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

Dru realized she probably wasn’t the only one who had found romance at the snowed-in hotel.

“You can leave when we get to the bottom of this, and not before,” Wagner said sternly. “Do I make myself understood?”

Young nodded, with a perturbed look on her face.

“Okay then,” Wagner said. “Off to your rooms, all of you. Someone will be around with food shortly.”

Dru watched as the guests shuffled off to their rooms.

“Show him the crime scene photos I took,” Channing told her, handing her his phone.

“Thanks,” Dru replied, taking it.

He nodded and gave her a significant look as he headed upstairs. She had no idea what it was about.

It was odd to watch the man she had begun to think of as a detective turn back into a regular guest now that the police were here. It seemed like he should be the one down here, explaining everything to Wagner.

She took a deep breath and approached the front desk.

Hailey arrived just before her.

“I’m also a desk clerk,” Hailey said to Wagner. “Hailey Woods. I’d be glad to help with the meals.” She smiled up at him.

Hailey’s striking, goth beauty had always seemed almost magical to Dru, and she expected Wagner to fall instantly under her co-worker’s spell.

“Excellent, Miss Woods,” Wagner said, not seeming to notice Hailey at all beyond her offer of service. “Take the young man with you. Stick together.”

“Yes, sir,” she said.

Hailey gave Dru a look as she and Zander headed for the kitchen.

“Now, Miss Holloway,” Wagner said, indicating the two easy chairs by the fire. “Let’s have a seat.”

Dru joined him, feeling nervous, though she had done nothing wrong.

“I’d like to hear everything, beginning with the night of the murder,” Wagner said. “And please don’t leave anything out.”

“I don’t have my notepad with me,” Dru said. “So I don’t have any notes on what everyone said.”

“I don’t care what everyone said,” Wagner said dismissively. “At least, not yet. I want to know what you remember.”

“Okay,” Dru said. “Well, it was the night of the comet.”

“What comet?” Wagner asked.

“Helsing’s Comet,” Dru said. “It’s been all over the news. You can see it well from up here, so the hotel was full.”

“I see,” Wagner said, noting it down.

“It was my shift, so I was outside handing out binoculars,” Dru went on.

“Who else was outside?” Wagner asked.

“Well, everyone,” she replied. “I mean, not everyone, I think Mr. and Mrs. Wilder were… in their room.”

It was probably best to leave out what she assumed they were doing.

“That’s the man who wanted to leave just now?” Wagner asked, eyes narrowed.

“Well, yes, but they didn’t hurt anyone,” Dru said. “They just wanted some alone time.”

Wagner raised an eyebrow.

“They meant to reserve two rooms,” Dru explained. “One for them and one for their daughter. But they mistakenly reserved only one.”

“So you believe the Wilders were having sexual relations in their room during the murder?” Wagner asked, his pen hovering over his notepad.

“Please don’t write that down,” Dru said, feeling miserable.

“Miss Holloway,” Wagner said.

“It’s Dru,” she told him.

“Dru,” he allowed. “This is a murder investigation. Every detail, no matter how small or embarrassing, is important.”

She nodded, pressing her lips together.

“Who else was missing?” Wagner asked.

Dru thought back.

“Their daughter was outside, so were the mayor and Miss Young,” she said. “And Howie, Zander and Hailey, of course.”

“You mean Howard Pembroke?” Wagner asked.

“Yes,” Dru said.

Wagner noted everything down carefully.

“Who else was outside?” he asked when he was finished.

She thought back.

“Hazel and Honey Van Buren were there,” she said, “They’re the ladies who live permanently in the Amethyst Room. They were with Zander.”

He wrote it down.

She tried to picture the hotel log in her mind to account for each guest. He would probably ask her to pull it out in a minute anyway.