Home > The Ghoul Vendetta (SPI Files #4)(10)

The Ghoul Vendetta (SPI Files #4)(10)
Author: Lisa Shearin

In response, Ian dropped into a chair and repeated the same cuss word, but with less emphasis and no looking for something to hit. That was a good sign.

“Want to talk about it?” I asked. “Using more than one word? Though if you need to put that one on repeat, go for it. I wouldn’t blame you a bit.”

Ian stared straight ahead. “The video’s everywhere. TV, online—”

I half shrugged. “Cannibalistic bank robbers made up like ghouls are ratings gold. Problem is they’re real ghouls.”

With that, I had Ian’s full, complete, and undivided attention. “Cannibalistic? That wasn’t on the news.”

“Thank God. It wasn’t caught on the surveillance cameras, but the NYPD and our agents got to see the aftermath in living color.” I paused and winced. “So to speak.”

One of the bank guards who had been on duty last night had been unfortunate enough to have walked in on the robbery. Ghouls did what ghouls do—they ate him. That hadn’t been caught on camera. I’d never be ready to actually watch ghouls eat a human.

“The ghouls didn’t enter or exit through any of the bank’s doors,” said Alain Moreau from the now-open conference room door. “That means there was a portal in the Gotham Bank & Trust Company.”

And our morning just kept getting better. A portal was a doorway to another world, dimension, or just another part of town. As SPI’s newest seer of portals, that meant I’d be paying the crime scene a visit. And Ian had become just as obsessed with hunting down and taking out the gang’s leader, who wasn’t actually a ghoul. We didn’t know what he was aside from being incredibly ancient, and able to shapeshift between forms and species at will. The last time he and Ian had crossed paths, Ian had barely escaped with his life. I knew he wanted nothing more than another shot as this thing—and the thing wanted another chance at Ian. I didn’t want them on the same side of the planet as each other.

Moreau knew Ian’s history with the ghoul, and he still wanted us to go.

“You want us to go to the bank,” I said with a distinct lack of enthusiasm.

Moreau nodded once. “The sooner, the better.”

When it rained, it poured.

• • •

The Gotham Bank & Trust Company looked like any other Midtown Manhattan financial institution—more like a fortress than a city building, and seemingly made from a block of granite. Though to a gang of ghouls with a portal at their beck and call, it might as well have been made out of Play-Doh.

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” I murmured, gazing around the marble lobby.

Ian was talking with the NYPD detective in charge of the investigation. They knew each other. Not from Ian’s time in the NYPD, but from the NYPD’s previous joint work with SPI.

Yes, mortal and supernatural law enforcement worked together—and both had been grateful for it on more than one occasion. That cooperation was under the radar as far as the majority of the NYPD was concerned; but just as SPI had human agents, the NYPD had supernaturals all the way up the ranks. The NYPD couldn’t openly acknowledge SPI’s existence, but when criminals and victims fell on both sides of the law enforcement spectrum, it helped that all the good guys traded information that helped bring down the former, and protect and defend the latter.

The detective in charge was also in the know regarding SPI, and knew that there were supernatural perps and robbery victims, so we’d be granted just as much access to the crime scene as mortal law enforcement. Officially, we were consultants, which covered a lot of ground in any organization or industry.

Every camera on every door leading into and out of Gotham Bank & Trust was in perfect working order. None had shown the ghouls entering or leaving the building, which was baffling the heck out of the NYPD—at least those who weren’t clued in. Those who were had to be some of the most frustrated people on the planet. They knew the supernatural world existed, but they couldn’t tell anyone about it, and they had to find a way to solve cases in a way that kept the woo-woo to a minimum.

We knew monsters existed. Lucky us. Portals also existed, and people who could open and close them were very popular with the criminal classes. I couldn’t open or close them, but I could see them.

It was a new ability for me, and it’d turned out to be a good thing. If I hadn’t been able to see portals, Earth would have become Hell on Earth by now, as in overrun by the population of Hell. I didn’t know how I’d picked up my new talent, but I suspected I really didn’t want to know, considering it could have been a combination of a momentary mind link with an ancient, megalomaniacal, psychotic Russian dragon/crime lord and a power surge from touching a clutch of magical diamonds activated by the most powerful ley line on the East Coast. I’d taken a wallop of power that night that could have activated a dormant ability. Seeing portals ranked right up there with being a seer, making me even more of a target of supernatural bad guys.

It’d only been a couple of hours since the robbery and murder, so if a portal had been opened here I would be able to sense it, if not actually see the magical leftovers. While the portal could be anywhere in the building, it made more sense for it to be closer to where the ghouls would have been doing most of their work.

The safe deposit box vault.

The area outside of Gotham Bank & Trust’s vault looked like a C-level office suite at a Fortune 100 company. I’d never been in one of those before, but I imagined this is what one would look like—if it had been armor-plated. There was a pair of fire doors that had to be three inches thick at the head of the short stairway leading down to the vault area. They were standing open.

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