the vampire murder case (part twenty)

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"After you left, Christy, Dr. Lee mentioned Åsa's boyfriend, Spence. I was somewhat surprised, since you hadn't told us about him. Dr. Lee mentioned him as she was leaving the room – clearly she didn't intend to tell us anything more than his name – but Marshall got a few details from Neil as we left. They've been going out for over six months. They're not demonstrative in public, but the relationship is not a secret.

"So, why had you not mentioned it? Was it real, or was Dr. Lee making it up for some reason? That seemed unlikely. I couldn't see why she'd do that, and in any case it would be too easy to see through.

"Were you hiding it from me for some reason? Again, I couldn't see what reason you could have, and besides, that would have been futile as well. I'd be bound to find out, as indeed I did.

"Did you not know? I didn't think so. I couldn't visualize you sharing a room with somebody and not knowing that person had a lover. There are people who would be that incurious, that indifferent, but you're not one of them. You're a warm and friendly and empathic person, so you would have known. Unless Åsa was very anti-social, you and she would have talked about your boyfriends, how the relationships were similar, how they were different, and so on.

"That's if you were roommates. But what if you weren't her roommate, or maybe you were, but just for a day or two, not for months and months? That would explain it. And, if that was the truth, and you were lying, it was because you were told to.

"So, this is the question. Have you really been Åsa's roommate for all this time, or were you told to lie? And I should make it clear that, if you do tell me, the answer won't go outside of this room. I'm sorry to have to ask, but I want to figure this whole thing out, and this is a part of it."

Fifteen was sitting next to Christy by then, holding her hand, but she didn't look at him before answering. She looked down at the sheets as she said, "Yesterday morning, before I came to see you, Dr. Lee sent for me. She told me to move my stuff into Åsa's room, and then to go see you and invite you to see her. And she said that, when you came to investigate, I should tell you that I'd been Åsa's roommate since we got here." She looked up. "I'm sorry."

"In your situation, I'd have done the same thing, I'm sure. Do you know why Dr. Lee told you to do this?"

She shook her head. "No, she doesn't give reasons."

"I have an idea," Fifteen said. "We've been talking about it tonight, in between games of Parcheesi, and I have a guess."

Jan smiled. "I'd be very interested in hearing it."

"Dr. Lee wants to know what's going on. From what Miss Christy has told me, she always wants to know what's going on. She can't figure this out herself, so she wants your help. But you're a detective, a skeptic, you don't even believe in God, for goodness' sake, so you'd probably pooh-pooh the very idea of vampires. But she does want your help–"

"–and she doesn't strike me as somebody who likes to be pooh-poohed in the first place," I added.

"Exactly. So, she gets Miss Christy involved, right in the middle of the whole situation. She's the one who comes to see you, she's Åsa's roommate, she might even be in danger herself from whatever-this-is." He smiled. "It would probably increase the chance that you'd want to help."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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