Sunday, September 5, 2010

Niko and Leni

Chapter 5

"Um...morning." I said as she slowly took in the small room.

"Is it?" Leni asked putting a hand to her head and swaying. She blinked several times to focus her eyes. "Is that my file?" she would probably have been annoyed if her head didn't hurt so much, instead she sounded almost lazy about it.

"Yes it is." I said honestly. "There's coffee..." I pointed to the coffee maker in order to change the subject. "I'm gonna go...I'll be right back." I said. I brushed past her on my way up the stairs. I pulled on a shirt and changed so at least one of us was more than half dressed. When I got back downstairs, she was sitting at the table, nursing a cup of coffee. I poured myself another cup and stood a little awkwardly in my tiny nook of a kitchen.

"Um...last night..." she started awkwardly, not meeting my eyes. "Did we....I mean...what happened exactly?"

I couldn't help but grin. "You passed out, I didn't know where you were staying so I brought you back here."

"And I'm wearing one of your shirts because..." she fiddled with the fabric and tried to pull it down further than it could go.

"Your clothes were wet, soaked really - I think you must have gone for a swim." I explained. I left out the part about trying to get her changed. "Speaking of which, they're out on the line - I'll go get them for you."

I put my coffee cup down and stepped outside to the side of the house where I had hung the clothes out to dry. Leni's clothes from the night before were dry, though my own laundry was still damp.

I stepped inside and handed them to her, as I did my phone started ringing, so I left her to change and stepped back outside. "Geirson" I replied.

"Hey Niko, it's Nessia - we have a DB down at the Bistro. You available for a bit?" a female voice asked.

I glanced over at the house and saw Leni near the window. I could just take her back to her hotel and then head over to the Bistro. There were only a couple hotels on the island so it would likely be on the way.

"Niko? You there?" Nessia asked as I considered what to do with Leni, the sooner I could get her off my island, the happier I would be.

"Yeah yeah. Just have to get rid of a house guest first." I heard her chuckle on the other end, I could imagine what she was thinking. "I'll be there in twenty."

"Oh take your time, he's not going anywhere." she replied, still chuckling as the phone went dead.

Leni came out as I hung up the phone, "So, are you going to help me out with this or not?" she asked holding up the file that I'd been reading that morning when she came down.

"Come on, I have a job to do - I'll drop you back at the hotel on the way." I said in response. I stepped inside to grab my things and locked up to tiny house.

"So what do you do during the day?" she asked while driving, having decided to temporarily drop the topic of Felicia.

"Stuff." I said. "Which hotel are you staying at?" She shook her head and refused to tell me so ten minutes later, I was forced to drop her off in town and then headed for the Bistro, I only hoped she wouldn't follow me.

Nessia waved me across the crime scene tape. "Morning Niko." she said. "Get rid of your guest?" she asked with a smirk.

"More or less." I muttered. I crouched beside the body and looked over him. "Hey I know this guy..." I said after looking over the face a couple times. I thought back to the brief encounter with him as I left The Bum yesterday.

"You do?" Nessia asked in surprise.

"Well not know exactly, I saw him yesterday at The Bum." I said standing up.

"You think the food there killed him?" she joked.

"No, looks like strangulation." I said pointing toward the neck. The bruising had become pronounced in the hours since death.

"Hey who's that?" Nessia asked, looking over my shoulder and pointing. I turned to look and groaned. "Ah, your not so absent house guest then..." she covered her mouth to hide a laugh.

"Would you please just..." I knelt before the body again and was handed a pair of gloves. I pulled them on and tilted the neck ever so slightly to get a better look at the neck. "Looks like a chain..." I said looking up at Nessia. To my surprise, she was waving Leni over as well.

"Hi" she offered Leni her hand.

"Hey Nessia, dead body...crime don't even know this woman." I said. I looked at Leni and shrugged. "No offense or anything."

"I didn't know you much either when you first arrived and yet here you are..." she grinned. Ugh, everyone around here was far too laid back sometimes.

The coroner arrived and started speaking rapidly with Nessia in French, one of the many languages spoken on the island.

Nessia started giving her the details (I assume anyway, I don't speak French beyond a few phrases) so I returned my attention back to the body of the dead tourist. I had seen what looked like a tattoo on his arm and returned to look at it.

It wasn't a tattoo at all, it turned out to be a stamp from a local night club. A stamp of a crescent moon. "That's not good." I muttered to myself and glanced around quickly as if the killer were lurking nearby.

Only Leni heard me and she knelt beside me to look at the stamp. She was completely confused by it, telling me she didn't know the significance. "What is it?" she asked. I didn't comment but started poking around in the dead guys pockets for a wallet.

I'm not sure if it was smell of death, the hangover or some combination of both; but Leni jumped to her feet and backed away from the scene. After I found the wallet (with nothing taken), I glanced back at her and saw her swaying on her feet.

"His name is Rob Jamison." I said holding up the wallet for Nessia. That caught her attention enough to bring her attention back to me.

She pulled on her own gloved before taking the wallet. "You know you should have waited for the coroner before snooping around..." she teased. When I'd first arrived I'd been a stickler for my sort of protocol and it had taken me time to get used to the way things were dealt with here.

As she looked through the wallet of on Rob Jamison, a resident of Wisconsin, I stood and pulled off my gloves. I nodded to the coroner and walked over to Leni. "Hey, you alright?" I asked, placing a hand on her back.

"That's a dead body..." she stated, hazarding a glance over her shoulder and then looking like she regretted it instantly.

"Yes, it is." I replied. "Aren't you a private detective?" I asked after the latest round of nausea passed.

"Yeah but I've never worked a case involving dead bodies." she said. "I mostly work divorces...nothing like this."

"And you're hung over...that doesn't help." I added. "Come on," I offered her my hand. "They're taking him back to the morgue, I'll drop you at your hotel on my way...assuming you're ready to tell me this time." I added with a laugh.

"Yeah...hotel, hotel sounds good..." she still looked really green as I led her back to the car. She was in the middle of telling me her hotel when my phone alerted me to a text message.

"Leave now" was all it said. I couldn't be sure who it was from since it was a number I didn't recognize but I felt pretty sure it was from John as I though back to the moon stamp and the files.

"What is it?" Leni asked, having watched my face change.

I shook my head. "Nothing," I headed in the direction of her hotel, determined to leave her there so she didn't get dragged into whatever was going on.

The car shuddered violently as it was struck in the rear. I attempted to correct while looking back to see what had struck us, all I saw was a streak of silver before the car shook again and the sound of metal crunching on metal ripped through the car. Tires squealed and I could feel the car get pushed off the road and onto gravel.

"What the hell?!" Leni shrieked. I turned to look at her for a second and I had time to see the deep lake and waterfall in front us. Before I could try to react, the car shook once more from another hit - he was pushing us straight into the water.

And then I felt the cold water creeping in touch my feet. "Oh shit..."

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