“Agent Kent,” he smiled as the woman at the desk turned to face him, “What brings you here?” Jason realized the stupidity of the question the moment it hit the air. “He’s awake and insisting that it was just an accident.”
“That’s good to know. I’m glad his injuries aren’t serious, but that’s not why I’m here.” Winona grabbed Jason’s arm and leaned in, “Is there somewhere we can talk, privately?”
Jason led Winona down the hall to a private consultation room, ushered her inside and closed the door. “I’ve got a lot of questions to ask about this case,” he said as he sat down across the table from her. “Nothing I’ve read so far makes any sense.”
“What have you read so far?” Winona sat back in her chair.
“How can a dead man report someone missing?” he leaned forward. “I read an article that said that said that Aaron Andrews was found dead in Barbados at the time that his sister went missing. But another source says that Aaron reported his sister as missing.”
“Whoa, slow down.” Winona leaned forward. “There is a lot that I didn’t tell you because I didn’t think it would be important.”
“What is it that you need to see me about?” Jason leaned forward, lightly drumming the table with his fingertips.
“Where’s the piece of driftwood?” Winona asked sternly.
“Safely tucked away. Is it important?” Jason was getting concerned about whose side Agent Kent was on. His fingers drummed the tabletop a little harder.
Winona put her hands over his, partly to stop the drumming and partly to reassure him that she was a friend. “How many people know that you have it?”
“Only you and Detective Conrad know that I still have it.”
“You need to give it to me.”
“Why?” Jason leaned back in his chair. “It’s just a piece of useless wood.”
“You said that there were messages on it.”
“Did I?” Jason struggled to remember what he had let slip about the driftwood. He hadn’t slept well since the storm and was beginning to doubt things. “Yes, I guess I did say that,” he conceded, “but it hasn’t had anything to say lately, if it said anything at all.”
“I still need to see it. It might be very important to this case.” Winona stood up and Jason rose with her.
“My shift ends soon, but I can’t leave until my replacement arrives.” Jason opened the door and went back to the nurse’s station to update some patient records. Winona walked down the hall to visit with Detective Conrad.
Jason was still updating records when Marianne arrived at the desk. “I won’t be needing a ride home,” he told her.
“I know,” she replied, “but I will since you drove me here today.”
“Damn,” he said under his breath. “I forgot.” He glanced down the hall and then turned to face Marianne. “I’ll drive you home. Just promise you won’t panic about our being followed.”
“Why would anyone follow us?”
“It’s a long story.”