Lake Silence - Anne Bishop Page 0,1

CHAPTER 81

CHAPTER 82

CHAPTER 83

CHAPTER 84

EPILOGUE

Geography and Other Information

Cast of Characters

About the Author

THE FINGER/FEATHER LAKES

© 2017 Anne Bishop

Note: The geographically challenged author created this map and did her best to match the main roads to the story but makes no promises about accuracy.

CHAPTER 1

Vicki

Moonsday, Juin 12

I wouldn’t have known about the dead man if I hadn’t walked into the kitchen at the exact moment my one and only lodger was about to warm up an eyeball in the wave-cooker.

Until that moment, I hadn’t known I had a scream that could crack glass; I hadn’t wondered if an eyeball would puff up and explode in a wave-cooker like those animal-shaped marshmallows; and I hadn’t realized my lodger—Agatha “call me Aggie” Crowe—was that kind of Crow.

She seemed so normal, if you overlooked her timely payment of the rent each week and the fact that she had taken up residence in The Jumble three weeks ago and seemed to be enjoying herself.

“You can’t eat that!” I tried to sound firm, like a responsible human and business owner should. In truth, I sounded a wee bit hysterical, and I wished with all sincerity that I had walked into the kitchen five minutes later.

Then again, since the kitchen was one of the common rooms in the main building, I could have walked in when Aggie was halfway through her lunch, which I’m sure would have been more distressing for at least one of us.

“Why can’t I eat it?” She looked at the eyeball rolling around in the small bowl that was now sitting on the counter. “Nobody else wants it. It’s starting to get squooshy. And the dead man doesn’t need it.”

The words got me past the physical evidence. “What dead man?”

“The one who doesn’t need the eyeball.” Little black feathers suddenly sprouted at her hairline, confirming the nature of my lodger. I was going to have to rework the rental agreement so that there was a space for unimportant bits of information like . . . oh, say . . . species.

“Where did you find the dead man?”

“On the farm track that runs alongside Crabby Man’s place.”

I should have pointed out that Mr. Milford wasn’t usually crabby, but he did get exercised when someone took one bite out of all the ripe strawberries or pinched fruit from his trees, since he and his wife needed the income they made from selling fresh fruit and homemade preserves. But there were other priorities.

“Show me.” I held up a hand. “Wait. And don’t nibble.”

“But . . .”

“You can’t eat it. It could be evidence.”

Her dark eyes filled with reproach. “If I hadn’t wanted to warm it up because it was squooshy, you wouldn’t have known about the dead man and I could have had eyeball for lunch.”

I couldn’t refute that statement, so I backed up until I reached the wall phone in the kitchen, and then I dialed the emergency number for the Bristol Police Station. Bristol was a human town located at the southern end of Crystal Lake. Sproing, the only human village near Lake Silence, was currently without its own police force, so Bristol had drawn the short straw and had to respond to any of our calls for help.

“Bristol Police Station. What is your emergency?”

“This is Victoria DeVine at The Jumble in Sproing. One of my lodgers found a dead man.” Okay, Aggie was my only lodger, but there was no reason to advertise that. Right?

I started counting and reached seven before the dispatcher said, “Did you see the body?”

“No, but my lodger did.”

“How do you know the body is dead?”

“I’m