Riley walked into the kitchen and saw Mrs. Perez was still cooking breakfast. “Can I help?” she asked the older woman cheerfully but softly to not startle her.
The woman smiled at her. “Yes, dear, thank you. I just need to get everything into serving bowls and on the table.” Riley nodded and walked over to help her with it and to help set the table for the team. “Huevos rancheros, or rather a version of it,” Mrs. Perez said. “I realized some of you might not enjoy the full experience, so I separated everything,” she explained with a smile.
“That is kind of you,” Riley replied with a smile of her own. She finished setting the table while Mrs. Perez called for the team to join them.
Riley took her seat and noticed each plate had eggs, but as their host had said, everything else was separated. Riley made sure to take a bit of everything while waiting for the others. Ethan sat by her with a nod.
Once the group had settled in and began to eat, Ethan started to go over the plans for the day. “Today, we are going into town to talk to people. Riley, I want you to go with Gabrielle and Emily so you can learn the process. Depending on how it goes, I will go with Josh afterward to see if we can get different answers. Unfortunately, I cannot offer much in the way of guidance, so uncover anything and everything that you can. We will not know what will be useful until this case develops more.”
“I think I should spend more time attempting to contact the children,” Miller replied. Ethan nodded at the suggestion. Riley noticed that Emily rolled her eyes at the woman again but decided to leave it for now.
The group finished their food, and Riley started to help clear the table and rinse the dishes. She couldn’t do most of the work but wanted to help.
“We warn the hosts that they are responsible for us,” Mike said as he walked over to Riley.
Riley looked at him for a moment and gave a small shrug. “I understand if the case is moving, but if it’s slow, there is no reason we shouldn’t try to help.”
Ethan stood at the door to the kitchen and heard the conversation, smiling a little at Riley’s answer. He knew he was as guilty as any of them for not helping their hosts, but she was right. Riley finished up and walked into the sun to relax a bit before Emily and Gabrielle joined her. Once again, Gabrielle tossed her the keys.
“You drove yesterday,” Gabrielle said simply, and Riley shrugged in reply.
When they were on the road, Riley looked at Emily in the rear-view mirror. “Why’d you roll your eyes at Miller?”
“She always finds an excuse to not help with the interviews.”
“I know Miller upsets you, dear, but being a medium can lead to a difficult life,” Gabrielle defended. “She is also not good at interviewing people anyway.”
“I get her life has been hard, but she could have a family if she wanted it,” Emily huffed. She knew that Gabrielle was right about Miller not being much help on the interviews anyway.
Riley listened and wondered how much it was true that Miller could be part of the team, but she kept it to herself. Emily was upset, and she didn’t know the true dynamics. She drove into town, and they found what could be considered the center fairly easily and parked. Riley turned to the others. “So, how do we do this?”
“In this case, we just look for people and ask if they are willing to talk to us,” Gabrielle replied.
Emily had a portable recorder that she got ready then the women set off. They walked through town and approached various people, both business owners and random people on the street. Many of them were willing to answer questions, the shock of two kids being killed seeming to overrule their hesitation with strangers. The questions were straightforward. Had they known the kids? Did they have suspicions? Had they heard of La Llorona? Had they experienced the ghost before the kids were killed? Was there anything in town they could think of that connected to the legend?
Most of the answers were the same. Yes, they knew the kids and of the legend. However, they couldn’t think of anybody that would do something like this, nor was there anybody in town that seemed tied at all to the old legend. Emily would end each interview by asking if the people knew anybody in town especially interested in the supernatural.
The last question gave the most variety in answers, but it didn’t make those answers any more helpful. Nothing specific could be mentioned, rather vague rumors of people who might be just a little too interested in the supernatural world since The Event. It seemed that for at least a few people being interviewed, they took that question as a chance to air their grievances against people they “found weird.”
Riley mostly observed and noted the way the interviews unfolded. Emily was more uncomfortable than Gabrielle, that much was clear. A lot of people they interviewed also gave off high levels of discomfort, enough that Riley couldn’t help but pick up on it. Some of the people also questioned the team’s motivations. A few outright said it, the rest Riley could sense it from them.
The one thing that confused her was her certainty that everyone they talked to did want a solution and were hurt and troubled by what happened. It wasn’t a specific emotion that they were projecting that Riley could pick up on, rather a feeling that she had down in her core. She wanted to doubt it because she had no evidence for it, but she found herself hesitating at the dismissal all the same.
The women were quiet and contemplative as they headed back. All of them trying to examine what they had heard to see if there was something they might have missed in the moment. Mostly they were dreading telling Ethan the bad news.
As suspected, Ethan was not pleased with the lack of information. He hoped that maybe if they tried later, they would have more luck. Perhaps people unwilling to open up to three women would be more at ease with himself and Josh.
As Ethan turned to go back to work, he noticed Riley’s face. “What about you, Riley?”
“You seem like you have something to add.”
“I’m not sure,” she admitted.
“Trust yourself,” Gabrielle urged.
“I just got a feeling. No one we talked was involved, and they all wanted us to find the answer,” Riley finally said.
“People can lie,” Miller said sharply.
“I know that. But it wasn’t anything they said or how they acted, it was just a feeling that I got.”
“Were you trying to read them?” Ethan asked.
“Not intentionally.” Riley flushed. “Some of them projected pretty strong emotions, but it doesn’t matter because it wasn’t that. It was something different.”
“Can you describe it at all?”
“No,” Riley admitted in a defeated voice.
Ethan moved closer to her, not touching but invading her space slightly to make her focus. “Riley,” He said.
“It is like with the library. I just know.”
“It is worth considering,” Gabrielle said. “Maybe make a separate list with the people we interviewed with Riley. We shouldn’t completely count them out, but still, take her instincts into account.”
Miller sighed. “I am sure you think I am biased, and I honestly don’t mean to keep doubting her,” she began, “but she could be dealing with after-effects of the last case and a general lack of understanding of her own powers and instincts. She is still new to this.” For once, Miller found herself not wanting Riley to feel down, but it was a valid concern.
Ethan studied Riley carefully and took what the others said into account. “We will mark down the people Riley interviewed. Both Gabrielle and Miller have good points, so we cannot weigh it too much, but I do not want to dismiss the possibility either.”
“Thank you,” Riley said softly.
Ethan nodded and turned to the group. “This evening, Josh and I will go to town; I think you should come too Mike. Maybe we can find new people or changes in answers.”