Kitty Raises Hell Page 14

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The Paradox PI vans were already here, and a camera crew was already filming background footage, a few shots of the team poking around the yard and wrought-iron fence. A wrought-iron fence complete with spikes lining the top—of course the place was haunted.

The KNOB van, black, with the station logo painted on the side in big letters, was also here, with Matt and one of his minions waiting in the front seats. We had a few hours before we needed to set up, but I wanted to watch the team work and record a bunch of material to play back later.

We emerged from the car, and I got to work, gathering the gang over and making introductions. “This is my husband, Ben.” It still felt weird saying that, but people smiled, and no one else acted like it was unusual.

Gary said, “Ben, I know this is personal, but I have to ask, what’s it like being married to a werewolf?”

I was outed. Ben wasn’t. We looked at each other. With great interest, I waited for the answer. He pressed his lips in a wry smile, filled with everything he might say. What he did say when he looked back at Gary was, “It’s a howling good time, I suppose.”

Ben tried to wink at me. It looked kind of leering. I winced and shook my head. There were groans all the way around.

Tina gave Ben a narrow-eyed, suspicious look, like the one she wore at New Moon the other night, and like when she looked at me, as if she knew something, or at least suspected something. I really needed to talk to her privately.

The film crew asked Ben to wait in the van and had me get back in the car so they could film me stepping out and walking up to shake hands with Gary and company—twice. That was reality TV for you.

Gary filmed an opening narration while Matt and I taped my own introduction.

Gary spoke at his camera in the no-nonsense, explanatory tone his viewers had come to know and love. “The house was originally built by George Flint, a silver miner who struck it rich. He raised a family here, but they had a lot of tragedy in this house. One daughter died of pneumonia. A son was trampled by a horse right outside, about where the streetlight is now. The ghost stories started almost immediately.”

My own narration was a little different. And, I could admit, a little more sensationalist. “I’m here at Flint House, the house that kills people. Or maybe it’s just haunted. Or maybe it’s just stories. I’m here at the special invitation of Gary Janson of Paradox PI. I get to tag along while the crew tapes a show, and we’ll see if anything happens, and maybe get some insight into the world of paranormal investigation.”

We trooped into the house next. The interior was as sadly faded as the outside. It gave the impression that it had been beautiful, once: dark red carpeting, now worn down and threadbare; wood paneling gone black with age; peeling wallpaper; wires hanging out of holes where light fixtures should be. No evidence remained that this used to be anyone’s home.

It took a couple of hours to film the gang setting up all their equipment. Jules did a lot of the on-camera work, although a couple of off-camera assistants helped. Tina did her usual posing. Gary discussed timing with one of the show’s tech guys.

It all looked so much more tidy on the finished episodes.

I had my own thing going, following Gary around with a microphone, asking, “What’s this do? What’s this do? Why are you doing this?” Patient guy, was Gary.

Jules, not so much. “We’re not going to get anything with her babbling on,” he muttered. “We’re likely to scare off anything that’s here.”

I overheard and couldn’t help but comment. The cameras and my microphone were picking all this up for posterity, which pleased me immensely. “What? You’re afraid of scaring the house that kills people?”

“Would you stop calling it that?” he said, scowling.

“Am I going to offend it?”

“You might. If this place is haunted, nobody really knows why. Was there an original triggering event, unfinished business of the original owners? Or has the negative energy built up over the years? But if there is a presence here, you don’t want to aggravate it, do you?”

I shrugged. “We want to see some activity, right? Maybe we do want to rile it up a little.” Though based on what was happening in my own life right now, I ought to be a little more careful. I ought to be walking on eggshells.

And I really shouldn’t be standing in a house with a reputation for killing people. I suddenly wanted to step outside for some air.

All the monitors, heat sensors, cameras, and microphones were in place. We retreated to the Paradox PI van, set up in grand cinematic CIA glory. Banks of TV monitors relayed what the cameras showed us. Speakers hissed and cracked with static—background noise inside the house. But wouldn’t it be cool if chains started rattling and a voice moaned? Jules sat at the far end, headphones crammed over his ears, staring intently at a monitor. Tina sat nearby, a little less intent, gaze flicking from one screen to another. Gary sat with me. A smaller camera mounted in the interior recorded all.

As we approached midnight, my own show started broadcasting live. Which meant I got to watch everyone sitting around staring at monitors, and I had to describe it in a way that made it sound interesting. I whispered and hoped it came out sounding spooky and cool. During quiet moments, Matt could switch to my prerecorded interviews with the team to avoid dead air, then come back to the live broadcast if—when—anything happened.

“I’m in the Paradox PI command center looking at about a dozen TV monitors and waiting for something to happen. What? Can’t say. My expectations are completely open. Gary—you guys normally film the stakeout here in the van all night?”

We spoke in hushed voices. “You never know when something’s going to pop up, so, yeah. We tape it all and do a ton of editing.”

“Now, this may sound boring to you all at home, but it’s actually pretty exciting. There really is this sense that anything can happen. Would you say it’s like this every time, or does it get boring after a while?”

“It doesn’t really get boring, per se. We do this because we love it. We always hope we’ll get some good activity. But I’ll admit, we’ve staked out places that we’re pretty sure aren’t haunted—there’s a cat making noise, or some kind of electrical effect. In those cases we just want to get some evidence of what’s really going on, something we can show the owner to say, look, nothing’s here.”

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