0.5 Deadly Hearts

0.5 Deadly Hearts by S.M. Reine

Book: 0.5 Deadly Hearts by S.M. Reine Read Free Book Online
Authors: S.M. Reine
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 2003
    The house represented everything wonderful about the American Dream: a split-level deal with yellow paneling, a stretch of pristine grass bordered by plump red flowers, and white picket fencing. The two-car garage was open, and a minivan was parked in the driveway with a bucket of soapy water by the trunk. A garden hose dribbled white froth into the gutter.
    All of it was so very ordinary. There was no way to tell that the house was damned from the outside.
    The gate squealed as Rich Harris stepped through and let it swing shut behind him. The man of the house emerged with a newspaper tucked under one arm and reading glasses on the end of his nose. He was likewise the ideal American husband—black hair sweeping over his forehead, pale blue eyes, friendly smile, button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows.
    Rich Harris set down his patched leather suitcase so that he could shake the man’s hand. He had a good grip and callused palms. Rich trusted a guy with strong hands.
    “James Faulkner?” Rich Harris asked, tucking his car keys in his pocket. He had parked his seventies sedan in front of a house down the street so that it wouldn’t make a bad impression.
    James tipped his head in greeting. “You must be the exorcist. Richard, is it?”
    “Rich, please. At your service.” He gave a small bow, only half-ironically. “Priest with the Church of Radiance and soldier of God. I hear you have a dire issue, Mr. Faulkner.”
    The corner of James’s mouth twitched. “Oh yes. Dire indeed. Would you like to come inside?”
    “In a minute.” Rich couldn’t rush the job. From the moment he arrived to the moment he left, cash in hand, he had to establish a mood, put the client in the right mindset. Make them associate feelings of safety with his presence.
    He mounted the stairs to the patio with one hand extended and his eyes half-closed. He “felt” through the air, traced his hand over the doorframe, and ran his fingers down an invisible wall.
    The husband stood back with a hand over his mouth, but Rich could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. Sure, buddy. Laugh now, but I’m just warming up .
    “Do you mind…?” Rich gestured at the patio set.
    “Please, be my guest,” James said.
    Rich set his suitcase on the table and opened it. Everything inside was aged to the same degree as the outside of the case—he had a few papers with burned edges tucked into the pockets, a heavy brass crucifix, a wooden stake, some holy water in a glass vial. He used to have bullets that looked silver, too, but his assistant had stolen them when she quit.
    With another glance at James, who was still trying to hide a smile, he decided to extract the electromagnetic frequency detector. This was a man who would be impressed by data and beeping electronics, not by hoodoo.
    “This is an EMF detector,” Rich explained, showing the handheld device to James. One part was a heavy box with a jittering dial on the top, and the other appendage was a wand, which he started to wave over the door.
    “And what’s it for, exactly?” James asked.
    “It detects unusual electromagnetic frequencies,” Rich said, passing the wand over the windows. The curtains had a tiny flower pattern sewn into them. Very Better Homes and Gardens. “The sort of electromagnetic frequencies left behind by powerful spirits.”
    “Ah,” James said.
    Time to get more impressive.
    Rich stopped in front of the window and opened his eyes wide. “Has the trouble been originating from the second story? The room just above this?”
    “Yes,” James said with a small cough. “The master bedroom, in fact. Goodness, how could you have possibly known?”
    “Science, sir,” Rich said, waving the EMF detector at him. He quickly packed it up before James could get too close of a look. “Is the wife home? I’ll need to interview both of you.”
    “Yes, of course.”
    James held the door open, and Rich entered the foyer.

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