Ravens Cove – Chapter 7

Ravens Cove, An Iconoclast Thriller (Book 1)

The Spiritual Battle for a Small Alaska Town

By Mary Ann Poll

America’s Lady of Supernatural Thrillers

Chapter 7



“I’m not getting anywhere on this report!” Kat yelled over the incessant ringing of the telephone. The phones warbled, almost nonstop, since she arrived.

“Do what you can,” Bart answered.

“Don’t I always?”

“Yes. And I thank you.”

“Right—Sheriff ’s office.” Kat struggled to keep her greeting civil. “Can I help you?”

“Hey, KittyKat, how ‘bout a late lunch?”

“Wendy, I am up to my eyeballs here. Lunch isn’t in the plan.” She cradled the phone between her neck and shoulder as she tried to get another word of the report typed.

“Told you. Something big, huh?”

“You know I can’t discuss an investigation in progress,” Kat said for what she felt like the thousandth time.

This game began in first grade. Kat tried to keep a secret, Wendy wheedled it out of her after a long tug-of-war and matching of wits.

Wendy sang to the world, “Kat’s in love with Jimmmy,” or “Kat’s a scaredy-cat and thinks there’s monsters in her roooom.”

“Not even one itsy, juicy detail?”

And here we go again! Wendy still thinks we’re in first grade and makes it part of her life’s work—when she takes a break from creating beautiful glass objects in her studio or her newest romantic interest—to cajole the secrets out of me. Kat smiled. Since coming to work at the sheriff ’s office, Wendy had batted a big fat zero.

“Back off, woman. If you want to be a good friend, bring me that cup of coffee from Jo’s. I’m going to be at this for quite a while.”

“Fine,” Wendy said, “just fine and go ahead and be closed mouthed, Ms. Secret Sally.”

The line went dead.

“Who’s on the phone, Kat? Another busybody?”

“Yep. Now about this report …”

The phone shrilled again.

“Oh, for the love of Pete! Sheriff ’s office, can I help you?” A how dare you interrupt me again tone underscored the polite question.

A deep resonate voice answered her. “Sheriff Andersen, please.”

Kat launched into the monologue for the press. “If you are calling for an interview, the sheriff does not have the time today or tomorrow. We are preparing a press statement for release. Thank you for your patience.” And Wendy wonders why I don’t enjoy chatting on the phone. One day like this, and she’d know why!

The phone left her ear to return to the cradle. She caught, “Not a reporter,” and debated about hanging up anyway.

“Shoot!” Kat brought the phone back to her ear. “Then what can we do for you?”

“I am Kenneth Melbourne with the Anchorage unit of the FBI. It is imperative I speak with Sheriff Andersen.”

Knowing how Bart felt about outside interference in his investigations, and because he was up to his ears in this one, Kat went into protective mode.

Not in a month of Sundays, Mr. FBI, she thought but responded in a sweet tone. “The sheriff is in meetings all day. Can I take a message?”

“Interrupt his meeting, and get him to the phone. I need to speak to him now.”

His arrogant tone became the proverbial straw.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Melbourne, is it?”

“Agent Kenneth Melbourne.”

Kat continued in the sickening-sweet tone which always preceded the scathing, sarcastic tongue-lashing she became famous for in Ravens Cove.

“Agent Melbourne, then. Sheriff Andersen is in the midst of a murder investigation. He does not have time to break away from his meetings to talk to you. Am I clear now?” Not waiting for a response, “Good. Have a nice day.”

Kat returned the phone to its home. “The gall of some people.”

Riiiiing. Riiiiing.

“Darn instrument!” She took a deep breath. No reason to go into Kat-fight mode with an unsuspecting person at the other end.

“This is Agent Melbourne again. If you hang up, I will call back as many times as it takes. This is urgent. Tell your boss to pick up the phone, and do it now!”

Kat-fight mode sounded the first bell in the back of her brain. She knew her orders, and she would enforce them.

“With all due respect, Agent, no.” She dropped the phone into the cradle.

Ten minutes and several Melbourne calls later, Kat stomped to Bart’s office, angry at being ordered by the know-it-all FBI agent to get her “boss.”

Bart looked up to blazing eyes and a flushed face. He leaned back in his chair, linking his hands behind his head, and hoping his body language would diffuse the onslaught of emotion. It didn’t.

“There is an Agent Melbourne who keeps calling. He insists on talking to you.”

“Told you my policy on nosy outsiders.”

Being reprimanded brought the stew of frustration, weariness and hunger to a boil.

“Yes,” her voice rose, “yes you have. And, I told him, too. And I hung up. And he called back again, and again, and again. I hung up again, and again and AGAIN. He is now ordering me, under threat of interfering with FBI business, to put my ‘boss’ on the phone. He

is on hold.”

Bart knew Kat. No matter who paid her, she did not have a “boss.” She had been, and always would be, a freethinker and free spirit. He could not control the grin creeping across his mouth.

“I see you, Bartholomew Andersen. This is not funny. Now pick up the phone. And I’m putting the other line on hold until I get your all-important report typed!” She whirled, strode to her desk and plopped down, making her point with a thud.

Bart sighed. Those ruffled feathers will have to be smoothed or my life will be unbearable.

He turned to the phone. “Sheriff Andersen.”

“Thanks for interrupting your meeting, Sheriff.”

“Make it quick, Agent Melbourne, is it? I have a busy schedule.”

“I believe I can be an asset to your investigation.”

Bart seethed. Another one who thought him to be a small-town hick who couldn’t find a key in a door lock. “Is that so?”

“I have worked on several serial murder cases prior to moving to Anchorage. In fact, it is my specialty. It looks like you might have the beginnings of one there. I would like to come and work the case.”

“And I’d like to have summer in January, Agent Melbourne, but neither of them are going to happen. We’re doing just fine. Thanks for your concern. If I need help in the future, I’ll know who to call. Until then, goodbye.” Bart hung up.

Ken looked at the phone. Shocked by the sheriff ’s blatant hostility, and realizing he once again listened to a dial tone, he hung up.

He turned his attention to the scenery beyond the window of his cubicle—at least I have a window—and mused at the Chugach Mountains in the east, hoping for inspiration. Dark brown peaks contrasted by snow which never melted, stood high and majestic in the background. Some were jagged and wild, while others were rounded and domestic. They should have given him pause to reflect on nature’s magnificence. Instead, those mountains were a constant reminder of a life left behind.

How I hate living here. This place is quiet, which equals boring … drug dealers, some murders, an occasional bank robbery and always gangs. I will return to California. This case in Ravens Cove is my way out.

He picked up the phone and dialed. “I need to talk with the chief, Marcy. Will you find some time in his schedule for me?”

This new guy, Marcy thought, is one of my favorites. He’s smart, kind, and handsome. What else could a single woman want? Of course, I’ll help. Maybe get a date out of it!

“Let me see … how about three today?”

“Works for me. See you then and thanks.”

Ken busied himself with the various alerts on his desk. Too antsy to concentrate, he strolled to the coffee room. When he returned fifteen minutes later, the message light glowed red. He listened to the message, secured the phone on his shoulder and dialed, all the while trying to shrug the free arm into his navy-blue jacket. On the third ring, Marcy picked up.

“I’m on my way.”

He pushed his other arm into the jacket and jogged up the three flights of stairs to the chief ’s office. With the right pitch, he could be in Ravens Cove no later than tomorrow morning—sooner if he had his way.

Mary Ann Poll, America’s Lady of Supernatural Thrillers, is the award-winning author of the Iconoclast series. Mary Ann draws from her real-life experiences, as well as her imagination, to create supernatural thrillers