The hotel Biggles suggested was surprisingly swank, but they didn’t lift an eyebrow when he followed me in. I gave him a sideways glance and he winked at me.
“Consortium owns this place,” he said. “Every supernatural uses it.”
I called Harriet after we’d checked into the suite. Biggles had vanished into his room to call room service and catch the tail end of “The Hidden World.” Who’d have thought a Supernatural would want to watch reality television.
She didn’t pick up until the fifth ring.
“Harriet?” I said. “I left my jacket there. I’m out of town, but I’ll come get it when I’m back.”
Her tone was surprisingly cordial. “I was hoping you’d call,” she said. “By any chance, did you grab a scarf out of that Goodwill box? I think I stuck it in there by accident.”
“Yeah, I’ve got it,” I said. Her tone was off somehow. “Is everything okay?”
“Sure,” she said. “Boy trouble. You know how it is.”
Actually, work had kept me too busy to date much over the past few years, so I didn’t. But I said, “Sure, I know how it is.”
“When do you think you could bring it by? Tonight? Tomorrow?”
“No way,” I said. “I’m on the road, in some hotel called Owl Heights, in a town too small to have a name.”
“When will you be back? I borrowed it from a friend and I need to get it back to them.”
A day more to get there, a day to track down the pig and deal with, a couple of days back. “By Sunday evening at the latest,” I said.
Silence at the other end of the line.
“I could express mail it to you,” I offered.
“No, no,” she said quickly. “Sunday then.” She hung up without saying anything more.
Emerging from his room, Biggles said, “You look like someone just blew you off.”
“What? No,” I said. “I just — I’ve known her a long time, long enough to know when something’s wrong.”
Long enough to know when there was something important she wasn’t saying.
Biggles’ fur was oddly matted and he was wrapped in the leopard print terrycloth robe that had come with the room.
“Did you take a shower?” I asked.
“Yeah, I did. Whassamatter, you think I should be licking my fun clean? What kind of primitive screwhead do you think I am?”
“I hadn’t really thought much about what sort of screwhead you were,” I snapped back.
Supernaturals tended to keep to themselves. Sure, a couple of sitcoms focused on the collision of the two worlds, but most people could go through the day, maybe a week, without spotting one. So I don’t know that Biggles’ indignation at my surprise was all that warranted. I was rapidly becoming one of the leading experts on Supernatural mores.
“Hadn’t thought much about it or hadn’t thought much in general?” he volleyed back.
“Why are you so testy all of a sudden?”
He glared at me for a glacially long moment. “We’ll be facing a poweful, dangerous, and probably insane creature. We may be able to giggle about the shape that’s been forced on it, but let’s not pretend this is going to be a cakewalk. And I don’t even know if you’re any good in a fight.” His beady eyes raked over me, piling details into a mental heap that clearly didn’t impress him. “You’re skinny, clumsy, and while the jury’s still out, I think the verdict will be short on brains.”
I gaped at him. What had happened to the cute little bunny facade? This create was as dangerous as any monster I’d ever fought, and I needed to keep the white fur and sugar dependency from making me overlook that.
“You don’t have to go with me,” I said.
His glare became even more gimlet. “I have to. I have a job and that’s it, pretty much. Accompany you. Guide you. Watch over you.” His whiskers twisted in a sideways sneer.
“Fuck off.” I stalked into my own room and slammed the door shut. Fighting would solve nothing. Although it would have been much more satisfying than my retreat.
I lay on the bed looking up at the ceiling, The sprinkler had a little note attached to it saying it shouldn’t be used for suspending “clothes hangers or other devices.” reasonable enough. What sort of idiot would try to hang stuff from a sprinkler?
What sort of idiot went charging off to fight big bad monsters, even with a trunkload of artillery and a talking rabbit at her back? What if I got hurt, was I on their health care plan already? I didn’t think that I could be. I hadn’t filled out any paperwork or forms. I hadn’t discussed wages or pension plan or benefits or even sick days. Instead I’d just taken that credit card like a gift from Santa and gone charging off with Biggles in tow.
And…they’d given me powers. Superpowers. I din’t know how to call nay of them up or actually use them, but I did have them. The logical thing would have been to go and ask Biggles about it, but he wasn’t in a talking mood and neither was I. Getting up, I fished through my suitcase to find the scarf Harriet had mentioned.
Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I draped it around my neck and looked in the mirror. Two things happened.
1. I noticed I was no longer visible in the mirror.
2. Something crashed into the next room from the hallway.
Then there was silence.
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