Witch Hunt – Ch. 15


“She’s scared, Hank.  Where’ve you been since the stairway accident?”

“Here, working with Adrianne.  I was … well, I was arranging for a gift for Phoebe.  For tonight.”

“Dude, you sure y’ain’t upta no hanky-panky-spanky with the help down here where no one can see ya?”

“Dillon!”  JD flushed red-hot, embarrassment and horror burned his veins.  Even Wendy blushed and dropped her head.

Hank chuckled.  “I like you Dillon.  You don’t hold anything back.”

“What can I say, dude?  Tha’s jus’ how I roll.”

“And no, I’m not having an affair with anyone.  I love my wife.  You guys don’t … is this part of your investigation?”  Hank’s face was taut, lines drawn over his brow.  It was the first time they saw anything but suave confidence or anguish from him.

“No,” JD hurried the response, “no no.  Nothing like that.  We’re just worried about Phoebe.  Dillon’s … in his own world.  As usual.”

“Hey, hot chicks’re, like, a dime a dozen here, dude.  It’d be hard not ta go for a booty call now ‘n’ then if it’s there, y’know?”

Hank cackled again.  JD dropped his forehead into his palm and sighed.  His voice was soft when he spoke, sympathetic.  “We’re not the police, Hank.  We’re not trying to interrogate you.  It’s not our place to.  But you asked us to look into this because you couldn’t get answers anywhere else.  We want to be thorough.  Do you understand?”

Hank’s congenial visage returned.  “Oh, absolutely.  And Wendy, I’m really grateful you were there for Phoebe.  I am.  Thank you.  And just so you know, the police already looked into what I’d gain if Mark and Phoebe were both gone.”

JD blinked.  “They did?”

“Yes.  That’s why we told you they were hostile toward us.”

“No doubt that was unpleasant.  And they … didn’t turn anything up?”

Hank snickered.  “Not a thing.  Like we told you, we were cleared of all charges, but they still cast a suspicious eye on us.  No one benefits from our deaths now that Mark’s gone.”

“No one?”  JD watched him carefully, but Hank’s face never flickered.

“Not a single person.  Insurance was the first thing they checked out.  We set it up so that neither of us would benefit from the other’s death.  If one of us died before Mark, the other would get the whole wad.  If we both died before Mark, it would be liquidated by a privately contracted firm and he’d receive all proceeds, in a trust fund.  We arranged for his care.  Everything was set.  But, if Mark died … nothing.  Neither of us gains by killing him.  And now that he’s gone, the joint corporation is getting all the money anyway.  Phoebe and I only receive a salary.”

“Wow.”  JD blinked.  “The police looked into all that?”

Hank nodded.  “We voluntarily allowed them access to our legal documents proclaiming it all, on file with our attorneys.”

“Dude, I’m so lost.  When we gonna eat?”

“Hank,” Wendy touched his arm, “Phoebe wants to see you.  You being with her would mean more to her than anything you can buy.”

Hank shut his eyes.  “Thank you Wendy.  I don’t know why I didn’t see that myself.”

They stood in silence a moment.  Dillon belched.  “Dudes, I needa eat.”

JD shut his eyes, pinched the bridge of his nose and shook his head.  “I’ll feed and walk you in a minute, Dillon.  Hank, you and Phoebe said Mark was working with Tina Farnsworth the day he died.”

Hank’s head fell perceptibly.  JD shut his eyes and exhaled through his nose.

“I’m … I’m sorry.  That came out … I’m sorry.  That was insensitive.”

“No, it’s … it’s okay.  I understand.”  Hank drew himself to full height, but his pain showed beneath his expression.   “Mark worked with Tina whenever he could, even though we tried to rotate him through the staff so he’d see more things, learn more about the business.”

“Is she working today, do you know?”

Hank thought.  “No, the staff heads do the scheduling for their departments.  You can find out from housekeeping.  It’s down the hall there.  I can take you, if you want.”

“No,” Wendy said, “we’ll find it.  Thanks.  You go see your wife.  Pronto.  She needs you, Hank.”

He looked in her fiery green eyes, stern and demanding of him, and nodded.  “I will.  I’ll let Adrianna know we’re finished.  I won’t leave her alone again.”

“Dude!”  Dillon made a whip-cracking sound, and JD glared at him through drawn brows and gritted teeth.

Hank just laughed.  “You need anything else?”

Wendy spoke for them again.  “We really came to find you, Hank.  We wanted to find out what was up and make sure you were okay.  You kinda disappeared on us all.  We were worried.”

He smiled.  “You guys are too much.”

“Go on.  Get to your wife.”  Her smile scooted him down the corridor again.

“Hank, wait — one more thing.”  JD’s words froze him, and he turned around.  “I need the key to the room on the second floor.  The one where …”

“I’ll have the front desk make one for you, so you can get in and out at your leisure.  Hang on to the key for 3126 too.  And I gave you my key for our old suite, right?”

JD nodded.  “Thank you, Hank.”

He smiled.  “Not a problem.  Get the key from the concierge desk.”  Hank sauntered down the corridor.

Visible relief washed over JD and Wendy.  Dillon belched.

“Well, at least he’s okay.”&nb
sp; JD leaned against the wall again.

“Yeah.  Interesting the police were ahead of you on this, love.”

“Yeh, dude — not often someone else thinks o’ th’ same crap as you b’fore you do.”

“I’m happy it’s already been looked into.  We can scratch the Kileys from the list of suspects.”

“If not them, then who?”  Wendy scratched at the part of her hair, dragged her fingers through her locks.

“I wanna eat.  We done yet?”

“Soon, Dillon.  In fact, all I have to do now is get that key and finish plugging in the cameras.  Once I’m through with that, we … have some time.  May as well eat.”

Dillon sighed in loud, long exasperation.  “Dude … how ’bout this?  You go get the key, set up the crap, and Wen an’ me’ll wait at the rest’rant for ya.”

JD shook his head.  “Fine, whatever.  But … well, fine.”

“No, what?”  Wendy asked.

2 thoughts on “Witch Hunt – Ch. 15

  1. I still think this is a good read Love. I really like the scene of JD in the room by himself, where he gets that creepy sensation that something is after him. Good work. 🙂

  2. LOML — Thanks, pud. I guess when I read it through myself I wasn’t impressed. It felt somehow like I’d slipped the quality of the piece. It’s nice to know you didn’t think so. 🙂

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