First draft. Please don't quote or repost.
He turned his head to see Walcott standing in the doorway. The deputy looked uncomfortable.
“What is it, Walcott?”
“That groom from Gorham Manor wants to talk to you. Says it’s important. I told him you were due your supper, but he’s pretty agitated.”
Jonathon glanced at his pocket watch in surprise. Where had the day gone?
“I’ll see him. If he wants to talk, I guess we’d better listen now before he changes his mind.”
Jonathon followed Walcott to the jail cell in back of the building. As jail cell’s went, it wasn’t much, just bars closing off an area ten feet square in the room. The cell contained primitive facilities consisting of a sink and a portable privy. No matter how much they tried to keep it clean, the faint odor of human waste lingered.
Eldon Wethers sat on the bench bed that sat against one of the two brick walls of the cell, shoulders slumped, whole attitude despondent. When he saw Jonathon, he stood up and moved to the bars, facing sheriff and deputy.
“If I cooperate, will you get me out of this cell?” Wethers said, voice low and intense.
“There are worse places you can be,” Walcott said, voice disgusted.
“Look, I didn’t kill Miss Gorham, but maybe I can tell you who did.”
Jonathon raised his eyebrows and grabbed a nearby chair, sitting down. He crossed his legs and stared at Wethers.
“You have my complete and undivided attention.”
“There’s just one thing. You have to guarantee my safety.”
“From who?” Jonathon asked.
Wethers opened his mouth, but a cry of surprised fright came from Walcott. Jonathon turned his head and gave his deputy a look, then followed Walcott’s transfixed gaze.
The water in the bowl of the privy stood up in a column, defying gravity, and wavering about like a snake’s head before striking.