The word sounded alien in his mouth, as if spoken by someoneelse. There was an urgency in his own voice that Bosch didn't recognize.The simple hello he had whispered into the telephone was full of hope,almost desperation. But the voice that came back to him was not the onehe needed to hear.
For a moment Bosch felt foolish. He wondered if the caller hadrecognized the faltering of his voice.
"This is Lieutenant Michael Tulin. Is this Bosch?"
The name meant nothing to Bosch and his momentary concern about how hesounded was ripped away as an awful dread entered his mind.
"This is Bosch. What is it? What's wrong?"
"Hold please for Deputy Chief Irving."
"What is "
The caller clicked off and there was only silence. Bosch now rememberedwho Tulin was Irving's adjutant.
Bosch stood still and waited. He looked around the kitchen; only the dimoven light was on. With one hand he held the phone hard against his ear,the other he instinctively brought up to his stomach, where fear anddread were twisting together. He looked at the glowing numbers on thestove clock. It was almost two, five minutes past the last time he hadlooked at it. This isn't right, he thought as he waited. They don't dothis by phone. They come to your door. They tell you this face-to-face.
Finally, Irving picked up on the other end of the line.
"Where is she? What happened?"
Another moment of excruciating silence went by as Bosch waited. His eyeswere closed now.
"Just tell me, what happened to her? I mean... is she alive?"
"Detective, I'm not sure what it is you are talking about. I'm callingbecause I need to muster your team as soon as possible. I need you for aspecial assignment."
Bosch opened his eyes. He looked through the kitchen window into thedark canyon below his house. His eyes followed the slope of the hilldown toward the freeway and then up again to the slash of Hollywoodlights he could see through the cut of the Cahuenga Pass. He wondered ifeach light meant someone awake and waiting for someone who wasn't goingto come. Bosch saw his own reflection in the window. He looked weary. Hecould make out the deep circles etched beneath his eyes, even in thedark glass.
"I have an assignment, Detective," Irving repeated impatiently. "Are youable to work or are you "
"I can work. I just was mixed up there for a moment."
"Well, I'm sorry if I woke you. But you should be used to it."
"Yes. It's no problem."
Bosch didn't tell him that he hadn't been awakened by the call. That hehad been roaming around in his dark house waiting.
"Then get it going, Detective. We'll have coffee down here at thescene."
"We'll talk about it when you get here. I don't want to delay this anyfurther. Call your team. Have them come to Grand Street between Thirdand Fourth. The top of Angels Flight. Do you know where I'm talkingabout?"
"Bunker Hill? I don't "
"It will be explained when you get here. Seek me out when you are here.If I am at the bottom come down to me before you speak with anyone."
"What about Lieutenant Billets? She should "
"She will be informed about what is happening. We're wasting time. Thisis not a request. It is a command. Get your people together and get downhere. Am I making myself clear to you?"
"Then I will be expecting you."
Irving hung up without waiting for a reply. Bosch stood with the phonestill at his ear for a few moments, wondering what was going on. AngelsFlight was the short inclined railroad that carried people up BunkerHill in downtown far outside the boundaries of the Hollywood Divisionhomicide table. If Irving had a body down there at Angels Flight theinvestigation would fall under the jurisdiction of Central Division. IfCentral detectives couldn't handle it because of caseload or personnelproblems, or if the case was deemed too important or media sensitive forthem, then it would be bumped to the bulls, the Robbery-HomicideDivision. The fact that a deputy chief of police was involved in thecase before dawn on a Saturday suggested the latter possibility. Thefact that he was calling Bosch and his team in instead of the RHD bullswas the puzzle. Whatever it was that Irving had working at Angels Flightdidn't make sense.
Bosch glanced once more down into the dark canyon, pulled the phone awayfrom his ear and clicked it off. He wished he had a cigarette but he hadmade it this far through the night without one. He wouldn't break now.
He turned his back and leaned on the counter. He looked down at thephone in his hand, turned it back on and hit the speed dial button thatwould connect him with Kizmin Rider's apartment. He would call JerryEdgar after he talked to her. Bosch felt a sense of relief come over himthat he was reluctant to acknowledge. He might not yet know what awaitedhim at Angels Flight, but it would certainly take his thoughts away fromEleanor Wish.
Rider's alert voice answered after two rings.
"Kiz, it's Harry," he said. "We've got work."
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