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Книга Sense Of Evil. Содержание - 10

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“You felt something?”

“The shock first. And then a muffling quality. Didn’t shut out the voices, just… quieted them a bit, as though I were suddenly insulated. Just enough for me to notice. Out in the Jeep, when he was putting disinfectant on my neck and sitting so close, the voices were barely whispers. When he left to go back inside, they got louder again.”

“And just now, back there?”

“If he was within five feet of me, all I heard were whispers. Creepy whispers, but whispers. And felt that goddamned icy breeze; he doesn’t seem to have had any effect at all on that.”

“So what does it mean?”

“I don’t know. I seem to have been saying that a lot today. I don’t like saying it, for the record.”

Hollis looked at her. “What do you hear now?”

“Usual background hum. Like listening to a party in the next room. That’s normal.”


“Dull throb. Also normal.”

“Rafe shielding you-is it getting stronger as time goes on?”

Isabel shrugged. “Hard to say, since it just started hours ago. I’ll have to wait and see. It could get stronger. Or it could go away entirely. God knows.” She smiled suddenly, wryly. “But if it turns out he can silence the voices, if only for a while, I may just have to move in with the man. Or at least take vacations with him.”

“It would be nifty to have that quiet place to go to from time to time,” Hollis said seriously. “A refuge.”

Shaking her head, Isabel said, “Something else you’d better catch on to: the universe never offers something for nothing. There’ll be a price tag. There always is.”

“Maybe it’s a price you can pay.”

“And maybe it’s a price he’ll have to pay instead of me. Or would, if we went in that direction. It’s the sort of thing the universe demands. Cosmic irony.”

“Doesn’t seem fair. And you don’t have to remind me that the universe isn’t about fairness.”

“No, it’s about balance.”

“Then maybe that’s what Rafe is, for you. Balance. Maybe the universe is offering you a refuge because you push yourself so hard.”

“Yeah, and what’s it offering him? A clairvoyant, career-driven federal agent who reads up on serial killers for fun, travels all over the country on a regular basis to get shot at and talk about serial killers, not to mention meeting a few of them in deadly situations, and, oh, by the way, hasn’t had a successful romantic relationship in her entire adult life?”

“Great breath control,” Hollis murmured. “The meditation exercises must really work.”

Ignoring that, Isabel said, “I’m fairly sure Rafe hasn’t pissed off the universe enough to be offered that little balance for his life.”

“Maybe there are qualities in you he needs for his own balancing act.”

“And maybe,” Isabel said, “it’s just a chemical or electromagnetic thing. Energy fields, nothing more. Basic science, emotions and personalities not involved.”

She didn’t have to be psychic to know she was being warned off, so Hollis didn’t say anything else until her partner pulled the car into the parking lot of the inn. And then all she offered was a mild “I hear there’s a surprisingly good Mexican place here in Hastings. You like Mexican, don’t you?”

“I do.”

“And does Rafe?”

Isabel hesitated, then said with clear reluctance, “Yes. He does.”

As both agents got out of the car, Hollis said, again mildly, “Handy to already know so much about him. Likes and dislikes, habits, background. Sort of shortens the getting-to-know-each-other dance.”

“For me. Not for him.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that. I have a hunch Rafe Sullivan already knows most of what he needs to about you. Except for one thing, I guess. And sooner or later, you’re going to have to tell him.”

“I know,” Isabel said.

Special Agent Tony Harte scowled at the window as lightning flashed, then said, “Why is it that we always get the lousy weather, you want to tell me that?”

“Just lucky, I guess,” Bishop responded absently as he worked at his laptop.

“This is not lucky. This is The Universe Hates Me. Me, personally. Who got a flat tire in the rain last night? Me. Who got grazed by a bullet when a pissed-off guy who wasn’t even our suspect got even more pissed off and started shooting? Me. Who had to observe what was without doubt the most gross autopsy on record? Me.”

“Who has to put up with your bitching? Me,” Bishop said.

“And me,” Miranda said as she came into the room. “What’s he going on about now?”

“Usual,” Bishop replied. “The universe hates him.”

“Persecution complex.”

“Yeah, that was my diagnosis.”

“You two are not nearly as funny as you think you are,” Tony informed them.

“Neither are you,” Miranda said, then smiled. “Kendra will be fine, Tony.”

“I hate it when you do that. Here I am, working up a really good, strong mad to let off steam, and you pat me on the head-metaphorically-and tell me, there, there, sit down and be a good boy.”

“I did no such thing. I just said Kendra would be fine. And she will.”

“She’s in Tulsa,” Tony said witheringly. “Setting aside the deranged killer she’s looking for, they have tornadoes out there. Did you see today’s weather?”

“Must have missed it.” Miranda sent a glance toward the window, where another flash of lightning showed the heavy rain battering Spokane. “There was so much weather here that I didn’t bother.”

“There’s a storm cell,” Tony fretted. “Big, nasty one. Bearing down on Tulsa.”

“Tony. Kendra will be fine.”

He eyed her cautiously. “Are you just saying that, or do you know?”

“I know.”

Looking up from his laptop, Bishop said mildly, “That’s breaking the rules.”

“You really want to listen to him bitch for the next few hours?”


“Well, then.”

Tony was staring at Bishop in some indignation. “You knew? You knew Kendra would be fine and just sat there without easing my mind?”

“I thought you wanted to let off steam.”

“There wouldn’t have been any steam to let off if you’d told me Kendra would be all right. Dammit.”

“See what you started?” Bishop said to his wife.

“Sorry. I just came in for-”

Whatever she’d come in for, what she got was a vision.

Even though he was relatively accustomed to seeing it happen, Tony nevertheless felt a little chill go through him as both Miranda and Bishop paled and closed their eyes, perfectly in sync. He waited, watching them, his own extra senses telling him this was a strong one, a painful one.

Finally, they opened their eyes, each reaching up to massage one temple. Miranda sat down across from her husband, and they looked at each other, both wearing an expression Tony had never seen before.

It caused another chill to go through him.

“We can’t interfere,” Bishop said. “We’ve done all we can do.”

“I know. She’d probably ignore a warning anyway.”

“Probably. She’s stubborn.”

“That’s one word for it.”

Tony cared about all the members of the SCU, not only his absent fiancée, and he was anxious. “What is it?” he demanded. “What did you see?”

Slowly, still gazing at her husband, Miranda said, “If it’s literal and not symbolic, then Isabel is about to make a choice that will change her life. And put her on a very, very dangerous path.”

“What’s at the end of the path?”

Miranda drew a breath and let it out slowly. “The death of someone she cares about.”

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