the vampire murder case (part thirty-two)

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I spotted Christy as I pushed open the iron gate and we stepped out onto the street. She was barely visible around the corner, in the same place where she and I had waited the night before. As we crossed the street to her, I could tell that she felt awkward about the way she'd delivered the ultimatum, with no advance warning to us, though I was sure she'd been ordered to do it that way.

Jan was aware of this and wanted to settle the issue quickly, so she grinned as we approached Christy and said, "That couldn't have gone better if we'd planned it," and then she squeezed Christy's shoulder. Christy was surprised by this, and then I saw a smile flash across her face, as she realized that she had surprised me in exactly the same way the night before when she'd suddenly put her hand on my arm. We shared a brief grin as Jan said, "Let's go. We've got some things to tell Dr. Lee."

As we set off, I was suddenly sure that when she'd put her hand on my arm the night before, she'd been about to tell me that the story of her being Åsa's roommate had been a fake.

We were back in Dr. Lee's office, and we had described what had happened at Isaac Ashford's house. When we were done, Dr. Lee looked ready to dismiss Christy, but Jan said, "It might be good if Christy stayed. As Åsa's roommate, I'm sure she's concerned."

There was a glance between the Jinx leader and my employer, and I knew that Dr. Lee was now aware that the "roommate" deception had been discovered. She smiled and nodded thoughtfully.

"If Åsa was visiting there legitimately," she said slowly, "why enter the house through the side, through a shed and a secret panel? Why not use the front door?"

Jan nodded. "It's possible that Ashford was telling the truth. Åsa may have gone there to visit someone else, one of his staff perhaps. He may not have been aware of it at all."

"Or that may be exactly the reason," I suggested. "Remember how she was dressed. Why walk around naked, on a cold and clammy night? Unless you're going to visit someone, perhaps the same way she's been visiting Lloyd. In that case, arriving unexpectedly, through a secret panel, naked, that could be part of the effect. Maybe Ashford enjoys that sort of thing."

Dr. Lee nodded, and my employer was restraining herself. If we'd been alone, she would have made a comment about my surprisingly deep insights into the sexually adventuresome mind.

Instead, she asked, "What do we know about these young people he has around him?"

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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