Witch Hunt – Ch. 15

“Nothing.  I just hoped someone would be with me if I saw the person in the stairway again.”

“Why, ya scared?  Need yer blankey an’ shit?”

“Babe, look at the number of people here.  You’re going to have to face that it could be different people you saw.”

“Only one is running from us.  From people in need of help.”

“Dude, I’m goin’.  See ya at the feed bag.”

JD and Wendy followed Dillon up the stairs and watched him weave through the throng toward the lobby restaurant.  JD shook his head.

Wendy chuckled.  “I’ll keep him out of trouble.  Who knows who he’ll hit on next?”

“Great point.  I’ll catch up to you in the restaurant.”

“‘Kay.  See ya, lover.”  She stood on her toes and kissed him.

JD went to the concierge and told the regal young black woman what Hank said about the key.  She smiled and nodded, then went to one of the bustling reception desk terminals.  A few seconds later she came back and handed JD a key card.  He started to thank her but she’d already gone to assist with the lines at reception.

Knots of gaggling patrons blocked the elevators, so JD circumvented the noisy clot of people to the staircase.  The landing at the top gave him an overview of the lobby.  He walked left from the stairs to a glass wall with a card reader mounted in it.  He passed his key over the pad and got the familiar beep and green LED flash.   He pushed through the heavy glass door and found two rooms faced the railing over the lobby.  The one with the camera was the nearer of the two.  The hallway ended at a corner beyond them.

He opened the room, and the camera waited on its wall mount.  A red indicator light blinked; Low Battery.

He dragged the desk chair under the camera, stepped up, connected the adapter and hopped down.  He stuck the power cord into the wall outlet and the blinking light shifted to a steady green.

A sudden chill slithered up his spine and immobilized him.

He whirled to face the room behind him.  The hair on his nape felt like a taloned claw was millimeters away from grabbing him, but he was alone.  A dread dropped like a fist-sized iron ball into the pit of his stomach.

He shook his head, felt a sweaty dampness under his hairline.  He mopped it with his sleeve, his breath thready.  He forced himself to walk around the bed, against every instinct jangling in him.  His knees felt weak.  His hands shook.  He knit his brows and clenched his fists to steady them.

“What is the matter with you?”  His locked jaws prevented his teeth from chattering.  It had been a long time — years — since he’d felt the childhood sensation he drowned in now.

JD swiped his palms over his jeans and turned to the door.  He knew, by perception beyond his five senses, something pounded over the dense carpet at his back, and he fought the shudder trying to wiggle up his spine.  He reached the door, pulled it open, stepped through and turned around.

Only the empty room faced him.

He stared a moment longer, then let the door close.  His heart slowed, his breathing normalized, but his hands still shook.  He wobbled on adrenaline-weakened knees to the balcony and leaned on the railing.  He drew a heavy sigh and looked over the mass of movement below.

“Better find Tina Farnsworth and talk to her soon.”

His descended to the lobby slow and deliberate.  He allowed time to control himself.  He crossed through the thinning crowd and down the stairs opposite the reception desk, toward the conference rooms and hotel operations.  Back-lit signs directed him left toward the hotel business offices, away from the conference rooms.

The signs led JD to a Dutch door, the top opened into an antiseptic yellow-white claustrophobic office.  A sign glowed above the door: “Housekeeping.”

A pile of a woman with a doughy face encircled by stray locks pulled from the loose bun atop her head was dolloped onto a castered chair that creaked and groaned in protest to her weight.  She glanced up at JD when he knocked.

“Help you?”  Her jowls and puffy cheeks waggled when she spoke.  She didn’t smile.

“I’m looking for Tina Farnsworth.  Can you tell me where she is?”

“Nope, on duty.  Could be anywhere on two or four east today.  Those’re her areas.  You want her, look there.”

“Oooo-kay,” JD arched his brows.  “Can you tell me what she looks like?”

“Blond.  Skinny.”

JD waited, but nothing more was offered.  “Anything else you can tell me?”

“You a cop?”

“No, why?”

The fat woman wagged her meaty head, and wispy fronds of graying hair wafted like cobwebs in a breeze.  “I’m busy here, kid.  She’s the only skinny blond on the housekeeping staff.  She’s on two or four, east wing.  You can’t miss her.”

JD snorted.  “Thanks for all your help.”

She didn’t look up and waved a dismissive stubby paw at him.  He shook his head and walked away.  He decided reporting her to Hank and Phoebe would be childish, and went to the restaurant.

After lunch, they would talk to the last person to see Mark Kiley alive.

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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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