Heart of the Vampire : (Episode 3) by Tasha Black



Dru nodded like a chastened child.

“Happy to, Officer,” Channing said.

“Good,” Wagner replied. “I see people are beginning to wake up.” He nodded toward the hotel.

Sure enough, Dru could see lights were turning on. It must be eight by now and people would have been waking up anyway, but the roar of the generator and the lights going back on would have woken them regardless.

Not to mention the gunshot.

“We’re going to gather everyone together,” Wagner said. “And we’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

“Get to the bottom of what?” Dru asked. “We already know what happened.”

“Do we?” Wagner asked, turning to her.

“Brian Thompson, the man who was murdered, was in witness protection,” she explained. “His real name was Little Nicky Costello, and he testified against the mob. Johnny was in the mob too. He had every reason to kill him for squealing.”

“That’s an interesting theory,” Wagner allowed. “But it sounds like the only thing you have to support it is a grainy newspaper photo and a little imagination.”

“We had no power and no access to the internet,” Channing put in.

“My partner and I will look everything over,” Officer Wagner said. “You’ll help us with access to the hotel records, Miss Holloway?”

“Call me Dru, and sure,” she replied. “I’ll help in any way I can.”

“Excellent,” Wagner said, nodding crisply.

He set off cheerfully toward the hotel, the others trailing in his wake.

It was going to be a long day.

But at least she would have something to keep her mind off her imminent murder.





2





Dru stood in the hotel lobby, watching the guests file down from their rooms. Zander was back on duty at the desk, and she didn’t envy him his task.

“We want to check out immediately,” Jeffrey Wilder told Zander anxiously.

Jenna and Angie, his wife and daughter, stood behind him. Jenna put her arm around Angie and Dru was amazed to see that the teenager was frightened enough not to shake it off.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Wilder, but the road isn’t clear—” Zander began.

“No one can leave,” Officer Wagner said. “This is still a crime scene.”

“Not this again,” Oscar Hawkins said as he walked past them to find a seat at the fire.

Dru noticed that Oscar had his camera with him, even though she doubted he was planning to go bird-watching when there was a killer on the loose.

“What did he mean by that?” Officer Wagner said.

No one answered.

“What did you mean by that?” he asked Oscar.

Oscar shrugged in a don’t-look-at-me way.

“After the murder, we tried our best to collect some information,” Dru offered. “We didn’t know how long it would be until the police came.”

“What kind of information?” Wagner asked.

“We took a lot of photos of the crime scene,” Dru said. “And we asked everyone what they had seen and heard. I took notes.”

“I see,” Wagner said, nodding. “I’d like to see these pictures and notes. But first we need to have a little talk.”

He clapped his hands together loudly, and the room quieted.

“This hotel and its grounds are officially a crime scene,” he said loudly. “That means no one can come or go for the time being. We’re going to get to the bottom of this. But for now, I’m asking each of you to go to your rooms and lock yourselves in until you hear from me that it’s time to come out.”

There was a communal groan at that.

“This is for your safety,” Wagner said. “I will interview each of you later. My partner is still supervising the crew removing the tree, and it looks like that is going to take some time.”

“Some of us are hungry,” Tyler Park said loudly.

On the other side of the lobby, Dru’s friend and fellow desk clerk, Hailey, grinned. She had a pretty obvious crush on the outspoken snowboarder.

“The young man at the desk will see to it that rations are brought to your room,” Wagner said. “Any questions?”

Hailey looked a little disappointed at that. She probably wanted to bring Tyler his rations.

“When can we leave?” Melody Young asked. The local newspaper photographer was standing beside Mayor Tuck, her arm around the mayor’s curvy waist in a protective gesture.