THIRTY-ONE

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Margaret said, reactions might tell you something different. She wasn't wrong.

After Veronica wiped herself of shock, she was as quiet as a church mouse all the way to the police station. I'd say I preferred her that way, but honestly . . . it was unsettling. Her dark skin drained of color, a distant gaze surfacing her pupils. But the most questionable action of all . . . she refused to answer any of the police's questions when they attempted to talk to her. The questions had nothing to do with the bones we saw yet she shut down. As if she was hiding something. Or better yet, running from something.

Whatever it was, was eating her inside and out. I could see it on her face.

"Drink it," John demanded. My attention was ripped away from his office window and back onto him.

He pushed the cup of tea closer to my lips. For the past half an hour I'd sat in his office, the blanket wrapped around my shoulders did little to warm me. He must've noticed my chattering teeth behind my closed lips. I slowly removed the cup from his grip, doing as he said.

"Is she okay?" I frowned, nodding towards Veronica. They sat her at one of the desks in the main lobby when we got here. But she remained unresponsive, only breathing. Every once in a while, she'd shake but that was it. A paramedic had checked on her before they drove us here. And a cop had asked her if there was anyone who could pick her up, but again, she didn't respond. So, they figured they'd let her warm up for a bit, then try again.

I may not have been fond of her, but I'll admit, I was a little worried. A woman with as much mouth as her doesn't just shut up without reason.

"She's in shock still," John whispered.

"Wouldn't her shock have worn off by now? She looks . . . completely dead."

John sighed, kneeling in front of my stomach. "An officer is taking care of her. They're keeping an eye on her in case anything. Are you sure you're not hurting anywhere? I can call someone back in here to check on you again—"

"John, John," I stopped his rambling, "I'm not in shock. I'm not hurt. I'm fine."

"You weren't . . . traumatized again? Because of what you saw?" His Adam's apple bobbed as he awaited an answer.

How could I tell him I'd seen so many bones none of them traumatized me anymore? I'd almost grown immune to them.

"Rosemary's a little distressed, I think, but that's it."

"Shit, Rosemary. Is she okay?" His frown deepened. "Is everything still normal? Do you feel any different anywhere? I—"

"John! Look at me," I raised my voice and tugged at his chin, "I'll let you know if something's wrong, okay? Please stop panicking. We're fine."

He let out another sigh, this time his anguish slipping through. "You promise?"

"I promise." I nodded, curling my pinky finger around his.

My eyes were trained on his office window again. The bottom of Veronica's pants was damp and dripping wet; they clung to her legs. She hadn't touched the steaming cup of tea they brought her once.

"You know, she reacted the same way when we told her about her niece."

"Her niece?" It was hard to resist prying. Not when he mentioned something possibly valuable. Now, if I could just hear it before he caught himself.

"Mhm." He nodded. "We told her as soon as she was identified. And this was what happened. We weren't able to get another word out of her."

Veronica Mitchell. . . Rae Mitchell. . . Veronica Mitchell. . . Rae Mitchell. . .

Mary's Bones ✓Where stories live. Discover now