Raising Innocence(Rylee Adamson #3)(11) by Shannon Mayer
He scrambled backwards until he was pressed against the far wall, sweat beading up on his forehead.
“Please don’t kill me.” He whimpered, a tear trickling out the corner of one eye.
What an idiot. “I’m not going to kill you.”
“No, but I’m going to make sure you never do anything so goddamn stupid again.”
The throb of his Adam's apple as he attempted to swallow was almost comical. More than that, he was giving me an outlet for my own fears. Sure, it wasn’t fair, but the kid deserved at least an ass-kicking for double-crossing me. If he’d been an adult, it would not have gone so easy for him.
The two agents nearly tumbled over themselves in order to place their bodies between me and Kyle.
“I’m not going to kill him,” I said, one hand resting on my hip. “The shit had the nerve to play me. I can’t let that go. You know what that would do to my reputation?” I was completely making this part up. I had no idea if I even had a reputation, nor cared if it was affected in any way if I did have one. However, they didn’t know that.
Agent Valley cleared his throat. “And what do you have in mind for him?”
“Well, he works for you now, doesn’t he?”
The FBI agent nodded once. “Yes, he is far too talented to be left out on his own. We might as well make use of his particular talents.”
I smiled; Agent Valley’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah, I’m thinking I will make good use of his talents too. For free, for the rest of his ever-loving life. Got it? He will be my personal hacker in everything I do; he will work for me pro bono until I deem he’s worked off his debt, if that time ever comes.”
Kyle scrambled forward on his knees. “I can do that. I can.”
Agent Valley’s eyes narrowed further, to mere slits. “You aren’t going to hurt him?”
Again, I smiled. “Oh, I never said that. I just said I wouldn’t kill him.”
My fingers gripped Alex’s collar as we stood in the pouring rain arguing with Agent Valley. Kyle slinked off with the other agent, still rubbing his ass from the full on over-my-knee spanking I’d given him with the flat of my sword. That made me smile. He wanted to act like an idiot child, so I’d treated him like one.
“I want to meet the Tracker first. I’m not going to the police station until I meet him.” I had to dig my heels in on this—there was no other way. I had to figure out what was stopping me from Tracking these kids. Had I lost my ability somehow? I harboured a fear that this sudden change had to do with the demon venom I’d carried around last month. Shit, as if almost dying wasn’t enough, the venom had to leave me useless too?
Alex picked up on my tension and let out a whimper, but said nothing. I’d told him that he couldn’t speak a word while we were in London unless there was no one else around. So far, he was remembering.
“Ms. Adamson,” Agent Valley said. “Our number one priority should be the children, shouldn’t it?”
Guilt tactics, f**k I hated them. I used them on myself enough. I didn’t need the agent piling on the weight.
Time to get seriously tough. “They’re dead. Correct?”
He flinched as if I’d hit him. “Yes.” He was going to have to learn how to hide his ‘tells’. Already, I was gaining the upper hand; something I’d never managed with O’Shea.
“Then they won’t mind waiting another couple of hours.”
With that argument, I won out and was taken to the hospital where Jack Feen was slowly dying. We pulled up and I stared out at the tall, greyish concrete building, the exterior as depressing as no doubt the interior was with all the sickness and death hidden behind the walls.
I leashed Alex, and tugged him tight against my leg. This was the first time I’d taken him to a hospital and I was worried he might be overwhelmed, not only by the smells, but the strong emotions. As I’d learned last month, the werewolf was sensitive to the emotions other people threw off. Which was not necessarily a good thing.
But Alex tucked in against my left leg, heeling at my side like a well-trained mutt. Which is all the humans would see, as long as his spelled collar stayed on.
I turned and looked down into the car. “Aren’t you coming in?”
Agent Valley shook his head. “No, I will be heading to the local station. I’ll send a car round for you. You have one hour, Ms. Adamson.”
Giving him a sloppy salute and swirling my wrist like a girly girl, I spun on one boot heel and walked away. Alex snickered under his breath. “Funny Rylee.”
“No talking,” I said, though my voice was far from harsh. Even with the fear of losing my Tracking ability, even with the loss of Giselle so sharp, I was excited. I was about to meet someone who knew what the hell he was doing, and he could share that knowledge with me.
We stopped at the front desk, I gave told them Alex was a therapy dog, and got directions to Jack Feen’s room. He was on the fifth floor. Alex and I took the stairs. Elevators mostly worked for me, but with Alex too, it might be too much for the technology to handle. Today was not a day I wanted to get stuck in an elevator.
I thought about what Agent Valley had told me on the plane, explaining the science behind the truths I’d lived for most of my life.
“We’ve found a very specific vibration that supernaturals give off, almost like their own EMP pulse, though with some subtle differences. You each have a radius, and the more supernaturals, the larger the radius of technology that is affected. There are a few things that can protect equipment, iron plating coated with a skin of silver is the best.”
I’d stared at him somewhat blankly. They were studying supernaturals? Though I supposed I shouldn’t have been surprised, it unnerved me. The more the FBI learned about us, the easier we would be to corral. Control. Not what I had in mind. So I asked questions.
“So why don’t guns work?”
Agent Valley tapped one tooth with his index finger before answering. “The best way to explain it is that everything has positive and negative vibrations of energy.”
My eyes widened. Crap, this sounded like he’d actually done some research and believed what he’d found.
“And the primer in explosives of all types has a, more or less, negative energy.”
“That’s not surprising,” I said.
He grunted and kept going.
“Most supernaturals have a positive type energy that they throw off. When the two come into contact, the positive energy does, for lack of a better explanation, weird shit. It’s why bullets swerve, guns misfire, and occasionally everything works fine. It’s literally a crap shoot.”
Well, that explained a number of things I’d always just taken on faith. Don’t play with guns and don’t touch technology. That shit will break on your ass when you need it the most.
Blinking, I looked up at the door I stood in front of. ‘Jack Feen’ was etched into a small nameplate. Somehow, I didn’t think it was a good thing that he had his own plaque.
Glancing back the way we’d come, I saw a nurse wave at me from the desk. I gave her a bob of my head in acknowledgment.
Lifting my hand, I knocked on the door.
“Come the bloody f**king hell in or bloody f**k the hell off! But don’t just stand out there hovering in front of my f**king goddamned door!”
Swallowing hard, I pushed the door open. Alex and I stepped into the room. The air was cold, the window halfway open and the winter wind whipping through. Pale yellow walls that were meant to be cheery only made me think that the shade had been handpicked for Jack. His skin was the same pale tone, and contrasted sharply with his bright red hair. Not a good look. There was no I.V. or other instrument connected to him—of course, to get them to work would be a freaking miracle. He was here to die, slowly, and by the looks of the bare surfaces around him, alone. No flowers, no balloons, not even a single get well card. I drew closer to the bed, Alex trying to hide behind me and tangling my legs.
“Alex,” I grunted, grabbing at the bed to stop my downward tumble.
“What the f**k? You brought a f**king goddamn werewolf into a bloody hospital? Woman, are you out of your ever-fucking mind?”
Damn, and I thought I had a potty mouth.
“He’s fine. Just clutzy.” I stared down at the Tracker, at a loss for words.
“Well? What are you here for? Charity? Motherfuckers don’t realize I ain’t got no f**king money left. Sons of bitches have bled me dry.” He let out a wheezing laugh that ended in a rattling cough.
I pulled a chair up, and took a closer look at his face as I spoke. “My name is Rylee, and I’m a Tracker.”
This close I could see that he didn’t have just blue eyes. They swirled with three shades, light almost grey blue, a dark blue the colour of a lapis stone, and a bright blue like a summer sky. At least I knew now why my eyes were the way they were. Looked like it was an outward sign of a Tracker.
“Tracker, eh? That what you think?”
“It’s why I’m here. To finish the job you started.”
He pursed his lips, eyes narrowing to mere slits. Had I pissed him off? With me, that was a definite possibility.
“You know what you’re doing?” He asked. “Who trained you? Brin has been dead for years and he was the last Tracker on your side of the water by your accent.”
Excitement coursed through me and I tucked the name away. Brin. I would look him up when I got home—better yet, I’d have Kyle do it. “My mentor was Giselle, but she wasn’t a Tracker. I was hoping you’d tell me what you know.”
His eye snapped wide. “No one trained you?”
I shook my head, my one hand resting on Alex’s back as he sniffed at the edges of the bed.
“Well, f**k. How the hell didn’t you kill yourself?”
“Ah . . .”
“Never mind. Come here, let me have a look at you.” He beckoned with a gnarled up hand, the skin drawn tight over the bones to the point that I could actually see the blood pulse through his veins. Crap, this was like some creepy-ass freak show.