Lucy stood in front of the door to Room 1208, her heart pounding. She wanted to go in, but she was afraid, as frightened as she had ever been in her life. She had done a little sleuthing on her own. She knew that everyone on this floor was a member of Société Poursuite. The group had a seminar in the Crystal Room that day, a seminar that was scheduled to run from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., when they would break for lunch. Lucy figured that the floor would be empty from about 9:30 a.m. until perhaps 2:00 p.m.
Earlier in the day she had stood on the mezzanine and watched everyone file into the Crystal Room. Ever since she had been kidnapped, with everyone she met she was always looking for something, some gesture, some familiar posture, a word, an inflection, an accent that would draw her back to those three lost days and what had happened to her.
Once, in Carlisle, she had heard a woman's high-pitched laughter, and it had drawn her memory to a room - not necessarily a room in which she had been held, but a room that had served as a stop along the way. When she had turned to look at the woman - a doughy redhead of forty with cigarette-stained lips - the feeling had gone. She understood then that the feeling would come and go. She only needed it to stay for a moment, during which she could take a snapshot. And remember.
Right now she had a job to do.
Lucy lifted her hand to knock but found she couldn't do it. Her arms felt weak and a little too light all of a sudden. She tried again.
'Housekeeping,' she said, knocking. She soon realized it had come out in a mousy whisper.
A louder knock. 'Housekeeping.'
Now or never.
She took out her section card, swiped the lock, and stepped into Room 1208.
The room was empty.
She wasn't supposed to close the door, but sometimes they closed on their own and her supervisor was well aware of this. This was one of those times. Except that Lucy closed it herself.
She had lugged everything she needed into the room and had piled it on the bed. She breezed through her checklist. She had never worked so fast in her life.
This was crazy. What was she doing? This was all in her head. She had created a fantasy here - from the moment she'd heard about the Dreamweaver it had all been some crazy dream. The fact that a girl had been killed in this room was just a sick and tragic and horrible coincidence.
Mr. Adrian Costa had no special abilities, no special powers. The man was a charlatan, and he was lying to her. Just another long con.
Lucy flew through the rest of her duties, clocking the room at something superhuman, like fifteen minutes. When she was finished she felt a little better. A clean fresh room had that effect on her. Now she could leave.
On the way out she saw that the bottom drawer in the dresser was slightly open. She looked at the door, then back.
Before she could stop herself she eased open the drawer. Inside were three folded dress shirts. There was something glossy beneath them. She pushed the shirts aside, and saw it.
At the bottom of the drawer was a picture of her mother.