Книга Sense Of Evil. Содержание - 14

“Yes, but you keep missing the point.”

“And what is that?”

“Those control issues of yours. You can be flip about them if you want, but we both know they’re at the heart of this entire situation.”


“Yeah. You came into this as confident as always, sure of yourself and your abilities. In control. I don’t know, maybe you were a little more vulnerable than usual because it’s this particular killer, this old enemy, that you were after. Or maybe that had nothing to do with it. Maybe it was just a case of right place, right person-and really lousy timing.”

“I’ll agree with that much, anyway,” Isabel muttered.

“Doesn’t really matter. The fact is, you found yourself losing control, and not just of your own emotions. Your abilities were suddenly different. You were so wide open you didn’t have a hope in hell of being able to even filter all the stuff coming at you. You could do that before, I’m told. Filter what came through, exert a kind of control over it even if you couldn’t block it out. But once you got to Hastings, once you connected with Rafe, you didn’t even have that.”

“What happened here was nothing that hadn’t happened before, as far as my abilities go.”

“No, but the scale of it was different. You’ve already admitted that much yourself.”

Reluctantly, Isabel nodded.

“And there he was, so close. Too close. All of a sudden, you got very spooked. So you opened the door to your chamber of horrors, thinking that would drive him away and things could get back to normal. But it did just the opposite. It brought him even closer, and it strengthened the connection between you two. So much so that he was somehow able to use it himself, even if only unconsciously.”

Hollis shook her head slowly. “I guess it was easier for you to just let him be the one in control for a while. Let him do what he wanted to do, needed to do. Protect you, shut out all the pain. Even if it meant shutting off your abilities and blinding you to the evil you know is almost close enough to touch.”


THE POUNDING IN HIS HEAD was almost as rhythmic as his heartbeat, as though his very brain pulsed inside his skull.

The imagery pleased him briefly.

The pain made him reach for yet another handful of painkillers. He’d considered going to a doctor and getting the stronger prescription stuff but was wary of doing anything that might call attention to himself.

That bitch agent, it might occur to her that the change kept him in pain most of the time, and she might start calling doctors, checking for just that.

No, he couldn’t take the chance.

But he had a hunch that all the painkillers on top of not being able to eat much these days might be causing other problems. There was a new pain, deep in his gut, a burning. It got better when he was able to eat something, and he knew what that meant. An ulcer, probably.

Was that part of the change? Was it intended that his own digestive acids-helped along by handfuls of painkillers-would eat through the lining of his stomach?

He didn’t see how that would help him become what he had to be, but-

It’s punishment, wimp.

“I haven’t done anything wrong.” He kept his voice low, so nobody else would hear.

You’re dragging your feet. You haven’t done that agent. You haven’t done the reporter. Or the other one. What’re you waiting for?

“The right time. I have to be careful. They’re watching me.”

I knew I wouldn’t be able to count on you to keep it together. You’re paranoid now.


You are. All you should be thinking about is what those women have done to you. Those bitches. You know what they’ve done. You know.

“Yes. I know.”

Then there’s nothing else to think about, is there? Nothing else to worry about.

“I just have to kill them. All six of them. Just like I did before.”

Yes. You just have to kill them.

“I’m not that self-destructive,” Isabel said.

“You’re that scared.”

“And you know that because of your degree in psychology?”

“I know it because I was brutalized too.”

After a long moment, much of the tension drained visibly from Isabel and she said, “Yeah. We belong to a very select club, you and I. Survivors of evil.”

“It doesn’t have to be a lifetime membership, Isabel.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“No. And if you let it be, then you let him win. You let evil win.”

Isabel managed a faint smile. “If this is what Maggie Barnes did for you, then I wish I’d had her around fourteen years ago.”

“What Maggie did for me,” Hollis said, “was put me in the same place you’re in now. As if years have gone by. The memories are still there, the pain is only an echo-and the scars are fear. I can be more objective than you because I’m not the one falling in love.”

“And if you were?” It was a tacit admission.

“I’d be scared to death.”

“I’ll remind you that you said that.”

It was Hollis’s turn to smile faintly. “Believe me, I’m counting on you to help me through, if it ever happens.”

“The blind leading the blind.”

“You’ll have figured things out by then. You’ll have to. As our esteemed leader says, the universe puts us where we need to be. You obviously need to be here, now. With Rafe.”

“And a killer.”

Hollis nodded. “And a killer. Which is why I think you can’t try to ignore or deny your own feelings. Not now, not this time. You don’t have that luxury, not with a killer in the equation. You need your abilities at full strength, plus whatever Rafe brings to the relationship.”

In a slightly suspicious tone, Isabel asked, “Did Bishop tell you anything else about what’s happening here? I mean, aside from having you give Rafe just the information he needed to keep that little confrontation at the dairy farm from having a tragic ending?”

“No, but I’ve been thinking about that.”

“I’m almost afraid to ask.”

“Oh, it’s nothing definitive. You know how Bishop and Miranda are when it comes to seeing the future. Maybe they did see this and knew that Rafe needed to be part of it; maybe that’s why they made sure he’d survive Helton’s drunken paranoia. But even if they did, they’d hardly tell me anything about it.”

“Probably not,” Isabel agreed wryly. “They feel very responsible for what they see and the actions they take or don’t take, so they don’t say a whole lot about it to the rest of us.”

“One of these days,” Hollis said, “I’d love to talk to them about the whole philosophical question of playing God.”

“Good luck.”

Hollis smiled faintly, but said, “Getting back to the point I wanted to make, I think there’s a very simple reason why you and Rafe reacted to each other so instantly and on a basic chemical and electromagnetic level.”

“I guess you’re going to tell me even if I don’t ask.”

“Yes. It’s that balance thing the universe tries to keep going. In your case, you needed something outside yourself to be whole, balanced. And so does he. I think you two were meant to be a team, Isabel. Just like Bishop and Miranda. The two of you together are potentially… greater than the sum of your parts. A perfect balance, something the universe keeps aiming for and so often misses.”


“I don’t know why I believe that, but I do. Maybe it’s the sparking thing. Or just the way you talk to each other, as though you’ve been close for years. All I know is that I believe what I believe. And I think the only difference between you two and Bishop and Miranda is that it took them years and a lot of tragedy to figure things out.”

“What makes you think I-Rafe and I-can get there any faster or easier?”

“You do. You charge at things head-on, Isabel. It’s your instinct as sure as Rafe’s instinct is to protect. So stop holding back. Stop being afraid. Trust yourself.”

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