(The story continues)
As Pete turned to go to the squad car, he noticed something odd about the mural. Getting his cell phone out, he used it again as a flashlight, and looked. Among the odd shaped red flowers, there was one that was different, and was pointing the wrong way.
“Constable Higgins,” he called, “Would you please come and look at this?”
Higgins turned and walked back, wondering what had got Pete going again. When Pete shone the light on the wall, he gasped. “That looks like a bloody handprint!” he exclaimed. As he turned to call Sgt. Patterson, Pete shone the light down onto the sidewalk.
“Look, Constable that looks like blood, too.” Pete pointed to reddish spots leading off at a diagonal toward the curb. Higgins looked, and then got out his flashlight and started following the spots. They were quite large, and got larger the closer they came to the curb. Pete followed, and gasped when they reached it. There was a large bloody patch on the edge of the concrete, and a puddle of blood on the road. Higgins turned and called Patterson over.
“Dan, it looks like this is where he got the head wound. We followed a trail of blood from the end of the mural over, and look at what we found.” His voice was a bit shaken. “I’m going to see if I can find anything on the road, see if there is any indication that he was injured before, and fell here.”
Dan studied the blood, and using his flashlight, followed the blood back to the wall. Pete followed him, and pointed to the mural. “Look here, Sergeant, see the hand print?” Dan looked, shining the light on the wall, and nodding in agreement.
He turned away from the wall, about to say something, when a vehicle drew up. “Ah, here are the CSI guys. I’ll just have a word with them, and they can follow up on this. You two have done a great job. Now we can leave, so go wait in the car, I’ll be right with you.” He moved off to speak to the three people getting their gear out of the van. Pete and Higgins walked to the squad car and go t in.
Pete sat quietly for a few moments, watching what was going on. The M.E. was about to move the body when one of the CSI men held up a hand and hurried over. He studied the body, took several pictures, and nodded to the M.E. The body was place in a body bag and carried away. Then the CSI people started combing the area for anything that would help figure out what happened.
Pete was finding it all very interesting, when Sergeant Patterson climbed into the car, and Higgins drove off. “Sergeant,” Pete said, “will you really talk to Mom about me being allowed to play soccer?”
Dan Patterson turned and looked back at Pete. “Yes, Pete, I really mean it. We’ll both come in with you and talk to her. You said you Dad had just come home. What do you think he’ll say?”
“He’s been gone for four years, but he played catch with me, and took me hiking and let me have swimming lessons. I think he’ll be upset that Mom has been overprotecting me. He’s an astronaut, and was part of the team that set up the moon colony. Make sure he’s there when you talk to Mom, he’ll help you talk some sense into her.”
“Your Dad is Colonel Peter Gates?” Higgins gasped. “Wow! I think he and the others who were with him are great heroes. I will be thrilled to meet him.”
Soon they were at the Gates home, and Mrs. Gates was on the porch, anxiously waiting to see her wandering son. “Oh, Petey, where have you been? Why do you keep running away?” She didn’t seem aware of the two police officers who followed Pete up the steps.
“Hello, Mrs. Gates. Perhaps, if we could go inside, we can help to clear up that problem. I’m Sergeant Dan Patterson, and this is Constable Chuck Higgins.”
Mrs. Gates looked up, startled, let go of Pete, and turned to the front door. “Of course, Officers do come in. I’m sorry, I’ve just been so worried about Petey.” She led the way into the house, directing them to the living room. A tall, good looking man stood up, stepped forward, hand out, and said “Welcome, Officers, and thanks for bringing our wandering son home. Please have a seat and tell us where you found him.” Turning to Pete, he said “I really thought you had better sense, Pete. I’m not at all happy at how you’ve worried your Mom.”