New short story in the Mindspace Investigations universe (with two bonus short stories in other worlds from author Alex Hughes).
When the cops call me in the middle of the night, I know it’s bad. One of their own is dead, strangled in her car by a professional killer, and it’s up to me, telepath consultant extraordinaire, to pull the rabbit out of my hat and solve the case. Only this time I’m not so sure I can.
Homicide Detective Isabella Cherabino is breathing down my neck. The dead cop’s partner is too. And now, the worst—there was a five-year-old kid in the car, a kid no one can find.
Note from the author: “Rabbit Trick” takes place before the events of Clean, so the hero intentionally remains nameless.
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Next Book –> Clean
Excerpt from Rabbit Trick
Cherabino said hello to the detective in charge of the scene while I hung back. Detective Bull was a tall man, pale, who stood with a coiled lean power I associated with basketball. He frowned when he saw me, and checked his watch. He was angry, and nervous, and very aware of his surroundings. Cherabino and him got caught up in some kind of hail-fellow-well-met conversation, and I lost interest.
“Hello,” a deep voice said from behind me.
I turned. A grizzled fifty-something uniformed cop stood there, his meaty hands tucked around his equipment belt, the right hand all too close to the gun. He was only a few inches taller than me, maybe six-one, and bulky, mixed muscle and fat. His nose had been broken multiple times. Now, he emanated strong mixed emotions, anger and worry and sorrow and guilt in a tangled, shifting knot that I found stressful to even look at.
“Hello,” I responded, holding onto calm only through training and will. I upped my shields and paid more attention to the guy – a lot more attention.
“You the teep?” the cop asked gruffly.
“Telepathic expert,” I corrected. “Yes, I’m him.” I waited for him to pull away. Since the Tech Wars, normals feared telepaths, for good or ill. I didn’t wear a patch but that didn’t mean I couldn’t get a face-full of that same fear.
But instead of moving away, he looked me up and down as if judging me. “What color are my boxers?”
I sighed, lowered the shields a bit, and skimmed the information off the surface of his troubled mind. Damn parlor tricks. “You wear briefs,” I said. “And that was a visual I could have done without, thanks bunches.” I shored up my shields, annoyed now, trying to push his nasty emotion-snarl out of my head. The fear was there all right, with anger too.
Cherabino was finishing up her conversation with the detective, maybe fifty feet away from me in front of one of the lights; she was gesturing less and looking more thoughtful, spine a little straighter. It wouldn’t be long now.
So, cut to the chase. “What are you doing here?” I asked the cop.
His mouth flattened in a long line and he glanced back over at the car, currently surrounded by techs. Anger and guilt forced their way past the shields into my head. “I’m Audrey’s partner.”
“Your name?” I asked.
“Wiggles,” he said. Stared as if he dared me to make something of it.
I swallowed a snicker. Wiggles, really?
“The station captain is a friend of mine,” Wiggles said in a flat tone. “We went to academy together. I told him he should call you in.”
I took a breath. Ah, the reason he was here. “I’ll do everything I can,” I said, very quietly.
He nodded, as if that ended the conversation. Maybe it did.
Across the parking deck in front of the lights, Bull said something to Cherabino, and left the area.
©Alex Hughes. All Rights Reserved.