Warning: This work has been rated 18+.
In Chapter 7, Bitter, an Oracle, was being harassed by Mike Murphy, whose brother had disappeared. Now, she's looking for the person who sent him her way.
Sergeant John Graves was a tall, heavy-set man in his fifties with a toothy smile, slightly protruding eyes and almost no chin. He should have looked like a toad, but the uncomfortable, dark shrewdness on his face called to mind a mean toad. His square, cheap black suit, white shirt and reddish tie didn’t really have a softening effect on his physiognomy.
We first met when I was seventeen. I had fallen asleep watching a true-crime show about the disappearance of the Robert family back in the sixties. I woke up knowing that Carl and Sara Robert had murdered their three children and were currently living in Tijuana. I went to the police and Graves did what I couldn’t with that information.
Sadly, it happened again a number of times in later years. Graves proved useful whenever I came out of my Trances with information regarding police investigations. Our relationship grew more sporadic as I learned to avoid reading or watching the news. I usually was polite enough to meet him at the precinct.
At the moment, however, I wasn’t feeling very polite. I’d had to sneak out the backdoor of my building to avoid Mike Murphy, who was stationed out front. I tracked down the detective in the sandwich-shop where he was having a late lunch.
“Good afternoon,” I said, collapsing in the chair in front of him.
He almost choked on his mouthful of fries. I waited, unimpressed, as he reached for his glass of coke, eyes watery. “Miss Flynn,” he spluttered, “what are you doing here?”
“I just need to talk to you.”
He blinked, and his eyes narrowed on me. “I suppose I don’t need to ask how you found me…”
I shrugged. “You can ask, but it’s a stupid question. Now-” I leaned a little forward, and he leaned back a little. “-why the hell did you send Mike Murphy my way?”
I slapped my hand on the table. “I’m not stupid. You think I don’t know for sure?”
He sighed and put down his taco. “Alright. I felt sorry for the guy. He’s really worried about his brother.”
“And so are you,” I guessed. “Why?” My damn curiosity. “No, don’t tell me. I don’t care, it’s none of my business.”
“The brother doesn’t look like the disappearing type. Plus, it’s just him, Mike and their mother. They don’t have the money to hire a PI or an Oracle.”
“I don’t do pro bono shit!” I barked at him.
He chuckled. “Could have fooled me. And Chaz Caldaron, for that matter, or-”
“Those were exceptions. I don’t do missing persons for a living. Ask the OES or, better yet, send the guy to the Open Eye.”
Graves made a face at the mention of the weirdos from the Open Eye. I knew the feeling.
“The OES doesn’t care about non-Scryer crime. As for the Open Eye-” The face became a grimace. “-they’ve got enough work with actual, established murders. Disappearances-”
“It’s not my fault.”
He shrugged. “The way I see it, if you can do something and don’t, it is. Kinda.”
“Don’t you dare put that guilt trip on me. You know what it does to me to look for your missing persons?! I see, and hear, and feel everything they do. I’ll forever remember how the hands of Chaz’s father felt around his throat. Fuck you, Graves, I’m not your personal Oracle.”
Graves caught my wrist as I was getting up to leave. “I’ve got at least fifty cases of critical disappearances in which I’m stumped. How many have I called you on?”
None, that nagging voice whispered again.
“Yes, exactly,” he said, accurately reading my mind. “You’re right, you’re not responsible for the OES or the Open Eye, but think about this, will you? If Kyle Murphy dies while you’re dragging your feet, will you be responsible for that?”
To feel sorry for a stalker, read Chapter 9.