Sheriff McCourt planted her hands on the metal table and glared, an overgrown Shirley Temple with wide blue eyes and curly blond hair.
I crossed my arms and pretended I hadn’t shrank backwards an inch or three. The metal chair creaked, giving away the lie.
“Again,” she said.
“I was in the woods—”
“Alone? On New Year’s Eve? Did you and Deputy Hernandez break up?”
I inhaled slowly and regretted it. The cinderblock interrogation room smelled of disinfectant. “It was a year walk. I had to go alone.”
“It’s a Swedish tradition from the medieval era. You fast and spend New Year’s eve in the woods on a vision quest.” Even I could hear how bad this sounded. I just hoped she believed me.
“Why the woods?”
“The woods have always been a place of danger and mischief, a place to encounter the other.” I hadn’t expected to find murder.
She arched a blond brow. “A vision quest,” she said flatly. “I was wondering how long it would take to get to magic.”
So had I. But resistance was futile. After the sixth round of questions, I was out of evasions.
She shook her head. “Never mind. I need to know the truth, even if I hate it.”
I wished I didn’t know the truth either, about the doors, the things behind the doors. Things I couldn’t unsee.
A wall clock ticked above the door. Pain sparked in my palms, and I realized my nails were digging into the flesh. I relaxed my hands.
She dragged out a chair, screeching across the linoleum, and sat, lacing her fingers. “Tell me about the book.”
I blinked. “Book?”
“You’re a dealer in rare, occult books. Is that why you went to meet him?”
“What book? Meet whom? I don’t know who that man was!”
“All right. I’ll play. There was a book beneath his jacket. It’s old, obviously occult.”
Oh, damn. “I didn’t know,” I said quietly. “That’s weird, but… This is Doyle.”
Her face darkened. “Don’t tell me about Doyle.” Her nostrils flared. She breathed heavily. “Tell me about the book,” she said in a calmer voice.
“I don’t know about a book.”
“Then why was your name written inside its cover?”
Episode 3: An unexpected visitor arrives at Lenore’s bookshop.
Photo (top) by Sergiu Valena on Unsplash. Photo below by Daniil Kuzelev on Unsplash.