Kitty Raises Hell Page 18

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“This is shaping up to be an episode of an entirely different show,” Gary said.

Tina said, “None of us started out with these investigations because of the show. We’re in this because we want to know. Whatever’s happening, it’s obviously dangerous, and if I can help discover what it is—I have to at least try. Let’s meet again tomorrow night. That’ll give me time to get supplies together.”

“Where?” I asked.

“Where did you say this first started? That graffiti at New Moon? Then let’s go there, after closing.”

This sounded ominous. Ominous and intriguing. Ben and I glanced at each other and nodded in agreement. Sighing, Gary shrugged, indicating he’d lost control of proceedings but wasn’t interfering. Jules slouched with his arms crossed and wouldn’t look at anyone. So much for keeping an open mind.

Full of coffee, if not any more settled, we went our separate ways to get some sleep. Tomorrow was going to be another late night.

The next morning, my mother called. I was too dazed, confused, and exhausted from the previous night’s chaos to be irate. Or even worried. I worried about Mom a lot these days, and every phone call from her—especially when it didn’t come at her usual Sunday phone-call time—had the potential for disaster.

I answered brusquely. “It isn’t Sunday, Mom, why are you calling?”

“Well, good morning to you, too, Kitty,” she answered in that put-out voice that instantly made me feel guilty.

“I’m sorry. I’m just... I’m a little stressed out right now,” I said, hoping she wouldn’t ask any questions or try to fix everything, or invite me over for a dinner of macaroni and cheese. She still did things like that.

“That doesn’t seem at all surprising. I listened to your show last night.”

I braced, because I knew she was going to ask questions I couldn’t answer. I didn’t want to expose her to what was happening; I’d already told too many people about the attacks. I was afraid that telling them about it exposed them to danger.

She continued, “I’m not sure exactly what happened, but it sounded serious. Are you all right?”

“I can’t believe you’re asking me that when you’re the one who has cancer,” I said, when what I wanted to say was, No, come and take care of me, please.

“That may be true, but at least the cancer is under control.”

Months of chemo will do that, I supposed. And how could she be so calm about it?

“Why were you even listening to the show? You never listen to my show, it’s on past your bedtime!”

“How do you know I never listen to it? And I think you’re just arguing with me to avoid answering my question. Are you all right?”

Could I never win an argument with that woman? Ever? Though if I had to be honest, a little childhood part of me was jumping up and down with joy: Mom listens to my show.

I took too long deciding how best to answer her question, and every moment I delayed would only make her more worried. I didn’t want Mom to worry, not when she was still sick. Not when there wasn’t anything she could do about it. “I’m fine. Nobody got hurt last night. We’re trying to figure out what happened, and I have some pretty good leads.”

“Nothing like that is going to happen again, is it?”

Good question. “I don’t know. I hope not. But if it does, I think we’ll be better prepared.”

Mom gave a frustrated sigh. “Kitty, I worry about you.”

So do I. “Thanks, Mom. But I wish you wouldn’t.”

“I’ll tell you what: I’ll stop worrying about you if you stop worrying about me.”

Wasn’t going to happen, of course. We both wanted assurances from the other that everything was going to be okay. Just fine, hunky-dory, we weren’t in trouble, no way. Neither of us could guarantee that.

“I’ll be fine. Really. Everything’s going to be fine.” I didn’t expect her to believe it, any more than I believed her half the time. But she played along, because the conversation obviously wasn’t going to go any further.

“You’ll let me know if there’s anything I can do to help, won’t you?” she said. The usual gambit at this point in the conversation.

“Absolutely,” I said. After a few more empty assurances like that, I coaxed her off the phone.

I called all my wolves, every member of the pack: Was everyone safe? Had anything else happened last night? Had any of them noticed any more signs of what had attacked us?

The answer was no. But no one had been sleeping well. Mick had gone out to the woods to Change and run off his anxiety for a few hours. I berated him for that, but only halfheartedly. He wasn’t out of control if he could get himself to wilderness first. And if it made him feel better... well, then.

I understood the impulse.

Ben and I arrived at New Moon after closing, at a bright and early two a.m., to meet the Paradox PI team.

“Do you know what Tina’s going to do?” Ben asked.

“No, but there’s something weird about her. I think she’s psychic,” I said.

He chuckled, but the sound was nervous. “Like, she can read minds? Tell the future?”

“Nothing like that, but have you seen the way she looks at us? I think she can tell what we are. I think she really did hear that noise before it happened. There’s something going on with her.”

“I suppose if anyone can help, a psychic can. But it feels like grasping at straws.”

“They’re professionals,” I argued. “I’ll take any advice, help, or straw grasping I can get.”

“I guess it can’t hurt,” he said. I felt the urge to rap on the wooden doorframe.

The street had quieted, traffic thinning to nothing after bar hours, when the Paradox PI van—the unsmooshed one—parked on the street in front of New Moon.

Gary had the camera crew along, as usual—“never waste an opportunity to collect material for your show” was a philosophy I wholeheartedly endorsed. By the same token, Jules wasn’t going to waste an opportunity to collect data, so he got to work setting up his standard array of cameras, microphones, and sensors in all parts of the restaurant. Just in case, he said. Tina asked us to help her clear a space in the middle of the dining room. There, we set up a large round table with five chairs. Then Tina went to the van to retrieve her equipment.

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