“Oh.” Dill dropped his hand. “Sorry. I am a doctor, if that's any help. I was always told a doctorate bumps you up a few social levels.”
Catherine tittered, her hand in front of her mouth. This was another first for Dill. He'd never seen anyone titter before. It was like seeing something from a fifties children's comic come to life.
“It's nothing to do with social classes.” She looked at the table. “Why were you looking for the entrance?”
“I was curious. I was told there was a secret passage under there.”
“There is!” Her excitement faded. “But I live there with my brother and our aunt.”
“You live there?” Dill tried to keep his face neutral. “But isn't it a mausoleum?”
“Yes. But on the good side, we aren't disturbed very often.”
“But you need to go to school and attend parties and watch television. Not live in an isolated mausoleum.” He looked toward the house. “Does Waterman know about you?”
“Oh yes. He doesn't come to see us very often, though.”
“Guilty conscience, I expect.” Dill looked back at the table. Where's this lever, then?”
“You have to promise not to hurt my brother or my aunt.”
“Introduce me.” Dill smiled at Catherine. “No-one will get hurt, I promise. I just want to get through the passage into the house without the police seeing me.”
“Why?” Are you a robber?” Catherine's eyes shone. Quite literally, as if they were a modded base unit with LEDs in the eyes. It gave Dill the willies.
“A what? No. I'm a hacker. A computer hacker, I mean. A software engineer.” He sighed at her black look. “Computers?”
“No. Sorry. I've no idea what you're talking about. Are you quite sure you didn't escape from a secure facility?”
“I did, actually. How did you know?”
“I can tell.” Catherine took his hand and guided it to bas-relief Grim Reaper. He felt a lever and depressed it, surprised it was polished and oiled rather than covered in dirt and rust. The side of the dais sprang open, revealing stone steps leading underground.