Her voice sounded far away, tinny and surreal. Barlowe tried processing what she was saying, but his brain kept telling him this woman was batshit crazy.
Pushing away from his desk, he locked the office door then sat beside Abigail, turning her chair so she was facing him.
“Tell me everything.”
For the next two hours, Abigail confessed it all. Her past with Quentin, and their contract. How she was tasked to find him a new, permanent host only to void their agreement when she refused to relinquish a baby to his control.
“He was failing. His body was giving out and he needed a fresh host.” Abigail said. “His theory was that by inhabiting a baby, he would carry that host for centuries. Only…”
“Only you had a change of heart?” Barlowe already suspended rational thought by believing Abigail’s story, he needed to believe she was not evil too.
“He was dormant for three years,” she said. “During that time, I did a lot of research and studied ways to battle him. I think he can be vanquished, but I need a little more time to work out a plan.”
“What can I do?”
“We need to keep an eye on Quentin… Dr. Payne, and make sure he doesn’t take on a different host.”
“I should follow up with him on Dolan. I’ll call him, set up a meeting at the hospital,” Barlowe said. “I guess that case is closed. I can’t tell my captain Payne killed a man who was already dead.”
Quentin, still wearing Payne, strolled into the hospital, and a young woman quickly walked up beside him.
“A police detective was looking for you today. Called about an hour ago asking when you were scheduled to come in.”
The nurse, the same one who visited Payne’s apartment days earlier, was too eager to appear helpful.
“I’ve already talked with him,” Payne said, trying to remember the woman’s name. Kathy, he thought. “I’ll be in my office. Someone let me know when he arrives.”
“I can come over tonight,” Kathy moved closer, whispering it more as a question.
“Okay, sure. Bring me something to eat.” Payne was distracted by a different blonde nurse walking through the ER. “You know what I like. None of the fast food shit.”
If Kathy was a puppy, she’d be on her back, offering her belly to be rubbed, too happy at his fleeting attention to notice he was looking somewhere else.
Payne tried to follow the other woman. She was familiar, but he couldn’t quite place her. When she stopped and looked at him, she wasn’t who he thought she was. Spinning around again, he caught a voice. A name from his distant past tickled the edges of his memory.
“I have something I need to do,” Payne yelled to the desk nurse as he raced out of the ER. “If that detective shows up, just ask him to wait.”
Payne threw gravel when he pulled into the cemetery parking lot. Leaving his car door open and the key in the ignition, he ran to a familiar crypt. The concrete and iron tomb held his body for three years. It was the last place he saw Abigail, before he took her life and her essence.
Stepping inside, he expected to see her decaying shell. Instead it was empty, save for a few scattered dead leaves.
Slapping the solid wall, Payne swore under his breath. “Damn you, Abigail. I didn’t want to have to keep killing you.”