Chapter 2 Page 4

Ellie was overcome by an overwhelming sense of curiosity about the pair. She trailed the two of them, letting them lead her out of the station. On the way past reception, Ellie let Davis know she wouldn’t need the appointment with the chief after all. Then she headed after the strange company into the parking garage under the department.

She watched from out of sight behind a pillar as the two of them crawled into the front of a sleek black van with tinted windows. They backed out, ambling at an easy speed through the deck, and out into the street. Ellie’s car was a tidy gray compact with numerous dents. Some of them were the result of minor traffic accidents caused when she was tailing a suspect. The particularly nasty set in the front was from the metal bat of an angry cheater.

Ellie slipped into the worn seat and threw a brown jacket over her shoulders. She lowered the sun visor and retrieved a baseball cap and large horn-rimmed frames with no lenses. She placed the cap over her head, and the frames on the bridge of her nose. This way, she wouldn’t be recognized if they saw her.

The gears ground when Ellie threw the car in reverse and sped after her quarry. The van was easy enough to follow. It towered over most of the smaller vehicles around it. The ominous opaque windows watched the traffic patterns like empty eyes. The van was a dream to follow, staying just below the speed limit, and using turn signals liberally.

Fifteen minutes from the station the van stopped at a bar on the outskirts of town. The Hangin’ Over was a dive, nestled between a bottling plant and a trucking depot. Each of the complexes which flanked the bar had high fences with barbed wire, no doubt to keep the rowdy customers from interfering with their business. There were a spattering of cars from night shift workers at either complex, but other than the two in the van, there wasn’t a living soul in sight.

Ellie parked well down the deserted street and out of sight. She popped open the glove box to retrieve a small standard issue revolver. No telling when things could get hairy. Then she left the car and closed the door with a quiet click.

The seasoned investigator skirted the sidewalk and hid behind the wreckage of a vehicle. Yellow caution tape fluttered in the evening breeze. There was something wrong with the scene, other than the fact that a murder had just occurred here last night. But, because the priest was still blocking her abilities, she couldn’t quite get a bead on what was bothering her.

Behind the bar, a dense copse of trees grew, giving off spooky shadows in the growing moonlight. The priest left the van, poking around the outside wall. The back of the van burst open and Ophelia stooped to sit on the tailgate. The girl removed her shoes and tights, kicking them against the wheel hub.

Ellie felt the heat rising in her cheeks, and she couldn’t help staring at Ophelia’s bare legs. The girl glanced Ellie’s way, her eyes roved over the spot where Ellie hid. If she knew the investigator was there, she gave no indication of that knowledge. The young girl’s eyes glowed with excitement in the dim light.

Ellie looked closer, and then caught her breath. It wasn’t just the glint from the streetlamps that made Ophelia’s eyes glow. They were glowing from the inside, a deep amber inhuman glow.

An odd prickly feeling crept over Ellie. Her instincts were telling her to leave, that she had just jumped in over her head. Something about Ophelia drew her in further, causing her to fight those instincts, and when the girl’s face turned so that her eyes were no longer visible, the prickly feeling receded.


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