For the next two day Niles dug through the boxes belonging to the Petits.
On the third day instead of going directly to the office, he drove in the fog to the high school to give a lecture to a civics class. On arriving back at the office he noticed the faint glow through the fog of a light in Lute’s office and the hallway light above Mildred’s desk.
The day before Niles found a ledger book that contained entries for the last five years Mrs. Petit owned the Inn. Niles unlocked the cell and lifted the ledger from its box.
He sat at his desk and carefully examined the entries.
“I’m not an accountant,” he thought, “but something is strange; every month $1,000 is paid to a mysterious Mr. B. Either the B is an initial of a name (I should be so lucky), second in order (there is no A or C), or just a random designation.”
Niles tapped on the ledger with a pencil. It bounced from his fingers and fell to the floor. He bent over and picked it up. He heard a rap on the front window, crack from the far wall of the cell, and saw a small puff of concrete dust erupt.
Niles immediately dropped to the floor and grabbed the pistol from his shoulder holster. “Gunshot!” he thought.
He crawled to the hallway leading into the courthouse. With his gun held in both hands he slowly climbed the steps. He peeked out into the hallway on the first floor. Mildred sat with her back to him.
“Mildred!” he whispered loudly, “Get down on the floor.”
She didn’t hear.
Niles moved closer and crouched low approaching the side of her desk. “Mildred, get down below your desk, a shot was just fired into my office.”
Niles rigidly aimed his gun at the door.
“Mildred, it’s no time to be tough,” Niles said.
He quickly turned his head toward Mildred. She leaned relaxed against the back of her chair. Niles gasp horrified at the sight of Mildred with a dime size hole in the middle of her forehead.
Niles grabbed his phone and punched Tom’s number.
“Tom, 10-31, 10-32,” Niles said without Tom speaking. Block west exit from town.”
“10-4” Tom said.
He punched Sid’s number. “Sid, emergency, 10-31, 10-32. Block the east exit leaving town.”
Niles stayed low and quickly returned to his office. He grabbed a rifle and snapped in a magazine. He slung on a bulletproof vest and dashed back up the steps to the first floor. He opened the side door and crawled out. He ran along the back of the businesses of Main Street and then down a drive. He scanned the street from beside the real estate office. He hunched along the font and burst into the office. Lucinda’s eyes opened wide.
“On the floor!”
“Tom, Niles,” Niles said. “On the floor.”
Tom walked to his office door.
“On the floor!” Niles said.
Niles cautiously exited the office and ran along the side walk dashing into any business that was open and told them to take cover. He dashed across the street to the Inn.
Shelly sat at the desk.
“On the floor!” Niles said. “Call all guests and tell them to stay low and away from windows. There has been a shooting.”
Niles slipped out the back door and climbed down the ladder to beneath the deck. He walked along the rocky shore line and back up to Main Street. He scanned the street again.
Sid already had three cars detained.
Niles punched Sid’s number.
“Look straight ahead to the left of a red pickup,” Niles said. “That’s me. Mildred has been shot and killed. Check each driver’s license and registration and search for a rifle. If something doesn’t seem right, detain them and call me.”
Niles punched Tom’s number.”
“Mildred has been shot and she’s dead,” Niles said. “Check each driver’s license and registration. Search for a rifle. If something seems out of place, detain them and call me.”
Niles dialed the closest State Highway Patrol Post.
“Niles Quinn, Chief of Police, Brewster Harbor,” Niles said. “We have had a shooting murder. Establish a road block at the island’s bridge, check for a rifle.”
“Use your police radio for this type of emergency. That’s normal protocol” the dispatcher said.
“The sniper that shot and killed our town clerk and fired through the police station window, he didn’t read the protocol manual, so right now I’m kind of concerned about going back to the office and following protocol. Are you going to set up the roadblock or not?”
“I’ll have to go through the commander.”
Niles hung up.
Niles punched the personal number of Sheriff Dan Spencer.
“Spencer,” he answered.
“Sheriff, Quinn from Brewster Harbor,” Niles said. “Cop to cop; we’ve taken sniper fire in town. Our town clerk is dead. I’m conducting a door to door of Main Street. Can you set up a road block leaving the island? You’ll know what to look for.”
“I’m on it,” Spencer said. “How many units do you need in town?”
“I have my men checking all vehicles leaving town,” Niles said. “Can you send me at least two so they can do local search. And can you call the county coroner’s office for me?’
“Will do,” Spencer said. “Keep your head down.”
Niles checked every door on Main Street. He ask everyone if they saw anyone moving suspiciously or otherwise down Main Street. He asked what cars they saw. There were simply no cars moving in or out of town at that time that anyone remembered.