TUESDAY, LATE AFTERNOON
Sherlock had the next hour planned out to the minute. A quick stop at Clyde’s Market for mozzarella cheese for Dillon’s lasagna and some Cheerios for Sean’s breakfast tomorrow, then thirty minutes at the gym: fifteen minutes on the treadmill and some quick upper-body work, that is if she managed to avoid Tim Maynard, a newly divorced firefighter who kept putting the moves on her. She was bummed she couldn’t be with Dillon at the gym as usual, sweating her eyebrows off, but she’d been tied up in a meeting about the Mason Springs, Ohio, middle school murders. She thought of Agent Lucy McKnight, who’d been in the meeting with her until she had to run out to throw up. Lucy
was four months pregnant now, nearly over the heaves, she had announced when she’d returned to the meeting, and everyone had applauded. Sherlock, Shirley, the CAU secretary and commandant, and Agent Ruth Noble were giving Lucy a just-beyond first-trimester party this Friday evening at Shirley’s condo. Not a baby shower, too early for that. Their gift to her would be two pairs of pants with elastic waists. Sherlock flashed back to her own pregnancy with Sean, how happy and terrified she’d been. Lucy had a good man in Agent Coop McKnight. What a wild ride the two of them had had before they’d hooked up.
Sherlock had only enough time to jerk the wheel left, fast and hard, before the black SUV struck her passenger side. The impact hurled her Volvo into a parked sedan, and then spun her into the oncoming traffic. The world sped up, blurred into insanity. As if from a great distance, she heard horns honking, screaming metal, yells. Her Volvo struck the front fender of a truck, glanced off, hit a sedan trying to swerve out of her way, ricocheted off yet another swerving car. Her head slammed against the steering wheel an instant before the airbag exploded in her face. She heard a sharp thunk and saw only a flash of what looked like a body flying across the hood of the Volvo, and bouncing off her wildly spinning car. Her brain registered splattered blood on the windshield—she’d hit someone. He’d come out of nowhere. She looked at all the blood, so much blood. Hers? The person’s she’d hit? The world turned round and round, a whirling kaleidoscope of colors and shapes, until they ended when the Volvo’s rear end slammed into a fire hydrant. Her head was thrown violently forward into the bag and she was out.