I could tell instantly there was something wrong when I walked into the Precinct Headquarters.
The normally bustling office was weirdly hushed and quiet.
If you’ve ever seen a cop shop on TV, that’s pretty much what Precinct 13 looked like, except… greener. Let me try to explain.
The precinct was housed in a turn-of-the-century building, the kind that was very typical for Midwestern downtowns. The outside was brick and had a false front and a faded Coke advertisement from the 1930s or 40s painted on the side. Inside, pressed tin covered the high ceiling. There was plaster on the walls and polished wood on the floors.
Scattered throughout the wide room were dozens of wooden desks. The usual cop detritus of case files, abandoned coffee cups, and laptops covered the surfaces, but there were also a surprising array of houseplants. Pots of ivy, philodendron, bamboo, and the like grew everywhere.
The other thing that was different, of course, were the random magical items: a tarot spread over photos of a crime scene, an African mask propped up against the waste paper basket, or a Shinto shrine charm casually looped on the arm of a swivel office chair.
All that, though, was normal—well, at least it was the “normal” I’d come to associate with Precinct 13. What was strange, and more than a little unnerving, was all the silence. These were magical cops and so lot of them came with animal familiars. Not only was there usually all the talk about open cases among the officers and detectives, but also the meow of cats, caw of magpies, and the snort of aardvarks.
I nervously I scanned the room for the face of someone I recognized--anyone that I could ask what the hell was going on from. I hoped Jack might be there, but I saw no trace of him or Sarah Jane, his magpie. Disappointed, I considered turning around and leaving, but, just then, the door to Spenser’s office opened.
The room seemed to hold its collective breath as two men strode out into the office. They wore matching dark suits and sunglasses.
Agents, that’s what my brain filled in automatically. Everything about them just said it: Agents.
But, agents of what?
Was there an FBI version of Precinct 13?
Spenser came out one step behind them, looking vaguely guilty and rumpled. Even though he was in a simple button-up shirt and a pair of trousers, he seemed uncomfortable in them, like he quite know how to wear civilian clothes. Honestly, even though it’d been months, I still hadn’t gotten used to seeing him out of police uniform. But, he couldn’t wear his badge again until his involvement with the necromancer’s sister was cleared….
Of course, these two official looking guys were probably with Internal Affairs, here to investigate what happened and get Spenser back on the job—or fired, I supposed.
Seeing me, Spenser waved me over.
The two ‘agents’ looked up in unison and, somehow, despite their matching mirrored sunglasses, seemed to pin me under an alien gaze. I had a desire to back away very slowly… or turn and run screaming. I only realized I was doing the former, when the door hit me in the back.
But, before I could recover or commit to my ‘flight’ impulse with any kind of real effort, they swept me up between them. “We’ve got a body,” Spenser informed me. “Come with us.”
When I seemed to hesitate, Spenser took hold of my elbow and propelled me out the door. After the artificial light and air-conditioning of indoors, the sunshine seemed too bright, too hot. I squinted. The two agents were like moving black pillars in front of us. “So, uh, who are your friends?” I asked.
YOU ARE READING
Alex Connor thought that being the South Dakota Hughes County Coroner was going to be a boring cushy job. She didn't count on the fact that her first case would leave her with a magical, living tattoo and awaken her latent magical powers. Now she'...