Britwell had only been there ten minutes and she’d already banged on about chakras and energies. The tea was shit too, some infusion of tree bark and herbs or whatever. He sighed and looked back at the hanging charms and symbols. The place stank. Petuli oil and joss sticks. He knew what she was hiding, what those smells were hiding. If she pissed him off too much, he’d search her.
“Here we are.” She walked back into the room. White, ghost like dress, almost a sheet with three holes cut in it. Hair tied back with some hemp bangle thing and sustainable sandals on her blackened feet.
“I could feel the energies last night in this crystal.” She held up the purpley-blue stone, her eyes piercing his.
“And what did the stone tell you, miss?” He’d tried not to be flippant, but she just wasn’t helping.
“The crystal points to tonight. A farmhouse on a hill. A troubled mind continues by doing all he knows how.” She paused, he reckoned for effect. “The next one’s tonight.”
Britwell rolled his eyes. The killer had drawn out every nut job, crystal snitcher and long haired psychic this side of Taplow. Always the same, always had been. Murderers drew these lot out like a ad in Exchange and Mart.
“Does your stone have any idea which farmhouse it’s going to happen in?”
“Inspector, I sense your bitterness again. Not only is it not good for your energies, but my aura can’t take scepticism. I fear I’ll have to ask you to leave.”
Britwell stood up. “It’s okay, I’m gone. You and your stone’s aura can be at peace now.”
He let himself out. Lighting up a cigarette, he lent against his car before opening the door. Three of them now. Roughly the same age, but otherwise no connection. The random killer the papers were calling him. A bit of fear was always good for paper sales, but they had a point. Without picking some form of pattern or victim, no one was safe.
Inside, the starter motor took three turns before the engine kicked in. He’d have to get that fixed. With his luck, a dodgy starter would come back to haunt him at the wrong time.
Driving off, he pulled out his mobile, rung Walters.
“Another fruitcake. What about yours?”
“Well, he is a very charming man, sir. I can understand why so many go to his séances and shows. It’s quite hard to not believe him when he gets going.”
“It’s all bollocks though, isn’t it?” Britwell held his phone between ear and cheek while he tried to change gear and flick fag ash out of the window at the same time.
“God yeah. He says his spirit guide made contact with the last victim yesterday.”
Britwell shook his head, the phone falling to his lap. Picking it up, he nearly mounted the kerb. “Sorry, missed some of that.”
“I hope you’re not driving, sir? I said he’s made contact with the last victim from beyond the grave.”
“Nah, just stuck in traffic. So I take it he’s given us a full description of the killer and place then.”
“Apparently, it doesn’t quite work like that.”
Britwell grunted. He'd hoped for more, but hadn’t expected less.