Книга Sense Of Evil. Содержание - 3

“Different strokes. People have strengths and weaknesses, and some have abilities that can look amazing because they’re uncommon. There aren’t a lot of Mozarts or Einsteins, so people marvel at their abilities. Guy throws a hundred-mile-an-hour fastball and puts it over the plate three out of five pitches, and he’s likely to be set for life, because very few people can do what he does. Gifts. Rare, but all perfectly human.”

“And your gift is?”

“Clairvoyance. The faculty of perceiving things or events beyond normal sensory contact. Simply put, I know things. Things I shouldn’t be able to know-according to all the laws of conventional science. Facts and other bits of information. Conversations. Thoughts. Events. The past as well as the present.”

“All that?”

“All that. But more often than not it’s a random jumble of stuff, like the clutter in an attic. Or like the chatter of voices in the next room: you hear everything but really catch only a word or two, maybe a phrase. That’s where practice and training come in, helping make sense of the confusion. Learning to see the important objects in that cluttered attic or isolate that one important voice speaking in the next room.”

“And you use this… ability? In investigating crimes, I mean.”

“Yes. The Special Crimes Unit was formed to do just that. For most of us, becoming a part of the unit was the first time in our lives that we didn’t feel like freaks.”

Rafe thought that much, at least, made sense. He could understand how people with senses beyond the “normal” five might feel more than a little alienated from society. Having a useful and rewarding job and a place where they were considered entirely normal had probably changed their lives.

Isabel didn’t wait for his response, just went on in that slightly absentminded tone. “There’s been very little study into the paranormal, really, but we’ve built on that with our own studies and field experience. We’ve developed our own definitions and classifications within the SCU, as well as defined degrees of ability and skill. I’m a seventh-degree clairvoyant, which means I have a fair amount of ability and control.”

Rafe watched as she knelt down and touched the ground, no more than an inch or so from where Tricia Kane’s blond hair had lain. “Touching the ground helps?” he asked warily.

“Touching things sometimes helps, yeah. Objects, people. It’s better when the area is contained, enclosed, but you work with what you’ve got. The ground is pretty much the only thing left out here, so…” She looked up at him and smiled, though her eyes held a slightly abstracted expression. “Not magic. Maybe we’re just a lot more connected to this world and to one another than we think.”

It was hot, the way it is now. But barely light. She could smell the honeysuckle. But that’s all… all she could get about the murder, at least. That and her certain sense of something dark and evil crouching, springing… But only that. Isabel wasn’t really surprised. This place was wide open, and they were always the toughest.

He watched her intently. “What do you mean?”

He had very dark eyes, she thought. “We leave footprints when we pass. Skin cells, stray hairs. The scent of our cologne lingering in the air. Maybe we leave more than that. Maybe we leave energy. Even our thoughts have energy. Measurable electromagnetic energy. Today’s science admits that much.”

“Yeah. And so?”

“Our theory is that psychics are able to tap into electromagnetic fields. The earth has them, every living thing has them, and many objects seem to absorb and hold them. Think of it as a kind of static electricity. Some people get shocked more often than others. I get shocked a lot.”

“Are you getting shocked now?”

Isabel straightened and brushed the dirt off her hand. She was frowning slightly. “It’d be easier if the clairvoyant bits came in neon, but they don’t. That cluttered attic. That noisy party in the next room. In the end it’s usually just a jumble of information, stuff I could have read or heard or been told.”

Rafe waited for a moment, then said, “Except?”

“Except… when the information comes in the form of a vision. That is in neon. Sometimes in blood.”

“Not literally?”

“Afraid so. It’s rare for me, but it does happen from time to time. In the case of a murder, it’s as if I become the victim. I see or hear-or sometimes feel-what they do. While they’re being killed. I’m told it’s a bit startling to watch. Don’t freak out if it happens, okay?”

“You’re telling me you actually bleed?”

“Sometimes. It fades away pretty fast, though. Like I said, don’t let it bother you.”

“Don’t let it bother me? Cops see blood, Isabel, we tend to freak out. In a controlled, professional manner, of course. We take it as a signal that it’s time to do our job.”

Her eyes sharpened abruptly, and she smiled. “Well, if you see blood on me, resist your instincts. Chances are, it’ll belong to somebody else.”

“In Hastings, chances are it’ll be yours. Unless you want to color your hair for the duration.”

“Wouldn’t help. He already knows.”

“Knows what?”

“He’s already seen me, Rafe. One of the clairvoyant bits I’ve picked up. I’m on his A-list.”


GODDAMMIT, YOU TOLD ME being bait for this bastard wasn’t the idea.”

“It wasn’t the plan. It was always a possibility, of course, but it wasn’t the plan.”


“Besides, it isn’t that clear-cut. I said I was on his A-list, but I’m not next. He gets to know his victims before he kills them, Rafe. He doesn’t know me. Not yet. And he won’t come after me until he does. Or thinks he does.”

“Are you willing to bet your life on that?”

She didn’t hesitate. “To catch this bastard? Yes.”

Rafe took a step toward her. “Have you reported it to your boss? Does he know you’re on the A-list?”

“Not yet. I’m scheduled to report in later today. I’ll tell him then.”

“Will you?” His doubt was obvious.

Isabel chuckled. “Rafe, our unit is made up of psychics. You don’t keep secrets, or withhold vital bits of information, when half the team can read your mind. Very few of us have been able to keep anything important from Bishop no matter how far away we were.”

“Have you?”

Isabel took a last look down at the ground where Tricia Kane had died, then started toward him with a slight gesture to indicate they might as well walk back to his Jeep. “I thought so once. Just after I first joined the unit. I thought I was being very clever. Turned out he’d known all along. He usually does.”

Rafe didn’t say anything else until they were in the Jeep and he had turned the air-conditioning on full-blast. “The simplest thing to do,” he said, “is to have you recalled and somebody else sent down here. Somebody who won’t draw this bastard’s attention.”

“The simplest thing,” Isabel said, “is not always the smartest thing.”

“I am not going to stand by while you’re dangled on a goddamned hook.”

“I told you, I’m not next on his hit parade. But somebody else is. Some woman is walking around in your town right now, Rafe, and a killer is stalking her. My partner and I are up to speed on this investigation. Bishop thought we were the best team to send down here, and his success rate, our success rate as a unit, is over ninety percent. We can help you catch him. Send me back, and the next team has to start from scratch. Do you really want to waste that time, especially when this killer is averaging a victim a week so far?”

“Shit.” He stared at her grimly. “I’m taking a hell of a lot on faith here. This psychic stuff.”

“At least you didn’t call it bullshit,” she murmured. “That’s usually the first reaction.”

Ignoring that, he said, “I’m supposed to be okay with you being on our killer’s list because you assure me you aren’t next. That we have time while he stalks his next victim and, not incidentally, finds out enough about you to feel that he knows you. So he can kill you.”

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