He hadn’t had any difficulty showing up last night to remind her that he needed her help, she thought. He’d sat in the chair in her room, insisting that she tell Jed all the information that he gave her. But when she had given him an imploring look and begged him softly…he’d left.
In the daylight, her anger was asserting itself. He showed up to haunt her, to confuse her and make her talk to the air, so Jed would think she was genuinely crazy. To give her horrible nightmares…and then leave without telling her anything useful.
Thor and Genevieve came in then. “Good morning,” Thor said.
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” Genevieve said cheerfully.
“Coffee on?” Thor asked.
It might have been an ordinary visit. Except that when Thor left to get coffee for himself and his wife, Genevieve walked into the center of the parlor and stood very still.
“Anything?” Christina heard herself ask hopefully.
Genevieve let out a sigh. “Yes…and no. I can feel something, but…” She smiled. “Let’s take a trip to the cemetery, shall we?”
“What’s wrong?” Genevieve asked her.
Christina shook her head, then tried to explain. “I had a nightmare last night. I was tied up, gagged and blindfolded.”
“Does the killer bind, gag and blindfold his victims?” Genevieve asked.
“Okay, what then?” Genevieve prodded.
“Then I woke up.”
Genevieve watched her thoughtfully. Adam Harrison stepped closer and looked into her eyes. “It’s possible that…”
“That…?” Christina asked, not entirely sure she wanted to hear the answer.
“We know Beau Kidd has made a connection with you,” Adam said, “so maybe, because of Beau, one of the victims is managing to speak to you, as well.”
“Oh, God. So I was feeling what she felt. Before…” Christina stared at him, fighting a wave of debilitating fear.
“It’s all right. You woke up. But no one ever really knows how far the mind can go. A dream like that is all right, Christina,” Adam said reassuringly. “A dream could end up providing the clue that cracks the case. The dead do tell tales.”
Jed waited in Jerry’s office until his friend came back and tossed a file on the desk. “It’s all copies—you can have everything there,” he said.
Jed arched a brow to him. “What did you find?”
Jerry had taken the chair behind his desk. “Amazingly little. I suspect their private work stays private, but there are a few articles in there about several cities, even a few states, hiring Harrison Investigations in…abnormal circumstances.”
“Like UFOs?” Jed asked.
“No, more like things that go bump in the night.” Jerry leaned forward, opening the folder. “Here’s one…a Florida story, even, about Old Dixie Highway, outside St. Augustine. There was a rash of abductions of teenagers. The locals were claiming there were lights in the trees by the highway, that the kids were being abducted by the ghosts of three women who’d been hanged there by a lynch mob soon after Florida became a state. The city brought in the state, and the state brought in Harrison Investigations.”
Jed looked skeptically at Jerry. “Let me guess. Harrison Investigations performed some sort of a voodoo rite and the abductions stopped?”
Jerry leaned back, shaking his head. “Harrison Investigations found the kids being held in a shack in the woods. One kid’s dad was head of an oil corporation. The kidnapper, an ex-employee with a grudge, intended to ask for ransom eventually, but first he wanted his old boss to suffer.”
“The police couldn’t find this shack, but Harrison Investigations did? Was there ever an explanation?”
“Adam Harrison found the shack himself,” Jerry said. “He claimed he heard noises when he was walking through the woods.”
Jed shook his head, clearly still doubtful.
“Our own fed, Gil, told me that Adam Harrison is totally legit. He hasn’t worked with him personally, but he knows people who have, and they swear by the guy.”
Jed stared at Jerry, feeling irritated. He didn’t know why, but he’d wanted to find a reason to mistrust the man, especially once he’d discovered the Harrison Investigations angle. The guy had to be some kind of charlatan. Didn’t he?
“What I want to know,” Jerry told him, “is why this man just appeared on your girlfriend’s doorstep.”
Jed shook his head, not bothering to dispute Jerry’s use of “girlfriend.” In fact, he realized to his own amazement, he kind of liked it. “Nothing to do with the case,” he said. Which he knew was a lie, but since no one was letting him in on the truth…
“He just arrived?”
“Yesterday. He came with a couple of her friends. Christie’s known the wife, Genevieve, forever,” Jed explained. “She’s married to some guy named Thor.”
“Genevieve Wallace and Thor Thompson?” Jerry asked.
Jed frowned, staring at him. “Yeah. How did you know?”
Jerry offered him a wry grimace. “Thor’s not exactly a common name. And there’s a story there. They were involved in a dive down in the Keys and somehow unearthed a centuries-old mystery—and a killer. I read about it. It was in all the papers. How the hell did you miss it?”
Jed stood without answering, picking up the file Jerry had put together for him. “Thanks.”
“Hey,” Jerry called as he started out of the office. “I’d love to meet Adam Harrison.”
“I’ll see if he can do lunch next week.”
“Cool. Let me know.”
Jed gritted his teeth. Jerry was serious.
But as he walked out onto the sidewalk, Jed realized that he was glad of one thing. Adam Harrison might be nuts for believing in the supernatural, but at least he was a legitimate nut.
And he did feel better knowing there were more people in the house with Christina, because there was no escaping one crucial fact: she was a beautiful redhead.
He was still searching for a deeper connection between the victims. Or was it entirely random and based on looks? But where was the killer first seeing his prey? How did he know who to snatch, and how to snatch her so she disappeared into thin air? Why did no one ever scream when she was being taken? What trick was the killer using?
They bought bouquets. Lots of them.
“I still don’t understand what we’re doing,” Christina told Genevieve as they walked along a path through the cemetery. “I don’t believe—I can’t believe—that the souls of the people I loved are still here beneath the ground or in a coffin, or…or that they stay behind at all.”
Genevieve was quiet for a minute. “Sometimes souls do remain behind.”
“So how come I can’t say hi to my mom, and tell her that I love her and miss her? Why do I have to see a man I never knew when he was alive?”
“No one really knows, but I’m guessing your mom knows you loved her very much. Same with your dad,” Genevieve said. “They were good people, and they lived good lives. Whatever heaven really is, I’m sure that’s where they are. But some people…some people stay behind, and other people can see them. Think of a dog whistle. The dog hears it just fine. We don’t.”
“Speaking of which…” Christina dropped down to pick up Killer. No need taking a chance on him running off and getting into trouble.
“Your parents and grandparents first?” Genevieve suggested.
Christina saw that Adam and Thor had gone ahead and were already waiting at her family grave site. She and Genevieve joined them, and she arranged some of the flowers, then stepped back and pointed to a nearby grave. She closed her eyes, feeling the breeze waft across her skin and through her hair, and pictured the scene as it had been twelve years ago.
The priest, reading the service.
Beau Kidd’s mother, crying her eyes out.
When she opened her eyes, the others had moved closer. “Genevieve?” Adam said softly. She nodded, then walked over to Beau Kidd’s grave, knelt down, placed a bouquet of flowers and laid a hand against his stone.
The world had to know her brother was innocent, Katherine Kidd thought, walking along the sidewalk that surrounded the cemetery and feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness. Beau’s name had to be cleared. She felt a moment’s anger as she wondered if the powers-that-be would eventually wind up shooting some other innocent man and claiming the killer had only been a copycat after all.
That couldn’t happen.
The truth had to come out.
Beau’s death and the widely accepted accusations had ruined their lives. Her mother was no more than a shell of her former self. They’d only been able to stay in the area because they’d had some genuinely good friends, people who knew that Beau couldn’t have been guilty, no matter what everyone else said.
But she’d had some very bad times, growing up. Very bad. Teenagers were often cruel by nature, and so many of them had pointed at her, whispered about her. She had learned in high school to stay away from boys, to keep her distance from the popular crowd. If she kept a low profile, she wouldn’t hear the whispers.
She hadn’t gone far away for college, but somehow, in Gainesville—which she had chosen so she could be near her parents if her mother fell into one of her depressions—she had found that there were people willing to let the past stay buried.
Like her brother.
She’d majored in theater arts, with an emphasis on scenery design. She had a perfect job in her field now, and she was gaining a reputation. She was doing well.
Yeah, right. She was twenty-five, lived with her parents and didn’t date.
She stopped walking for a moment, looking through the wrought-iron fence. The cemetery was really quite beautiful, she thought, So many of the old oaks flourished here, but then, it was a very old cemetery. She smiled, thinking of the transplants she worked with. So many New Yorkers, a lot of Midwesterners. They thought of Florida as new and raw. They didn’t realize just how old some of the little towns and cities were. The path she was on led her under the trailing moss draping from the old oaks like dripping tears.