Witch Hunt – Ch. 14


JD shook his head. “Why shouldn’t she?”

“She’s afraid the curse is tied to the journal.”

JD’s brows rumpled. “What?”

“Dude, y’deaf? She don’ wanna read. That’s fer geeks like you.”

“She doesn’t know, but she knows she got the book from her grandmother because no one else wanted it. She didn’t know why, but now … well, now she’s wondering if the curse is tied to the book. And she feels like no one in her family warned her about it. They just left her to find out the hard way.”

“Why would she think that?”

“‘Cause, man, shit’s happ’nin’ to her!”

“Not only that, but very few of her relatives showed up at Mark’s funeral. A handful. One of them hit her with the whole ‘family curse’ thing. She’s really upset, JD. This resort is everything to them, but she’s ready to dump it and run to protect her baby.”

“I guess … I guess it pales next to her unborn child’s safety.”

The statement hung in the air.

“And she hasn’t talked to Hank yet?”

Wendy shook her head. “I guess she hasn’t seen him since the choking thing. She thought he might be avoiding her.”

“Avoiding her? Why?”

“Dude — they’re all lovey-dovey an’ crap ’til th’ dukey hits th’ fan. Then G wants t’do a Houdini? Jeerrrrrk.”

Wendy giggled. “She doesn’t know for sure. She was pretty sure he’d sell the resort if it meant that much to her, but … they’ve invested a lot of their lives in it.”

“That’s for sure. They didn’t even leave when their son died. This must really be something for her to think about it now.”

“No, it’s about their son too. But with Mark, then Carl, then nearly Phoebe, and the new baby coming … it’s adding up.”

“And she can add a near-miss on Hank to it.”

Wendy and Dillon spoke simultaneously. “What??”

“That’s what I wanted to tell you both. Hank was almost a victim too.”

“What happened?”

“Dude!”

“I heard Hank in the stairway earlier, before the chase thing. He and a maintenance worker were trying to figure out what happened to the lights in there. The maintenance worker took a ladder to the fourth floor, and Hank was chatting with me on the third. All of a sudden the maintenance guy yells, and I see his toolbelt falling right on Hank.”

“His toolbelt? Y’mean all his jangly crap, like screwdrivers an’ stuff?”

JD nodded. “Not to mention a huge industrial drill gun. I managed to shove Hank aside before it hit him. It took a divot out of the concrete.”

“Whoa. Dude.”

“Yeah. How’d it fall from the fourth floor if the maintenance guy was wearing it?”

JD shrugged. “The maintenance guy said it just broke and fell off. I’ve never heard of leather breaking, but …” He shrugged again.

“Dudes! Y’think maint’nance-boy tried t’whack Hanky-pank?”

JD shook his head. “No, but … who knows? So, maybe Hank’s avoiding Phoebe because if she finds out about this, she’s going to be resolute in her decision to abandon the resort.”

“Wow. I would be, that’s for sure.”

“Whatever’s going on isn’t related to the resort, though. It seems directed at them personally.”

“True. So, now what?”

“We split an’ go home. We can’t help ’em. But we do another free dinner first an’ stuff.”

“I still think someone’s trying to scare them out of money. Although …”

They waited. “What, love?”

“Well … what if they’re being scared out of their resort?”

“Dude, I’d be scared outta my pants. Wouldn’ you?”

“I’d be concerned, certainly. But now … I wonder if we …”

Another pause. “What, JD? Quit doing that, hon.”

“Sorry. I was just wondering if there’s someone who would benefit from the Kileys selling the hotel. Anyone who might come into a portion of the money if they did. Someone with motive to make them sell it. Or a potential buyer trying to get them to dump the reso
rt at a discount. A major hotel chain, maybe? Like Marriott or Sheraton? Would they be so ruthless as to try and force the Kileys out by murdering people?”

“Dude, thought ya said it wuddn’t murder.”

“Not according the police and medical examiner. Nothing based on the pronounced causes of death. But some poisons can simulate heart attack symptoms, and certainly the Kileys are convinced their son’s death wasn’t accidental.”

“So whatta we do, dude? I mean, how we gonna find out any o’ that crap?”

JD shook his head. “I don’t know. I guess we’re going to have be really nosey with the Kileys. We have to figure out what’s going on before someone else gets hurt.”

“Yeah, dude … like us.”

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