the room we’d been in, Harrison was waiting for us in the hallway, wearing his usual pose of arms crossed and steely gaze narrowed and focused on us. “What’s the verdict?” he asked as we approached. “Are you in for more or out?”
I tried to keep my cool, but it was hard in the face of such arrogance. “We’re in,” I said lightly. “But as there appears to be such disparity between what you think is pass or fail, we will only participate in one more test. And that outcome will determine whether or not I decide to stick around long enough to help you with the investigation.” Take that, you bastard , I thought.
Harrison’s eyebrow arched, but no sign of humor cracked his granite features. “Get your coats,” he ordered. “We’re going off-site for this one.”
We drove in a company-issued black sedan through the streets of Washington, making our way slowly out of the Capitol district and into more dicey-looking territory before finally stopping in front of an older home in need of some major attention.
Harrison parked at the curb and pointed to the house. “Inside you will find a crime scene,” he said. “To pass this test you’ll have five whole minutes to tell me anything you can about the crime.” Just then, Harrison’s cell phone rang and while he answered it, Candice and I got out of the car and stared at the house. “Wonder when our time starts,” I said to her.
Candice glanced at Harrison, still on the phone as he too got out of the car. “It probably already started,” she said, and urged me toward the front door.
I entered the grungy-looking house with Candice close on my heels. Our FBI escort came along a few moments later, after he’d wrapped up the phone call out on the porch.
The interior was a surprise given the house’s rough exterior. The wallpaper was from an earlier era, but it was a sunny print that still held some glow. The carpets were worn but well cleaned, and pictures and paintings on the walls had been hung with care.
We entered through the breezeway into the living room. The sofa was upholstered with faded roses, and pink throw pillows trimmed in gold were neatly placed at each end. A crucifix hung on the wall above the sofa and a long-outdated copy of House and Garden lay on one side table; the other held a cute yellow lamp and a porcelain angel. Near a window was a light green upholstered wing chair, and next to that a small table adorned with knitting needles and yarn.
I moved into the kitchen and surveyed that too. It was small, with outdated appliances, but spotless and clean. “Are you getting anything?” Candice whispered.
The volume on my radar was dialed up to high—but nothing about this space had as yet signaled an alarm, which made me frown in frustration. Surely if something violent had happened here, I’d know it, wouldn’t I? “Not yet,” I answered, and drifted out into the dining room.
Six chairs sat demurely around an oval dining room table covered in a crisp white tablecloth. I ran my hand over the fabric—it was soft cotton. I glanced at the walls, which were also covered in wallpaper, but this was a more formal print than in the living room. I glanced around some more, not sure what I was really looking for.
“I’m guessing the bedrooms are down that hallway,” Candice said, motioning to a doorway on the opposite side of the dining room that led to the back of the house.
I nodded and noticed that Harrison had come to stand in the kitchen doorway. “Anything to tell me?” he asked.
“Give me a minute,” I said evenly, really feeling the pressure. I moved quickly out of Harrison’s view down the hall and into the first bedroom on the right. Dim light trickled in through the peacock blue curtains at the window. A full-sized bed with a white handmade quilt checkered with blue squares was the focal point of the room. To the side of the bed was a simple nightstand and on that was a Bible.
I walked into the room and closed my