Chapter 15 - The Chosen One
“What’s that, Robin? Did I hear you say….?”
He leaned back in the kitchen chair and looked her square in the face. His complexion was ashen. All the color had drained away and a tear was beginning to form in his right eye. He spoke with a sadness she could feel.
“She’s dead, Nancy, murdered in a horrible way. If only they had come to us sooner I might have been able…” he trailed off and stared out the kitchen window into the garden behind the house. The flowers are beautiful this year…
Nancy would have asked him “Who?” but she knew he was talking about little Jennifer Conroy.
They sat in the kitchen in silence. Nancy could feel the sorrow filling the room. She looked up at Robin who was staring out the window, tears streaming down his cheeks. What did he see? She wondered. She felt a great sadness in her soul. Tears began to run down her cheeks too.
The front doorbell rang. Nancy shook off the sorrow.
“That will be the Conroys, Robin. Make us a pot of tea, will you?”
The sadness that permeated the room slowly faded and Robin slowly said as if awakening from a dream, “Tea? Oh… Sure.”
Nancy got up from the table and headed down the hall. Standing in front of the doorway she turned to the foyer mirror and looked at herself. Her charcoal gray hair hung loose over her shoulders and down her back. A tortoise shell clip held it together enough to keep it from covering her ears.
Her hazel gray eyes were a little red from the tears. She took a handkerchief from her pocket and dabbed the tears away. She straightened her blouse, primped her hair, put on a smile, and opened the door.
A very distraught woman and disheveled man stood on the porch. The woman had a large plush rabbit clutched in her arms.
“Madam Velvet?” she said in a small scratchy voice. It was plain she had been crying.
“Call me Nancy. That other name is for show – not serious business like this. Come in Mrs. Conroy.”
“Please call me Lilly. This is my husband Bill”
“Please come in, Lilly. You too, Bill.”
She ushered the Conroys into the living room and invited them to sit on the couch.
“My associate is making tea. Would you like some?”
“No, thank you,” Lilly said.
Nancy sat down in the comfy chair and asked, “Now then. What can I do for you?”
“I read about you in a magazine. They said that you are a true psychic and that you can find people by just touching things that belong to them.”
“That’s true, although I can’t do it every time. Sometimes I get nothing at all. I can’t guarantee that your rabbit there will tell me anything. Some cases are just beyond my powers.”
Mr. Conroy said, “If it’s money you need…”
Nancy interrupted him, “I never accept money for finding missing children, Mr. Conroy.”
“He didn’t mean anything by that, Nancy. He’s upset and hasn’t had any sleep since our Jenny disappeared.”
“I can see that both of you have had a rough time of it,” she said kindly. “Hand me the rabbit and let’s see if it talks to me.”
Amanda Potts floated into the room and landed next to Nancy’s chair. Lilly handed Nancy the rabbit and watched nervously.
“Hello, Mr. Tibbs,” Nancy said.
Mrs. Conroy said, “Yes – that’s what Jenny calls him. How did you know?”
“He told me,” she answered. “Now let’s see what else Mr. Tibbs has to say.”
Nancy closed her eyes and sat motionless for a short time. The Conroys felt as though they were waiting hours for Nancy to say something. When she finally spoke she said, “I’m sorry. I can’t read anything at all. I can see your daughter plain as day, but it’s just scenes of her playing tea party with Mr. Tibbs or sleeping with him tucked in beside her in the bed. They are all past images… nothing of what she is doing now or where she is.”
Mr. Conroy rose to leave, “I thought so. I told you this was a waste of time. Let’s go home and let the police do their job.”
Lilly reluctantly stood up. Nancy could see she had been devastated by her loss and this new development had added to her depression.
“What about Robin?” Amanda asked.
Nancy looked at her and said, “Are you sure?”
“Pardon?” said Mrs. Conroy.
Amanda nodded her head, “Yes. Let Robin do this.”
The Conroys were standing up as if to leave. Mrs. Conroy had her hand out for the stuffed rabbit. Nancy handed it to her and said, “Wait. There’s someone else here who may be able to help you. Follow me.”
Her last remark sounded more like a command than a request. The Conroys followed her. Amanda disappeared through the wall. Nancy walked behind the couch passed through the dining room and into the kitchen with the Conroys trailing behind her.
Robin was standing at the sink with his back to the group filling a teapot with boiling water from the special tap. Amanda was hovering in a corner. The Rum bottle was sitting on the table next to four mugs. One of them was Robin’s.
“This is Robin Oracle, my associate,” Nancy explained. “Robin these people are…” she began, but Robin interrupted her.
“…The Conroys… Bill and Lilly, they live in Rancho Bernardo off of Pomerado Road in a five-bedroom tract home. They have four children: Todd - thirteen, Jack - eleven, Mary - nine and little Jennifer - eight. They also have a dog they named “Bob” and a cat called “Joe”. Sometime Wednesday morning – about twelve oh seven a.m., give or take a few seconds – they discovered that little Jennifer was missing. They called the Sheriff’s department and after a few minutes an Amber alert was called for the area about twelve thirty am. The police haven’t found any leads or any trace of her these last two days, so Mrs. Conroy decided to take matters into her own hands by calling you, Nancy.
“One of her friends is a regular client of yours. She gave Mrs. Conroy the magazine article about your accomplishments and told her about how you used your abilities to help the police find missing children. I think…” Robin turned around holding the teapot in front of him, “I think that’s enough water, now we just need the tea ball.” He stopped talking and looked at the visitors.
The Conroys stood with their mouths open, staring at this man who knew so much.
“I’m sorry,” Robin said, “How do you do? I’m Robin Oracle. Just call me Robin.” He started to reach out to shake hands, thought better of it and retracted the offer.
Mrs. Conroy was about five foot ten with bright blue eyes and blonde – make that blonde from a bottle – hair. She still had a great shape for someone who had been through childbirth four times. Dad was six foot two and had sandy brown hair. His eyes were also blue when they weren’t bloodshot from being up all night.
Mr. Conroy had started to reach out his hand when Robin withdrew his, so he just stood there with his arm halfway extended. Lilly came to first: “Mr. Oracle…”
“Robin, please,” he interrupted.
“Robin. We apologize for staring just now, but you took us by surprise. How did you know…” she stopped and feeling a bit silly she said, “Of course, I know you’re a psychic, but I never thought…” she stopped mid-sentence.
“It’s all right. I get stared at a lot in my business. Is that stuffed animal for me?” he nodded toward the rabbit she was clutching so tightly.
“No. It’s Jenny’s rabbit – Madame Velvet – I… I mean Nancy, told me to bring it.” There was a short pause. Robin stepped behind the table and put the teapot down.
Nancy intervened, “Robin, I can’t get a reading from the rabbit. I know you can. Do you think you are ready for this?”
“Like I said last night, ‘I won’t know until I try’.”
“I don’t understand,” Lilly said questioningly.
“It’s okay, Lilly,” Nancy told her. “Give him Mr. Tibbs.”
Lilly held the rabbit out for Robin to take, but he just stood there. She shook it in a friendly way but he continued to ignore it.
“Before I do this, I have to tell you that I have no control over what I may learn from that rabbit,” he pointed to it. “I can only say that whatever it tells me I will tell you and regardless of whether it’s good news or bad news you will hear only the truth about it. The way this works is that your child has imprinted that toy with her essence and when I touch it, my mind psychically connects with her, wherever she may be, even if she has passed on to another plane.”
“Sometimes, I can see and feel everything that happened as if it happened to me. Other times, I connect with the person’s spirit and they tell me what happened. Either way, it could be very painful to me emotionally and physically, so don’t tell me to touch that rabbit unless you are willing to hear the truth.”
Was that right, Nancy, or did I just sound like a carnival tout? That is how it works, isn’t it?
There was a silence in the room. Lilly looked at her husband and he nodded. Robin’s little introductory speech had convinced him that he was the real thing. Lilly stepped forward and put the rabbit on the table. Bill walked forward and put his arm around her for support. She looked at Robin.
The front door bell rang and the Conroys jumped. Lilly gave a little gasp. Nancy merely said, “It’s just the police. Just wait here. I’ll be right back.” As she left the kitchen the front door opened and a gruff voice could be heard in the foyer.
“Hey, Nancy! We were in the neighborhood and thought we’d drop by.”
“Lieutenant Hawk, it’s nice to see you, too. Still breaking and entering are you?”
“Now is that any way to greet an old friend?” Lieutenant Hawk cooed sarcastically.
“I see you’ve got your little friend Sgt. Tinker with you. Are you two lost or something?”
The Lieutenant took a puff on his cigar. “Well, this is one of the few places a guy can still smoke in California.”
“They’re in the kitchen, Hawk. We’re just about to find out what happened to their little girl.”
“Even you aren’t that good, Nancy. Are you sure you should be doing this?” He asked her in a kindly, concerned tone. The Lieutenant was a big man: six foot six and all muscle. Nancy and he went back a lot of years so he knew she wasn’t a fake. He also knew she would never scam anybody. He had come hoping to find out the same thing that the Conroys wanted to know.
“I’m not, but Robin is,” she said with conviction.
“Robin? Are you sure he’s ready for this?”
“We’re about to find out, Hawk.”
As they entered the kitchen, they could hear Mrs. Conroy speaking, “…so please, if you can really do this, tell us. We just want to know. We want to find our little girl.”
Robin looked at the big man that just walked into the room. His partner, Sgt. Tinker, slid around the Lieutenant so he could see what was going on. Sgt. Tinker stood about five foot seven. He had short blonde hair and brown eyes. He looked up at the mountain he called partner and waited.
Robin knew the Lieutenant and his partner because of Nancy. Lt. Hawk and Nancy were old friends. She had helped him solve a number of cases using her gifts. Now it was his turn and he wasn’t sure what would happen. He only knew that he had to try.
“Welcome, Hawk – You too Sgt. Tinker. I’d offer you a chair but as you can see they are all taken,” Robin said amiably.
“That’s okay, Robin, we don’t mind standing.”
The tableau in the kitchen was this: Mr. and Mrs. Conroy were seated at the white maple table along with Robin Oracle who sat across from them. Nancy had entered the room and took the fourth chair. Each of them had a mug. On the table were an empty rum bottle, a teapot, and large plush rabbit. Hawk smiled widely, tilted his head in acknowledgment, took a puff on his cigar, and waited.
Robin continued: “We were just about to try a little experiment. With your permission, Lieutenant, we’ll begin.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said affably.
All eyes were on Robin as he reached toward the rabbit. The last thing Robin thought about before he picked it up was:
You don’t choose your cases – they choose you.