”
Vanessa Livingston came out of the Cold Room. She said, “The camera loses the Prius once it turns out of the breezeway. It’s picked up again on the merge. Whoever the driver was, she beat the shutdown by about two minutes. The Prius went 75 North, but that’s all we know.”
“Did you get the license plate?”
“Partial. Mud covered all but two numbers—three and nine, nonsequential. We’re running it through the system. There are eleven hundred Priuses in the metro area. Half of them are silver. It’s a popular color. We’re drilling them down to the number registered to women so we have a starting point.”
“Great,” Amanda said. “Like we don’t have enough walls to bang our heads against.”
Will asked, “Did any of the cameras catch her face? Maybe we can compare it to passengers on the Seattle plane.”
“No,” Vanessa answered. “If she’d gone into one of the parking decks, or used the upper floor, that would be a different matter.”
Will said, “What if it’s Eleanor Fielding?”
Instead of shooting him down, Amanda said, “Go on.”
“Her Mercedes left the airport. Maybe she looped back around, parked the Mercedes in a different lot, picked up the Prius, and came back to pick up the girl.” Will remembered Jenner looking over his shoulder as he walked up the breezeway. The man was looking at oncoming traffic.
Amanda said, “Jenner could hand off the girl downstairs, change into his outfit, then—”
Will finished for her, “Walk back upstairs, go into the main terminal, then take a taxi home.”