Chapter 3Disclaimer: Some of the characters are mine, but most of them belong to CBS or to Joss Whedon and co.
“Let’s get this straight,” Lindsay said flatly. “This is the security office, but it’s locked.”
“Yup,” nodded Dan. “And it shouldn’t be locked.”
“Because it’s not yet ten a.m. The security guard who had the night shift wouldn’t have time to leave when the alarm sounded...” catching Lindsay’s look Dan relented (in a manner of speaking) and began to explain more fully.
“The nine-one-one call came from a completely unrelated person – some morning bird was walking her dog and saw the broken window. Realizing that something was wrong, she called us, and, well, we arrived alongside the dayshift workers and staff of the museum.”
“So, where’s the security guard in all of this?” Lindsay frowned, trying to figure out what was wrong with Dan’s story.
“That’s the question of the hour,” Dan nodded, solemnly. “He’s nowhere to be found and his office is locked from the outside-“
“That’s because he was never here,” spoke a different, unknown voice.* * *
“So, aside from blood and the lower jaw, have you noticed something else?” Jo said, as she became more like herself in presence of both Mac and Danny.
“You mean the lack of flies?” Danny answered instead. “The body lay here for several hours-“
“It wasn’t,” Mac shook his head. “The blood is still fresh and the ER physicians who removed it noticed that it had barely stiffened. The victim was dead for just a couple of hours, no more.”
“But... the sunrise was only a couple of hours ago!” Danny spoke, flustered. “The attacker was brazen enough to attack at such a time?”
“Well, let’s see. The attacker somehow entered the museum. He or she killed Ms. Limo with something that we can’t picture by tearing most of her head off. In the process, he or she pushed a heavy table out of the way leaving skidmarks on the tiled floor,” Jo began to list her points. “And they smashed a window to get out. For myself, I am not sure at all just what the killer was thinking aside from the fact that he or she was sufficiently confident to believe that he’d be able to muscle his way out of trouble should it come to that.”
“Or maybe,” Mac said slowly, from his vantage point at the window, “the killer didn’t think at all.” He stepped aside and revealed to Jo and Danny a rather smudged, but definitely inhuman hand- or footprint.* * *
“I am sorry, and you are?” Dan said slowly and carefully to the newcomer, aware that two of his own men were following the new arrival in a very non-discreet way.
“Luke, sir. I am the museum’s janitor and I was showing these fine men where what is. Right now, I was showing them the security guard’s office and explaining that he was absent.”
“Absent?” Dan repeated.
“Yes. On his honeymoon. He and Ms. Limo have had worked an agreement of sorts – he leaves for his honeymoon and doesn’t get paid for that time, and had it on paper, done all proper. Both of them printed it and signed and keep copies. I’m not sure where the guard keeps his, but Ms. Limo has one in her office...I mean-“ the man’s face crinkled up and Dan with Lindsay quickly understood that this interview must be wrapped up quickly.
“One final question, Mr. Luke,” Lindsay said quickly. “Who has the keys to the office, while the guard’s on his honeymoon?”
“Ms. Limo would have it, ma’am, or Ms. Straw.”
“Ms. Rachel Straw. She and Ms. Limo are both trustees, but they couldn’t stand each other, always arguing about how the museum’s finances should be managed. It was terrible, sir and madam, simply terrible.”
“Right,” Dan nodded slowly. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Luke, and for the information.”
As the impromptu tour guide of the museum walked away, Dan and Lindsay exchanged looks. “I think Mac should know this,” Lindsay said slowly.
Dan nodded in agreement.* * *
“Oz, hello,” Giles smiled fondly at the young man who had invited them to NYC in the first place. “I hope that Faith and the girls didn’t mess anything up?”
“No, they were great as roadies and all,” Oz nodded, smiling slightly before sobering up. “But that’s not the reason why I asked you to come. Kailey, come over.”
A slightly-built, rather plainly dressed young woman walked over to Giles and Oz, looking rather shy. As she came closer and Giles could see her pointed ears and short horns protruding from her temples, the reason for her shyness became self-evident. “You’re not human, are you?” he said flatly.
“No,” Kailey replied, just as flat. “But your Slayer friends and I already have had that discus-sion.”
“And we came to an agreement,” Kailey continued, unabashed. “But that’s not important.”
“And what is?”
“That during one of my meditations I sensed some sort of a spirit. It is extremely powerful, rather stupid, and hungry. Do you have any advice for me, Watcher?”
Instead of replying straight away, Giles took off his glasses and began to polishing them. “How about a full version instead?” he answered Kailey’s question with one of his own.
Kailey and Oz exchanged a look, and Oz shrugged.
“Well,” said Kailey, “it all began during one of meditations...”To be continued...