When Darkness Falls


Page 32









"I just called his house and got the machine."


"I think he's sleeping. He told me he just can't shake this bug he's got, and he's going to try to sleep it off today. He threw up all over the morgue last night."


"He needs to see a doctor."


"Yeah, we told him so."


"Well, thanks."


Gavin didn't seem ready to hang up. "Jade," he murmured hesitantly, "have you seen any news today?" Someone was pounding on her door. "Can you wait a minute, Gavin? Just a second." She set the receiver on the table before he could answer. It was Shanna at her door, a newspaper folded beneath her arm.


"Did you see?"


"See what? I haven't even looked at the paper yet. Give me a moment-I've got Gavin on the phone." She picked up the receiver. "Gavin?"


"Yeah, I'm here. Jade-"


"Shanna just came in with the newspaper."


"Read it."


"What's up?"


"The cult members have struck again. There were more murders last night."


"Last night?" Her heart quickened. "Where?"


"Don't worry-not here. Still far, far away. Farther than New York."


"But where?"


"In Massachusetts."


"In a cemetery?"


"No. In a theme park. A haunted house kind of a place. It's front-page news all over the country. Take a look. Give me a call back."


He hung up. Jade looked up. Shanna was pouring herself coffee. The newspaper was on the counter.


Jade seized it quickly, and began reading the article.


"Oh, God," she said softly.


"What?" Shanna demanded.


"Tony!" she whispered. "Tony Alexander was on the tour in Scotland."


"Whoa!" Shanna took her coffee and slipped into a chair at the dining room table, not even pretending that the news wasn't disturbing.


Jade started reading the article again.


"Why in the hell would he work in such a place-after what happened?" Shanna queried.


"His uncle owned it, according to this article," Jade murmured, scanning the words over and over again.


'Jade, maybe you do need a pit bull."


Distracted, Jade shook her head.


"Shanna, they were found ... all over the place. Some of the people who had gone through thought that the body pieces were special effects!"


The phone rang again. The shrill sound made Jade jump.


"I'll get it," Shanna told her.


"Hello?" she queried. Jade saw her sister frown. "Lucian? Lucian DeVeau? I don't know any Lucian DeVeau- "


Jade grabbed the phone from her hands. "Who is this, and what do you want?"


"I'm sorry to bother you again," the voice on the phone said. "But it's really incredibly important that I reach Lucian. I thought he might have come back."


"No, he's not here. I'm sorry. And I have no idea when he'll be back."


"Please, if you see him, tell him he must get hold of Maggie right away. It's urgent."


"If I see him," she murmured.


"Thank you."


"Wait!" she said, aware the woman was hanging up. "Wait, you didn't give me a number."


"He knows where to find me."


The line went dead.


Shanna was staring at her. "Who is Lucian DeVeau? If you're so familiar with him, why don't I even know the name?"


Jade sat down. She took a deep breath. "Shanna, remember me telling you about the man in Edinburgh?


The one on the trip? The one-"


"The one who rescued you from the tomb? And then disappeared?"


"Yes. Well, he's here and his name is Lucian DeVeau."


Shanna leaned forward. "He's here . . . where, here?" she asked suspiciously.


"In New Orleans, not right here, not this minute."


"So why is this woman calling here looking for him?"


"I don't know."


"Was he here?"


Jade hesitated. "Yes."


Shanna was silent a long moment. "Just how 'here' was he?"


"What do you mean by that?"


"You know what I mean by that."


Shanna was too close to her, too ready to read between the lines of what she was willing to say and what she wasn't.


"I ran into him and we had a drink at Drake's. Derrick was bartending. And Danny came along, drunk as a skunk. We got him home together. I couldn't have managed it without Lucian's help."


"And then he came here." Jade hesitated again. "Yes."


Shanna shook her head in disgust. "And you had Rick, one of the greatest guys in the whole world." Jade exhaled impatiently. "Shanna, you said it yourself-it wasn't right. If it had been right. . . Rick would have stayed with me. Maybe. I think. I don't know anymore." Shanna's sudden sound of shock alerted Jade to the fact that her sister hadn't realized just how far things had gone with Lucian . "Jade! You didn't."


"Shanna-"


"A total stranger."


"He's not exactly a stranger. He saved my life in Scotland."


"Did he?" Shanna queried sharply, her aqua eyes sharply narrowed on Jade. "Or was he part of it?


Don't you find it amazing, the way that he disappeared after it all? And now people are being horribly murdered in the States-and here he is again!"


Jade pushed the paper toward her. "He's in New Orleans. People were murdered in Massachusetts!" Shanna fell silent. "What's his explanation?"


"He . . ."


Shanna threw up her arms. "Great. He doesn't have an explanation. So you invited him right over and into bed."


"At least I'd met him. What about you?"


''I went to the movies. And Dave didn't show up anyway," Shanna murmured. She stared at her sister.


"He's sick, too. Like Rick. Rick Beaudreaux. Remember? That really great cop you've been dating."


"I'm going to break it off, Shanna, as soon as I can."


"Great. He's at death's door, and you're going to break his heart"


"He isn't at death's door-he's just really, really sick."


Frustrated, Shanna just stared at her. "Where is this Lucian now?"


"I don't know."


"Oh, great. He just up and disappeared again."


"No, he was here a long time."


Shanna made a snorting sound. "Good to hear that he isn't just wham, bam, thank you, ma'am."


"Shanna, stop it. We had a drink, we took Danny home, he stayed."


"And then?"


"All right-and then he disappeared."


"Jade, Jade, Jade!" Shanna murmured.


They both jumped when the phone started to ring.


"I'll get it," Shanna told her.


"No, I'll get it." Jade nearly had to snatch the receiver from her sister's hand. "Hello?"


"Miss MacGregor?"


"Yes?"


"This is Sean Canady. Detective Sean Canady."


"Oh, yes. How are you?"


"Worried at the moment."


"Really?" She sank back into her chair.


"Who is it?" Shanna whispered.


Jade covered the mouthpiece. "Sean Canady."


"The cop?" Shanna demanded, frowning.


"Miss MacGregor, are you alone?"


She hesitated. "My sister is with me."


He was quiet for a minute. "Lucian is not there?"


Her heart quickened and then seemed to miss a beat. "How do you know about him?"


"Is he there?"


"Do you know a Maggie?" she cross-queried.


"Yes. My wife."


"Well, your wife is trying to find him, too."


"Yes, yes, I know that."


"What the hell is going on?" Shanna demanded in a whisper.


Jade shook her head, shushing her sister.


"I'm here with my sister. I don't understand why you're calling.''


"I don't mean to alarm you terribly, but I thought you should know that you were acquainted with the young man from the automobile crash the other day."


"I was?"


More ice seemed to settle around her.


"You also need to be aware that it wasn't an accident. It was murder."


"I'm sorry; I'm very confused."


"You've seen today's paper?"


"Yes, just now."


"So you know that Tony Alexander was killed at his uncle's theme park last night."


"Yes... I, uh ... saw it" Her ringers curled more tightly around the phone cord. Shanna's eyes were wide and on hers.


"Detective Canady, I'm not sure what that has to do with the young man killed here."


"It was Tom Marlow. You knew him in Scotland."


Tom Marlow. Another face and name rushed back to her. She saw him at the start of the tour, teasing Sam Spinder, Marianne. ...


She moistened her lips, fighting a wave of panic.


"But I saw the newspapers here when the accident occurred. His name was down as Tad Madsen."


"Tad was a nickname. I believe he was using Madsen on purpose, as if he were afraid that someone might be looking for him. He had just transferred down here to LSU from a college in the north. Maybe he was trying to hide."


Jade slid back into a seat at the table.


"Look, I'm sorry to give you this kind of news, but I want you to be careful. Most important, watch out for strangers. Be careful when you go out. In fact, you really shouldn't go out at all. And don't invite anyone in, do you understand? It's really important that you don't invite anyone in." Shanna had edged very close to her. Now she whispered, "I heard that! I heard what he just told you.







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