Home > A Merciful Secret (Mercy Kilpatrick #3)(10)

A Merciful Secret (Mercy Kilpatrick #3)(10)
Author: Kendra Elliot

“Sheesh. What’s he want?”

“He was all secretive and wouldn’t say, but he claims it’s related to your case from this morning.”

Olivia Sabin’s death was the only case. It wasn’t his case, but he couldn’t imagine what else Augustus could be referring to.

“I’ll be back in half an hour.” Truman put his hat back on and zipped his coat. He’d planned to research Olivia and Salome Sabin at his desk, but it’d have to wait. At least he could grab a late lunch.

“Half hour. Right. If you’re fortunate.” Lucas’s grin nearly split his face. “Have fun, boss.”

The bright sun in the intense blue sky lied to him about the temperature as Truman strode toward the diner, two blocks down the street. The sun promised eighty degrees, not the actual frigid twenty-one. Summer wouldn’t be here for another five months.

Through the diner’s window he spotted a balding head with crazy gray tufts of hair above its ears. Augustus was waiting. Truman sighed and decided to tell Augustus up front that he had only a half hour for lunch. When Augustus had parked in a fire zone, their conversation had lasted nearly two hours. Augustus claimed he was a freeman. Several times the sovereign citizen had told Truman the police department didn’t have jurisdiction over his person. Truman had an image of Augustus walking around in a huge bubble where no government agency had any authority, but apparently if Augustus had information to share, he’d deign to speak with a cop.

Inside, Truman shook Augustus’s hand and slid into the booth across from him. Augustus McGee looked like a retired clown. All he needed was the red nose and white paint on his round face. He was a big man with pale-green eyes that viewed the world with deep suspicion. He believed in silent black helicopters, mind-reading radar from the cellular towers, and that the government’s primary purpose was population control. Truman’s officers claimed the man got crazier by the year.

“I’ve only got half an hour, Augustus, and I hope you don’t mind if I eat lunch while we talk.”

The waitress appeared. “Coffee, Chief?”

“Just water. And whatever your burger of the day is.”

“It’s Hawaiian. Ham and a ring of pineapple on the burger patty.”

“Perfect for a snowy day,” answered Truman. She poured his water and left. “What can I do for you, Augustus?”

Augustus leaned forward, clenching his coffee cup in both hands, his eyes intense. “Is it true that Olivia Sabin has been murdered?”

The Eagle’s Nest rumor mill was faster than the speed of light.

“You knew her?” Truman asked.

“At one time. Is it true?” he repeated. His bushy eyebrows quivered at each word.

Truman tried not to stare. “Her death is viewed as suspicious,” he said with caution. “We won’t know until the medical examiner has results tomorrow.”

Augustus sat back in the vinyl booth and exhaled, and his shoulders sagged. “We’re all going to die at some point.”

The round face had deflated. Sad clown. “How well did you know her?” A very small sense of pity touched Truman.

The man looked out the window and scratched at one of his gray tufts. “Well, I didn’t know her that well. We haven’t spoken in probably twenty-five years.”

There goes my hope of useful information.

“You seem upset that she died,” Truman prodded. “But you didn’t keep in touch?”

“Well, you know how it goes. You always remember the good ones, you know what I mean?” Augustus made a lewd gesture with his hands, his gaze lecherous.

That was more than I need to know.

“So . . . the two of you were involved at one time?” Truman asked tactfully.

“Oh yeah. Involved. The best two weeks of my life.” He leaned forward again, conspiratorially whispering, “You know she was a witch, right?” Truman’s mother would have described Augustus as mad as a hatter.

Truman preferred the term crazy.

“I’ve heard something like that. You believe in that sort of thing?”

Augustus nodded emphatically. “Absolutely. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. How do you think she pulled me in for two weeks?”

Truman knew better than to ask for details. “Know any reason someone would kill Olivia Sabin?”

“It’s not easy to kill a witch, you know. Takes someone with a lot of power. But I’ll wager she angered somebody with one of her spells. Ruined their finances or gave them cancer.” His eyes narrowed. “Sounds a lot like what the government does. But I don’t think she worked for them, did she?” Conspiracy theories had bubbled to the surface in the man’s brain.

“No, not that I know of.”

“You know the world government is trying to reduce the population down to five hundred million, right? More manageable. It’s easy for them to do. All those vaccinations and bottled water.”

“World government?” The question slipped out. Crap. Now he’ll never shut up.

“That’s right. They’re hiding behind the facade of the United Nations. That’s just a front. The real power is like an octopus, all its arms causing havoc in different countries. They want a world where they rule implicitly. The best way to achieve that is division and unrest in the populations.”

Sounds like Hydra from Captain America. “Seen any movies lately, Augustus?”

The man waved Truman’s question away. “I know you want to hear about Olivia Sabin. She would chew men up and spit them out. You need to look at the daughter, the other witch. Her power is ten times stronger than her mother’s.”


The old man crossed himself, surprising Truman. “That’s the one. An unholy birth, you know.”

Now I’m totally lost. “What?”

Impatience lowered the man’s brows. “No father. No one fathered that child. Olivia had told me she wanted a child, but no one was good enough to contribute the genes.” He snorted. “Made every man wear protection. Don’t know why. There’s pills for that.”

I’m not giving him a lecture on safe sex.

“Who fathered Salome?”

Augustus glanced around the diner and, deeming no one within hearing distance, he whispered, “A demon.”

Truman was speechless. Thankfully his burger arrived and he took two big bites as he searched for an appropriate reply to shut down Augustus’s crazy tangent. “A demon. Huh.” Brilliant comeback.

“No one knew she was pregnant. One day she just showed up with a baby.” He nodded solemnly.

“Interesting.” Truman took another bite, not knowing what to say.

“That girl was evil. You could see it in her eyes.”

“You met her?”

“Well, no. But I heard about her.”

Truman sighed.

“Everyone said the mother and daughter fought like cats and dogs. Is it true the daughter is missing? That’s your killer.”

“Because they fought doesn’t mean Salome would kill her mother.” The quiet little home in the woods hadn’t appeared to be a place of fighting. It was neat and clean and had a barn full of animals. “And why would she leave her daughter behind?”

Augustus’s bushy brows shot up. “You seen the child?”

“Yes. Pleasant kid.”

“Another unholy birth. They say it was the fae this time, not a demon.”

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