Vision in Silver Page 76

Monty moved quickly when he heard the raised voice coming from Captain Burke’s office.

“I just spent seven hours on a train, stuck in a car with a freaking vampire. I expect some cooperation, Burke.”

“Cooperation I can give you. As for the rest, I can’t give you what I don’t have,” Burke replied as he glanced toward the doorway. “Lieutenant, come in and meet Captain Felix Scaffoldon of Toland’s Crime Investigation Unit. Captain, this is Lieutenant Crispin James Montgomery.”

Monty stepped into Burke’s office. “Do you have some news about what happened to Elayne?”

Scaffoldon gave Monty a cold once-over. “Just strolling in now, Lieutenant? I guess getting cozy with the Wolves here has its perks if you don’t have to report to work on time. We’ll talk further.” He turned away from Monty—a sharp, dismissive gesture—and looked at Burke. “Right now, I want to see the girl.”

Monty stepped forward, forcing Scaffoldon to include him. “You came all the way to Lakeside to interview Lizzy? Weren’t you sent a copy of the interview that was already conducted?”

“He was,” Burke replied before Scaffoldon could. “But the captain is really more interested in retrieving the physical evidence, which I have already offered to hand over to him for his investigation.”

“Yes, I need to bring that bear back to Toland,” Scaffoldon snapped. “Having it sit here doesn’t help us find a killer.” When he said “killer,” he didn’t look at Monty, and he did it in a way that made it clear he believed Monty was the killer, despite the physical impossibility of being able to travel to and from Toland in the time frame. “But the child’s family wants her returned to Toland, so I’ll take her back with me.”

“My daughter is staying with me,” Monty said with quiet heat.

“Alleged daughter. Ms. Borden’s mother is questioning if you are, in fact, the child’s father.”

Monty pulled a document from his inner suit coat pocket and handed it to Scaffoldon. “Here. You can pass this on to Celia Borden.”

“What is it?” Scaffoldon didn’t bother to look.

“When the legal documents for child support were written, Elayne expressed no doubt that I was Lizzy’s father. She had no doubts when Lizzy was born and the birth certificate was filled out. She had no doubts, and neither did Celia Borden, during the years when Elayne, Lizzy, and I lived together in Toland. I know I’m Lizzy’s father, regardless of what Celia Borden is saying now. I’m Lizzy’s closest relative, and I can support her. So my daughter is staying with me. What I gave you was a photocopy of the custody papers that were signed and witnessed this morning.”

The relief he’d felt when he’d signed those papers had staggered him. Celia Borden had never shown any real interest in Lizzy, and Monty didn’t think her wanting custody now was sparked by feelings of affection for the girl. Celia just wanted the girl within easy reach for some reason, and whatever the reason, he was sure it wasn’t for Lizzy’s benefit.

Scaffoldon’s face was suffused with anger. He looked like he wanted to rip up the papers and throw them on the floor.

“I want to see the girl,” Scaffoldon said.

Burke’s fierce-friendly smile turned icy. “She’s at a safe house. Since you insist on seeing her, I’ve arranged for you to interview her there. I’ll have the bear brought up from the evidence lockup. You can take it with you so you won’t have to stop back here after the interview.” He made a show of looking at his watch. “She’ll be available in an hour.”

“I’ll interview her here.”

“No, you won’t.”

Scaffoldon stared at Monty and Burke. “By all the gods, where did you stash her?”

The icy glint in Burke’s blue eyes matched his smile. “In the Lakeside Courtyard.”

CHAPTER 38

Moonsday, Maius 14

They met in the government building on Great Island, in the conference room Steve Ferryman had reserved for this meeting.

Simon studied the woman sitting across from him, but he didn’t know the proper way to describe Pam Ireland. Plump? Solid? Compact?

Those were human terms. Since he wasn’t considering whether she’d have enough meat to feed a pack, he thought of other words that were relevant.

Sincere. Yes, that was a good word for what he was sensing. And . . .

“You smell like dog,” he said.

“That’s Ben,” she replied with an easy smile. “He’s a golden retriever. He’s still young, so he’s a little goofy, but he’s great with kids.”

Simon cocked his head. “Small humans or young goats?”

She laughed. “He’s never seen a young goat.”

“He will if you stay here,” Steve said, taking the seat beside her. “Along with Foxes, Bears, and Coyotes, to name a few. There are some dogs and cats on the island. Mostly working animals.” Looking at Simon and Henry, he waved a hand to indicate Ming Beargard. “Until Ben arrived and made it clear that, to him, a Bear smells like a Bear whether he’s wearing fur or human skin, it didn’t occur to us that the animals here don’t respond to the terra indigene in the same way as an animal who didn’t grow up around their scents. Poor Ben has spent half his time hiding.”

“Despite that, he’s been a kind of furry security blanket for the girls,” Pam said. “Mr. Ferryman indicated that there are a few people who need to decide about my employment here . . .”

“But I wanted to see how Ms. Ireland interpreted the information Ms. Corbyn had already provided,” Steve interrupted. “So I gave her permission to work with the girls for a few hours.”

“And?” Simon said.

“I wish I’d known even this much in a couple of places where I worked,” Pam said. “More to the point, I wish I’d had outside confirmation for my own impressions as I worked with some of the girls in those halfway houses. I had a feeling some things would work, would relieve the distress some of the girls experienced, but I didn’t have any proof, and feelings weren’t enough for the administrators.”

Simon thought the sudden bitterness in her voice was interesting. “The girls died?”

“A few of the suicide attempts were successful. But after being told a little about the cassandra sangue, I’m wondering if those girls really were trying to kill themselves or had cut themselves for a different reason and were unlucky enough to bleed out before someone found them.”

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