Chapter 3

Before me stood a tall, well-built man. His long, dark hair and tanned skin hinted at a Native American origin.
“Yes?” I met his dark eyes and held his gaze. In the dim light, they seemed almost black.
“I’m Thomas Pelletier. I believe you came to speak to me?” He extended his hand, and even though something inside me didn’t want to touch him, I shook it out of courtesy. There was power in that handshake and not just the power of a confident male handshake, but the intangible power of magic.
“Thank you for seeing me, Mr Pelletier.”
“Please, call me Thomas. Shall we speak in my office? It will give us some more privacy to discuss what I assume will be a sensitive topic.” His demeanour radiated seriousness and nothing led me to believe that he meant anything other than business.
“Yes, that would probably be best.” I took one last sip of my drink before placing it back on the bar. “Thanks for the drink.”
My bartender looked up from the spotless glass in his hand, and a ghost of a smile played on his lips. “You’re welcome.”
I walked up to Thomas, who turned around and led me through the room.
The few women around us were watching him, some with unmistakable lust in their eyes.
From the corner of my eye, I studied his athletic body. It was beautifully framed by what looked to be a very expensive, tailored suit. His facial features were handsome too. High cheekbones gave him an aristocratic look while his lips were full without looking feminine. He was almost too handsome.
The air around me still felt heavy as we walked out into the big hall.
“This way.” He led me up the massive marble staircase and down the corridor on the left. At the end was a big oak door with deep symbols carved into the dark wood. It looked old enough to be pre-barrier collapse.
“Nice door.”
Thomas stepped in front of it and looked at me over his shoulder. “Thank you. It’s early 19th Century.”
Definitely pre-barrier collapse then. “Which country?” The symbols didn’t seem familiar, but then I wasn’t really an expert.
“North America.” He placed his right hand on the door, and the pressure in the air shifted. The markings on the door started to glow faintly. A moment later the weight was back in the air, and the glow fainted. Magical door lock. Thomas Pelletier was definitely a magic user.
He opened the door, and a well-lit office could be seen through the doorway. Clearly expecting me to go first, he watched me silently. For some reason, I did not want to go through that door, but I pushed the feeling away. I was here to solve a case. Justice of those murdered women was what mattered.
With a mental push, I walked past Thomas and into his office.
A mix of antique furniture and modern art were dotted around the white room.
Thomas indicated one of the two beautiful, green chairs facing the massive, oak desk and watched me place my butt on the undoubtedly expensive fabric before he sat down in a modern, black office chair behind the desk. “Right, Miss Hamilton. From Aidrian’s call, I assume you are here about the nightclub murders?”
“Yes, Aidrian mentioned that you might have vital information about the case.”
“I do have some information that I can share, but I’ve already told the police all I know.”
I opened my bag and pulled out a pen and my notebook. “The police has declined to share any information with SPI, so anything you can tell me will be greatly appreciated, Mr Pelletier.”
“SPI? What a peculiar name.” A smile transformed his face from being merely handsome to absolutely stunning.
My adrenalin levels rose but not out of appreciation. Something about Thomas Pelletier was freaking me out in a way that I was unable to articulate. “It’s short for Supernatural Private Investigation.”
“Cleaver.” He kept looking at me with that perfect smile on his lips, and I was fighting an increasing desire to run for the door.
With a firm grip on my mental self, I forced a little smile. “Not really, but it’s better than Private Investigation of the Supernatural, which would be more accurate.
A puzzled expression replaced the smile on Thomas’ face for a moment. “Ah!” His face lit up and a small masculine chuckle left his lips. “PIS. Yes, that would indeed have been an unfortunate name.”
I started scribbling date and time in my notebook, hoping to get this meeting wrapped up as quickly as possible. “So Mr Pelletier, what can you tell me about the murdered women?”
“Straight to business. A rare quality nowadays.” The perfect smile was back, but I declined to meet it with my own. He sure did smile a lot. “Well, I can tell you that two of the missing women were last seen here.” The humour left his face.
He picked up a remote, and a screen slit from the ceiling next to us. On the paper thin screen was a crystal clear image of the club entrance.
With a press of a button Thomas started the video. Two men were seen entering the club. A couple of minutes later, a woman and a man left.
Thomas pressed another button and the image froze. The timestamp in the right-hand corner read 00.12.
He enlarged the image, and the face of both people filled the screen. The brilliant, green eyes of the blond woman stared at me.
“Penelope Evans was last seen alive leaving this club three months ago. Police later found her remains in a dumpster for chemical waste outside a warehouse in West Warrington.”
I looked at her carefree expression. According to the few notes we had on file, she was 28, and like the other women, she had lived alone. An attorney by day, she had spent her nights drawing vibrant watercolour paintings – except one night three months ago.
It was disturbing to look at her happy face and know that her life had come to a grizzly end shortly after leaving this club. “And the man?” I studied the man next to Penelope. He was handsome with a masculine square jaw and short blond hair.
“Unidentified.” Thomas zoomed in on the man. “The police is still looking for him, but as far as I understand, they haven’t been able to identify him yet.” He kept zooming in and a marking on the neck of the guy became more visible. “I believe this is important.”
On his neck was a tattoo of a strange symbol. A red dot sat in the middle of a black square which had a thin white border.
I quickly drew the symbol in my notebook. “Why do you think the tattoo is important?”
“I’ll show you.” With a press of a button the tattoo disappeared, and I was again looking at the entrance of the club. Judging by the heavy rain, we were looking at footage from another night. Two women walked into the club and a moment later a man left. A couple of seconds later a man and a woman followed.
Thomas froze the video and zoomed in. “Charlene Dickens. She was last seen leaving this club five months ago. She hasn’t been seen since, and no body has been found.”
A brunette with bright blue eyes was laughing at something the dark haired man next to her had said.
Thomas zoomed in on the man’s neck, and again the strange symbol could be seen just below his ear. “Again. No one knows who the man is.”
“Could I possibly get a copy of this?”
“Yes, of course.” Thomas opened the top drawer and handed me a small replica stone. “Everything is in here.” Before he dropped it into my outstretched hand, he met my eyes. “This is, of course, sensitive information which could damage the club’s reputation. We have tripled security and are cooperating with the police to solve this case, so I ask that you do not share these videos without my knowledge.”
“Okay. I’ll probably want to share this with my colleagues, though.”
“That’s fine. No reporters, though.” He let the white stone drop into my palm.
“Deal. Do you by any chance know any of the people who own the other nightclubs where women have gone missing?”
“Not personally, no. If you’re going to speak to any of them, your best chance to get information would probably be at The One and 48 Club down on South Boulevard. They have the same owner, Sam Cartell, and word in the industry has it he’s a fair man. There are also rumours that an 8th woman went missing at Next.”
I scribbled down the names of the clubs. “Next, isn’t that only a couple of blocks from the other two?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Okay. Is there anything else you can tell me about this case, Mr Pelletier?”
Thomas shook his head, black hair moving across his shoulders. “No, I’m afraid not, but I will keep my eyes and ears open, and should any useful information come my way, I will let you know.”
“Thanks. That would be much appreciated.” I put my notebook, pen and the replica stone back in my bag.
Opposite, Thomas got up and extended his hand. “I’m sorry I haven’t been of more help to you.”
Reluctantly, I shook his hand and the need to flee kicked in again. “The information you provided has been very useful, Mr Pelletier. Thank you.”
I dug out one of my creased business cards and handed it to him “If you hear anything else, please contact me on this number.”
“Thank you.” He put it in his breast pocket and moved to the door. “Have a lovely evening, Miss Hamilton.”
“Thank you. You too.” I walked past him through the door and heard it close after me. The pressure in the air vanished. The feeling of being able to breathe properly was liberating.
I made my way down the hallway but paused on the top of the staircase. Below people had started to arrive, keeping the petite Goth busy in the wardrobe. Two women had gone missing from this club, and the police still didn’t seem to know what was going on.
With a last glance down the hallway, I left the club.

Read chapter 4 here!