the vampire murder case (part ten)

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A moment later, a man came in. He was fairly small, his Jinx uniform of jeans, black T-shirt and leather jacket supplemented by a pork-pie hat. He had a small goatee.

"Lloyd," Dr. Lee said, "this is Jan Sleet, and Marshall O'Connor, her assistant. They will ask you some questions, which you should answer honestly and completely. Please sit down."

He complied, and after a moment he removed his hat and held it in his lap.

"Lloyd," Jan began, "what is your relationship to Åsa?"

He looked uncertain, and Dr. Lee said, "The truth, as I said. All of it."

"I was interested in her . . . romantically." He laughed. "I don't think that's a big secret. But she made it pretty clear that she wasn't interested in return." He shrugged. "But then, a few nights ago, it was the day Felix died in fact, I was asleep. My roommate–"

"Claire is away," Dr. Lee said quickly. "That's all we need to get into."

"So, I was alone. Then I woke up, and it was completely dark out. The window was open, and I knew I had left it closed. I sat up in bed and got my knife from under my pillow. The room was very dark, and I tried to see what was going on, but then I saw her, Åsa, on the windowsill. She was crouching there, naked, and her skin was very white. She smiled and said something, but I couldn't hear her for some reason. I put the knife down on the table."

He sighed. "This is going to sound crazy, but she . . . it seemed like she floated over to the bed and she landed on top of me. The sheets were gone . . ." His voice trailed off, and he looked uncomfortable.

"I gather that sexual relations ensued," my employer said after a moment.

He nodded. "They sure did. Repeatedly."

"You'll forgive me for asking, I hope, but you were asleep, and we know you were attracted to her and frustrated by her refusal, so is it not possible that this was a fantasy of some sort?"

He shook his head. "That's what I thought at first, when I woke up. It wouldn't have been the first time that I'd . . . thought about her like that. But when I woke up, I was . . ." He was clearly trying to figure out how to describe this delicately – my employer's three-piece suits and her precise diction and her owlish way of asking questions often reminded people of bad experiences with stern schoolteachers.

"I was bruised," Lloyd said finally, "in a private area, where I hadn't known it was possible to get bruised. I even went to Nikolai about it, since I was concerned that there might be some sort of . . . damage. He commented on the odor, which was quite strong. He joked that, for once, I must have been enjoying someone other than my own hand. He asked who it was, but I just acted mysterious."

She nodded. "And she was responsible for the bruise on your neck?" She smiled. "The 'hickey,' as I believe they are called?"

He hunched his shoulders. "That was the next night. This has happened every night since. But she still ignores me completely during the day." He shrugged. "It's kind of creepy. It's almost as if she's mad at me for some reason. She's never friendly, or loving, she almost never speaks, and she hasn't kissed me except one time when she bit my lip and drew blood." He pulled down his lower lip and showed us the puncture.

My employer went to the window and looked out. "Lloyd's room is on this side of the building," Dr. Lee said. "Just down the hall, in fact."

Jan nodded thoughtfully and lit another cigarette. "There are houses across the street," she said, "some of which I know to be occupied. You'd think somebody would have noticed a naked woman climbing up this wall every night."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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