Spell Blind – Snippet 04

Spell Blind – Snippet 04

“Still–”

“I hear you. Really, I do. And it’s not like I’m booking this guy’s room on death row. But you have to admit that we’ve got an awful lot of coincidences at work here.”

I took a breath. “Yeah, you do.”

She frowned. “Isn’t it possible that when the Deegans fired him — when Claudia got him fired — something snapped and he began this string of killings that culminated in her murder?”

Put that way, it did make some sense.

“So you want me to use my magic eyes,” I said. “Tell you if I think he’s our guy.”

“Would you know if he was?”

I thought about Sophe at the New Moon, and how subtle the blurring effect had been with her.

“Yeah,” I said. “I’d know.”

She smiled and stood. “Then come on.”

We walked to the interview rooms, where suspects were interrogated and stopped first at the observation room. Each interview room had video cameras in the ceiling corners. The signals from the cameras came here. The room was brightly lit and it seemed to vibrate with the hum of fluorescent bulbs. Four television screens lined one of the walls. Three of them were off. The fourth showed a large, muscular man with a military style buzz cut and a square face. He sat on a metal chair in front of an empty table. The TV was black and white, and the signal wasn’t the best, so I couldn’t tell from here whether he was a weremyste, much less one who was powerful enough to have left that vivid crimson wash of magic on Claudia Deegan’s face and body.

Gann was antsy. He was slouched in his chair, one of his legs bouncing, his eyes flicking up toward the camera every few seconds.

Kona watched me, expectant.

I shook my head. “I can’t tell anything from here. I’m going to have to see him in the flesh.”

“Yeah, I was afraid of that.”

“Hibbard?”

“Damn right, Hibbard. I’d rather the Federal boys didn’t see you here either, but I’m more worried about old Cole. Calling you to the Deegan place was one thing. But if he finds out that you were here, meeting with his suspect . . . ?” She shook her head. “One day you’re going to have to explain to me again why it is he hates you so much.”

“I’ll keep my mouth shut and you can tell Gann I’m visiting from one of the precincts, or something.”

We made our way back to the interview room and went in. Gann sat up as soon as the door opened, his gaze darting back and forth between us. I leaned against the wall near the door, and stared at him. Kona began to pace the perimeter of the room, her lips pursed, her eyes on the floor. This was how we’d always started our interviews. Kona and I hadn’t been in one of these rooms together in a year and half, and yet it felt like no time had passed.

After a few moments of silence, Gann started to get real nervous. He stared at me and narrowed his eyes. I guessed that he could tell I was a weremyste. But it also seemed he didn’t want to admit that if he didn’t have to. After a moment or two, he turned his attention back to Kona.

“Who the hell are you guys?”

“We’re priests, Mike,” Kona said, still pacing, still not looking at him. “We’ve come to hear your confession.”

“I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“The guys at Robo’s say different.”

I watched him as his eyes followed Kona. He was definitely a weremyste. I could see a faint shimmering around his face and shoulders. It might have been somewhat stronger than the blurring I’d seen on Sophe and on Robby Sommer, but it wasn’t as obvious as what I’d seen on Luis. It wasn’t even close. And Luis’s power was no match for that of the Blind Angel. There was no way this guy had left that magical residue on Claudia. Asking him to cast a spell that powerful would have been like asking a ten year-old little leaguer to hit a home run off a major league pitcher. He didn’t have the strength or the skill to pull it off.

“I just went in there for a minute,” Gann said. “I heard music and I wanted to see who was playing.”

“It said out front who was playing, Mike. Randy Deegan’s name was on the marquee, in the windows, on the door. Unless you can’t read, you couldn’t have missed it.”

Gann glared at her, but didn’t answer.

“What were you doing there?”

He crossed his arms and stared at the table.

Kona flicked a glance my way, a question in her eyes. I shook my head, drawing a frown.

“All right, Mike,” she said, sounding like a parent who’s disappointed in her kid. “You give that question some thought, and I’ll be back.”

Kona and I stepped out into the hallway and she closed and locked the door. I knew better than to say anything right away. We started back down the corridor toward the detective’s room and once we’d put some distance between ourselves and Gann, she glanced my way.

“Well?”

Before I could answer, two guys came around the corner in front of us. One of them I didn’t know. The other I recognized, but couldn’t name. He must have remembered me, because he stared at me the way he would a guy he knew from a wanted poster. He muttered a hello to Kona, but his gaze kept swinging back in my direction. I’m not one to feel self-conscious, but in that instant I wanted to make myself invisible. Had I known the spell, I would have spoken it.

A moment later, we turned that same corner and were alone again. I exhaled.

“Justis?”

“Yeah,” I said. “He’s not our guy.”

She did nothing to mask her disappointment. “You’re sure?”

“Pretty sure. Unless he’s found some way to dampen his magic and make himself appear to be less of a weremyste than he really is, it couldn’t be him. I didn’t see that much power in him.”

“Is what you just said possible? That part about dampening?”

I shrugged. “I’m not sure, Kona. I wouldn’t know how to do it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”

She started to say something, then stopped, shaking her head.

“You really think he’s our killer?” I asked.

Kona rubbed her eyes with her thumb and forefinger. “Maybe,” she said with a sigh. “He’s the best prospect we’ve had since that groundskeeper at Red Mountain you and I brought in two years ago.” She smiled faintly. “But that’s not saying much.”

“If this was a normal case I’d agree with you,” I said. “But whoever this guy is, he’d not a typical serial killer. He’s smart and he’s ruthless and he has a specific goal in mind. A magical goal. He’s building up to something. I don’t know what it is yet, but there’s more to this than trying to get back at the Deegans. And there’s more to our killer than I saw in Mike Gann.”

“I’m not the only one who likes him for this,” Kona said. “Hibbard is giddy as a little girl who just got her first pony.” I snorted and she grinned. “Yeah, and I can tell you, that’s not a pretty sight.”

I laughed.

“The Deegans are convinced he’s guilty,” she went on, her smile disappearing, and her voice falling to a whisper. “And the Feds are about this close” — she held her thumb and forefinger a hair’s breadth apart — “to taking him themselves. They’re leaning pretty hard on Latrelle and Hibbard to release the guy into their custody and be done with it. And with the assistant chief and the commander of Violent Crimes pushing us, that’s probably what’s going to happen. I’ve never seen pressure like this. Randolph Deegan is one powerful man.”

“Do you want me to keep poking around?” I asked, whispering as well. “Hibbard doesn’t have to know. Whatever I do, I can claim that I’m working for Wriker and the Deegans.”

She eyed me. I could tell she didn’t like the idea, but she was considering it just the same. “Where would you go?”

“I’d start with Robo’s, maybe learn a bit more about Gann. And then I’d go see Brother Q.” I hesitated, but only for a second. “Truth is, I was planning to see Q anyway. I talked to Luis Paredes last night, and he seems to think that Q might know something about our guy.”

“And when were you planning to tell me all of this?”

I smiled. “I hadn’t decided yet.”

Kona shook her head. “I don’t like putting the future of this case in the hands of Orestes Quinley, Justis. The man’s certifiable.”

“He’s eccentric.”

“My Grandma’s eccentric. Q is nuts.”

I didn’t say anything; I didn’t have to. All I needed to do was watch her make up her mind.

“Yeah, all right,” she said. “Let me know what you find out at Robo’s.”

“And Q?”

She rolled her eyes. “Sure, tell me what he says, too. Just keep him the hell away from me.”

“You’re starting to sound like Hibbard,” I said with a grin.

“Great,” she said. “That’s what I want to hear.”

 

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