The story so far:
I jumped up gasping for air. I looked around wildly at the stunned detectives.
"Water," I croaked, "please..."
Detective Jim Sampson came over with a cup.
"Better go slow with this," he said, helping to steady me on my feet.
My knees felt like they would buckle. This one was that bad. I sat down before sipping slowly at the cup of chlorine-tasting liquid. I almost had to spit it out, but managed to let it slide over my parched tongue. Damn city water. I gathered myself together slowly. My senses still reeled from the experience.
"She's alive, at least. Scared out of her mind, though," I began, panting.
Being a psychic isn't all it's cracked up to be. First off, there's no "magic" to it. You're either born with the gift, or you have to learn how to work it over decades of practice. I was born with it. Gift from God. Although, at times like these, it seemed more of a curse.
Secondly, no matter how good you are, it takes a little while to disconnect.
"Could you tell anything about where Ruth is, Sam?"
I felt sorry for Mayor Hickman. His daughter, Ruth, had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom, apparently. I had worked with the police before, with pretty good results. So they called me in on this one. "Psychic Sam" is what they dubbed me. I shook my head slowly. It still hurt.
"No. Sorry, Mayor. Her eyes are bound, her head hurts - she might have a concussion. All I know is what I told you. It would seem she's in a basement..."
"Yeah," chimed in Detective Phil Morozzi, "Seems like maybe she's in a farmhouse. When you heard the footsteps above you, you said something about dirt falling on your head. I figger that could be like an old barn or something, with floor boards rotting out, or maybe loosely spaced with the dirt and dust stuck between being knocked loose."
Phil was an old friend and a Master at his trade. We loved calling him Sherlock Morozzi. He was seriously good at detection.
"Well, I don't remember smelling any hay or cow crap, or anything... Wait! You may be right, Phil: The water... the water that was poured down my throat - it wasn't city water - wasn't chlorinated. As a matter of fact, it had kind of a musty, plastic taste to it."
I could almost see Phil's brain kick into high gear. He gets this look. Sort of like maybe he has gas, or it's hard for him to think, or something.
"All right. What else... let's see: you heard keys clinking..."
"Jingling. Like modern keys jingle. Not clinking like the older, heaver, skeleton keys."
"Okay, so maybe an old farmhouse with new locks. You said the footsteps sounded like heavy boots. Like cowboy boots?"
"No. Cow boots tend to have a sharp heel strike sound. This was more muffled. Like... like maybe the boots like firemen wear. Big, heavy, waterproof boots."
"Or boots like the fishermen wear down at the boathouse," Jim threw in.
Phil look up, surprised.
"Yeah! Jim - good! So maybe not a farm, but a fisherman's shack down at the waterfront? Why the hell didn't I think of that? Those ramshackle huts are as old as the city, but all of them have new locks to protect the fishermen's stuff!"
"That could explain the water I heard dripping. I thought it was from the glass that fell and broke. It could have been - I don't know - dripping from a wet fishing net or something. And all the fishermen take those big, insulated, plastic jugs with them for drinking water on their boats!"
Phil was elated. "Well, it could be a long shot. However, I think we've got the edge here, with Psychic Sam and all. I suggest we send out some men to scour the fishermen's area!"
As everyone else jumped up to get things moving, I settled back in my chair and smiled at my glass. Good thing I hate city water, I thought.