Kitty Raises Hell Page 16

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“Is it an earthquake?” Jules said. “Maybe it’s not the house at all.”

“Does Colorado get earthquakes?” Gary asked. His voice was taut, anxious.

“Sort of,” I said. “Little tiny ones. You can’t actually feel them.”

“I’ve lived in LA for ten years,” Tina said. “This isn’t an earthquake.”

Something odd occurred to me. “What if it’s just the speakers?”

“What?” Jules said.

“The speakers. Unplug the speakers.”

Jules and Tina were still gawking at me like I’d sprouted a second head, so I lunged over them and pulled at the speaker units mounted above the bank of monitors. Custom jobbies, wires looped into the back of them.

Of course, either way, pulling the wires would stop the noise. Right?

We still didn’t see anything on the monitors, which were bouncing on their shelves now. The noise had changed to a steady pounding, like someone was beating on the van. This wasn’t happening on the house—this was happening right here.

I almost had to shout. “The other option is to go into the house and see if this is going on in there, too,” I said, growing exasperated. I was ready to pile out of the van myself, one way or the other.

When no one said anything, I yanked the wires.

The beating, pounding, thudding noise stopped.

We all held our breaths, waiting for it to start again.

Jules’s shoulders slumped. He grabbed the speaker out of my hand. “Don’t tell me that was an equipment malfunction? Christ.”

In the midst of grumbling, I paused, nostrils flaring. I smelled something. It pinged a memory, but I couldn’t quite catch it. Something recent. Something bad, dangerous—

Sulfur and fire. Brimstone. Attack in the forest. In the back of my brain, Wolf howled.

I bit back a growl and lunged for the door.

“Hey—”

The van tipped over.

Chaos rocked us, objects falling, monitors smashing, bodies tumbling. People shouted, cried out with surprise. I wrapped my arms around my head, over the headset I was still wearing. Then movement stopped. We ended up sprawled on the van’s side, picking ourselves out of the mess of shelving and gear that had been stored there.

I didn’t wait. I could move, I didn’t hurt, except for the panic and anger burning in my gut. I lunged for the back door, shoved it open, and spilled out.

The van was on its side, in the middle of the street. The windshield had smashed, spreading sparkling pebbles of glass across the asphalt. The metal side looked slightly crumpled, as if there’d been a collision. One of the tires was spinning slowly.

Matt and Ben were jumping out of the KNOB van and sprinting toward me. Something in me identified them as friend, so I ignored them. Shoulders tight, hackles stiff, I circled, looking for the enemy, waiting for the thing to attack again.

“Kitty?” Ben caught my body language and looked around with me, searching.

It was here, I knew it was, I could smell it. Any minute it would pounce. I couldn’t talk. All I had in my throat were growls. Wolf stared out of my eyes.

Ben held my arm, took a scent. His grip tightened. “You smell that?”

“Yeah,” I said.

The three investigators had picked themselves out of the van, brushed themselves off, and looked each other over, cursing.

The exterior cameramen, along with the crew, was coming toward us in a hesitating panic. Jules yelled at one of the camera guys, “What did this? What did you guys see?”

“Nothing,” one of them said. “There was nothing there, it just fell over.”

Gary looked at me. “Is she okay? Is she in shock?”

“No. Nothing like that,” Ben said.

A minute ticked on and nothing happened. The panic faded. Wolf crept away, and I was fully me again. Blinking, I shook my head and looked around. We were standing in the middle of the road, staring at the wreckage of the van. This felt like the aftermath of a car accident. Which it kind of was.

A pair of cameras focused on us, capturing every moment for the show. I was still broadcasting, as well. This was going to end up making a pretty good episode for both of us.

But this was far, far too personal for me to be thinking of that.

“Is everyone okay?” I said.

“Cuts and bruises,” Gary said. “What the hell was that?”

“Full-on poltergeist, I’d say,” Jules announced, sounding excited.

“But why us and not the house?” Gary said.

“Didn’t like us looking at it? She really did tick it off. I dunno.” His accent had gotten thicker. He started picking through the wreckage for something. “I’ve got to get some readings. EMF, temperature, infrared. This is unbelievable. Where is everything?” No one moved to help him. The rest of us were standing around, shell-shocked. Waiting for the second round, possibly.

“What do you know about this?” Tina said. She was rubbing her arms, obviously chilled, looking around like she expected something to drop out of the sky. “You act like you know something.”

I didn’t know. It was just the smell, the same prickling on my skin I’d felt the other night. But it was gone now. Only a lingering scent remained. I said, “This is about me, it’s not about the house. There’s something after me.”

“Now that’s a story I want to hear,” Gary said.

I chuckled. “Got a few hours?”

“Will somebody please help me with this?” Jules demanded, still digging through the wreckage for equipment.

Matt called out, “Kitty, you’re still on the air. You’ve got five minutes.”

Shit. The KNOB van was still upright. I wondered how long that would last.

I adjusted the microphone on my headset and moved away from the group to pull myself together and get my show back on track. Not that this was getting off track—I’d been waiting for something exciting to happen, hadn’t I? Anything more exciting than this and I’d be done for the night. I wondered how this was sounding to my audience.

“Right, okay. What just happened? I believe, in paranormal-investigation parlance, we’ve just seen some activity. Yeah, right. The freaking van tipped over, and we don’t know what did it. If you watch Paradox PI when this episode airs, you can check it out, because they caught it all on camera and I imagine it looks pretty good. Hey, Gary—tell me again you’ve never seen anything like this.”

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