Reporters are already waiting upstairs as Gemma and the children are led out of the basement by several police officers. The bodies of the criminals are still downstairs, the doorway quickly blocked off with tape and two large security guards. Whispers that the kidnappers were the same group of young men causing trouble in the pool during the day is spreading throughout the lobby. Rumors fly about in regards to their reasons and how they died, very few believing that a single detective could defeat them. All of the guests are being held back, except for the parents who are allowed to rush forward and claim their child. Not wanting to deal with questions and still processing what she has seen, Gemma takes advantage of the public reunions and slips into the nearest stairwell.
“Not interested in being a celebrated hero?” Dawn asks as she walks down from the upper floor. No longer wearing her pirate costume, she is dressed in an elegant gown of amber stain and a matching tiara. “Thank you for solving that so quickly. I was worried we would have a real problem on our hands. My husband says he had nothing to do with it, but how else could those men have found the abandoned play area and funhouse? I’m sure he meant well, but he’s been rather crabby.”
“I don’t have the patience for you,” Gemma replies in a tired voice. Moving further up the stairs, she finds herself blocked by the other woman’s leg. “You expect me to believe it was an abandoned funhouse? That was a place of death. Maybe the kids were too light to set off the traps or they activated when I went through the slide entrance. Either way, that place makes no sense.”
“Might not have been one of our better ideas,” the hotelier says with a shrug. Hopping onto the railing, she slides down a few steps to stand behind her playmate. “It isn’t easy keeping this place fresh and interesting. I have plans for a movie theater and maybe a horseback riding area if I buy the park across the-”
“Goodnight, Dawn,” the detective mutters before heading up the stairs. She can feel a boring stare on her back and pauses without turning around. “I’m tired and have a lot on my mind. To you this is a game, but to me it’s my job. You’re a monster who needs to be stopped. For some reason, I’m the only one in that position.”
“Do you want another riddle?”
“I never solved the last one.”
“Of course you did. I think.”
“I don’t care anymore.”
“But you need to play the game.”
Heading back down the stairs, Gemma punches Dawn in the face and is surprised to find that the woman continues smiling. She backs away as her enemy licks the blood off a split lip, the crimson liquid appearing to transform into lipstick. Fearing that a reporter will hear the scuffle and investigate, the detective puts her hands in her pockets and disappears up the shadowy stairwell. She vaguely hears fluttering wings below and glances over the railing, expecting to see a raven. Instead, Dawn remains standing where Gemma left her, the brown-haired hotelier staring forward and whispering to herself. There is no sign of a bird beyond a circle of feathers around the brown-haired woman’s bare feet. With a wide yawn, the detective heads to her room and leaves the mumbling hotelier behind.