That didn’t save me. I had study hall after lunch, but when I got there, the two men were at the front of the room.
“Ladies and gentlemen.” The person with them was the assistant principal. He looked sour and annoyed. “This is Agent David Morrow of the FBI.” He didn’t introduce the other man. “He’s going to talk about the fire.”
Of course he is. And he launched into a talk about how we had a duty to report anything we knew or remembered and should come to him in a spare classroom if we did. His eyes rested on me the entire time. Probably they would have rested on Kanesha, but she was in AP English.
Which meant I knew I had to talk to him. Cops didn’t bother me. Cops were a long way from bothering me. He did.
I got up as soon as he left and followed him, at a slight distance. “Ah. I was hoping to talk to you. Ms. Doe…”
“Ms. Rudi. At least once I’m old enough to legally change it.” It was a challenge for his respect.
“Ah. Well. I wouldn’t want to go through life with that name. Can I just call you Jane?”
“Your home burned the same time the school did. We haven’t been able to prove it was arson, but we haven’t been able to prove it wasn’t. We don’t believe this was a coincidence.”
It wasn’t, but I somehow felt telling this man the truth would be a bad idea. “I don’t know why anyone would burn out a CPS group home.”
“Unless the target was you or Kanesha Clem. Who’s father was murdered in Southeast not that long ago. We still don’t have a suspect.”
He thought it was aimed at Kanesha! It was a good cover, I thought, unless he tried to disappear her into witness protection. “He was.”
“Do you have any idea who did it?”
“No,” I said, truthfully. “I know he was shot. It was in Southeast, so who knows.”
“Does Ms. Clem have any gang connections that you know of?”
I shook my head emphatically. “No.” A pause. “But maybe somebody wants her to.”
“That’s one definite theory. But she’s in a fairly protected place now.” The detective frowned a bit. “I want you to be careful, Ms. Rudi. There’s something going on…and for that matter, you were recorded as an amnesiac?”
“So we don’t know who your family were.” He put an obvious cant on the word family.
I honestly wished I could reassure him, but I couldn’t tell him the truth. And I sensed that he had one goal. I could feel it. Punishing people for their wrongdoing, defined under the law. Defined as the law, with no concept in his mind that the law might sometimes be wrong.
A true follower of Tyr, I thought with amusement, but not in the good way.
Not in a way, I hoped, Tyr himself would approve of.