Shadowed(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 2)(32) by Connie Suttle
"No idea," Aedan returned. "But we'll find out later tonight."
"Yeah," Winkler agreed with a slight nod. Philip Raymond's house was now their next destination, after Marcus was satisfied with Nathan's questioning of Chad and Jeremy. Marcus would likely be in contact with the Grand Master quickly, to learn what additional punishment should be levied against both boys since they'd violated house arrest.
* * *
"Luanne, I think you need to be with Philip in the next few minutes," Ashe appeared in Luanne's bedroom, sounding out of breath. Ren, invisible to all except Ashe, appeared immediately after.
"Why? What happened?" Luanne dropped the book she'd been reading and stared at Ashe.
"Well, uh, I just came from Chad and Jeremy's questioning. Both say they asked Philip to set off fireworks. Now, everybody thinks Philip burned down the Booth's house and my dad and the others will be coming to question him in just a few minutes. I think you need to be there, Luanne."
"Yeah, I probably do," Luanne stared at the earnest expression on Ashe's face. "But how do we get past the werewolves that are guarding the community? And do we need to tell Mom and Dad?"
"Yeah, your mom and dad can come, too. I'll take all of you over and the werewolves won't know." Ashe almost jumped when Elizabeth Frasier's ghost walked through Luanne's bedroom wall and sat on the edge of Luanne's bed.
"I wish she wouldn't just show up like that," Luanne muttered to herself. Ashe, with his sharp hearing, heard Luanne perfectly.
"You can see her too?" Ashe stared at Luanne.
"She's been here for days," Luanne grumbled. "And she keeps doing this," Luanne held out her arms in a wide sweep, lifting them upward until they were straight over her head. "I don't know what that means, but she keeps doing it. None of the others see her," Luanne added, as she and Ashe both watched Elizabeth echo the motions Luanne had just made.
"Well, that's the first time I've seen her do it," Ashe chewed his lip in consternation. "But we need to get to Philip, I think. You might be able to calm things down a little when they come to question him."
"All right. Let's go tell Mom and Dad, and then we'll go."
As it turned out, Linda and Peter Jansen insisted on walking to the Raymond's house. Ashe, giving Luanne a nod, misted home after floating overhead until the Jansens arrived at Philip's house. Roger and Toby, the werewolves, didn't like it when Peter Jansen explained that they wanted to visit with Jackie and Philip Raymond, but finally agreed, watching as the small family walked from one mobile home to the other. Jackie Raymond answered the door and allowed the Jansens inside.
* * *
"Dang. I wanted to be there when they did the questioning, but I took a chance, being with Chad and Jeremy," Ashe fumed as he paced inside his bedroom. His mother had already checked on him once, shortly after he'd gotten home. Ren, sitting on the bed, calmly watched as Ashe scuffled first one way and then another across his bedroom carpet.
"You're building up a generous amount of static electricity," Ren pointed out eventually, staring at Ashe's socks.
"Yeah?" Ashe reached over and touched Ren's shoulder, hearing a satisfying pop as the energy released.
"Thank you," Ren smiled widely. "Static is good for a quick snack."
"You're kidding? You ate that?" Ashe stopped worrying about Philip's questioning for a moment to gape at Ren.
"In a manner of speaking. Although such a weak charge will not sustain me for more than a few of your Earth seconds," Ren chuckled.
"Dude, that is seriously cool," Ashe breathed.
"I told you when we first met that I absorbed energy as a food source," Ren said.
"Yeah, but you said sunlight, with everything else being," Ashe didn't finish, Ren beat him to it.
"Broccoli," Ren smiled.
"Yeah. So, static is broccoli?"
"I enjoy static. It may be the equivalent of one of your fizzy drinks."
"Dude, that is messed up and cool at the same time."
* * *
"Marcus," Aedan held the Cloud Chief Packmaster back. Philip had just confessed under Nathan's compulsion, admitting that he'd deliberately burned down the Booth home in retribution for the Jansen's house fire. He, Marcus, Nathan, Winkler and Director Jennings had come to question Philip Raymond regarding the Booth's house fire.
They'd all been surprised that Luanne and her parents were there, and also surprised that Philip didn't even attempt to argue when Nathan placed compulsion. Philip hadn't complained or interfered when Nathan instructed Jackie Raymond to remain calm while they questioned her son, and then commanded Philip to answer all questions truthfully. Marcus growled softly, but Aedan had a hand on the werewolf's shoulder as Philip expressed his dissatisfaction with the punishment given to Chad and Jeremy.
"Luanne could have died," Philip muttered. "And you just give those two a slap on the wrist. It isn't fair that we were dragged into this. It isn't fair that Lizzie died. It isn't fair. None of this is fair." Philip's face was drawn in an angry frown and he tossed out a hand in a helpless gesture. "We don't belong here. Those two jerks made that clear enough. Lizzie told me they called us empty. They were out at the fence when they were supposed to be locked up inside their house. Lizzie said they were rude to her. I think they were rude to Eddy, too, but he won't talk about it."
Marcus cursed. Chad and Jeremy had gotten out multiple times, it seemed. He and Nathan hadn't thought to ask them about all the times they'd left the house. He was going to be more creative in his punishment after this.
* * *
Director Jennings rubbed his forehead as he listened to Philip. This experiment was obviously a failure, and people had died as a result. Not just Elizabeth Frasier, but three Cordell residents had died and one other was in critical condition in an Oklahoma City hospital. And that didn't include Agent Nick Lawford, who was still in a coma. "I've heard enough," Bill raised his hand, stopping Nathan in mid-question. "It's obvious this was a mistake. I'll make arrangements to have these families moved within two weeks. Winkler, if you'll come with me, I have to make calls to some of my associates. A safer place has to be found where we can move these people." Bill Jennings stalked toward the door of the Raymond home, Winkler following closely behind.
"We're moving again?" Jackie Raymond sounded close to tears.
* * *
Ashe, we're moving again. Director Jennings says it was a mistake to bring us here. Luanne just sent mindspeech to me, Edward informed Ashe. I don't want to leave. I like it here. It's quiet, Edward added.
Yeah. I liked having you here, too, Edward, Ashe returned with a sigh. Did he say when you'll move?
Luanne says he has to find a safer place for us, but he wants to do it in the next two weeks, I think. This is awful. Edward was upset and it came through in his mental voice. And I tried sending to Macy and Keith, but they don't seem to hear me.
Dude, they'll know soon enough, Ashe kicked a toe against his desk chair. Ren still sat at the end of Ashe's bed, listening to Edward's mindspeech. He still was unable to hear Ashe unless Ashe directed it to the tall Larentii youth.
You're right. We'll all know soon enough. Ashe, we've moved eight times in the last six months. I want to go somewhere and stay, Edward said.
I understand, Ashe replied. Edward didn't send anything else.
"This is so messed up," Ashe pulled the covers back on his bed. "Dude, I have a sleeping bag if you want to spend the night," Ashe offered to Ren.
"No, I must go. I admit, this is far more perplexing than I thought it might be, and I find myself more involved in it than I should be," Ren confessed. "I will see you again soon, I promise." He disappeared and Ashe sighed again.
* * *
"Those children are being moved again," Adele set a plate of ham and eggs in front of Ashe the following morning.
"Yeah. I got mindspeech from Edward," Ashe said, picking up his fork.
"Ashe, once they're gone, that killer may disappear, too, since they're the reason he came here to begin with," Adele pointed out. "And that means that we can go back to the store. Jason and Marcie are doing a good job, but I hate imposing on them like this."
Ashe knew his mother itched to get back to work—she'd already cleaned out closets that didn't really need cleaning and spent much of her day weeding and fertilizing the community vegetable garden. "Mom, they still need to catch that guy. We can't just hope he leaves and follows those families. He'll kill again; I know it. I think Director Jennings and Mr. Winkler know it, too."
"You're right, honey. I wasn't thinking about that. I just," Adele's hand went to her throat. Ashe knew she was recalling the man's hands on her neck as he'd threatened her. He also remembered the other deaths; the body strangled with a chain—this killer liked to go for the throat.
"Can I go see Edward after breakfast? I'd like to spend as much time with him as I can before they leave."
"If you want to, hon."
Ashe kept eating, even as Elizabeth's ghost floated into the kitchen and settled against the sink to watch.
* * *
"Wynn and Dori came to see Luanne and Macy, and Macy hugged Wynn and cried," Edward swung his legs on the small porch of his mobile home. Keith and Bryce had joined Edward and Ashe, and all sat against the outside wall of the home, talking. "Dori invited Lu and Macy to her house, so that's where they are right now," Edward added. "They told Philip he had to stay inside his house and not come out. I haven't heard what they're doing with those other two."
"Yeah. Nathan probably told Philip he couldn't go outside," Ashe nodded. He didn't bother to explain that compulsion had been employed. He knew that without having to ask. Compulsion was likely employed to keep Chad and Jeremy from wandering off as well. Ashe hunched his shoulders angrily at the thought. If Chump and Wormy had just kept away, Edward and the others could have stayed all summer. Now they were being forced away from their homes again.
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