“I’m ready, and I’m going with you.”
She sounded one hundred percent sure, but her face was still unnaturally pale as they walked slowly to the sidewalk that circled the oblong-shaped body of water. Raef thought that Lauren had been right—the place was no damn lake, even if it was pretty and well tended. The sidewalk had only a fourth of a mile circumference, or at least that’s what the helpful signpost said. It was the same signpost that talked about the different types of waterfowl that could be found in the area, in particular noting the mated pair of swans for which the lake had been named.
The sign also asked visitors not to feed the fowl, including the swans. And it insisted everyone except “authorized personnel” remain outside the fence that ringed the area.
“The entrance to the dock that takes you to the island is over there.” Lauren pointed down the sidewalk to their right.
Raef nodded and they continued walking. He glanced around them. The October morning hadn’t turned cold and cloudy yet, as Channel Six weather had predicted. Big surprise that they got it wrong. So it was a gorgeous morning, but an off hour, only just before 10:00 a.m. Too late for morning walkers and bird-watchers, and too early for those who liked to eat their lunch at the park. There was only a retired couple sitting on a bench on the opposite side of the lake, reading a paper together. Good. Less gawkers, he thought, while he followed the line of the sturdy green fence that ensured park visitors didn’t disturb the waterfowl. A flurry of honking and splashing pulled his gaze to the lake. One of the swans was bullying a group of ducks that must have drifted too close to his personal space.
“They’re mean,” Lauren said. “Doesn’t matter how pretty they are—they’re mean and dirty. And the biggest reason my company has to come out here so often.”
“You still have the contract to maintain the plants here?”
Lauren nodded, but she looked uncomfortable. “Aubrey wants it that way. She doesn’t like to let a little thing like her death get in the way of good business.”
“But you said you hadn’t been here since her death.”
“I haven’t. I have five employees, remember?”
Then Lauren’s use of the present tense about her sister’s wishes caught up to his thoughts. “So she communicates with you about your business?”
“She communicates with me about lots of things, just not about her murder. Actually, I don’t feel right unless she and I are talking. I don’t feel whole without her….” Lauren’s words trailed off as she came to an awkward silence. As if just realizing what she’d said, she shook her head and attempted a smile. “I’m repeating myself, but it’s hard not to. My life isn’t the same without her.”
Raef started to comment, but Lauren’s humorless laugh silenced him. “Yeah, I know. It’s normal for me to feel her loss. Normal for things to be different. Normal to grieve.” She shook her head, looking out at the small lake. “I’ve heard it all. Not one single person really gets it.”
There didn’t seem to be anything Raef could say to her that hadn’t been said, obviously to no effect, by others. Plus, maybe Lauren was right. He’d never heard of a twin manifestation and possession before. Maybe there were unusual forces at work in this death. Who was he to scoff at the abnormal? Hell, he lived in Abnormalville; even the other psychics at After Moonrise kept him at a distance. You don’t have to be a Greek god to know that if you invite Discord to a party, all hell is gonna break loose.
Shit, his life sucked.
They’d come to a locked gate in the fence, and Lauren stopped. Just inside the gate there was a small wooden dock and a slim, slatted walkway that led from it to the island of craggy stone, foliage and a waterfall-like fountain cascading down one side of it that sat in the middle of this end of the lake. “There.” Lauren’s voice was pitched low. “It’s out there that it happened.” The eyes she turned to him were haunted with sadness. “You’ll need to go out there, won’t you?”
She drew a deep breath. “Then let’s go.” Lauren flipped open the metal cap that held an elaborate keypad for the locking mechanism on the gate. Her hands shook only a little as she pressed the series of buttons that made the gate whir and click, and finally open. Without waiting for him, she strode through it and onto the dock. It was only then that she stopped, hands fisted at her sides, eyes looking at her feet, at the water, at the shore. Everywhere except out at the island.
“I’ll be right behind you,” Raef said.
“Okay. Yes. Okay. I can do this.”
Lauren stepped onto the walkway. Raef stayed close to her, worried that she might pass out and fall into the damn water. That was something neither of them needed. They were halfway to the island when Raef steeled himself and then dropped the barriers he usually kept firmly locked around his mind.
Конец ознакомительного фрагмента.
Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес».
Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию на ЛитРес.
Безопасно оплатить книгу можно банковской картой Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, со счета мобильного телефона, с платежного терминала, в салоне МТС или Связной, через PayPal, WebMoney, Яндекс.Деньги, QIWI Кошелек, бонусными картами или другим удобным Вам способом.