I’m cranking down hard on this one, coming close to the big finish. So here’s a snippet from a WIP
Reed and I sat looking at each other for some time. I really needed to talk to Matei. First rule had always been to keep the secret. But, like with Ware, Reed already knew. Ware had put together the evidence but Reed had a vampire captive. Poor Gerald. He must have been picked up and turned as soon as he had arrived in Seattle.
Wait a minute, I thought. Seattle? Something that Reed had said poked at me.
I leaned forward. “Mr. Reed?”
“Special Agent Reed.”
I nodded. “Special Agent Reed. Which office are you with?”
“I don’t see why that…”
“Are you here in an official capacity?”
Ware turned a puzzled gaze in my direction. “Ms. Herzeg?”
I smiled at him then returned to Reed. “Special Agent, your office?”
“I’m with the Seattle office, if it matters,” he said.
“And your office sent you more than halfway across the country rather than contacting someone local here?”
He turned sullen eyes to me. I smiled.
Ware stood. “If you’ll excuse me for a moment, Special Agent Reed, Ms. Herzeg.”
He squeezed past me on the way to the door, his arm brushing my shoulder in passing.
I leaned back and grinned at Reed, pretty sure I had his number and that Ware had caught on too.
A few minutes later, Ware returned. “Funny way to spend your vacation, Special Agent Reed. When I mentioned to your supervisor that you were here trying to take over my case, he said you were on psychiatrically ordered leave following the death of your partner.”
Ware pushed past me again, his hand stopping for just a moment on the back of my neck. I did not think he was even aware of the contact, but I was. I gritted my teeth. I had to keep a hold on my feelings. Whatever I was feeling for Ware, the middle of the case was not the place for it. And once the case was over I would be going back to Nashville and… No, it was a bad idea all around.
“So, Special Agent Reed–” Ware’s words jerked me back to the present. “–who has no official standing on this investigation at all, what am I to do with you?”
Reed dropped into his chair and seemed to sag. I almost felt sorry for him. Then I remembered Gerald. While Gerald had never been a friend, exactly, he deserved much better than a brutal death his body used by whatever cause a corpse to rise to feast on human blood. Gerald deserved all of my sympathy and, given the opportunity I would do the only thing I could do for him. Kill the thing that was using his body.
“Maybe,” I said then stopped.
“Ms. Herzeg?” Ware looked at me.
“Well, Detective, we all want the same thing, right? We want the attacks to stop and we want this…cult…ended.”
“Cult.” Reed sneered.
“Cult.” I stared Reed in the eyes. He could either play along or not.
After several long seconds, Reed nodded.
“So, Detective,” I turned back to Ware. “Perhaps, even without official standing, we could share some information back and forth and maybe find something that will help break the case.”
Ware thought for a moment. “Since these cases appear to be connected, we should be talking to each other. But for some reason I haven’t even heard from Seattle that there is a connected event.” He leaned forward, elbows on the desk, resting his chin on folded hands. “Why is that, Special Agent?”
“You think we want to tell people that we have a vampire in holding?” Reed shook his head. “I’m not crazy, you know that.”
“Well, jury’s still out on that.”
Reed flashed Ware an irritated look. “I made the mistake of telling the shrink what I saw. She, of course, doesn’t know about…” He waved at his phone. “So I’m on psychiatric leave because I admitted to something my bosses don’t want to admit exists.”
“So they’re keeping secret information that might help me stop the bastards killing people, killing kids for God’s sake, in my city?” Ware slapped his hands on the desk and stood.
Reed jumped to his feet as well. “One of those things killed my partner and…”
“I have at least twenty-three dead bodies, college kids, and that’s just last night. Your partner was a volunteer, putting his neck out for the job. These? They shouldn’t have to worry about more than drinking too much at their next kegger.”
“Gentlemen?” I said softly.
“My partner never expected…”
“Gentlemen!” I did not have the energy to push but I did put some force into my voice. They both turned and stared at me. “Perhaps this is not the time to have this argument. I have no authority over either of you, but if an outside voice might be able to interject a little reason, I’d suggest that you both cool off and you–” I pointed at Reed. “–leave Detective Ware your card. Give us a chance to go over these reports. And perhaps we can talk about this tomorrow morning with–” I sighed theatrically. “–cooler heads.”
While talking I caught Ware’s eye and surreptitiously tapped the pocket that held my phone. I hoped he would catch the hint.
I really needed to talk to Matei but I couldn’t, not yet, not until sundown.