Home > The Ghoul Vendetta (SPI Files #4)(14)

The Ghoul Vendetta (SPI Files #4)(14)
Author: Lisa Shearin

“St. Michael is the patron saint of the police and the military,” Ian continued. “A lot of cops and soldiers wear those medals.”

“They believe in an archangel’s protection, but not in ghouls and other monsters.”

“Yeah.”

“And that ghoul took it as a souvenir.”

“Right.”

“He knew you’d come, so he left it for you.”

Ian nodded once.

I connected the rest of the dots. “So that you would come after him. Ian, that thing’s baiting a hook and he wants you on the other end of it.” I let a little silence grow between us. “I won’t tell Moreau, but I think you should, because if you don’t, Van Daal will. If you’re up front with him now, he’ll be more inclined to believe you when you tell him you’re not going to go off on your own and do something stupid.”

The muscles in his jaw clenched. “I’ll tell him.”

The words said one thing; the jaw told me he’d tell Moreau about the medal, but he wouldn’t like it. I didn’t care if he liked it, I cared about him. If it took an order from Alain Moreau for Ian to keep his promise, so be it.

A bank robbery by a gang of ghouls was one thing. A bank robbery by a gang of ghouls led by the same being that had eaten Ian’s partner was worse. But that he left Ian’s dead partner’s St. Michael medal for Ian to find clutched in the dead fist of his latest meal/victim?

That was as bad as it could possibly be.

8

DR. Van Daal would bag the St. Michael’s medal for the lab. I didn’t hold out hope of it yielding any evidence. Things like that ghoul didn’t leave fingerprints; and if they did, they wouldn’t be in any database, including ours. The SPI lab would call it evidence. I called it what it was—a sick greeting card for Ian. I don’t know what that ghoul wanted with the contents of five safe deposit boxes, or even what those contents were, but he’d obviously decided to mix some sadistic pleasure with his business.

The ride back to SPI was quiet. Yasha sensed Ian’s mood and didn’t try to engage him in conversation. Ian also didn’t tell Yasha what we’d found. That worried me. Maybe Ian didn’t want to talk about it yet. I could certainly understand that. That didn’t allay my suspicion that Ian wasn’t telling Yasha because he knew Yasha would sit on him for as long as it took someone else to find and take down that ghoul. Bottom line was that Ian didn’t tell Yasha because he hadn’t ruled out independent action. Come to think of it, Ian had merely said he’d tell Moreau about the St. Michael’s medal. He hadn’t promised anything in regard to not going rogue on that ghoul if the opportunity presented itself.

• • •

Neither the NYPD nor SPI had any leads on Bela Báthory’s whereabouts. There was no trace of the nephew of the East Coast’s most powerful vampire crime family. House Báthory was one of the top two most powerful vampire families in North America and one of the top five in Europe.

As a vampire, Bela Báthory didn’t need to breathe, so those swamp creatures could have taken him underwater to another yacht, boat, or ship far enough from the Persephone so as not to be seen. One of the more elaborate police theories had the kidnappers doing the same thing, but with an oxygen supply for their victim, which aside from being unnecessary for a vampire, smacked of a James Bond villain evil master plan.

The NYPD couldn’t exactly put the Hudson River and New York Harbor on lockdown, but they continued to search and investigate as best they could.

Nothing.

However, SPI had access to witnesses who had probably seen both the kraken attack on the Persephone and the kidnapping of Bela Báthory. Witnesses who the NYPD not only hadn’t interviewed, but didn’t even know existed.

New York’s merpeople population.

Around Halloween last year, Ian had had a productive chat with a mermaid. He’d called, she’d answered. She’d also confirmed Ian’s questions about where the bad guys had been headed. We might have been able to have found out that information without the mermaid’s help, but by then it would have been too late to have saved the lives of every supernatural being in the tristate area.

So yeah, merpeople were good people.

True to his word, Ian had told Alain Moreau about the medal. In turn, Moreau was allowing Ian to remain on the case provided that basically he use his investigative powers for good, and not evil. He was not, under any circumstances, to take on or attempt to take down the ghoul alone. Now that Ian had a trail to follow and work to do, other than pushing papers at his desk, I felt a lot better about my partner’s promise of cooperation. That being said, once we ran the ghoul to ground, Ian had made it abundantly clear to everyone at SPI who might be involved in the actual takedown that when the time came, that ghoul was his.

No one had objected to that.

And I hadn’t objected when Ian said he was going to question the merpeople as potential witnesses. He was looking for answers, not a ghoul.

We took one of SPI’s boats out on the Hudson, and Ian opened it up and headed north. When we’d passed where the Persephone had been attacked, I spoke up. Actually, I had to yell over the wind and motor.

“We’ve passed where the Persephone was attacked.”

“I know,” he shouted back.

“Then what are—”

“We’re going to see Sirene.”

“Sirene?”

Ian cut back on the throttle a little so we didn’t have to continue to scream at each other. “The merpeople don’t have titles, but if Sirene did, the closest to what humans have would be queen.”

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