e4.6 Mart Cruikshank arrived in Boston at 5.30 on Tuesday. He was worried. On the flight he had read the rest of the newspapers.
e4.7 He had found the account of Blue’s death carried in The Oregonian. It did not tell him much, but enough to cause concern.
e4.8 When he switched his phone back out of flight safe mode, he found Evie’s abrupt text. He allowed himself a sigh of frustration.
e4.9 He found a quiet corner in the terminal and called her again. This time she answered. “Hello Marty. How are things?”
e5.0 “You tell me. What’s going on? I saw the news in the Oregonian.”
“Yes, I am afraid Blue is dead.”
“Is that all you have to say?
e5.1 You were supposed to be watching him. How come he’s dead?”
“I guess I slipped up,” replied Evie. Her voice was distant.
e5.2 Mart wondered if she even realised how serious things were becoming. He had had his doubts about Evie for some time.
e5.3 But the office had been enthusiastic, and she was certainly well placed. “How did he die?” he asked, keeping his voice level.
e5.3 “The police aren’t saying.”
“Did you have dinner with him as I suggested?”
“It was good. I had grilled duck.”
e5.4 Mart had no idea why Evie was trying to goad him to lose his temper. So he said nothing. There was a long pause.
e5.5 Eventually Evie said “You know, Mart, he really loved me. He would have told me anything. Given me names if I’d asked.”
e5.6 “And did you ask?” There was another pause. “No,” said Evie at last. “I did better than that.”
“What do you mean?”
e5.7 “Hey Mart, who said never discuss stuff on an open line? Maybe you should come and see me again. You can meet my new man.
e5.8 You would really get on well. He’s about your age.” This was going nowhere. “I’ll be in touch,” said Mart. He rang off.
e5.9 There was a text from Brennen on his phone. ‘Adam’s ill. Out of action for a bit I expect. Do I continue on my own?’
e6.0 Mart grimaced. Everything appeared to be unravelling. He couldn’t do anything more here, and he was not thinking straight.
e6.1 Back-to-back flights were not sensible. What time would it be in Scotland? Somewhere around midnight, he guessed.
e6.2 He texted Brennan. “Stay put. Get Adam’s report to me. Get Adam back on the road. And for God’s sake, keep his wife away.”<
[I’m impressed.And inspired. I bet you did well with theatre improv in school.]
[That was a long time ago! ]
[My timeline’s shot to hell. It’s 9 in Slamannan, noon in Livingston, midnight in Edinburgh. Will the day never end?]
[& with Mart in Boston, I now have 3 time zones to contend with.]
c3.7 In the farmhouse near Slamannan, the atmosphere had become thunderous. Euan and Janice had told the whole story.
c3.8 Wee Fergie, rooted like a rock, was adamant. “You’ll stop this nonsense and go to the polis. You’re being played with!”
c3.9 But Euan was not intimidated. Half the size of Wee Fergie, he sat at the table, unmoved. “He was my Dad, not yours.”
c4.0 “Aye right. And you’ve the same pig-headed refusal to see sense. I’ve a good mind to turn you in myself. Fuck’s sake,
c4.1 What do you think you’ll do? Turn up in your suit and ask ‘who killed my Pa?’ They’ll laugh you out of town, son.
c4.2 And then this Uncanny Death boy will have you where he wants. Though God alone knows where that is. I’m not doing it.”
c4.3 Bryndis said: “Fergie. You need to be away before the police come. Otherwise you hit someone, and then the worse for you.
c4.4 You have a load of timber for Carlisle. So, take it, and give them a lift. They can’t use the car.”
“I’m not taking them! That’s my last word.”
c4.5 “I need the toilet,” said Janice. She slipped out of the room. She locked the bathroom door and dug in her bag for a pencil.
c4.6 She couldn’t stay long. She wrote as fast as she could. Now she needed a phone. She couldn’t ask Bryndis. Maybe on the road?
c4.7 Stuffing the page back in the bag, she emerged. The atmosphere seemed calmer. “We have a compromise,” Bryndis announced.
c4.8 “Like in all best negotiations. I have a friend in Carlisle. He is a retired professor. He will like having research assistants.
c4.9 You will stay with him. He likes history and poking around battle scenes. There were many battles round Carlisle, I believe.
c5.0 Some of them near Newcastleton. So, maybe you will find something.” She smiled. Fergie glowered. Euan turned on Janice.
c5.1 “I don’t need you,” he said. “I’m going alone. I don’t need you. What gives you the right to think…? Why are you here?”
c5.2 “I got a message too,” said Janice. “Uncanny Death knows who I am. I’m sorry for kissing you. But it’s too late. I’m part of it.”
c5.3 Euan subsided. “Suit yourself,” he muttered. Bryndis looked across at him. “Euan, you know my people and yours share much.
c5.4 Much from way back. You know what ‘you maun dree yir weird’ means?” Euan looked at her, nodded. Wee Fergie stirred.
c5.5 “Stupid man,” Bryndis said, almost lovingly. “All that muscle and so little brain. Fergie, it means you must follow your fate.
c5.6 “It was my fate to end with a no-good like you. Euan’s fate, we don’t know yet. Janice? Her fate is maybe the same, maybe not.
c5.7 But for the moment their fates are together. So, you must both go and see my professor.” She paused. Then she laughed her deep laugh.
c5.8 “And now,” she announced, “The money.” She went over to the dresser and dug in a drawer. A bundle of notes appeared.
c5.9 “Show jumping,” said Bryndis. “I am not very good. Too heavy. But sometimes I get lucky. And here is lucky.”
c6.0 She held out the notes. “The Gods dropped it in my lap. Now I drop it in yours. Two hundred and fifty pounds.”
c6.1 “For Christ’s sake,” said Fergie, “That would almost pay for a new winch.” Bryndis laughed at him. “Borrow my horse, Fergie…
c6.2 …then maybe you will win a prize and buy a winch? Though I think not. Meanwhile, this Goddess chooses to give it to Janice.”
c6.3 She held out the money. Janice took it. “The charming policeman who advised locks for my stable will no doubt be here soon.
c6.4 …with different questions. So you need to be on your way. I shall phone my professor. You will meet him at Gretna Services.
c6.5 There will be no time for questions.” Bryndis smiled with complete satisfaction. Janice, clutching the money, wondered….
c6.6 if she would want to be Bryndis. On the whole, she thought not. Too weird. Almost creepy. And foreign.<
45.9 Tuesday night Brennen put Adam on a train going south. It was late, and the guy looked terrible. It felt good to send him away.
46.0 Brennen left nothing telling in the backpack or in Adam’s pockets. He arranged the ticket and took him to Waverly station.
46.1 “I sent Laura an email on your phone,” Brennen said. “She’ll meet you at Kings Cross.” He put the pack over Adam’s shoulder.
46.2 “You need to see a doctor after you get there,” he went on. “I told her, in the email– ‘I need a doctor—right away.’”
46.3 “So, just keep quiet– get some help. I’ll take care of things here.” Adam never spoke. Brennen wondered if he’d make it to London.
46.4 Blue’s autopsy was done on Tuesday afternoon. The head injury from hitting the hearth brick could very well have caused his death.
46.5 But the Oregon Medical Examiner ordered tests from the forensics lab: alcohol, benzodiazepines & a spectrum of illicit drugs.
46.6 On Wednesday morning the leader of the Newport investigation sat at his desk reading notes from Jesse Roberts’ interviews.
46.7 The neighborhood had been canvassed and questioned, including the old man next door. He said he’d heard Blue & Evie come in that night.
46.8 Then later he had heard her leave. He felt they were sinners and didn’t like them. Otherwise nothing.
46.9 Owen read carefully. Roberts spoke with the BlackFish Café staff. He noted when Blue and Evie arrived and left, what they ate, and the wine.
47.0 He spoke with other Friday night diners. They mentioned Evie, that she was pretty, that Blue went from the table to the restroom once.
47.1…that he was over-heard inviting her to stay over with him. The waitress said the second bottle of wine wasn’t empty when they left.
47.2 They said Blue tipped well. Then there were interviews with a couple other teachers as the high school, & the principal there.
47.3 The big interview would be Evie Lane. Zachary wanted to be there, and maybe Owen would let him—but not until after the Forensics Lab reported.
47.4 Evie smiled at herself in the mirror of her hotel bathroom. She was a lucky girl. Lucky at the casino, lucky in life, lucky Blue fell.
47.5 It was Wednesday morning. Wendell was coming at noon to help her pack up her things. By evening she would be sharing his apartment.
47.6 She thought of Marty. Making him crazy gave her a feeling of power. All he cared about was his mission. But she had that & Wendell too.
47.7 Wendell was so old, a few years younger than her father. His sister Iris adored him. He was in line for Iris’s money, no doubt at all.
47.8 And Evie knew more about Iris’s money than most anyone else but Iris–it paid to have old college friends working in NewYork galleries.
47.9 But she still had to deal with Marty and his concerns. She smiled again. She felt very prepared for his demands. And professional.
48.0 Blue had loaned her his laptop that last Friday, so she could pirate a couple programs off it while he was at school. Which she did.
48.1 She had taken her time that day. She saved a lot of his files to a flashdrive, then deleted the same files from his machine
48.2 She deleted some of the emailed letters she’d sent him too. About the job with Iris. It was sad to read some of the letters.
48.3 For a while, she had really liked him. And always he cared for her. Back and forth they wrote. And finally he got her that job.
48.4 For Marty she found the pages of names and contacts, and even a draft of a memoir–the story of what he thought he’d been through…
48.5 It must have been hard for Blue to sort the truth. But he loved the drugs. The ones he’d known about.This is where it blurred for her.
48.6 Evie felt truth was something that seemed to shift anyway, even without drugs, depending upon how you looked at things, or from where.
48.7 She saw herself, for example, as a very honest woman. Earning her way. She had such success with Wendell, & his potential wealth.
48.8 Not that Iris looked like wealth the slightest bit. Sometimes Evie worried that Iris had secretly given all her money, all 3 million, away…
48.9 to some pathetic organization to help the poor or to promote music in schools. Iris was just that sort of stupid do-gooder.
49.0 But Iris was paying dearly for Evie’s ‘landscape design’ services – clearly she still had some money. Evie would find out, before she married Wendell.