Then Marisol pulled a small, shiny object from the pocket of her jeans.
A key. She didn't have to tell me that this was a key to the other guesthouse. Later Marisol would tell me that in a cabinet inside the main house, there were duplicate, and even triplicate keys to most of the outbuildings and storage closets of the estate. Members of the staff were always losing them, so long ago the family had learned to keep spares. But Raul Garcia would have removed the key currently in Marisol’s possession had he remembered it. That much, no doubt, was an oversight on his part.
We left my guesthouse together. I hoped that Raul Garcia had returned to the main house after his own bout of insomnia. Then it struck me: Even if Marisol was mistaken or exaggerating in her account, the act of trespass that I was about to commit was vast, and from the perspective of a man like Raul Garcia, it would be unforgivable.
As we approached the front door of the other guesthouse, as I looked into its darkened windows, I wondered if I ought to renege. I couldn’t: I had committed myself now. And I couldn't disappoint Marisol. I had made a commitment to her, as well.
She turned the key in the keyhole and pushed the door open. We stepped inside. I heard something acknowledge our presence with a low sigh, or perhaps a hiss. I was immediately aware of an overpowering smell, a miasma that surrounded me and permeated all my defenses.
“No lights,” Marisol said, gesturing toward the skylight.
This guesthouse had a skylight in its ceiling, which gave enough illumination for us to see. The moon, as I have said, was in its crescent phase that night; but the other guesthouse was near one of the estate’s big security lights.
I could clearly see the outline of the figure in the chair. Female, diminutive. And I thought: Is that really Ana Garcia, the same girl in the photograph with Marisol? She couldn't be. It didn't seem possible. Her eyes were closed, and her skin was ashen—rather than the vibrant light brown it should have been....