IN THE STUDY
An alarm sounds, a loud blaring that makes me cover my ears. Hearing the racket through my hands, I know it can only have one meaning. Grabbing a blue pin-striped suit, I dress in a hurry and rush from my apartments. I hold my heels in my hands and run along the hallway towards the front of the mansion. A door opens and George waits for me to reach him before speaking.
"The FBI man you met at the bookstore waits in your study."
Needing a moment to comport myself in response to the news and from running down the hall, I take several deep breaths to steady my nerves. Slipping my feet into the heels, I point towards the door for George to escort me into the study. With a flourish George bows and swings the door open, announcing my arrival into the room.
"Miss Ella Thomas, Master of Holden Farms."
The agent waits at my desk and rises to greet me. Shaking my hand with a firm grip, he places his other hand on the small of my back, a gesture of familiarity we do not share. His warm smile does not reach his eyes and I doubt this visit will be a social call.
"I did not intend to set off alarms, Miss Holden. I am quite sorry to disturb your day and can assure you my intrusion will be brief. I only have a few questions."
Taking a seat at my desk, I study his eyes while George prepares tea service. The FBI Agent feigns a cursory look around the room, taking an obligatory moment to examine my books.
"I've been following your blog. Enjoying yourself, I see," he says, turning his attention to me. Sipping the tea, he nods at George and smiles. George bows and exits the room, leaving us in silence for several moments.
"Did you come all this way to talk about my fun with internet trolls? Is this what you really want to ask me?" I say, smiling at him and ignoring my cup of tea.
Mr. FBI man chuckles and puts the cup on the saucer. "It's striking the stupidity of the people on that Gamer Gate hashtag. Some assert you are not real, which makes them insane for arguing with a figment of the imagination. Or, even worse, the ones that believe the details you provide - threatening a billionaire killer? My, my, I do not believe you could make up such a thing."
"Oh, the maddening crowd of mindless lemmings that make the internet spin round. Threatening a billionaire. These trolls do amuse me." I laugh and glance down at my phone, tapping out a quick message to Saul. Send someone to secure my apartments at once.
"But enough with laughing at internet trolls. As I stated, I've been reading your recent stories and there have been some inconsistencies in details regarding your assistant in various...installments? I believe that's the word you use to describe your posts."
My assistant? Sipping at my tea, I wonder what theory this man imagines in his mind. "I'm not entirely sure of your meaning."
"I will be blunt, Miss Holden. Is your assistant alive?"