Detective Inspector Morgan Wiseman was a realist and a skeptic. He was also at his wits end.
"May I come in?' His soft Glaswegian burr was cultured, and at complete odds with his rough features. The Stocky detective was in his mid-forties, and looked as if he had been chiseled from rough stone by a not too competent sculptor. His sandy hair had been cropped close to his skull, giving him the appearance of a boxer gone to seed. He was dressed neatly, in a dark suit and overcoat. His matching tie was neatly tied over a crisp white shirt.
"Please.' Lukas moved aside and the man entered. He moved lightly for a man of his size, with a quiet grace that belied his bulk. There was a competent authority about the way he held himself, and Lukas decided that he would not want to be a criminal, with this man after him. He led the way into the small living area, and motioned to a leather armchair.
"Thank you.' He sat, and rummaged in the inside pocket of his coat for a second. "Detective Inspector Wiseman.' He held out his ID card for inspection. Lukas smiled.
"I'm sorry,' He told the man. "I'm afraid I wouldn't know a real one of those from a fake. I'll take your word for it. I was just making coffee, can I get you anything?'
"Thank you, but no.' the policeman looked around casually, pale blue eyes taking in every detail. Lukas excused himself, and went into the tiny kitchen to finish the coffee he had been preparing. Moments later he returned, carrying a tray. He set the tray down on a small table that separated him from the Inspector, and pushed the plunger on the large Cafetiere that occupied the tray, along with milk, sugar, and mugs.
"Are you sure I can't offer you a cup?' He asked. "There's more here than I can drink.'
After a moment, Wiseman nodded. "Thank you.' He replied. "It does smell excellent.' Lukas poured. "Help yourself to milk and sugar.'
They sat in silence for a moment, before Lukas asked. "Well Inspector, what can I do for you?'
Wiseman looked uncomfortable, for the first time since entering. "Well,' He began. "I'm not certain that you can. Help me, I mean. I saw you on the television.' He sipped at his coffee, and made a small sound of approval. "This is good coffee, Mister Madson.'
Lukas smiled. "The only person, who called me "Mister' Madson, was my mother. Then I knew that I'd been bad.' He smiled. "It's Lukas, inspector.'
"I had better stick with the Mister, for a while.' Wiseman replied. He looked up from his inspection of his mug. "I have to say, you're not what I expected.' Lukas smiled shortly.
"Now that,' He said quietly. "I get a lot.'
Wiseman could see clearly, that the medium was ill at ease. His discomfort radiated from him in uneasy waves.
"I'm not here because you've done anything wrong.' He assured Lukas. "I need your help.'
"Me?' Lukas was surprised. "What can I do to help the police?'
"You can help me to find a kidnapper.' Wiseman allowed Lukas to digest this for a moment. "Between you and me,' He said. "This is actually my wife's idea; to come to you, I mean. She's a fan of your show, and thought if anybody could help, it would be you.' Wiseman cleared his throat; a sound of embarrassment. "My bosses don't know that I'm here.' He glared at Lukas. "I'd be grateful if it remained that way. At least,' He amended. "For now, anyway. You are a long shot, Mister Madson; you might even say, the last gasp of a drowning man. '
"That's very poetic.' Lukas replied. "So, what can I do?'
"Do you watch the news?'
The sudden switch in topic threw Lukas for a moment. He stared at the Inspector. "No; not really.' He indicated his apartment. "I don't watch television much. I don't even have a TV. I find that it prejudices things. My outlook on reality-that sort of thing.'
"I see.' It was clear that Wiseman didn't understand, but he let it pass. "Well, if you had, you would know that we have a missing teenage girl on our hands. Sierra Mallinson was abducted almost five weeks ago, from a park near her home in Wimbledon. She had been walking her dog. The dog was left behind, dead. The abductor had stomped on its neck.' The Inspector's voice took on a hard edge, and Lukas shivered inwardly.
"I want this bastard, Mister Madson.' He growled. "I want him so bad, it hurts, just thinking about what he's doing to the poor girl. She's sixteen; I have a daughter, about the same age, at home.'
"I'm sorry.' Lukas regretted the words the instant they passed his lips. They seemed pitifully inadequate for the situation the Inspector was in. "I really am. But, there's nothing I can do.' He held up a hand, to forestall Wiseman's interruption. "I've seen those cop shows too,' he said. "The ones where the psychic saves the day by finding the victim before the bad guy has his evil way. But, I'm not a psychic, or a clairvoyant. I'm so sorry inspector, but, unless the girl is-,'
Lukas broke off suddenly. His attention had been captured by an insubstantial mist, that had appeared in a corner of the room, just beyond Inspector Wiseman's shoulder. As he watched, it coalesced, gaining form and substance, until he could clearly make out the image of a young girl.
Dark haired and very pretty, he guessed her age to be somewhere in the late teens. As all spirits seemed to be able to, she knew that Lukas could see her, and she smiled at him.
"He's looking for me.' The girls voice seemed to come from somewhere within him, a small voice that seemed to have been carried across a vast gulf. "Could you tell him that it's too late for me? Please?'