The Price of Entanglement - Chapter 9, pt. 1

Transient

She stared at the name; it grabbed at her gaze, held it. She felt like she should know it. She certainly knew the name Dolet; it was the name of the family Dolesham was named for. Her specific knowledge of the family members was minimal though. The familiarity was almost maddening.

“What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Quinn asked. She realized she was holding the tablet with a white-knuckled grip and made herself relax.

“I just get this feeling … I think that guy I saw on Friday was this guy, Archerd Dolet.”

“You’ve got to be kidding. What makes you think that?”

“It’s just a hunch … but it’s a damned strong hunch. Are there any pictures of him?”

“Umm … maybe … photography back then wasn’t exactly point ‘n click, y’know. Let’s do a search, but don’t—ahh. Well. Looks like he built cameras.”

He held up a page of search results showing photos so old they weren’t even black and white so much as they were monochromatic sepia toned. They were clear though, if not sharp; they had just a hint of a soft edge to them, characteristic of antique photographic techniques and equipment. It lent the images a subtle dream-like quality, and Jo recognized the face in the photos immediately from her waking dream.

“That’s him!”

Quinn looked from her to the man in the photos and back. “Damn.”

“He’s older in these pictures than he was when I saw him. I mean, he was older the second time than the first, but no more than a few years, two or three. He was a young man then, maybe mid-twenties? These photos are a lot newer; he has to be at least fifty here.” She took the tablet and looked at the various photos. They were all formal, posed affairs, a few of them confirming his identity for her with printed names at the bottom of the pictures. As she moved through the results, another image popped out at her. “And her! I saw her too, both times.”

She was unmistakable, pale skin, dark, liquid eyes. Even as much older as she was in the photos, it was her. The helpful captioning named her Sunniva Dolet. His wife, then. She went as far through the image archive as it took to identify the two of them and three children she didn’t recognize.

“What’s going on? What does this mean, Que-ball?”

“You tell me … you’re the one with dead people running you down in the streets.” She looked at him sharply, but his flipness couldn’t hide a real concern she read in his eyes. She threw him a half-smile.

“So far I’d take the ghosts over the assassin.”

“Point,” he conceded.