“Where's all this come from?” White looked into another cold room where a stone ledge created a shelf along one side. The shelf was lined with jars.
“I don't know. Some people have irrational fears. I have a perfectly rational one about quaint country dancing. What have you found there?”
White reached in. “A room full of jars, just like you suggested.” He held one up to the bare light bulb. “This one has a curious red hue. Open it up for me, would you?”
“Me, sir? Why me?”
“It needs two hands and I'm holding the torch. Come on. This could be the evidence you've been looking for to bring in a team armed with shovels and pickaxes.”
“Okay. Here goes.” Peters held the jar and twisted at the lid. “It's a bit stiff.”
“Put some strength into it. If there is a preserved body part inside it may well be caked with blood. Try tapping it on the wall to dislodge it.”
Peters took several deep breaths. “I think I'm going to be sick.”
“As long as you turn your head away and don't contaminate the scene.”
“Dear God.” Peters tapped the lid against the wall. The jar cracked and he let go, allowing it to drop to the flagstone floor. It hit with a dull thump, the glass crazing and allowing a viscous red fluid to seep out. He danced out of the way in case any landed on his shoes. “I told you they were cannibals.”
White took a ball point pen from his pocket and caught up a little of the fluid. He held it in the beam of the torch for a moment, then touched it to his tongue.
“Eww. Sir. That's disgusting.”
“It's just as I thought, sergeant.” He stood, pulling out a handkerchief to wipe the end of the pen. He was momentarily tempted to wave the cotton square at Peters, morris dancing style, but decided he's tortured the younger man enough. “Strawberry jam.”