Old Ironworks. Raphool could be in danger. I need to check this out, Elrod thought as he left the homeless center, walked across a large asphalt space, past a produce market and to the railroad tracks that led to the location of what had been a large industrial zone, now long dormant and in decay.
Elrod strode slowly and entered the grounds of an abandoned old ironworks and passed through long shadows from its skeletal structure, now silhouetted in the waning daylight. He hoisted his backpack and decided to park himself high within the structure, climbing along a low angled outdoor conveyor until he reached a spot beneath the lip of a metal roof where he believed he’d be undetected, where the floor leveled out.
Safer here, he assured himself. Private eye Elrod needs to collect his thoughts. Maybe I can spot Raphool from here.
A noise behind him interrupted his thoughts.
“Hey!” a voice called. Elrod jumped up, startled, his head hitting the low roof. He kneeled and reached inside his backpack for his box cutter.
“Hey, who?” he replied.
“I’m no fool. Show your face.”
Raphool, even shorter than Elrod, stood his full height under the low roof as he walked across the grated floor, creaking metal marking each step.
“What are you doing here?” Raphool asked.
“What I’m doing has already happened. Trying to find you. Folks at the shelter have opened it up for the night while murder lurks about. I thought I might see you from up here.”
“We’ll settle here for now, then,” Raphool said. “I want to see if anyone might come into this area tonight who normally doesn’t hang out here.”
“Why you so interested?”
“Like you, I like to investigate.”
“You’re a cop. Undercover.”
“Raphool is no fool.”
“Neither is Elrod.”
“We’ll leave it at that. I brought sandwiches and water. I’ll share it with you. You won’t have to go back to eat. Besides, it’s almost dark.”
After nightfall, Elrod and Raphool heard a vehicle ride into the abandoned area, pull up next to a rusted crane, and stop. Two truck doors slammed.
“We can’t see from here,” Raphool said softly
“It’s a diesel pickup,” Elrod whispered. “Old, from the way it sounds.”
“Good observation. We don’t dare move, they’ll probably hear us.”
Voices murmured from below, the pickup doors opened and closed again and the vehicle turned and drove around the skeletal structure, headlights scanning the littered asphalt and broken concrete below. Elrod and Raphool could see them from above through the girders and conveyer rig. The two quietly lay flat on the floor grating as a flashlight beam scanned the structure, the truck’s lights now out, the motor running.
“See anything?” one of the men said.
“I can’t believe there’s none of those creeps hanging out here.”“They ain’t under the overpass and they ain’t in here, and the floor’s all wet in the old warehouse, so they ain’t in there.” ...