Ashley sat in the front pew as the services were held. She didn’t give the eulogy, her brother did. He filled his speech with stories that never happened, and words his dad never said. Ashley knew Henry better than Riley, but she didn’t say anything. She just let it happen. She stated at her brother with mild contempt, but he didn’t seem to notice. Others did.
People stayed away, left her the entire pew. She thought it might have to do with the fact that she was the only non-Agency officer in attendance but didn’t bother to think about it too much. Either way, she was left alone and that was best. When the others left the room, she demanded some time alone. The coffin would be moved shortly, but for the moment, everyone was in the foyer. She sat and stared at the coffin, waiting.
A few minutes later, she heard hushed voices and footsteps. She didn’t turn around but tracked the footsteps as they approached. The person had a slight limp. She listened as he entered the pew behind her and took a seat to her right.
“Hello, Ashley. I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Hey, Sergeant. How’s the leg?”
“Hurts some, but rainy days usually do that. Your brother did not have kind words to say about your demands to be alone.”
“I really don’t care and don’t think you do either.”
“Do you know who killed your dad, Ashley?”
“I have my suspicions.” She heard paper and knew he was pulling paperwork out of a manila envelope.
“Your dad was killed by your brother’s gun.”
“If it were that simple, Lester would be here talking to me, and Riley would not have gotten a promotion.”
“He said he lost his gun a few days ago.”
“Your dad had someone following Riley, Ashley.”
She turned to look at the Sergeant for the first time since his arrival. “What?”
“He assigned someone a few months ago, I think when you started talking to your dad about Riley.”
“The man came to me and told me that the night Henry died, Riley went to his house. At 5:43pm he heard a gunshot. At 5:45pm, Riley exited your dad’s place by the side door and left quickly.”
“He didn’t have time to grab the casing, did he?”
“My team found it under the couch, near the wall. It had Riley’s fingerprint on it.”
“But if he said he lost it a few days ago?”
“We can’t prove he did or didn’t.”
“What about gunpowder residue test?”
“Inconclusive. Riley was at the shooting range for an hour before he went to your dad’s place.”
Ashley was quiet for a moment. “What gun did he use there?”
The Sergeant’s eyes went wide. “We didn’t check.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “Agents have to register the gun they use before entering the range, even if they are using their Agency issued pistol. It should be in the database.”
“He might have changed it.”
“Riley likes to have his sessions recorded. Likes to see how he stands or some nonsense.”
The Sergeant nodded. “Looks like I have more work to do.”
He stood and placed a hand on her shoulder. “I really am sorry for your loss, Ashley. Henry was one of my best friends.”
“He thought highly of you. When I came to him about Riley, he felt you would be ashamed of him for allowing his own son to become this much of a problem.”
“I was disappointed, but I had my own issues to deal with. He was a good man and deserved a better end than this.”
The Sergeant placed a hand on Ashley’s shoulder, giving her a quick pat. “One more thing.” He slid a piece of folded paper to Ashley. She grabbed it. “Your boyfriend is not who you think he is.”
The Sergeant walked away as Ashley opened the paper. It was a picture of Joshua, and his record. He wasn’t just a Messenger, he was an Agency Operative. They worked with both teams to maintain order. Ashley sighed as she folded the piece of paper up and slipped it into her pocket. She would talk to Joshua about it, but for the moment, it was time to say goodbye. She wasn’t going to the cemetery. She didn’t want to listen to any more of Riley’s lies.
Ashley stood, went to the coffin and laid her hand on the top. It was a closed coffin. Riley shot their dad in the head. There wasn’t much left to put back together. At least Riley didn’t fight her on that. She sighed and closed her eyes.
“’Bye dad. I’ll miss you. And I’m sorry, but I probably can’t keep the promise I made you. But then, I don’t think either one of us thought he would go this far. It won’t be vengeance, dad. I was taught better than that, but your killer will come to justice. I promise.”
She opened her eyes, took one last look at the picture of him behind the coffin and left. There were things to be done.