Chapter 26 - Nancy
Lakeside Hotel & Suites
Blackridge, New Hampshire
Tuesday 11 March 2008
We walk up the steps, our footsteps echoing through the stairwell. If I were to say that it isn’t super convenient to use Sam and Dean’s FBI badges to get us past security in Edward’s hotel, I would be lying. I didn’t even feel guilty when they blatantly lied to the receptionist. The only thing that worried me was perhaps getting caught… which we didn’t. Justifying actions like this is getting too easy. My dad would have an aneurysm if he knew how many laws I’ve broken in the past three days.
We reach the third floor, and I follow the brothers to Edward’s room: 311.
Dean knocks on the door. “Edward? My name is Dean. I’m with Nancy Drew.” He waits a moment. “Edward?” He looks back at us.
Sam steps up with his lockpick and kneels by the doorknob. It’s an older style of hotel, so no electrical keycard lock. He easily moves his hands to adjust to the pins, and it swings open. I do a double-take at the speed, having been prepared to wait at least a full minute. He’s much better at that than I am. I need to practice more. Maybe one day I’ll be able to beat him at it.
The fact that this is my only reaction to breaking and entering concerns me.
We all step into the room, and Dean flicks on the light.
Edward’s room looks untouched, except for the small desk against the wall by the window and HVAC. Take-out boxes and empty coffee cups clutter every inch of the desk that isn’t covered by a stack of paper. A typewriter sits in the center of the desk, a half-filled page resting in the machine. Sam walks over to it, and noisily takes the paper out. “He was working on his book,” he comments, “something about building materials in the 1700’s in this region.”
“How does the ‘e’ look?” I ask him, recalling the notes Sheriff Reeves had shown me back at the station.
“What?” Sam turns to me in confusion, still holding onto the paper.
“The lowercase ‘e.’ Is it crooked?” I ask.
Sam looks back down at the paper. “...No. Why?”
I sigh. It was worth a try. I pull out one of the notes and show him. “Someone left the victims notes typed out on a typewriter leading them to Lockwood Estates. The ‘e’ was crooked on those notes. Sheriff Reeves cleared Edward’s typewriter, but I just want to make sure.”
“Guys,” Dean says. I turn and see him crouched by the mini fridge. He holds up a tiny bottle of whiskey and grins. “Edward has good taste.”
I roll my eyes and hear Sam sigh. I look around the room and see a small pad of paper on the nightstand next to the bed. It has scrawled writing on it. I frown and walk over to pick it up.
“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stop your research. Don’t want to end up like the rest of those who looked too closely at the Lockwood Estates, do you? Your head looks too good attached to your body.”
Well, this is creepy as hell. I frown and check the heading of the notepad. It has the hotel’s name on it, implying that it is the one usually left on each nightstand. Did the killer break into Edward’s room? My heart rate picks up.
Where is Edward? Please don’t be dead , I silently plead. Too many people have died on this case already.
The image of Edward lying on the cold mansion floor, a pool of blood trailing to his head several feet away from his body, pops into my mind. I blink and shove that thought away. I can’t get emotional. I have to stay focused. We don’t yet know for sure if Edward is dead. I mean, maybe he’s out getting food.
Yeah, that’s why he hasn’t answered your calls.
I take a deep breath to reset my brain before it spirals down into an endless stream of what-ifs.
“Hey, guys,” I say and hold up the piece of paper.
Sam frowns and walks to me. “What is that?”
I hand it to him. “I think the killer left this for Edward.”
He raises his eyebrows, quickly scanning the words. “This isn’t creepy at all,” he says sarcastically.
Dean joins us, the tiny bottle of whiskey already half gone. He holds out his hand for the paper, and Sam gives it to him to examine.
“Yeah, this doesn’t scream serial killer at all ,” Dean comments with an eye roll. He pockets the note.
I scan the room and walk over to the desk. It’s such a mess. How did Edward focus with this chaos surrounding him? Having everything organized is something that always helps me solve a case. I drag the chair out and sit down. I tuck a few loose strands of hair back into my bun. I start sifting through his papers and throw away what refuse fits in the small bin. The trashcan is literally right next to the desk. C’mon, Edward.
I flip through the pages on Edward’s desk. I’m not seeing anything new. So far, all Edward’s research has told me about is the very detailed process of the architecture of the mansion. Not the most intriguing topic, I’ll admit.
“Are you going to read all of that?” Dean asks.
I look over my shoulder to see him looking down at the desk in disdain. He takes a drink from the small bottle, finishes it, and tosses it at the trashcan. He misses. I know he and Sam don’t live the easiest lives, but the amount of alcohol Dean has been consuming today alone is a bit alarming. And that’s just what I’ve seen. Who knows how much he’s had when I haven’t been around. I’ll have to bring it up with Sam later. ...Wait, when did I start to worry about Dean Winchester ?
I sigh and answer, “We need to be thorough. I’m sure Edward has dug something up that we haven’t been able to find. I mean, he’s been doing research on this place for weeks.”
Dean sighs and holds out a hand. “Give me some wordy paper to glare at.”
I raise my eyebrows in surprise. “Really?”
“Hurry, before I change my mind.”
I grab part of a stack and hand it to him. Sam has appeared behind me, too.
“I can read some,” the younger brother offers. I hand him the other half of the pile I gave to Dean.
I turn my attention back to the desk and resume reading. I’m on my third sheaf of paper when I notice something. The colored edge of a picture is poking out from underneath the stack. I pull it out.
It’s a picture of a slender silver sword with an elaborate white hilt set in a glass case. I frown. Why did Edward have a picture of this? I quickly flick through the pages that were on top of the picture. I scan each paragraph, but there’s no mention of a sword anywhere. I scan through them again. Nothing. I pick the picture back up. It’s only now that I notice a small plaque under the sword. I squint at it, but I can’t make out the words. I need to find this sword. I need to know its significance.
I pull a small magnifying glass out of my bag, causing Dean to scoff in surprise, but I ignore him. Unfortunately, the picture is too blurry to make anything out, but it looks like the sword is displayed somewhere. A museum perhaps?
“I think I found something,” I say. I turn to look at the brothers, and rest my hand on the top of the chair.
They’re both sitting on the bed. Sam at the foot of the bed, both feet planted on the ground while Dean sits with his back against the headboard.
“What is it?” Sam asks, standing up. I show him the picture, and he takes it with a quizzical expression. “What did Edward say about it?”
“Nothing, unfortunately,” I answer. “But it looks like it’s in a museum.”
Sam frowns as he stares at the picture.
“What?” I ask.
“Well, ghosts don’t usually use weapons but…” he trails off.
I remember what Edward said about the death of Caroline: “Sword swing to the neck.” Is this the sword? Then it hits me. “The decapitations!”
“Yeah…” Sam says, but he sounds uncertain. “There’s just something...off about all of this.”
Yeah, there is. There is a ghost killing people. But I think I know what he means. This is strange for ghost behavior. ...Another phrase I thought I’d never think. We are missing something.
Sam continues, “This sword somehow seems...familiar.”
I look up at him questioningly. “Do you know where it’s from?”
“No,” he says with a sigh of frustration.
“I’m sure it will come back to you,” I encourage, but I can’t help but feel disappointed.
Someone is obviously luring people to the Lockwood Estates, but why? What do they have to gain? What’s the motive ? Sherman Lockwood, Abitha Woodbury, Caroline Walker. Why did Sherman kill Caroline? Was the reason worth killing for even two hundred years later?
What if Edward found the reason? He told me himself the facts surrounding Sherman and Caroline’s death could have been easily manipulated. What if there’s something everyone is missing? Something the person who keeps luring people to the Lockwood Estates doesn’t want people to know.
What secret is worth the lives of innocent people?
“Nancy?” Sam asks me tentatively.
I blink back to the present and look up at him. “I think…” I begin thoughtfully, “I think someone is killing people, er, leading people to the mansion to hide something about Sherman and Caroline’s deaths.”
Sam cocks his head to the side thoughtfully. “I think you’re onto something. Every victim had something to do with Edward and his research, whether he was directly involved or not. Specifically going to the effort to frame him.”
He’s right. Everyone who died was interested in the Lockwood Estates. They all thought they were helping Edward in his research.
Oh, Edward, what did you find?
“Wait, what?” Dean pipes up from his spot on the bed.
“We think someone is leading people to the mansion to be killed by the ghost,” Sam explains. “Edward must’ve stumbled onto something someone wants to keep quiet.”
“I’m still confused. Who are we going after?” Dean asks.
I sigh. “I don’t know yet.” I take the picture from Sam and hold it up for Dean to see. “We need to find out more about this sword. I think it’s in a museum. There’s one on Front Street we can check out.”
Dean frowns. “So we do all this reading, and now we’re going to a museum ?”
“Yeah,” I say.
“You guys are turning me into a nerd,” he says bitterly, smacking the papers down on the mattress with a distressed frown.