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White Witch, Black Curse
White Witch, Black Curse

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White Witch, Black Curse

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018
Добавлена: 27.12.2018
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In the threshold, Ford closed his eyes, clenched his jaw, and leaned against the frame.

Grabbing a chair, I dragged it across the linoleum to where I could see Edden and Glenn both. My bag went on the floor and my hand on the FIB captain’s shoulder. “Who did this?”

Edden took a slow breath. In her corner, Ivy sat up. “He was working on something on his own,” the man said, “after hours, in case what surfaced would be better left off the record. One of our officers died last week after a long wasting illness. He was a friend of Glenn’s, and Glenn found out he’d been cheating on his wife.” Edden glanced up. “Keep that to yourselves.”

Ivy got to her feet, interested. “She poisoned her husband?”

The FIB captain shrugged. “That’s what Glenn thought, according to his notes. He went to talk to the mistress this morning. That’s where—” His voice cut off, and we patiently waited while he steadied himself. “The working theory is,” he said softly, “that the husband was there and freaked out, attacked Glenn, and then they both left him for dead in their living room.”

“Oh my God,” I whispered, going cold.

“He was off duty,” Edden continued, “so he lay there almost an hour before someone checked on him because he didn’t come in to work. He’s a smart kid, and one of his friends knew what he was doing and where he had gone.”

My breath caught when Edden turned to me, pain etched deep in his brown eyes as he tried to find an answer. “We never would have found him otherwise. Not in time. They left him there. They could have called 911 and fled, but they left my boy to die.”

The warm prick of tears hit me, and I gave the stocky, heartbroken man a sideways hug. “He’s going to be okay,” I whispered. “I know it.” My gaze went to Ford as he came in to stand at the foot of the bed. “Right?”

Ford gripped the footboard as if struggling for balance. “Can I have a moment with Glenn alone?” he asked. “I can’t work with all of you in here.”

Immediately I stood. “Sure.”

Ivy touched the lump that was Glenn’s feet as she passed, and she was gone. Edden slowly stood, letting go of his son’s hand with an obvious reticence. Leaning over Glenn, he whispered in a severe tone, “I’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere, young man. You hear me?”

I drew Edden out of the room. “Come on. I’ll get you some coffee. There’s gotta be a machine around here somewhere.”

I looked back as we left. Glenn looked like crap, but as long as his mind was undamaged, he’d be okay. Ford could tell, couldn’t he?

As I escorted Edden down the hallway in Ivy’s wake, I felt a moment of guilty relief. At least Glenn hadn’t been hurt because of someone trying to get to me. It might sound like vanity on my part, but it had happened before. Ivy’s old master vampire had raped her to get her to kill me, had given Kisten to his death for the same reason. Piscary was dead now, Kisten, too; I was alive, and I wasn’t going to let others get hurt for me again.

Edden pulled out of my grip when we reached a bench across from a vending machine. Everything was done in institutional comfort: soothing shades of taupe and cushions not soft enough to encourage lingering. A wide window opened onto the snowplowed parking lot, and I sat so my feet were in the shaft of dusky sunlight coming in. There was no warmth. Edden sat beside me with his elbows on his knees, his forehead cupped in his hands. I didn’t like seeing the intelligent, quick-fingered man so depressed. I didn’t think he even remembered I was here.

“He’s going to be okay,” I said, and Edden took a deep breath.

“I know he will,” he said with a forcefulness that said he wasn’t sure. “Whoever did this was a professional. Glenn stumbled into something bigger than a wife cheating on her husband.”

Ah hell. Maybe it is my fault. Ivy’s shadow fell on us, and I looked up. Her silhouette was sharp against the bright window, and I leaned back into shadow.

“I’ll find out who did this,” she said, then turned to me. “We both will. And don’t insult us by offering to pay for it.”

My lips parted in surprise. She had tried to hide herself in shadow, but her words gave away her anger. “I thought you didn’t like Glenn,” I said stupidly, then went hot.

Her hand moved to her hip. “This isn’t a matter of like or dislike. Someone mauled a law officer and left him for dead. The I.S. won’t do anything about it, and anarchy can’t be allowed a toehold.” She turned and the sun came in. “I don’t think a human did that to him,” she said as she moved to sit across from us. “Whoever it was knew exactly how to cause an excruciating amount of pain without letting him pass out from it. I’ve seen it before.”

I could almost hear her think, Vampire.

Edden’s hands clenched, then he visibly forced himself to relax. “I agree.”

Unable to sit still, I squirmed. “He’s going to be okay,” I said. Damn it, I didn’t know what else to say! Ivy’s entire vampiric culture was based on monsters who worked outside the law, people who treated people like boxes of chocolates. The biggest and baddest, the ones who made the rules, got away with anything.

Ivy leaned across the wide space between us. “Give me the address where he was found,” she demanded. “I want to look.”

Edden pressed his lips together, making his mustache bunch out. It was the first sign of him regaining himself. “Ivy, I appreciate your offer,” he said, his voice firm. “But we can handle it. I have people out there right now.”

Her eye twitched, and though it was hard to tell, I think her pupils were dilating in pique. “Give me the address,” she repeated. “If an Inderlander did this, you’re going to need Rachel and me. The I.S. won’t help you.”

Not to mention that the FIB will probably miss the Inderland stuff, I thought, settling myself with a soft huff more firmly in the thin padding.

Edden eyed her, clearly peeved himself. “My department is working on it. Glenn will be conscious in a few days, and then—”

His eyes closed, and he became silent. Ivy stood, agitated. Almost brutal, she said, “If you don’t put the heat on whoever did this in the next few hours, they will be gone.” Edden met her eyes and she added more gently, “Let us help. You’re too involved. The entire FIB is. You need someone out there who can look at what happened with dispassion, not a desire for revenge.”

I made a small noise and crossed my arms over my middle. Revenge was on my mind. “Come on, Edden, this is what we do for a living!” I said. “Why won’t you let us help?”

A dry humor was in the short man’s eyes as he looked askance at me. “It’s what Ivy does for a living. You’re not a detective, Rachel. You’re a haul-them-in-girl, and none better. I’ll let you know when we find out who it is, and if it’s a witch, I’ll give you a call.”

That hit me with all the pleasure of a slap in the face, and my eyes narrowed. Ivy saw my irritation, and she leaned back, content to let me yell at him. But instead of standing up and telling him to get Turned—which wouldn’t do anything but get us thrown out—I swallowed my pride, contenting myself with bobbing my foot in anger.

“Then give Ivy the address,” I said, wanting to accidentally kick him in the shins. “She can find a fairy fart in a windstorm,” I said, borrowing one of Jenks’s favorite expressions. “And what if it is an Inderlander? You want to risk losing them because of your human pride?”

Maybe that was low, but I was tired of looking at crime scenes after the cleaning crew.

Edden looked from Ivy’s mocking expectancy to my admirably contained redhead anger, then pulled out a palm-size spiral notebook. I smiled at the scratch of the pencil as he wrote something down, a pleasant slurry of contentment and anticipation filling me. We’d find whoever attacked Glenn and left him to die. And whoever it was better hope I was there with Ivy, or they’d be subjected to her own personal version of justice.

The sound of the paper tearing free was loud, and with a wry grimace, he extended the strip of white and blue to Ivy. She didn’t look at it, handing it to me instead.

“Thank you,” I said crisply, tucking it away.

A soft scrape of shoe on carpet brought my attention up, and I followed Ivy’s gaze, over my shoulder. Ford was shuffling to us, his head bowed and my bag in his grip. I felt a moment of panic, and in response, he looked up, smiling. My eyes closed. Glenn was okay.

“Thank you, God,” Edden whispered, standing up.

I had to hear it, though, and as Ford handed me my forgotten bag and took the cup of coffee Ivy gave him, I asked, “He’s going to be okay?”

Ford nodded, eyeing us over the rim of the paper cup. “His mind is fine,” he said, grimacing at the coffee’s taste. “There’s no damage. He’s deep into his psyche, but as soon as his body repairs itself enough, he will regain consciousness. A day or two?”

Edden’s breath shook as he exhaled, and Ford stiffened when the FIB captain shook his hand. “Thank you. Thank you, Ford. If there’s anything I can do for you, let me know.”

Ford smiled thinly. “I’m glad I could give you good news.” Regaining his hand, he backed up a step. “Excuse me. I need to try to convince the nurses to back off on the meds. He’s not in as much pain as they think, and it’s slowing down his recovery.”

“I’ll do it.” Ivy eased into motion. “I’ll tell them I can smell it. They won’t know the difference.”

The beginnings of a smile curved my lips up as she almost sauntered down the hall, calling out to one nurse by name. Edden couldn’t stop smiling, and I could see a hint of tears in his eyes as he shifted from foot to foot. “I need to make a couple of calls.” He reached for his cell phone, then hesitated. “Ford, can Glenn hear me when I talk to him?”

Ford nodded, smiling tiredly. “He might not remember it, but he can.”

Edden looked from me to Ford, clearly wanting to be with Glenn. “Go!” I said, giving him a happy little push. “Tell Glenn I want to talk to him when he wakes up.”

His steps fast, Edden strode toward Glenn’s room. I sighed, glad this story would have a happy ending. I was tired of the other kind. Ford looked pleased, and that was good, too. His life must be hell. No wonder he didn’t tell anyone he could do this. They’d work him to death.
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