The Eighth Day By John Case

From the book

"It was the mailman who reported it, calling 911 half an hour before Delaney’s shift was
supposed to end.
The pickup was sitting in the driveway and there were lights on in the house, so the
mailman thought someone must be home. But it had been days now, and still no one
answered when he knocked. The mailbox was filled to overflowing. So maybe, he
figured, maybe Mr. Terio had suffered a heart attack.
Delaney shook his head and swore at the mailman’s timing. Brent had a play-off game at
six, and it was five after five already. Helen would kill him. (You’ve got to be there for
him, Jack! Show a little support! What’s more important—your own son or your buddies
at the station?) Well, actually . . . the truth was, he liked to go to his son’s games. Brent
was a good player—better than he had ever been—and it was fun to bask in the kid’s
reflected glory. When things were going well, Brent didn’t really need him there. But
when the kid screwed up—well, his son was one intense little guy. Took his own failure
way too hard. And Helen didn’t have a clue how to help the kid handle it. (Will you stop
that crying! It’s just a game.) So Delaney liked to be there—especially for a big game.
But his chances of making it were fading. He and Poliakoff were all the way to hell and
gone, way out by the county line where civilization turned to kudzu.
Sitting behind the wheel, Poliakoff gave Delaney a sidelong glance and chuckled.
“Don’t sweat it. You want to use the siren?”
Delaney shook his head.
“The guy’s probably on vacation,” Poliakoff insisted. “We’ll take a look around—I’ll
write it up. No problem.”
Delaney gazed out the window. The air was heavy and still, thick with gloom, the way it
gets before a thunderstorm. “Maybe it’ll rain,” he muttered.
Poliakoff nodded. “That’s the spirit,” he told him. “Think positive.”
The cruiser turned onto Barracks Road and, suddenly, though they were barely a mile
past a subdivision of bright new town houses, there was nothing in sight but vinestrangled
woods and farmland. The occasional rotting barn.
“You ever been out this way?” Poliakoff asked.
Delaney shrugged. “That’s it, over there,” he said, nodding at a metal sign stippled with
bullet holes. PREACHERMAN LANE. “You gotta turn.”
They found themselves on a narrow dirt road, flanked by weeds and at the edge of a
dense wood. “Jesus,” Poliakoff muttered as the cruiser crested a rise, then bottomed out
with a thud before he could brake. “Since when does Fairfax County have dirt roads?”
“We still got a couple,” Delaney replied, thinking the roads wouldn’t be around much
longer. The Washington suburbs were metastasizing in every direction and had been for
twenty years. In a year or two, the farmhouse up ahead—a yellow farmhouse, suddenly
visible on the left—would be gone, drowned by a rising tide of town houses, Wal-Marts,
and Targets..."

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