His Father’s Eyes – Snippet 26
“A cult?” Kevin said. “Really?”
Kona’s expression soured. “Anyway, the circumstances are odd enough, and similar enough, that I’m not ready to rule out a connection.”
If I hadn’t spoken to Jacinto Amaya the night before, I might have agreed with Kevin; at first glance, the evidence linking the murders seemed pretty thin. But that was one of the reasons Kona was such a good cop: she saw things that others missed.
“What’s your interest in this, Jay?” Kevin asked.
“You’re not going to like it. I talked last night to a weremyste here in the city who’s worried about dark magic and the people who use it. This person mentioned blood spells and ritual killings, which sounds a lot like what you’re both describing.”
Kona closed her eyes for a second. “What are blood spells?” she asked, her voice flat. “And why the hell haven’t you mentioned them to me before?”
“They’re what they sound like: spells cast with blood to enhance the magic. I didn’t mention them because they’re forbidden, and I didn’t think people still used them. That’s the sort of thing Namid and his kind are supposed to prevent.”
Kevin glanced from me to Kona. “Who’s Namid?”
“A runemyste, sort of a magical ghost who helps me train.”
I could almost hear Namid growling, I am not a ghost.
“Never mind that,” Kona said. “How does this blood spell thing work?”
“I’ve never cast one, so I don’t know for certain, but I’d imagine that a myste would simply incorporate the blood as an element in the spell, and the result would be the same as usual, but a good deal stronger.”
“So you came here because you thought maybe the murders I mentioned were committed by some of your kind who aren’t playing by the rules.”
“Something like that.”
“If you’re right, how do we prove it?”
“Kevin, you said the last murder was committed five days ago?”
“Yeah. Autopsy’s been done, and the body has been cremated.”
I expected as much, and I wasn’t sure that there would have been much to see on the corpse anyway. If the victim’s blood was used to fuel a spell, chances were the spell wasn’t directed at her, which meant that there would be no residue left on the body.
“Was there anything unusual about any of the crime scenes?”
Kevin deferred to Kona, appearing far less sure of himself than he had moments before. I felt bad for him. He was too new to the whole magic thing, and he was still playing catch-up.
“Nothing that I saw,” Kona said. “But we can show you the photos.”
“Without getting yourselves in trouble?”
“We’ll worry about that.”
We returned to the detectives’ room, and while Kevin pulled the files, Kona and I sat at her desk.
“He’s taking the magic stuff pretty well,” I said in a whisper.
“He’s a good cop. He’s freaking out on the inside, but he won’t let you see it — he might not even let me see it — and he damn sure won’t let it get in the way of him doing his job.”
Kevin came back with the files and handed the first one to me. It was that of the elderly woman, Muriel Carey. She bore a jagged wound that ran from the base of her ear to the middle point of her jawline, cutting right across the carotid artery. She was a mess, her face frozen in a rictus of fear, blood splattered across her skin and clothes. But I could tell that Kona was right: a wound like that on a victim who bled to death would have produced a great deal of blood, more than most people would expect, more than I could see in any of these photographs.
But nothing else caught my eye. The same was true of the photos of the other two victims. No surprises, not as much blood as I would have expected, although in fairness, some blood might have pooled within the body of the young woman who was stabbed in the heart.
“No footprints,” Kona said, as I peered more closely at the photos.
I had, in fact, been checking for them. I scrutinized the pictures for another few minutes, then closed the files and handed them back to Kevin. “Thanks.”
“Anything?” Kona asked.
“No, but I didn’t really expect to see much. I would have needed to be on the scene.” For Kevin’s sake I added, “Magical residue doesn’t show up on film, or in pixels.”
“Hang around with Justis for any time at all, and you’ll realize that magic is almost always inconvenient.” She toyed with one of her long gold earrings, her forehead furrowed in thought. The earrings weren’t regulation, but none of her superiors had the guts to tell her that she needed to get rid of them. It was one of the perks of being a really good cop. “I suppose we’ll have to call you in next time. If there is a next time,” she added with a glance Kevin’s way. “Hibbard’s going to love that. Along with the murder of James Howell, these killings are the biggest ongoing investigations we’ve got, and you’re in on both of them.”
“I’m not convinced yet,” Kevin said.
We both eyed him, and I nodded. “That’s all right. I’m not entirely sure I am either. Having opposing theories is a good thing.”
“He’s right,” Kona said.
Kevin nodded. “Okay.”
I stood. “I’ll be in touch if I hear more. You’ll do the same?”
I started toward the door, but Kona called my name. I walked back to her desk.
“Who was your source on the dark magic thing? Was it Q?”
I kept my expression neutral, but on the inside I cringed. I hated keeping secrets from Kona. Long ago, my father had taught me ten rules of being a good cop — things like “Never lend your weapon to anyone,” and “Don’t put off your paperwork.” Rule seven was “Never keep secrets from your partner.” In my early days on the force, I had come within a hair’s breadth of destroying my career by violating this rule. I was a weremyste, suffering through the phasings every month, and rather than confide in Kona, I tried to hide it from her. I vowed never to do that again, and I remained true to that vow until the day I resigned.
I didn’t want to lie to her now. We were working together, and keeping secrets from her promised to complicate our investigation. But we weren’t partners anymore; I didn’t have a partner. And if I was to tell her that I was working for Jacinto Amaya, the most notorious drug dealer in Phoenix, she might never speak to me again.
“I can’t say,” I told her. “It wasn’t Q, but I can’t tell you more than that.”
She pursed her lips for a moment, which she did when she was unhappy. After a moment, she gave a shrug that conveyed more annoyance than acquiescence. “All right,” she said, her tone clipped. “I’ll talk to you soon.”
I walked away again, and as I did, her phone rang. I heard her pick up, and then a moment later scribble something on a note pad. “Hold on a minute,” she said into the receiver. “Justis!”
I stopped, turned.
“You can’t go yet. We’ve got a new victim who you need to see.” With a sidelong look Kevin’s way she added, “Bled to death.”