Witch Hunt – Ch. 13


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He briefly debated not telling them. Briefly.

After Wendy’s lambasting over the last piece of withheld information, JD wasn’t willing to risk silence. As soon as he saw them, he’d tell her and Dillon about the toolbelt incident. They’d leap to the wrong conclusions, of course, but he couldn’t be responsible for that. He’d inform them and try to remind them to stay objective.

Yeah, right.

JD reached the Kiley’s room without further incident. Which rather surprised him. He’d ventured out twice so far today, and both times something almost killed his clients. The odds of a leather belt failure weren’t that great, he guessed. He also knew there was no reason to believe it was anything but an accident, a fluke. Freaky, and coincidental, maybe, but not even Wendy and Dillon could classify it as supernatural.

He noted higher EMF readings than in a standard residential environment, but expected that. He noted, too, there were no spikes or anomalous readings between his room and the Kiley’s old suite. Nothing that would further interfere with the camera transmission. Finally, a bit of good news.

On the other hand, as he stood in front of the door to the suite and stared at the EMF meter, he realized two things:

He forgot the camera power supplies, and even if he hadn’t, he didn’t have the key to the Kiley’s suite. The Kileys let them in earlier, and it wasn’t needed to exit. It never occurred to him to get it.

Miffed with himself, he traveled the distance back his room. Once there, he hunkered in the alcove next to the door. He dug out the three camera travel cases, hard plastic miniature suitcases lined with thick egg-crate anti-static foam, opened one and took the AC adaptor out. The neatly wound cords were secured so they wouldn’t tangle or kink. He stopped and tried to think of anything else he might need. The walk between the Kiley suite and his room got old fast.

He finally shrugged and left. He faced the door and tugged the handle to make sure it locked, and glanced left past the elevators to see if Dillon would emerge from the corridor leading toward room 3126.

Naturally, he didn’t. JD went down the hall, but the faint murmurs of voices beyond the staircase door caught his attention again.

He opened the stairwell door, and heard Wayne and Hank somewhere below him.

“Hank?” he called.

“Hello? Is that you, JD?” Hank’s rumbling voice carried smooth and deep up the concrete shaft.

“Yes, it’s JD. Could I trouble you to open your old suite? And room 3126? I have a couple of things to do yet.”

Hank appeared on the ascending stairs below JD, staring up to the landing. “Dillon still has my key to 3126, bud, but I can let you into our suite.”

JD stared down the gap between the stairs and smiled. “Sorry to be a pain, but it’d be a big help.”

“No trouble, no trouble at all.” Hank quick-stepped up the stairs, shiny dress shoes gleaming and razor-creased wool slacks whistling, and joined JD at the third floor landing. His cashmere shirt with its perfect three-button placket and soft collar concealed his middle to perfection. He turned and called down the gap in the stairs, “Wayne, I’ll be right back. Be careful, please. I don’t want you or anyone else getting hurt.”

“I’ll watch it, boss.”

Hank smiled and jerked his head toward the door. “Come on.”

He led them down the hall and past most of the hotel to the quiet section leading to their suite. The entire section of the wing felt eerie somehow, but JD forced himself to dispel the feelings in favor of facts. It was just another section of the resort, nothing more.

Hank hesitated short of the door. He pulled the retractable key holder from his hip, and flipped through the myriad cards until he found the right one. JD noticed another instant of hesitation.

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