Low Midnight Page 27

He had a small flashlight to light his way up the path, so he wouldn’t trip on rocks or tree roots. Mostly, he kept the light turned down and his gaze up, to preserve his night vision as well as he could. Moving carefully in the dark, he made slow progress. When he reached the plateau, he shut off the flashlight and put it in his pocket.

In the moonlight and nighttime shadows, the plateau looked wider, more barren. Like the scrub oak and pines were figures, creatures rising up from the ground and peering at him suspiciously.

He felt that prickling of the hairs on the back of his neck—the feeling that something odd was going on. But did it really come from something being off, or from his knowledge that something had happened here back in the day? That creeping feeling didn’t provide any detail.

“You’re a ghost,” he said out loud. “You know any spells that find ghosts?”

Technically, I’m not a ghost. I’m merely disembodied.

He chuckled. “Semantics.”

Do be polite, won’t you?

“I gotta say, I wish Crane’s ghost would just show up and tell us what happened.” Then he could ditch Layne, skip the werewolf hunt, and go back to just worrying about the book of shadows and Roman. Like that wasn’t enough.

Crane may not have known what happened to him. It’s likely he was struck dead before even realizing that his spell had failed and Kuzniak had killed him.

“Poor guy, yeah?” He kicked at a rock and kept looking over his shoulder. His breath fogged, but he didn’t see anything unusual.

I have no sympathy for him, I’m afraid. He was meddling.

“Any ideas?”

I know we found signs of magic, but that just means spells were cast here. I don’t think there are any ghosts, Cormac. Not of any distinct beings. Only the ghost of magic. A strong trace of magic, to last more than a hundred years.

“You’d know about that, wouldn’t you?”

Indeed. If we want to know more it would be useful to have a medium here, Amelia said. A good one whom we can trust.

“Kitty knows one, but she’s on the West Coast, I think.”

Ah yes, the young lady on television. Do you suppose the people on her show would be interested in this?

“We don’t have time to get them involved. We have to keep an eye on Layne and Kuzniak before they blow something up.”

Then we’d best get to work.

He arrived back in Denver around three in the morning and slept.

*   *   *

CORMAC DIDN’T want Ben listening in on this conversation, so he called Kitty at work. She had her radio show on Friday nights, but during the week she kept office hours at the KNOB studios, prepping for the show or cleaning up after it.

“Hey, what’s up?” she answered after a couple of rings.

“You know of any lone werewolves causing trouble down south of Cañon City, around Walsenburg maybe?”

“Not since I holed up down there,”she said. He could almost hear her brow furrowing as she thought about it. “I know of a couple of guys who move around the high country and the Western Slope—one of them works the ski resorts, but he’s stable. He’d call me if he was having problems. That’s right on the south edge of our territory, we don’t go looking there very often, but I haven’t heard about any problems.”

This didn’t surprise him. A werewolf working for a criminal element would necessarily keep a low profile.

“I’ve heard some rumors. Friend of a friend kind of thing.”

“You think there’s a rogue wolf out there? Do we need to check it out?”

He took a deep breath. “As a matter of fact, I could use your help on this.”

“Of course, all you had to do was ask. I’m sure Ben can take the time—”

“Actually, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell Ben about this.”

Her tone became brusque. He smiled at the familiarity of it. “What, you think I’m not going to tell him? How am I supposed to explain my heading out to the other side of the state? ‘Oh, I don’t know honey, I thought I’d go shopping in La Veta for the hell of it.’”

“He’s been getting kind of … protective.”

“That’s how he is. I’m not going to lie to him. And what exactly are you trying to hide from him? You didn’t take a contract to hunt down this werewolf, did you?”

He couldn’t come up with a sensible response to that in time for it to make a difference, so the long pause turned into an answer.

“Cormac, you didn’t,” she declared, with a deep sense of betrayal.

“No, I didn’t,” he huffed, frustrated. “Not exactly.”

“That’s not helping!”

“This whole thing with trying to solve the mystery with Crane and Kuzniak has gotten complicated. It turns out whatever went on out there back in the day, whatever Kuzniak was doing and whatever magic those guys used up there might still be around. I’ve got a lead—but I’ve been told they’ve got a werewolf working for them, and I’m looking for confirmation. I just need to check it out. You feel like taking a drive?”

“You’re hunting a werewolf and you want me to help?”

She was deliberately being thick about this, he knew that. Best thing to do was not take the bait. “Norville, every single one of my guns is still in the storage locker, and don’t think I haven’t noticed that Ben hasn’t given me back the key. I’m just going for a drive, and I could use your help. Your opinion.” Best way to handle Kitty was to appeal to her vast altruism. It was one of the most charming things about her, but it got her into trouble more often than not. He was fully aware he was getting her into trouble with this. He kept on, because he was confident she could handle it.

Prev Next