The Soul Summoner (The Soul Summoner Saga Book 1) (5 page)

BOOK: The Soul Summoner (The Soul Summoner Saga Book 1)
10.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

"I'm sorry too," I whispered. 

He placed his hand on my back for a second and then stood. "I appreciate you letting me know, Sloan."

I nodded, and he backed out of the room. When I heard the front door open, despite my better judgement, I called out to him. "Wait." 

I turned around, and he looked back over his shoulder. He closed the door.

"Just wait." I dropped my face into my hands, and when I looked up again, he was seated on my coffee table in front of me. "I don't know where she is. It's just a feeling that I get. I know she's alive."

He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "What do you mean, it's a feeling? Do you get feelings about everyone?" 

I nodded. "Yes."

"Is it just a dead or alive thing or what?"

I sighed. "It's more than that. I know things about people."

His face was inscrutable. "What do you know?"

"Like, I know you're a pretty decent guy who has lived a clean life. However, I have another feeling that I may regret ever having met you."

He thought for a moment. "What if you talked to Kayleigh's mother? Would you know if she was lying to me?" 

I raised an eyebrow. "I thought you were the interrogation specialist? I thought you could tell when people are lying?"

His head tilted to the side. "Will you help me?"

"I will talk to the mother, but that's it." I pointed my finger at him. "I mean it, Nathan."

He quickly stood so I wouldn't have a chance to change my mind. He pulled his keys out of his pocket. "I'll drive."

In the passenger's seat of Nathan's county-issued tan SUV, I wondered what on earth I was getting myself into. I could see before me the proverbial can of worms that was about to be cracked wide open. My entire life, I had dedicated myself to trying to just be like everyone else, and there I was headed at forty-five miles per hour toward never being normal again. 

Nathan was angled back in his seat with one hand on the steering wheel. "Thanks for doing this." He slowly merged onto the interstate.

I just nodded.

He looked over his shoulder at me. "You know I'm going to have a hell of a lot of questions when this is all over with."

My index fingernail was bloody from my nervous chewing. "Why did you come to my office this morning?"

After a few quiet seconds, I cut my eyes over at him. He was grinning. "I guess I just had a


He laughed.

Desperate for a new topic of conversation, I forced a change of subject. "So, what's your story, Nate? How did you wind up here? Why Asheville?" 

He sucked in a deep breath. "My girlfriend lives here."

The day just kept getting better and better. 

 Nodding, I prayed he wouldn't continue. He did.

"She's a reporter for WKNC."

"Of course she is," I grumbled under my breath. I probably knew his girlfriend through work. 

He leaned his ear toward me. "What'd you say?"

I examined my bloody fingernail again. "I didn't say anything."

"What about you?" he asked. "Have you always lived here?"

I nodded. "Other than college and the time I spent being probed by the aliens on the mothership, yes."

He laughed again.

"I actually grew up about five minutes away from here. If you ever visit the Grove Park Inn, you will pass my parents' house on the way up the mountain," I said.

He took the exit onto College Street. "I hear that hotel is really nice." 

Sitting up straight, I looked out my window. "Where are we going?" 

"The jail. The mom was arrested last night during the raid," he said.

I dropped my face into the palm of my hand and groaned.

"Is that a problem?"

I forced a smile. "Nope."

He pointed at me. "You're lying."

I shuddered. "I hate the jail. It gives me the creeps."

He focused on the road ahead. "I won't let anything get to you." 

His words would have made me feel all warm and tingly inside, had the thoughts of prison rapists and murderers—and his reporter girlfriend—not squelched the moment. I waved my hands in the air and rolled my eyes. "Yay." 

He chuckled and playfully shoved me in the shoulder.

We pulled into the parking lot in front of the drab green building, and I contorted my shoulders to try to relieve some of the tension that was building in my spine. I reached for my purse, pulled out my prescription bottle, and popped half of a chalky tablet under my tongue. 

He looked at me surprised. "What are you taking?" 

"Xanax, nosy," I said.

"You should probably leave your purse in here," he said. 

I had never actually been back in the guts of the jail side of the building. For a moment I considered taking the other half of my anxiety pill, but I was afraid I might end up drooling on his leather seat during the drive back home. We parked in a parking spot that was labeled with his name, and I shoved my purse under my seat. 

I matched Nathan step for step as we approached the front door. He paused and looked at me when we reached the landing at the top of the stairs. I looked around in confusion. "What are you doing?" 

He motioned toward the door. "I wasn't sure if you needed to check out your ass in the window or not."

Smacking him hard in the chest, I genuinely laughed for the first time all day.

When we entered, the lobby was empty. We walked up to the sliding door and he pressed the buzzer. No response. He shook his head and pressed the buzzer again, this time letting his finger linger on the button. 

"Press that button again!" Ms. Claybrooks yelled over the speaker. "Press it again! I'll come atch'you with razor blades and lemon juice!" 

His wide eyes spun around to meet mine. I covered my mouth to keep from laughing too loudly. He pointed at the door. "Is she always like this?" 

I nodded. "Every time I've ever been here."

"Razor blades and lemon juice?" He chuckled. "What the hell?"

"Who's callin'?" she finally barked over the intercom.

"Detective McNamara," he answered.

"Do I know you?"

He rested his hand on his hip and sighed. "Ms. Claybrooks, I've been here for a few weeks now." 

"Ohhhhh," she purred. "You're one of the new boys, huh? Are you the red head or the cute little blonde boy?"

He laughed and dropped his head. "I guess I'm the cute little blonde boy." 

"You come on in, cutie pie." The door slid open.

Laughing, I squeezed his arm. "I love her so much."

My heart was pounding as I followed him through a maze of concrete walls and metal doors. Just when I was certain I would never find my way back out, we entered a small office, and he dropped his keys on the desk. "You OK?" he asked.

I imagined that my face was white, and I could feel sweat beading across my forehead. "Yeah, I'm good. Let's get this over with."

He picked up the phone and pressed a few buttons. "This is Detective McNamara. I need Rebecca Neeland in CID." He hung up the phone and pulled his shirt up over his waistband. I darted my eyes away as he unholstered his handgun. 

I caught my reflection in the glass of a framed certificate on his wall. I smoothed my hair down and swiped some smudged mascara out from under my eyes. "What's CID?" 

"Criminal Investigations Division." He pulled open the bottom drawer of the desk. "Do you have anything in your pockets I should lock up? Pens, knives, scissors, fingernail file?"

I ran my hands over the smooth fabric of my black, slim-line skirt. "Nope, I think I left all of my knives and nail files in my other skirt."

He smiled and shook his head. 

We left the office and walked down to another room. I recognized it as an interrogation room from television, except the mirrored glass was a disappointingly small window instead of the whole wall. I guessed the Buncombe County jail didn't have the budget Hollywood did. I looked around at the bleak gray walls and shuddered.

"How do you want to do this?" he asked.

"Can I talk to her alone?"

He shook his head. "Absolutely not." 

I scrunched up my nose. "Well, can you at least try to not be so intimidating? Maybe smile a little bit?"

"I smile," he argued. 

"Not when you're in interrogator mode. I saw
that guy
this morning, remember?" I gestured toward him and tried hard not to roll my eyes. 

He smiled and nodded his head.

I took a step in his direction and lowered my voice so no one else could hear. "Nathan, please keep in mind that I really don't know exactly what I'm doing here, so please don't put too much hope in this."

He squeezed my shoulder. "We have over two dozen officers knocking down doors as we speak. We are doing everything we can on our end. This woman was really uncooperative when we brought her in, and she was tweaked out of her mind on crystal meth. I appreciate you just trying to help."

"Have you told anyone about our conversations today?" I asked.

He shook his head. "Not a soul."

I relaxed a little.

There was a knock on the doorframe, and we both turned around. A bedraggled woman, about my age, was being led into the room by a female deputy. It was obvious Rebecca Neeland was, at one time, a stunning girl. She had thick, naturally highlighted blonde hair and striking green eyes. But her hair was weighed down with straggly dead ends, and her eyes were cloaked in dark circles. Her full lips were dry and cracked, and her sallow skin was thin, blistered, and stretched over high cheekbones and a perfectly shaped button nose.  She scowled at us before casting her gaze at the tile floor beneath her orange sandals. 

"Thank you, Deputy," Nathan said. "I'll take it from here."

"I'll be outside," the deputy answered. She pulled the door closed behind her as she stepped back into the hallway.

"Have a seat, Rebecca." He motioned toward the armless chair at the table. "I'm Detective McNamara and this is Ms. Jordan. Can I get you something to drink? Some water or—"

She cut him off. "No. What do you want?" she snapped. "Have you found my baby yet?"

I studied her face. Rebecca Neeland wasn't a victim, but she wasn't necessarily a villain either. She had certainly made some bad choices, and I couldn't tell if she would ever right her path or not, but she wasn't evil. I slipped into the seat across from her. "Hey… is it Rebecca? Or Becky maybe?"

Her eyes darted to the table. "Becca," she muttered.

"Hey, Becca. I'm Sloan," I said.

"Who are you?" she asked.

I laughed. "I'm nobody."

She glanced skeptically down at my white buttoned blouse and cocked her head to the side. "You don't look like nobody." 

"Well, I'm not a cop. Or a lawyer." I turned my palms face-up on the table. "I'm actually a publicist." 

Her eyebrows scrunched together. "A publicist?"

"Yeah, I work with news people and stuff. It's very boring," I said.

"What are you doin' here? Am I gonna be on TV or somethin'?" she asked.

I shook my head. "No. I just want to help. My buddy, Nate, over there came by my office this morning with this picture of Kayleigh, and it just broke my heart. She's really cute." I pushed the photograph of her daughter in her direction.

Her eyes teared up, and she quickly swiped at them with the sleeve of her orange jumpsuit. 

I placed my hand on top of hers. "Do you have any idea where we can look for her?" 

She jerked her hand away. "I already told 'em, I don't know where Ray went."

"How long have you and Ray been together?" I asked.

"Since I moved here from Greensboro. What's it matter?" she snipped.

I shrugged my shoulders. "Just curious because if my friend Nate back there up and disappeared right now, I would have a good idea where to go looking for him, and we haven't been together that long." I lowered my voice and cut my eyes at her with mock sympathy. "Does Ray keep secrets from you?"

She scowled. "Ray don't keep nothin' from me." 

"But, obviously, you must not know him very well." I took a deep breath. "Or, Ray just doesn't trust you to keep quiet, and he doesn't tell you everything."

She tapped her finger against the table. "Ray knows I can keep my mouth shut." 

"So, you do know where he goes?"

"Of course I do!"

My eyes widened. So did hers. 

I lowered my voice again. "Rebecca, I'm not a legal genius here, but I'm pretty sure if you don't tell us what you know, then you're going to make things a lot worse for yourself in here. You'll get a lot more time stacked up on you in this hell hole, and you'll lose your daughter, maybe forever."

She just stared at me. 

I tapped my chest. "I'm going to go and get Kayleigh. I'm not going to arrest Ray. I just want to make sure your little girl is safe."

Her eyes widened with curiosity. "You're going to go get her?"

I nodded. "Yes. Me. I'm going to go."

She shifted in her seat. Her eyes darted nervously around the room before settling on the picture of Kayleigh. She leaned forward. "There's an abandoned house at the end of the road on Clarksdale. Ray goes there sometimes," she whispered. 

I smiled. "Thank you."

I looked over my shoulder to where Nathan was leaned against the wall with his mouth hanging open. I pushed my chair back and stood up. "Let's go." 

Rebecca jumped out of her chair. "But you said you was gonna go! Not him!"

I nodded and held my hands up in defense. "I said I was going to get Kayleigh and not arrest Ray. That's the truth. I'm just a publicist."

She shouted a few obscenities, and the deputy outside rushed in as Nathan and I walked out of the room. 

"How did you do that?" he asked as he jerked his radio off of his tactical belt. 

It was hard to keep up with his pace; I was practically jogging in my heels. "I guess I just know how to talk to people." 

He was on his radio the whole way out to the car. When I ran over to the passenger's side and grabbed the door handle, he stopped and pointed at me over the hood of the vehicle. "Oh, no. You're not going." 

"Oh yes I am! You're not leaving me here!" I shouted. "There's not enough Xanax in the world, buddy."

BOOK: The Soul Summoner (The Soul Summoner Saga Book 1)
10.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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