“Nice place,” said Shane, stretching, in the back seat. “A bit prison like for my taste but to each his own.”
“Looks like a bunker,” said Novak, sticking his head out of the window.
“That’s what it probably is,” muttered Louise, waiting for Graywing to return.
“Three men in the living room,” cooed Graywing. “Two of them bigger than normal and armed. Lots of guns on the coffee table.”
“Thank you, birdling.”
“Demons?” asked Shane.
“How do you wanna play it? Repel? Front door? What?”
“Flower girl?” smiled Louise.
“Lovin’ it,” laughed Shane.
Shane and Louise walked toward the building. Graywing flew to the windowsill and waited. Novak drummed his fingers on the dashboard and tried to think of other things.
Louise rang the door bell to the remodeled warehouse and started up at the camera.
“Yeah?” asked a deep rough voice.
“Flowers for a Mr. Dorken.”
“Leave ’em by the door.”
“You have to sign for them,” she said sweetly. “I can’t leave them unless you sign and if I bring them back,” she said, a hitch in her voice, “I’ll get into trouble and I can’t afford to lose my job.”
“Who are they from?”
“I don’t know, sir. I’m not allowed to open the card.”
“Fine. Wait there.”
“Like where else would you wait,” whispered Shane. “Nice glamour with the flowers. I can almost smell them.”
“Okay, gimme the flowers and show me where to sign.”
“I didn’t expect him to go down that fast,” said Shane. “A big guy like that? Usually takes more than a couple of blows to the head and a stun gun to the chest.”
“You’re just good at what you do,” said Louise.
Shane stopped, then hugged Louise. “Thank you.”
“Butch,” yelled a man. “Where the hell are you? How long can it take you to answer the damn door?”
“Actually, he answered it right away,” said Louise, slamming the side of her hand into the first man’s the throat.” He grabbed his neck with both hands, gurgled and fell backward into the chair he had been sitting in. Louise turned and saw Shane holding Princess to the temple of the second guy. His hands were zip cuffed behind his back.
“I can only assume you came to see me,” said the thin, balding man, staring out of the window. “I don’t know why the government can’t get rid of these disease carrying birds. Graywing smiled at him through the glass but he didn’t notice.
“Tell me about the portal painting,” said Louise.
“Not much to tell, really. Man wanted some guys erased, I told him I could do it. He paid me and I gave him the canvas.”
“You knowingly let demons come to this side of the veil?”
“Business is business. How many came through?”
Louise hit him. “Y O U W E R E N’ T E V E N C O N T R O L L I N G T H E M!” she yelled, finally backing off. “You don’t even know how many came through, where they are, or what they’re doing?”
“What’d do that for?” he mumbled, wiping at his face.
Louise and Francis both turned when they head the electric buzzing. Shane was on the back of the guy she floored, stunning him with something.
“New toy?” asked Louise, as she watched the tips of the man’s hair start to smoke.
“I designed it. It’s a little more powerful than ordinary stunners. I’m still getting used to the body weight, power ratio.”
“Is he alive?” asked Louise.
Shane put her fingers against the man’s neck. “Thready, slow, uh, weak, but I think he’ll be okay.”
“Good enough,” said Louise. “Francis, we need to talk.”