Kitty Raises Hell Page 6

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If Gary was the leader and did most of the talking and directing of cameras, and Tina was support crew and eye candy, Jules seemed to be the brains of the outfit. He paid little attention to me, the cameras, or even Gary and Tina, focusing instead on a handheld device, a little metal box with some kind of dial on the front. He moved slowly, careful not to jostle it, and seemed to be making a circuit of the area.

Tina was looking at me again. Instead of ignoring her this time, I faced her directly. “What’s Jules doing?”

“EMF readings. You need me to explain that?” Her tone was suspicious.

I seemed to remember something about it and thought I could show her up. “Some people believe an increase in electromagnetic activity in an area might indicate evidence of supernatural activity. Some people... don’t.” I smiled with fake sweetness. Jules certainly seemed very serious about it.

“So you have done some research. Nice.” Thoughtful, she walked away to join Gary and the cameras, before I could get the last word in.

To the naked eye, the only thing haunting the place were a couple of unsavory-looking kids with skateboards and a guy with a dog running across the sloping lawn. I returned to the vans and waited, watching.

When the cameras were off and everyone had gathered again by the parking lot, the sun had almost set. Gary and crew would return tomorrow during daylight hours to set up an array of high-tech gadgetry and sensor equipment. Tomorrow night, the fun would begin, or so they hoped.

“So, is it haunted? You picking up any creepy vibes?”

I’d done enough reading on the topic to not be surprised when Gary didn’t give me a straight answer. None of these guys ever came right out and said yes or no.

“ ‘Creepy vibes’ aren’t a very reliable indication. But the history of activity in this location is so well documented, over such a long period of time, it’s difficult to ignore that kind of pedigree.”

“But do you think it’s haunted?” I tried again.

Tina interrupted. “You’re a bona fide, documented werewolf. Do you sense anything? You ought to have some kind of awareness or sensitivity. You tell us.”

So many things and creatures fell under the heading of paranormal, it wasn’t surprising that someone would blur the lines. Even someone who should have known better.

“I didn’t have any psychic abilities before becoming a werewolf, and I’m afraid I didn’t get any after. I’m just your garden-variety creature feature.”

Gary actually chuckled, which made me warm to him. He said, “You’re a werewolf who talks like a skeptic. That’s pretty ironic.”

I loved it when people made assumptions. “Oh, I believe in ghosts. Maybe not the rapping-on-tables, mists-in-the-night kind of ghosts. But I believe that something lives on and sticks around, if it has a good enough reason to.”

“Sounds like there’s a story behind that,” Jules said. “You have a location where we could go, try to get a few readings?”

“No, I don’t,” I said flatly. He was right—there was a story. But they didn’t need to know how I’d watched my best friend, T.J., die, and how one of the things that kept me going was believing he was still watching over me. Still, I wasn’t convinced any disembodied spirit would obligingly stamp an imprint on something as mundane as the light and sound of a camera or microphone.

Gary intervened. “We could talk more about this over dinner. You know a good place to eat?”

I couldn’t have hoped for a better opening. “As a matter of fact, I do.”

Of course I took the gang to New Moon.

A semiprivate dining room in back gave us a little quiet.

“Why Denver?” I asked, while the staff brought out glasses of soda and water.

Gary said, “I’m hoping the show lasts long enough that we get to every major city eventually. Apart from that, Denver’s got some good stories. Some classic hauntings are here.”

“Have you found anything good yet?” I said.

“The Brown Palace,” Gary said.

Tina leaned forward. “There’s this story about a ghostly waiter in an old-fashioned uniform leaving the service elevator. We did a bunch of readings there. The EMF numbers were through the roof—”

“The trouble is,” Jules said, “it’s an elevator. Of course there’s going to be increased electrical activity.”

Tina continued, undaunted. “We got a recording of a baby crying. There’s been reports of a ghostly baby crying for years—”

“But we checked the guest register and there was a baby staying in the hotel that night. The sound could have carried,” Jules said.

Gary shrugged. “This is how it goes. As long as there’s a plausible, mundane explanation, we can’t call our findings conclusive.”

I said, “How do you deal with skeptics? When things like ghost photography have been pretty much debunked—”

Gary gathered himself, lacing his fingers on the table in front of him and taking a breath in preparation for a long speech. Tina rolled her eyes, like she’d heard this a thousand times. Jules smirked.

“There’s the supernatural, then there’s really the supernatural. There’s proof, then there’s proof. Once you’ve explained, discounted, and debunked every piece of evidence you possibly can—there’s still something there. Something that can’t be explained. That’s what we do. We go in, try to explain away everything about these phenomena we possibly can. Then we look at what’s left. That’s as close to proof as we’ll get. We’re scientists, not spiritualists.”

“‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,’” I quoted Arthur Conan Doyle.

“Sherlock Holmes. That’s right,” Gary said.

“You know Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies? He didn’t think it was possible for a couple of little girls to fool everyone with a cheap camera and paper cutouts.”

“You know the other side of that story, right?” said Jules. His British accent was regional, distinctive. From somewhere in London, maybe. “That the girls really saw fairies. They just couldn’t get anyone to believe them until they did up those photos. Funny, isn’t it?”

“You can ask for proof all you want,” Gary said. “But can you trust it once you have it? That’s the tough part. Especially where the paranormal is concerned. So much of it is taken on someone’s word.”

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