Chapter no 12

Never Lie

It’s three in the morning and I’m wide awake.

At some point, I drifted off. After we went to bed, I was tossing and turning, and Ethan finally went downstairs and got me a glass of water, insisting it would make me feel better. Somehow, it did help, and I drifted off to sleep, but then two hours later I woke up, having to pee.

Ever since I found out I’m pregnant, I’ve been running to the bathroom every hour on the hour. I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen until the end of the pregnancy, but I’m ahead of the curve. Ethan even commented on it a few days ago, but I couldn’t tell him why.

I just relieved my bladder twenty minutes ago, but I still can’t fall back asleep. I roll my head to look over at Ethan, who is snoring softly next to me. He looks like he’s getting an excellent night of sleep in this haunted house. I don’t know what’s wrong with him.

I climb out of bed, the springs on the mattress groaning slightly but not enough to wake my husband. I walk over to the picture window across the room and stare outside. The lawn in front of the house is completely covered in snow—at least two feet of it. All of the trees are caked in white. We’re not going anywhere anytime soon in Ethan’s BMW. Our best chance of leaving is if cell service returns.

I realize sleep is a lost cause so I decide to go downstairs. But it’s too cold to go down there in a bra and panties. I rifle through the pile of clothing I took off yesterday, but I’m reluctant to put on jeans and a blouse at three in the morning.

Then I see the robe hanging from the bathroom door. It surely belonged to Dr. Adrienne Hale. It’s bright red, like the

way her hair looked in certain lights. I walk over to feel the material—it’s made of fleece. Sensible and warm, for a house that gets buried in snow every winter.

Before I can second-guess myself, I tug the robe off the hook and shove my arms into the holes. It fits me perfectly

—Dr. Hale must have been about the same size as me. It’s just as warm and cozy as it looks, and it’s even better when I wrap the belt around my waist and cinch it closed. There’s no way I’m not wearing this robe now that I put it on.

It’s not like I’m stealing it though. I’m just borrowing it.

For like an hour—tops.

I start to leave the bedroom in my bare feet, but then I spot the fuzzy red slippers shoved up against the dresser. Well, if I’m borrowing her robe, I may as well take the matching fuzzy slippers.

I shut the bedroom door behind me and make my way slowly and carefully down the spiral staircase to the first floor. I’m not sure exactly what to do down here. My best bet is to find a book to read. That has the best chance of putting me to sleep.

I bypass all the bookcases filled with texts about the workings of the mind and head straight to the one in the back—the one stuffed with novels. Of course, that’s the bookcase that also concealed the doctor’s secret hiding place. I scan the rows of books for the second time. There are plenty of intriguing titles. There’s no shortage of things to read.

But once again, my eyes are drawn to The Shining. Even though I know it’s not a real book. Or maybe that’s why I’m drawn to it.

I shouldn’t. I really shouldn’t.

Almost against my will, my fingers go to the spine of the book. After a split-second hesitation, I pull it out the same way I did before, and once again, I hear that click. The bookcase shifts.

The hidden room is now open.

It’s easier the second time, especially knowing that Ethan is sound asleep upstairs and won’t walk in on me. I pull the door open and immediately find the cord for the light switch with my hand. The single bulb flickers on, revealing once again the rows and rows of cassette tapes.

Given how well organized this room still is, I have a feeling the police never found it. If they had, it would probably be in disarray. But all the tapes are meticulously arranged. Going back ten years, with the most recent dates about three years ago.

Right before her disappearance.

It occurs to me that if the police had listened to these tapes, they might have discovered clues to help them figure out what happened to her. After all, it seems like she was still making recordings right until when she disappeared. Maybe the very same day.

As I examine the tapes, I figure out she has a labeling system beyond just the initials, session number, and date. She also color codes them. The first session seems to be labeled with blue ink, then all subsequent ones in black ink, and the final session in red. The pattern repeats over and over again. Except for one.

There’s a long row of tapes with the initials EJ on it that has a tape labeled in red—the last session—but then right after, the tapes resume with a date just a week later. So it seems like Dr. Hale had her last session with this EJ person, then started up again almost right after. And there’s no final session. The last tape with those initials has black pen on it.

That means she was still seeing this patient at the time of her disappearance.

I pluck the tape with the red marker off the shelf. Perhaps it’s a privacy violation for me to listen, but it’s not like there are any real names on it. And it’s not like I’m going to get any sleep tonight.

You'll Also Like