Displaying items by tag: Though the Eye of the Serpent
Breakfast with Lentre is back the next day, during which Don's impression of the man as quite the appreciator of food is cemented as he updates him on the researches of the previous evening.
"It fits," Don is saying. "The police told me she had a record for disturbance and trespassing, was found once at a crime scene. But she's been tracking them for years, why would she do that?"
"There are," Lentre replies consideringly, "certain individuals in the community who may trust someone like your sister more than the official force."
"But as far back as the dates go, it must have started before she made her name."
"Or when she made it." Something blooms on Lentre's face, lines suddenly smoothing out as his eyes stare somewhere beyond the back wall.
Don sits up. "What is it? What can this have to do with her Voodoo?"
"I think," says Lentre slowly, "that it may be the reason for it.
"That, I'm not really sure." And with those few words the doctor casually returns to eating his bacon.
Lentre calls the hotel room the next morning to let Don know that he's working too early to catch breakfast, but can meet up at lunchtime to talk if Don wants to drop around the hospital. The walk to Storyville is made alone once more, past the cleared-down parking lots that cut like wounds through the lines of dull brown buildings that make up the poorest district in New Orleans. The key clicks like a solitary footstep as it turns in its metal cradle, a single toe across a line. The door creaks and groans the familiar sound of tired steel as it slides upwards and slides horizontal against the roof, almost clipping Don on the chin when he doesn't move back quite fast enough. He takes a step inside, then stops, because his eyes fall on the desk.
It's empty. Well, not really, because it's still littered with Adelaide's odds and ends, but the blue folder he placed down the day before is decidedly gone.
Breakfast with Lentre seems fast becoming a routine. Don likes routines. The doctor only stays a little while this time before running off to work, though he leaves Don with a street map and tells him that the locker rental is an easy short walk.
He's right, and it's refreshing too. Walking down the New Orleans streets, he can almost pretend that he's a tourist on a much-needed holiday. Or even that he's on another visit to a sister who will be waiting for him on the other end of the journey.
Adelaide's locker is well-lit by the morning sun, and Don stands at the entrance simply staring over it all for a while. He's not sure if it's a horde, a collection dumped and left, or a reserve always ready to be dipped into. The space is quite large and not hugely cluttered, but the sheer single-mindedness in everything jumps right out at him. His eyes flick from side to side, and something on the desk glints in the morning light. Leaning in, he feels his breath catch.
It's the red coral paperweight. Not shoved in a corner somewhere to be forgotten either, but sitting on a pile of loose paper squares. She was still using it after all this time.
He snaps out of his stare after a few seconds, picking it up and setting it aside to examine the papers. Don thinks at first they may be contact details, but there's barely any information. No name, just initials, and a single odd sentence like J.L.—dog hit by car needs surgery, and C.D.S.—fears cousin has been stealing from accounts. He can't make sense of any of it.
Lentre shows neither surprise nor vindication when Don calls the next morning. Within an hour they're at the same table as the previous day though this time he's got slightly more wits about him, at least sufficient to order his usual preference of pancakes.
The man is also rather talented at making small talk, Don reflects as he opens their conversation with an offhand comment on the hotel's interior colour scheme. Probably another one of those doctor-given skills. But this morning, riding on a night's worth of confusion which he's never dealt well with, Don presses forwards.
"So, these veves. Which one was our one, exactly?"
Lentre's expression maintains that calm blandness that seems to be his reaction to everything, unfazed as usual by the abrupt topic change. He puts down his cutlery and reaches across to pluck up the salt shaker, unscrewing the lid and tipping it over so the thinnest line begins to spill onto the tabletop. Don watches with slightly raised eyebrows as the symbol from yesterday is drawn out with a perfectly steady hand, and entirely from memory.
Don jolts awake the next morning like he was burnt. He's shivering a little since he's still above the blankets, muscles stiff from apparently being in the same position all night. It's barely dawn outside his east-facing window and it can't be the light which woke him, but a feeling lingers that still makes him want to run, flee.
He strips off and doesn't bother opening his travel-case to get any more clothes, staggering to the bathroom and splashing cold water over his face and down his chest. There's no need, really, he's more awake and actually aware than he's been since he got the first call, but he squeezes his eyes shut and just lets himself feel the slow trickle of droplets against his skin. Calm, focused, just for a little bit.