Chapter 40

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It's a long walk to Dvorak's house a few neighborhoods away. Zandra keeps the concrete chunk in her hand as she navigates the shortcuts and sidewalks with Amanda. They remain silent after Zandra issues her warning.

"You try to run, I'll make sure you feel this, too," she said, rolling the concrete in her palm.

The pair makes slow time, wobbling their way like two beans on a lawnmower, Zandra still recovering from her trip down the stairs, Amanda bleeding from her head down her back. If the police were to pull up alongside them, they'd probably haul them off to a hospital, not a jail.

They turn a corner, putting them in view of Dvorak's house. The lights are still on despite it being nearly 5 a.m.

What's that rhyme? Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Dvorak and his lackeys, they're whatever the opposite of that is. The lights probably never turn off. They just burn out.

Amanda's gait slows to a glacial pace upon spotting the house. She hesitates with each shuffled step. Zandra passes her by a few strides before noticing. She turns to Amanda, rolling the concrete in the hand.

"Don't be getting cold feet now," Zandra says.

Amanda points at the house still several blocks away. "No."

"No what?" Zandra says, taking a step toward her battered companion. "You're so brave when it's the middle of the night and you're helping that asshole dump body parts in my mailbox, but when it's time to face the music, you tell me 'no?'"

Amanda doesn't wait to reply. She finds the strength to close the distance between them in a single bound, pummeling her foot square into Zandra's kneecap before the psychic can react. Zandra, already struggling to keep upright, takes a dive into the coarse sidewalk, the concrete slipping from her hand. Amanda picks it up and stands over Zandra, raising the concrete high above her head.

A wheezing, breathless Zandra rolls over to face Amanda, certain that the dent that concrete could put in her head would be the end of her.

"Why?" Zandra says in exasperation.

The look of rage on Amanda's face seems to predict Zandra's fate, but it quickly melts into one of remorse.

"I...I...," Amanda says, her voice fading into the night. She lowers her hand and unfurls her fingers, letting the concrete drop to the ground.

"Tell me. What's going on with you?" Zandra says.

Amanda just shakes her drooping head, turns toward a dark corner of the street and melts away into the night.

Her body complaining in places she didn't know she even had, Zandra slowly rises to her feet, watching Amanda's silhouette turn deeper shades of black. There's no point in pursuing her. Deep in her gut, she knows she'll never see Amanda again.

But that doesn't mean the night in finished. Zandra catches her breath against the side of an old growth oak before resuming her path toward Dvorak's house. Despite her body's protests, she clears the last few blocks and collapses behind a dense shrub across the street. The lights may be on, but she can't be certain if anyone is up. What will be up, though, is the sun in less an hour. She'll need to make this quick.

After detangling her purple gown, Zandra studies the windows of the house, watching for any movement. She sees none, but does spot something she didn't before: a glass block window built into the basement foundation, peeking a foot or so above the sod.


With the coast clear, Zandra makes her move. Time to find out what the hell is in that basement.

Black Eye: Confessions of a Fake Psychic Detective #2 (Watty Winner)Where stories live. Discover now