the sister mystery (part fifteen)

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The air raid siren blared twice, two short blasts.

Ron's head jerked up. "What the fuck?" she demanded.

"That's Runner's Call," I reminded her. "The time will be next." There was one more short blast. "One o'clock," I said. "We'd better think about eating something. Come on."

As I reached for the doorknob, it turned and my employer poked her head in. "Come on," she said impatiently. "I want to get something to eat before the meeting."

In the dining room, my employer lit a cigarette and drew the smoke deep into her lungs. This was evidence of how urgently she wanted to solve this and protect Ron, since I could tell this was her first cigarette of the day.

I held out the folded piece of paper. "Anything in the room?" I asked.

She smiled, not even taking the paper. "No ID, no wallet, no luggage tags, no bus or train tickets. No indication of whether she was traveling with anybody else. Ron, when your birth parents came here, when you ran away, was Tracy here also?"

Ron nodded. "It was our big family trip. We got money when my grandfather died."

My employer nodded as if this confirmed a theory of hers, but she did that quite often.

"Ron," she said, "rumors are already starting to circulate, and that will increase exponentially after I talk to the runners."


"Nobody spreads more rumors than the runners," I clarified.

Ron nodded. "That's for sure."

"So," my employer continued, "I will try to get information from the runners, but they'll be learning things, too. Those things will start to get spread around, no matter what I say."

"What are you talking about?" Ron asked uneasily.

"You have a fight with your sister, then she gets murdered, and as far as we know so far she didn't know anybody else in the area. Some people will probably start to consider the possibility that you killed her. And that could get ugly if we don't move fast, especially if people start to think that you're getting special treatment because you're my daughter."

Ron's shoulders slumped. "You're gonna lock me up."

My employer laughed and reached across the table to take Ron's hand. "The exact opposite. We're going to keep you with us until this is figured out. Every minute. That way I don't have to worry about whether you're okay and I can concentrate on my work."

"Oh," Ron said, thinking about this. "That sounds okay."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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