Author’s Note: Ice cream might help deductive reasoning. Might not, though.
“You’ve got some on your nose.”
Mackenna frowned. “How did I get ice cream on my nose and not notice? You’re just trying to mess with me, aren’t you?”
Carson shook his head, leaning over to wipe the bit off her nose as she turned red as her hair. He smiled at her before sitting back with his bowl, slurping up the remains of his ice cream. He wanted more, but he’d already had two bowls, and that was plenty, even if the doctor’s visit had been somewhat traumatic and more than a little unpleasant. He never wanted to have one of those conversations again. Yeah, so there’s a gap in my memory somewhere, and it’s possible that I was molested. Is there anyway to look and see if it did happen, or would there be any proof now? It would have been when I was a child, but I don’t know when…
He didn’t know how he’d managed to ask, and the doctor had been gentle and helpful as she explained what they would look for—most of the signs of former abuse were things that his shrink was supposed to be able to help him with, but Carson wasn’t so sure about that because if that were true, why’d he miss it the last time?
Maybe he needed a new shrink.
He didn’t want to go back to any shrinks. If he could just unlock his memories, maybe he’d have an answer and it wouldn’t be what he feared. “Do you think it could be traumatic enough if I just… saw my father kill himself? I mean, you sort of had that, so… you’d know better than anyone. Is that what I blocked out?”
Mackenna took a deep breath. “Look, I didn’t see what happened to my uncle. I was outside, and I may have heard the shot, but I don’t know for sure. All I know is when I went to ask him about dinner, he was… well, dead, and it damaged me plenty. I can’t handle those scents that I associate with him and I can’t go into Mac’s bedroom, either. Not that I want to, but if I need to wake him, it’s not easy for me to force myself into his room. I have a flash of him lying there in blood like my uncle, and usually I wake him by whimpering in the doorway instead.”
“You’re trying to figure out what’s in your head. I don’t blame you for asking.”
“I know, but I shouldn’t have pushed. I keep picking at all your old wounds, and that’s not fair to you. You shouldn’t have to bleed again just to stop my pain.”
She shrugged, setting her bowl on the coffee table. “I have to say, if it was just your father’s suicide, that would be… oh, best case scenario, right? No one hurt you, no one killed him, but it damaged you good, and you’re still struggling with it.”
Carson rose, taking his bowl into the kitchen. “I don’t know that I believe it. You’re still functioning after what happened to your uncle. Why am I so pathetic that seeing my father do that breaks me? Shouldn’t I be able to move past it instead of holding onto it in nightmares like this?”
She followed him, stopping in the doorway. “Everyone’s different, and I told you—I didn’t see anything. You might have seen the whole thing. Maybe you got splattered by the blood, and that’s why you dreamed about blood on you that one time. Maybe he ranted for a while, terrified you with the gun, and that’s why you screamed ‘don’t,’ and then maybe he saw what he was doing and put the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger. You could have been badly traumatized by that.”
He nodded, accepting her bowl from her. “There must have been two shots, though.”
“The angle of the bullet that hit Phantom. It didn’t hit like it passed through someone, and I don’t remember him up against a car. I remember him on the floor of the barn. One missed, one hit him, and there’s no way it could have been suicide even if the bullet did go through him and into the car.”
She grimaced. “Yeah, I’m no expert, but I have to agree with you. I don’t suppose you know anyone in law enforcement or forensics, do you?”
“Well, I did get the sheriff to do the cadaver dog thing—Grandpa did—but I wouldn’t say he’s a friend or that I could ask him about doing tests on the car or anything. I wish it had been suicide, but I’m pretty sure it’s not. Why didn’t I go to that first?”
She laughed. “That’s easy. You’re a worst case scenario thinker. So am I. If you prepare for the worst, what you get isn’t so bad, right?”
“So… where does Myers live and how can we help him beat the evil that is your company?”
“Um…” Carson knew he should be used to her changes of subject by now, but she still got him every once and a while. “I’m not sure. Let me grab the file. It’s somewhere around here…”