When Abigail came too, she was lying on a couch in what she presumed was the coroner’s office. Vintage tools of the trade decorated the otherwise sparse room. Hearing voices, she quickly did a check to make sure her shift changes remained in place before the doctor returned.
As the door knob turned, Abigail laid back on the couch, closing her eyes to feign sleep. She heard two sets of footsteps enter the room, and two hushed male voices.
“This is the victim’s niece?” a deep, baritone voice asked. “We have a positive ID on the body?”
“Yes, I got a fingerprint match,” Aldridge said. “I didn’t have a chance to ask her any questions before she passed out.”
“Typical,” the other voice said. “It’s a shock to see a family member in that shape.”
Abigail felt a hand on her shoulder and smelled a faint chemical odor, mixed with expensive cologne.
“Ms. Dolan?” Aldridge gently shook her. “Ms. Dolan?”
Abigail opened her eyes slowly, hoping to appear to just be waking up. Rising on her elbow, she blinked at the two men.
“I am so sorry,” she said, sitting up. “I’m not usually so squeamish.”
She couldn’t admit she fainted because of the sudden influx of her essence draining from the body in their cold storage.
“Happens all the time,” Aldridge said, stepping aside to indicate the other man. “This is Det. Barlowe. If you recall, I told you I found some inconsistencies surrounding your uncle’s death. He has a few questions for you.”
“Jack,” Barlowe said, offering his hand to Abigail. He sat on the couch beside her, pulling a notepad and pen from inside his jacket. “I know it’s a difficult time for you, so I’ll try to make this as painless as possible.”
Barely listening, Abigail studied the man next to her. Younger than most police detectives, she guessed Barlowe had to be exceptionally smart to reach that rank at his age. He was tall and muscular, and obviously took care of his body. By any standard, he was an attractive man.
Knowing the way Quentin’s brain worked, Barlowe would be a logical step up from his current doctor host. She needed to keep track of the detective. With his connection to the deceased, both as a prior symbiotic and attending physician, Quentin could be a problem.
“Ms. Dolan, are you okay?” Barlowe leaned forward and touched Abigail’s hand.
Abigail rested her other hand on her forehead, and let out a low moan.
“You’re still shaken up. We can continue this later,” Barlowe closed his notepad and stood. “Let her rest a little longer, Doc. Here’s my card.”
After the two men left the office, Abigail gathered her purse and picked up Barlowe’s business card from the doctor’s desk. Taking off her shoes, she tiptoed down the hallway and out the back exit.
Outside, she stepped into her Jimmy Choos and flipped over the card, reading Barlowe’s name and number.
“We’ll talk soon, Jack.” Hurrying away from the hospital, Abigail began planning her next move.