Entering the holding area, Mike zeroed in on a young, dark-haired beauty sitting in one of the weathered and torn yellow vinyl chairs that had seen better days.
He slowed his gait. My God…she was stunning. Raven black hair with coppery undertones was piled atop her head. Emerald eyes sparkled like perfectly cut gems. Pouty, full lips, and a perfectly shaped button nose rounded out her stunning face. Wow.
Hal confirmed with a nod that this was the woman who had information on Sarah, so Mike approached the black-haired beauty as she caught his gaze and began to stand. He’d put her at about five foot seven, with what appeared to be curves in all the right places, although it was hard to tell with her bulky winter coat on.
“Ms. Martin?” reaching his hand out in greeting. She offered her slim hand in return.
“Yes. Please call me Kate, though.”
“Kate, I’m Detective Mike Thatcher. You told Sergeant Howard that you have information regarding Sarah Hill?”
“Y-Yes. I believe I do,” she stammered. Her gorgeous eyes, framed by long, thick, black lashes looked downward. She seemed nervous. Scared, even.
“Why don’t we take this conversation somewhere more private?” he said, gesturing down the hallway.
She followed him to one of the interrogation rooms and he indicated she should take a seat.
“Can I offer you something to drink? Water? Soda?” He smiled. “Bad coffee, perhaps?”
She looked up. That garnered him a slight smile in return. “No thank you. I gave up bad coffee for Lent.”
He laughed and her smile grew wide. Beautiful and witty. He instantly liked this woman.
He settled down into the chair across from her. “So, how do you know Sarah Hill?”
She sat rigid. Spine straight, shoulders set. Her hands, which were in her lap, immediately began to twist, and while she looked him straight in the eye, there was no mistaking how nervous she was. That fact alone piqued his interest. Yeah, his interest was piqued on more than one level if he was being honest with himself.
Down boy, down. She’s a potential witness, for Christ’s sake.
“It’s difficult to explain, Detective. I don’t really…know Sarah Hill, per se.” She quickly glanced down at the table and back up to him. Pausing for a moment, she continued. “I’ve been…well, seeing her…um…in my dreams.”
He just stared at her for long moments, replaying over and over what she just said.
Shit. She was a nut case. And here he thought he might have a solid lead. Or a possible lay. Wrong on both counts.
“In your dreams.” Not a question, a statement. “Exactly what does that mean?”
She fidgeted in her chair but held his gaze. “I know it sounds far-fetched. Crazy even. But please hear me out. I can assure you, Detective, I’m not crazy.”
That was questionable. However, he nodded for her to continue. Again, she quickly flicked her eyes to the table and back up at him before she spoke again.
“This particular set of dreams began about three weeks ago or so. I…I didn’t see Sarah in them until just a little over a week ago. I didn’t even know it was Sarah until just the other night when I saw a missing person’s story on the local evening news. I knew then that I had to come in and talk to the police.”
He didn’t believe a word she said, of course, but he’d pretend to listen to her story and then send her on her way so he could get back to the real job of finding his friend’s missing daughter. That was his only priority. Not any other case and certainly not his dick.
“Go on,” his deep voice encouraged her.
She took a breath and continued. “Well, as I said, it’s difficult to explain, but I see her. I can see that she’s being held in a dark, plain room with a cement floor. Cement walls. There’s a door, but no handle on the inside and a faded blue-and-white striped thin mattress, no sheets. She’s not tied down, but she’s asleep a lot. A couple of times she’s been awake in my dreams and…she calls out like she thinks someone is there. It’s like she senses me, but I don’t know how she possibly can.”
She paused again, biting her full, pink lower lip. Breaking eye contact and looking down at the table, her voice softened and he had to strain to hear her.
“I thought it was just a dream. A horrifying, inconceivable nightmare. Huge men, that I can only describe as predatory, preternatural even, visit her cell. They draw her blood; they give her shots of something. I think they drug her to keep her sleeping most of the time. They’ve performed exams—female exams—on her while she’s unconscious.”
She swallowed, visibly shaken, and her fair skin seemed to pale even more.