My least favorite dead guy had his feet up on my desk. I hate that. His boots were probably cleaner than my blotter, but still. It showed a lack of respect.
I pushed the offending size tens into the floor and scowled. “Whatever it is, the answer’s no.”
“Okay, Dory. Your call.” Kyle was looking amiable–never a good sign. “I should’ve known you wouldn’t care what happened to Claire. After all, there’s not likely to be any money in it,” he paused to glance around my rathole of an office, “and you don’t appear to be in a position to do anything gratis.”
I had been on the way to my feet to haul his undead ass out the door, but at his words I slowly sat back down. Kyle was a real lowlife, even for a vamp, but once in a while he heard something useful–which explained why I hadn’t yet given into temptation and staked him. And where Claire, my roommate and best friend, was concerned, I’d take anything I could get. She’d been missing for almost a month, and I’d already gone through every lead I had. Twice. Before loser boy showed up, I’d been about to start through the file a third time in case I’d somehow missed something, even though I knew I hadn’t. And every hour that passed made it less likely I’d be pleased with what I found at the end of the search.
“Talk,” I said, hoping he’d make me beat it out of him. I had a lot of pent up frustration that needed to go somewhere. But, of course, he decided to find some manners. Or what passes for them in our circle.
“Word is, she’s alive. I thought she’d have been juiced and packed up for sale by now, but talk on the street is that she wasn’t kidnapped at all.”
By “juiced” he meant a disgusting black arts process in which a projective null, a witch or wizard capable of blocking out magic for a certain radius, is made into a weapon called a null bomb. The null’s energy is siphoned away to make a device capable of bringing all magic in an area to a standstill. How far and how long the effect extends depends on the strength of the null being sacrificed—the younger and more powerful, the more energy she has to give. And Claire was both very young and very powerful.