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A New Beginning – 7


Nothing. It didn’t totally surprise me, but I had hoped for more.

“Have you come for vengeance?”

He made my skin itch. I supposed he perfected the skill over a lifetime of using people. Still. It made me almost long for Gar’s detachment so I could smack him hard enough to permanently wipe the smirk off his face. But I could at least pretend.

“No. Had I come for that I’d have broken a few bones and made you suffer before I revealed myself to you.”

His bravado waned as his pulse rate spiked. For all his talk, he had the same fears as everyone.

“I came to speak to you about Daniel Griffin’s disappearance.” I could feel his emotions boil as I spoke the name.

“I had nothing to do with that.”

“I know that.” Given the level of surveillance they had on him, I’d have been more surprised had I found a connection in his mind. But there had been hope. “But I’m sure you have some idea who might.”

I raised an eyebrow, as much for what I saw in his mind as for effect. When he laughed – not the reaction I expected – it took an effort not to visibly show my surprise.

“That’s unbelievable. You think I’m going to help you find Griffin?  You two are the reason I got shit canned by the bureau.  I almost went to jail for life because of you two and now you want my help? Go torment someone else.”

Before he could react, I grabbed a handful of shirt and hoisted him off the ground. Despite the common perception film and television leaves people with, being held in the air by your shirt is painful. The fabric digs into the only place it can; the soft tissue under the arms.

“Your recklessness is what got you fired, not Daniel Griffin. The only thing you cared about was catching me. Everyone else was acceptable collateral damage.” I twisted his shirt tighter. “I don’t give a damn about what you want. You are going to help me.”

He began the motion to spit in my face, but I took control of his nervous system before he could complete the act. When the reality of what happened sunk in, his eyes went a fraction wider.

Giving him my best sadistic grin, something I’d perfected over nearly four decades of avenging the innocent I tossed him back against the cushions. Both his guns flopped around and one landed on the floor. “Didn’t Mother Barrington teach you that spitting is a disgusting act?”

He rubbed his armpits and glared at me. If he could have harnessed the venom in his stare he might have killed even me.

“You’re supposed to be a spirit that can read minds, why do you need my help? Just find your answers and leave me alone.”

The resignation in his voice told me more than the words. He knew too much, had angered the wrong people. Being acquitted hadn’t been a victory for him, only a reprieve.

“They don’t know I’m here.”


“The people watching you, they don’t know I’m here. They can’t see me and I’ve neutralized their listening devices.” I let my words registered before I continued. “As far as they know, I’m not even in the area.”

“So?” He had a good poker face, but not as good as mine.

“Agent, I can help you if you help me.”

“Why should I believe you’d help me?” He cautiously leaned over and reached for the 9mm Beretta on the floor. When I didn’t move to stop him, he grabbed the weapon and set it on the cushion next to him. “The last time you spoke to me, you threatened to exact vengeance for the death of your boyfriend. Now I’m supposed to believe that if I help you, you’re willing to forgive and forget? Whatever.”

As much as I disliked the man, his skepticism was to his credit. If he’d leapt to accept my offer, he’d have been a fool. Right now I needed a seasoned pro, not a court jester.

“There are several things you need to know about me. Despite your disbelief, I am a spirit. I’ve been alive since before men grunted to communicate with each other.”

“Right, and what about Leon.” He raised an eyebrow. “What? You didn’t think we knew about the other of your kind?”

“Leon is not one of my kind.” I’d known from my first encounter with the director that the FBI had found Leon’s body. My lack of reaction shook Barrington’s confidence. “He was a human who proved useful to me, nothing more. When he’d outlived his purpose, I let him die.”

“You’re a real Mother Teresa, you know that? He shook his head and stared at his feet. “So my choices are; help you until I’m no further use to you – at which point you’ll kill me or let me die, or, I can refuse and you’ll take vengeance on me. Helluva choice.”

“The third option is you can help me and in exchange I get the Director to call off the dogs.”

“Right and I’ve got a bridge to sell you.” He racked his handgun and set it down. “Why do you need my help anyway? Thought you read minds.”

“I can only read the thoughts you have. Your instincts and ideas are only available to me once you have them.”

“So you need me to be your human computer. Fuck off. You and Griffin.”

The urge to grab him again and throw him against the wall nearly overwhelmed me when a stray thought calm my irritation. Smirking, I moved until I stood in front of him. “Yes, Barrington, I can do even that.”

“What…how….” For the first since we met, he finally believed I could read his mind. “Fine, put your money where your mouth is and prove it.”

“Help me find Griffin, and I will.”

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