Steve sat handcuffed against the dirty cinder block wall with Lieutenant Mierez in his face and a migraine headache reverberating from the center of his skull. On the table in front of him, a red LED glowed from a mini tape recorder.
“Are you certain I can’t get you any water?” the Lieutenant offered.
Steve shook his head. “I want to speak with someone from the American Embassy.”
Lieutenant Mierez leaned his elbows on the table. “You have an American passport?”
“It’s in the safe in my room.”
Mierez pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his brow. “You know Senora Suentez?”
“Carina Suentez, the woman you pushed to her death.”
“I did no such thing!”
“You were arguing with her, yes?”
“What do you mean?”
“Guests heard shouting on your floor. A witness saw you chase Carina from your room.”
Steve watched the spools of tape revolving inside the mini cassette recorder. “That’s a lie.”
“I saw her when I entered my room.”
“Did you argue with her?”
“I caught her searching through my wife’s clothes.”
“Why would she do that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Did you ask her?”
“She wouldn’t tell me.”
“So you argued with her for an answer?”
“No… Yes—we exchanged words when I caught her snooping.”
“She worked as a maid. Was it not her job to be there?”
“It was not her job to search through my wife’s personal effects.”
“Is this why you killed her?”
“I didn’t kill her!”
Mierez scratched an old razor nick on his chin. “What happened after Carina left your room?”
Steve rolled his shoulders to stretch the muscles in his upper back. Cramped from sitting, he wanted to contact Smythe and Riker as much as he wanted to speak with the American Embassy. “I ran after her. I heard a scream. When I came down the hall, I found her.”
“Did you see anyone else?”
“Just a bellhop from my hotel.”
“Yes. He must have come out of the elevator when your men arrived.”
“Mr. Sanchez claims he saw you leaning over the guardrail.”
Lieutenant Mierez lit a cigarette and blew smoke in Steve’s face. “Perhaps he saw you push Carina?”
“I never touched her!”
“Then how do you explain her death?”
Steve stared at Lieutenant Mierez without blinking. Someone killed her. Maybe someone who thought she knew too much about bad things happening at the lighthouse. But which lighthouse? The one in Cozumel, or the one in her head?
“I can’t explain it.”
Lieutenant Mierez stopped the tape and put the mini recorder in his pocket. “We’re done,” he said loud enough for the guard outside to hear.
Steve got up when the door to the small interrogation room swung open. “Does this mean I can use the phone?”
The Lieutenant unlocked the handcuffs and motioned toward the door. He inhaled from his cigarette, maintaining a stern look on his weathered face.
Steve rubbed his wrists. “Are you telling me I’m free to go?”
“For now, Senor Chambers. For now.”