What happened, who died, and why was her husband a suspect? Divine Fury. Chapter 24

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A VG Serial: Divine Fury

Chapter 24

THE ADDRESS THAT Bobbie Connors had given Enzo Lee led him to one of the nicer suburbs of San Jose built in the 60s boom years on land that had once been fruit orchards.  A mature cherry tree soaked up the late-afternoon sun in front of the ranch-style house which had a light green exterior and a heavy, dark wooden front door with black hardware.

Nancy Wilkins opened the door barefoot and wearing a loose white shift.  Her black hair was in a bun.  She was short and somewhere in the middle stages of pregnancy.

“Hello,” said Enzo Lee.

“Hello,” said Wilkins.  She had a puzzled look on her face and Lee paused for a moment, trying to figure out why she was looking at him oddly.

“Nagsasalita ba kayo ng Tagalog?” she said.

“Sorry?” said Lee.

“Are you Filipino?” asked Wilkins.

“Oh.  No.  I’m not,” said Lee.  “Chinese.  Half Chinese anyway.”

“Oh.  I’m sorry,” said Wilkins.  “You look Filipino.”

Lee just shrugged apologetically.  He was accustomed to the mistake.

It took the national DNA database researchers a while to get to the hair recovered at the USF hospital garage, but they finally found a match.  It was Nancy Wilkins’ husband, Oscar, a middle-aged computer programmer.  Oscar Wilkins’ police file stemmed from his arrest three years earlier for helping a Las Vegas gambling operation set up an online sports betting website.  The organizers had hidden safely behind the offshore location of the business.  But Oscar Wilkins’ work in California ran afoul of the state’s gambling prohibitions and had earned him two years of probation as well as a spot in the national DNA database.

Connors had visited the Wilkins home the previous day but learned nothing from Nancy Wilkins except that her husband was out of the country on an extended trip.  Lee had decided to try himself.  The early-morning killing of Scott Truman still baffled him and the spreading of Truman’s ashes near Angel Island was still fresh in his memory.  He kept thinking of Captain Nick’s quote, about the living needing to find justice for the dead.  Maybe he could somehow push the investigation forward another step.

“I’m with the San Francisco News,” said Lee.  “I wanted to talk to you about your husband.”

Wilkins cast her eyes downward toward Lee’s feet.

“I can’t tell you anything,” she said.  “The police were here yesterday.”

“I know,” said Lee.  “Look.  You don’t have to tell me anything.  But I’ll be happy to tell you what this is all about…why the police were here.”

Wilkins’ eyes moved up to Lee’s face.  She was trying to decide.  Lee knew she wanted to know more details of what was going on.  Then, he noticed the appetizing smell of garlic, vinegar and soy sauce drifting out the door.  He recognized it as a staple of Filipino cooking.

“Is that adobo?”  he asked, nodding his head past her toward the inside of the house.

She smiled, sniffed the cooking smells herself and nodded.

“Pork,” she said.

“I love adobo,” said Lee.  “Look.  There are no commitments.  I’ll tell you what I know and leave when you want.”

Wilkins searched his face, bit her lower lip and then stepped back to open the door wider and let him inside.

Lee sat on the sofa underneath a painting of Jesus.  On the opposite wall, a two-foot crucifix hung so that it was hard not to stare at it.  Then, he saw a playpen off in the corner and realized the bundle in the middle was a youngster napping.  The furnishings were nice – nothing fancy.  Probably bought at a department store.

Nancy Wilkins excused herself.  A few seconds later, she came back with a small bowl with hot white rice topped with small chunks of pork bathed in the dark brown adobo sauce.  She handed the bowl to Lee.  He held it to his face and inhaled the delicious smell.  Then, he picked up the fork in the bowl and took a first taste.

“This is great,” he mumbled.  He went for several more forkfuls, pausing only to swallow and murmur, “Didn’t realize how hungry I was.”  Nancy Wilkins settled back in the chair opposite the sofa, folded hands in her lap.  The small smile was back on her face.

Finally, Lee set the empty bowl down on the coffee table.

“Thanks.  That was terrific,” he said.  Wilkins gave him a nod.

“So,” said, Lee, switching gears.  “Like I said.  I’m happy to tell you what I know about why the police were here.  I believe it’s related to something that happened…I guess it was almost four weeks ago.  It was late at night.  Actually, early in the morning on Sunday.  It was at the USF hospital.  And, they think your husband might have been there.”

“What happened?” Wilkins asked very softly, as if afraid to know.

“Well, a man was shot.  He was killed,” said Lee.  “He was just a guy who worked in the office.  He was there late using the phone.  Just a young guy who happened to be there.”

Nancy Wilkins put her fingers over her mouth.  Lee could see her eyes water.  She wiped them but the tears continued to come.  She shook her head.

“I told him not to do those things,” she said.  “I told him to stick with fixing computers for people.  He was busy.  We were okay.  He just…”

She paused and took a slow, deep breath.

“Oh, Oscar…Oscar…,” she said, shaking her head slowly from side to side. Her eyes were still wet and she wiped them again.  She nodded to her left.  “He said he was going to do something to help him.”

She had nodded at the television which had been playing the entire time.  But with the sound muted, Lee had ignored it.

Lee saw a man in a dark blue suit, saying something and gesturing dramatically toward the audience with a pointed finger.  Then, he noticed that the man was holding a book in his other hand. Lee realized it was probably a Bible.  It was some sort of religious program.  Someone giving a sermon or lecture.

He stood and moved closer to the television.  Lee could see some lettering at the bottom of the screen.  Superimposed over the picture, it read: “Soldiers of Christ.”

To read previous episodes of the novel, please to the left side of this page and click Divine Fury beneath VG Serials. Chapters of the novel are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Please click the book cover to read more about Robert B. Lowe’s Divine Fury or purchase a copy on Amazon.

 

Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.

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