Kitty Raises Hell Page 46

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I spoke carefully. “I think he’d have wanted you to be your own person. He wouldn’t want you trailing after him like this. Being in his shadow.”

“Yeah,” he said softly. “I’m sorry I was so rotten before. That I didn’t believe you. It must have been a shock, me calling out of the blue. I didn’t mean to stir up bad memories.”

“It was a shock,” I said, accepting his apology with a shrug. “But I’m glad you did. I’m glad I got to learn more about him.”

“Were you really his best friend?”

That made me smile. “I don’t know about that. But he was definitely my best friend for a while there.”

Peter chuckled, like he understood the difference.

We both turned around at Ben’s approach. “Is everything okay?” He gave Peter a sinister look. He was here checking up on me, and the statement was a warning.

“Everything’s fine,” I said, reassuring. “We’re just going through our own little version of ‘This Is Your Life.’ Ben, this is Peter. T.J.’s younger brother.”

Ben’s eyes widened a little, and they shook hands.

Peter said, “Did you know him, too?”

“No, but he’s kind of a legend around here. A lot of people miss him.”

“I guess that’s good,” Peter said, shrugging deeper into his jacket, looking younger. “Is it strange, that that makes me feel better?”

I patted his shoulder, because it didn’t sound strange. He could be proud that T.J. had left a mark on the world. Not everyone did.

Ben pointed a thumb over his shoulder. “They’re still talking. Tina wants to try again with the Ouija board, but they need to talk to you.”

Back to it, then. I turned to Peter. “Are you going to be in town long? I can introduce you to more people who knew T.J., if you’d like.”

He shrugged. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I guess I’ll be around a few more days at least, until I figure out what’s next.”

“Well. Okay, then.”

“Kitty—” He stepped forward, looking boyish and nervous. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on here, but is there anything I can do to help?”

I started to say no, because I didn’t want anyone else involved in this, but I hesitated. The thing we needed, more than almost anything else, was information. And Peter knew how to find information. Another set of eyes doing research had to help.

“You know anything about paranormal investigation?” I asked him.

He shook his head. “I’m more up on the mundane version.”

I smiled. “That may be exactly what we need.”

We went back to the suite. Ben leaned over to mutter at me, “Just what we need, another potential target.”

“Yeah, I know,” I admitted.

“So you invited him anyway?”

“I couldn’t say no.” It wasn’t like I was hoping Peter might replace T.J. It just kind of looked that way from the outside.

“Everyone, this is Peter,” I said, introducing him.

The sound of recorded laughter answered me, coming from Jules’s laptop. Not eerie, sinister, Vincent Price laughter. Rather, it sounded like a grown man trying not to chuckle at a silly joke. It was sniggering. Then it vanished into crackling static.

“What was that? ” I said, wincing. The noise grated in my sensitive werewolf ears.

“EVP. The timing matches it to the appearance of the figure in the fire,” Jules said.

EVP. Electronic voice phenomenon. Another paranormal investigative mainstay, like EMF detectors. Great. Giving the creature a voice somehow made it even worse. “What’s it mean?”

“I’m thinking of all the ways someone could claim the figure in that clip is a guy in a fireproof suit, like you said,” he explained. “Even though we all know there was no one else in that building, and the cameras didn’t pick up anything, no movement, nobody entering and leaving, nothing. Because I’m sorry, but that sounds like a guy in a suit laughing at us. Even though I know it isn’t. But that’s what the skeptics are going to call us on when we show this.”

“But how do you prove a negative?” Peter said. “How do you prove it wasn’t a guy in a suit?” The voice of the skeptic. The voice of reason, rather. If it weren’t for everything else that had happened, I’d be there with him.

“Now you understand the problem with just about everything we do,” Gary said.

“Maybe you’ve been going about this backward,” Peter said. “This isn’t random, right? Someone put this in motion. So go to the source. Shut them down on their end.”

“Kitty can’t go to Vegas,” Ben said. “They already tried to kill her once, I don’t want to give them another chance.”

“And Odysseus Grant, my contact there, is missing. I’m afraid something’s happened to him.”

Peter shrugged. “I could go look for him. Maybe dig up anything else on whoever’s doing this.”

“Would you?” I said.

“Can you front the money for a plane ticket?”

Straightforward guy. I liked him. Give him a few more years and a few more hard knocks he could do Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade. “Sure.”

“Maybe that’s what we need,” Jules said. “We work on the paranormal end of things, and you can figure out how they started this in the first place. Is that a plan?” With a look, he consulted everyone gathered in the room: me, Ben, Peter, his teammates.

Any plan that didn’t involve Roman made me happy.

“When can you leave?” I asked Peter.

“As soon as we get a flight, I can leave. I’ll need to park my bike somewhere,” he said.

“You can use the carport at our place,” Ben said. “I can drive you to the airport.”

The plan, such as it was, came together. Using Jules’s computer, we ordered tickets for an afternoon flight for Peter. Ben and Peter would drive to the condo to drop off Peter’s motorcycle, then Ben would drive him to the airport. I’d stay and help with the research, even though I wasn’t much good for anything beyond creative Internet searches. Sometimes, creative Internet searches could be incredibly useful.

The hope was we’d have more information by evening, so we wouldn’t be going into the second séance quite so blind. Roman kept stressing how little time we had to solve this thing. I didn’t know what that meant, but the sooner the eureka moment came, the better.

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