She blinked. ‘I meant the murders.’
Oh. I bit my tongue and nodded. It would probably be easier to keep my mouth shut.
It would have been nice to get back to Tomintoul and put my feet up for a bit but news travelled fast. There was already a crowd of townsfolk waiting for us when the bus pulled up outside our hotel. Moonbeam was more than ready to regale them with the whole story. That boy sure loved an audience.
I was prepared to sidle past the lot of them and go to my room for a well-deserved nap but Winter was hovering on the other side of the street, trying to look inconspicuous and failing massively. The sight of him was more than enough to perk me up. I trotted over. ‘Hello!’
He glared at me with icy intensity. ‘What the hell are you doing? We can’t be seen talking to each other like this!’
‘It’s okay,’ I assured him. I leaned in and lowered my voice. ‘I’m on a secret mission. Not your secret mission, Morris Armstrong’s secret mission.’
‘Huh?’ He gave me a blank look. I didn’t blame him.
‘I’m to get close to you and find out what you’re up to,’ I said cheerfully. ‘Then I have to report back to him.’ I paused. ‘He wants me to seduce you to gain access to all your secrets. I’m the new Mata Hari. You can call me Ivy Hari.’ I frowned. ‘No, wait. Mata Wilde.’ That sounded better.
Winter’s astonishment was palpable. His blue eyes flared and he took a step backwards. ‘You’re kidding me.’
‘Yeah. Well,’ I amended, ‘about the seduction part.’ Unfortunately. ‘But he does want me to pretend to be your friend so I can pass on information about you. He knew you were here from the start, so I told him you were spying on me rather than the show.’ I grinned. ‘Pretty awesome, huh?’
Winter’s jaw clenched. ‘He must know we’re working together. He’s testing you.’
‘You’re saying that he has a secret mission to put me on a secret mission in order to stop our secret mission?’ That made my brain hurt. I shrugged. ‘Either way, I have permission to talk openly to you.’ I looked at him meaningfully. ‘And we have a lot to talk about.’
He drew in a deep breath. ‘So I hear. It’s all over the town.’ He glanced from side to side. Amy was looking curiously at us but no one else seemed to care.
Winter shook his head and then yielded. ‘Meet me at the Dog and Whistle in twenty minutes. I’ll order a drink and sit at the bar so it’ll appear that you just bumped into me.’
‘Can we have a secret handshake?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ He raised his voice. ‘I told you, Ivy Wilde. If I find out you’ve been using magic, there will be hell to pay. The Order will see to it that you’re kept off the streets for good.’ He jabbed his finger sharply into my chest for good measure and stalked off.
I watched him go while Amy sidled up. She let out a low whistle. ‘Who was that?’
I made a show of looking unhappy. ‘My old partner. He just can’t let it go that I don’t want to be in the Order.’
‘The Hallowed Order of Magical Enlightenment?’
Was there any other? I nodded. ‘Yep. I’m a witch. But I don’t want to be with them.’
Amy’s eyes widened. ‘You’re really a witch? That’s why you’re here on Enchantment! You want a job with Trevor Bellows as a magical consultant.’
Er, no. ‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘Sure.’ I warmed to my topic. ‘He’s amazing.’
‘Is he?’ Amy’s nose wrinkled. ‘He knows a lot about magic, I suppose.’
I thought about the strange pentagram drawn on the wall of his trailer. Maybe Bellows did have a smattering of talent after all. I smiled at Amy. ‘I’m going after him,’ I said, pointing to Winter. ‘He needs to butt out of my life.’
‘He’s gorgeous,’ she said. ‘He can butt into mine any time he wants.’ Then she suddenly looked sorry. ‘I didn’t mean that to sound the way it did. It’s not fair to talk about someone like that.’
‘You wouldn’t want him anyway,’ I snapped. ‘He has terrible halitosis. And he’s lazy. Really lazy. Plus, he’s deformed. He has a wooden leg.’
My tone must have been harsher than I thought because Amy looked slightly hurt. ‘Uh, okay then.’
I felt a flash of guilt – but not enough to make her think that Winter was worthy of her attention. ‘I’ll catch you later,’ I muttered. Then I walked off in the same direction as Winter.
Winter smelled good. Really good. I hopped up onto the barstool next to him and inhaled deeply. Then I raised my arm and sniffed an armpit. I grimaced. I guessed he’d have to smell good enough for the both of us.
‘Fancy meeting you here,’ I drawled. ‘Do you come here often?’
He threw me an irritated glance but didn’t comment. Other than the barman, this place was empty no doubt because everyone else was still out and about trying to find out what on earth was happening with Enchantment.
I gave up trying to get Winter to smile and got to the point. ‘Things are afoot. I don’t know how much you’ve heard, or how accurate it is, but Trevor Bellows’ trailer is covered in blood. Drenched in it, in fact.’
‘Do we know whose it is?’
‘It’s not human.’
A frown marred Winter’s forehead. ‘That’s not what everyone is saying.’
‘I reckon the lab results will be out by early morning tomorrow. The blood belongs to a sheep.’
‘How do you know that?’
‘Not magic, if that’s what you’re thinking,’ I said airily. ‘I know it because I’m a super-awesome sleuth with immense powers of deduction.’
Winter exhaled. ‘Ivy…’
‘The set is closed,’ I explained. ‘It’s pretty hard for someone to gain access to it. Not impossible, but difficult. I wouldn’t bother. But then, that’s me. However there are a few blind spots around the back of the trailers where it’s possible to clamber over the fence.’ I began to tick off on my fingers. ‘First of all, none of the crew members are missing so the blood doesn’t belong to anyone involved in Enchantment. Secondly, security was complaining earlier about a sheep trying to get inside. Thirdly,’ I finished with a flourish, ‘on top of the fence and almost directly behind Bellows’ trailer, there’s evidence that wool has snagged.’ I paused. ‘And we all know how much you love evidence.’
Winter stared at me. ‘So what you’re saying is that a sheep tried to get access and was foiled by security so climbed over the fence instead, which is … how high?’
I considered. ‘About two metres.’
‘So this sheep climbed over a two-metre high fence, walked through Bellows’ door—’
‘Went through the rear window, actually,’ I interrupted.
Winter gave me a long-suffering look. ‘Fine. Went through the window, hit a crew member over the head, slit its own throat, disposed of its own body and created enough havoc to stop Enchantment from filming.’
I smiled. I hadn’t told him about my pièce de resistance. ‘This sheep also drew a pentagram on the wall of Bellows’ trailer.’
His spine stiffened. ‘A pentagram?’
‘Yep.’ I reached over and grabbed his pint glass, taking a long swig and smacking my lips. I deserved it. ‘A crude one but definitely a pentagram. Obviously, someone bewitched the sheep to do all this.’
‘So, in your infinite wisdom, Ivy,’ he said, ‘what’s the motive for all this?’
I shrugged. ‘I don’t know. I figured I’d leave that part to you.’
Winter snatched his drink back from me. Boo. ‘Have you ever tried to bewitch a sheep?’
‘No. I don’t meet many sheep in Oxford. I tried it on Brutus once. I attempted to bewitch him so that he’d go and buy his own cat food.’
‘Yeah. It didn’t work.’