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Authors: Sonnet O'Dell

Tags: #England, #Magic, #Paranormal, #Supernatural, #Vampire, #Urban Fantasy, #dark, #Eternal Press, #Sonnet ODell, #shapeshifter, #Cassandra Farbanks, #Worcester

Silent Doll (6 page)

BOOK: Silent Doll
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I licked a line up his throat, and it was easy for him to just bend his head back to kissing me. I began to flex my hips in time to his fingers and he had to have known he had me. He pushed me back so that as he ripped my panties from my body I saw him tuck them into his jeans pocket. I felt exposed, and a tiny part of me liked that, liked the danger and thrill this entire encounter was shooting up and down my body.

Aram pressed me back against the wall, showing that he too was enjoying himself and that he didn’t have to use his hands to do it. I moaned as he ground against me; he grabbed my hair to draw my mouth back to his. His free hand pressed between us, unzipping his trousers. There was a brief second of time when I could have stopped him. In that second, I came up with several excuses for why we couldn’t continue. Some of them were even good, non-flimsy ones, like the fact that we were in a dirty alley, anyone could walk by, and I was sure that there was something else I was supposed to be doing.

He never stopped kissing me, even when he hiked my skirt and me up against the wall and entered me. My body and mind became complete in its agreement, we just wanted him, wanted this. I locked my legs around his waist, ignoring how the bricks bit into my butt in favor of giving him a good angle for his hips. Aram purred in a deep contralto as my increased vigor against his mouth nicked my lip on his fang and he tasted my blood. He did away with all caution in favor of hammering noisily into my wet, willing body.

I felt like I wouldn’t be able to draw breath until he found his mark. I looked up for a moment, gasping for air, and thought I saw a pair of beady dark eyes looking down at me. Before I could double check that I wasn’t imagining it, Aram hit his mark and I saw nothing but stars. Aram thrust once more as he had his own moment, shudders rolling down his spine. My warm glow and panting breath were abruptly cut off by a woman’s scream.

Chapter Six

Aram wasn’t pleased with my sudden and erratic dismount. He had ignored the sound of a woman other than me crying out enjoying his afterglow and growled angrily when I shoved him away. I hoped to God that I still had time. I yanked my clothes back into place and ran toward the sound, wobbly but frantic, leaving Aram staring after me. It was a shoe that led me in the right direction. It looked like the owner had broken the heel and instead of stopping to assess the damage, she had just kept going. It was a navy blue pump, the toe twisted toward a nearby alley.

I picked up the shoe with a terrible sense of foreboding and walked slowly toward the alley. Alleys don’t smell good at the best of times, but the coppery smell of blood was overpowering as I walked further into the gloom. The woman’s body was illuminated by a security light over the fire exit of the building on the left. The neon glow lit her frozen, terrified face. Her other shoe was half off, at an angle suggesting that she had fallen or been pushed over. Her shirt was torn open; buttons lay scattered like snowdrops across her body and the alley. Her bra was ripped apart, and the gouge in the middle of her chest was a sickening mass of red. Thankfully, I have always had a strong stomach, but I did drop the shoe in my hand.

Footsteps sounded behind me and I spun, half-expecting the killer, but it was Incarra. She leaned against one wall of the alley, breathing hard. I stood in front of her so that she couldn’t see the sickening mess that had been the woman’s chest; I wanted to protect her as much as I could from having to see everything my world contained.

“What happened? Heard…heard a scream.”

“Too late,” I said, shaking my head. “We were too late.” Incarra looked at me and then tried to look around me. I stepped to block her view again. “You don’t want to see.”

She was clearly racked by curiosity, but she understood that she needed to listen to me. She stepped back out of the alley and I did too, taking my cell phone out of my bag–which was, remarkably, still on my shoulder. I scrolled down my phone book listing and selected a number I’d called only a few times before.

“This is Hamilton.”

“Detective Hamilton, this is Cassandra Farbanks.”

“Cassandra.” He practically purred my name. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

I sighed and looked back over my shoulder into the alley. “No pleasure, I’m afraid. I’ve got a body.” I gave him our location.

* * * *

We were surrounded by police and forensics in what seemed like minutes. Hamilton parked on our side of the alley, allowing us to use the front seats of his car as a place to sit. I sat sideways in the driver’s seat with the door open because it faced the action. I saw Doctor Ororo Soltaire, the night shift forensics for homicide, arrive. She gave me a sad little wave and I gave one back. We never seemed to meet each other outside of there being a body to look at, although I quite like her. She had short pixie-cut hair and tended to dress in goth/punk style clothing, not that you saw that under her silvery blue work clothes.

She lifted the tape and went under it into the alley. Incarra tapped me on the shoulder and I turned back to look at her.

“You know all these people?”

“Yeah,” I said. I was seriously beginning to regret having brought my friend over to this side. “We’ve worked together before.”

“So, not granny sitting?”

“No, not granny sitting. I lied. I’m sorry.”

“Seems like you did a lot of that.” She went back to staring out the windscreen. I didn’t know if she was mad at me, scared for me, or just tired from what was turning out to be the weirdest night of her life. Either way I didn’t want to poke at her, so I turned back to watch the police doing their work. The tape lifted again and D.I Hamilton stepped out from the alley. His face was as serious as I had ever seen it, and he shook his head disbelievingly. He flipped over some notes he was making, then turned to walk over to me, his trademark smile absent from his face. I sat with my elbows on my knees, supporting my face on my hands as I watched him approach.

“Despite the situation, I’m pleased to see you again, Cassandra. Now, you want to tell me what happened?”

I gave him a slightly edited version of events. I left out Aram. I left out my vision of seeing the woman dying and played my part down to just discovering the body. If Incarra had a problem with me lying this time, she didn’t speak up but she did get out of the car to walk a little distance off , her posture stiff.

“I know this has to be hard for you,” he said. “Nobody should see another human reduced to that. I can’t help but feel there is more, though. I’ve come to expect that if
you
find yourself somewhere like this, it’s for a reason.”

He started shaking his pen to get the ink flowing; the pen shot out of his hand, bounced off the door frame, and landed on the floor between my feet, rolling slightly under the car. He slid down to retrieve it and his eyes widened. I followed his look, slammed my legs tight together, and twisted them to the side. His face flushed as his eyes met mine, and I tried not to look as embarrassed as I felt; I hadn’t gotten my panties back from Aram.

Not that they’d have been much use, as he’d ripped them off. Maybe I could have tied the sides back together?
Irrelevant
, I chided myself. There was no point in worrying about it now; Hamilton had already gotten an eyeful.

“You want to know if something mystical is going on?” I asked, proud of how strong and unaffected my voice sounded. Hamilton cleared his throat and went back to his notes.

“Yes,” he said, one word answer, clipped and precise. We were going to ignore what just occurred. I was relieved.

“The woman was cut up pretty badly. I didn’t look real close. Was something taken?”

Hamilton looked at me with an arched brow, back into suspicious cop mode. “Her heart.”

I shuddered at the thought that she might still have been alive while she was carved open. The killer would have had to be really quick to not only remove the heart but get it into some kind of container and get away. I hadn’t seen anyone else when I had approached the alley, and it had taken me less than ten minutes to follow the scream to its source.

“I don’t do black magic,” I said, as if he needed that confirmed. “But I know the signs. Removing something vital like that, it’s not for something good. Anything that requires the death of another person to be a success is not good.”

“What can it be used for?”

I shrugged my shoulder, delicately leaning my head against the seat rest.

“As I said, I don’t touch the stuff so I don’t know specifics, but I can do the research if you like. I’m likely to get more answers then you will if you try to petition the Council for the information.”

The Council of Wizards did not like sharing their knowledge of any kind of magic with normals, especially knowledge of black magic, because that admitted, on a more public level, that some wizard at sometime had dabbled in it or studied it. They preferred people to believe that all dark magic was the work of demons and other evil, non-human entities. Hamilton nodded as if he understood that.

“What about multiple hearts?”

I sat up in my seat and stared at him. His posture stiffened also; he didn’t like that his question had put me on point like some kind of bloodhound.

“Why would you ask that? Have there been more attacks like this?”

He didn’t answer me. He just flipped through his notes. I thought furiously. If this was not the first victim, why hadn’t they called me in if they suspected a mystical connection? Then it dawned on me: Hamilton was trying to keep this case out of Rourke’s grubby hands. It was exactly the kind of case she would try to snake: high profile, likely to get her noticed and out of the hell she considered PCU to be. Being transferred to the Preternatural Crime Unit was like a death sentence for a police career, or at least that was the way most people saw it. Hamilton coughed, drawing me out of my thoughts.

“Who’s the woman? Do you know her?”

Once again it was time for me to edit the truth a little, although technically I
hadn’t
really known her.

“I think I saw her at the event we were at. She should have ID or something in her purse.”

“Her bag is missing.”

That was odd. If this were an ordinary killer I might have said he/she had taken the purse as a trophy but they already had a trophy in the heart. The purse had been nice,
Gucci or Prada
, I thought. It had resale value.

“Think whoever attacked her took it? It would fetch a nice price, but I wouldn’t ever deem this a robbery gone wrong.”

He nodded along with my words.

“The purse would have been a bonus, but it means she’ll have to go down as a Jane Doe until we know…”

“Estelle Gray, she was twenty nine.”

We turned to look at Incarra. She was standing at the mouth of the alley, her eyes set as if she saw something that we couldn’t. Hamilton opened his mouth; I put my fingers up to his lips to keep him silent, then approached my friend.

“Incarra. What do you see?”

“Her,” she said, pointing to the body in the alley. “She’s walking around, watching everything; she’s sad and very angry.”

I put my hand on her shoulder, and she shivered as I used my magic to look out through her eyes. A woman was walking back and forth behind the police gathered around her body, her shirt open, bra torn, a large stab wound to her chest. I sighed a little with relief that the first blow had killed her: she hadn’t felt her heart being ripped out.

It wasn’t like seeing a full living color version; she was pale, almost translucent, and tinged with a blue, liquid look. She was frozen in the moment of her death, so her hair was a mess and she had on only one shoe; she walked around sort of hobbling because of the height difference.

I retreated from Incarra’s mind and took a physical step back. Incarra rounded on me, her eyes wide and full of questions.

“Cassie, what the hell? Why can I see that?”

I bit my lip. “Because you’re an ectomancer,” I said softly, wishing it wasn’t true. It was my fault: she was a sensitive, and I’d brought her into a world where that could trigger a latent psychic talent. Ectomancy wasn’t a popular psychic gift. A lot of ectomancers were drawn from that to necromancy. If they could already see and hear the dead, why not learn to control them?

Vampires in particular hated ectomancers because of their potential to become necromancers—the only beings I’d ever heard of who could control every type of walking dead, including vampires.

Chapter Seven

Having to explain the basic properties of ectomancy to both my friend and a homicide detective had not been the end to the evening I had planned. I was trying to do it in the quietest voice possible, in case there was anyone eavesdropping on us. I wanted to get Incarra back to the normal side as soon as I possibly could, get her away from all this. I drew Hamilton off to the side while Incarra sat deep in thought in the open side of his car, digesting everything.

“So, let me see if I’m understanding this right. Your friend can see ghosts?”

“That’s the long and short of it.”

“Ghosts are all walking around us?”

“Not so much, you get your three basic types of spirits. The passed over, those who die without regrets, pass straight over into whatever lies beyond this. Then you get the ones who die but have unfinished business; they wander from place to place, usually connected to somebody. Those are the ones that bother ectomancers the most. The last kind is like this, those that die a violent death. They are trapped in the place of their death until they are avenged or they give it up and cross over.”

BOOK: Silent Doll
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