Sebastian, and that Abraham was calling to tell
her there'd been another murder. But then she remembered where she
was: Chicago. Dark, haunted Chicago. And the phone was still
    Disoriented, she fumbled in the dark,
stubbing her toe, finally finding the screaming phone.
    "Hello . . . ?" she mumbled, bent at the
waist to keep from dragging the phone to the floor. The receiver
smelled like grease and plastic, and her own voice echoed back at
    "There's been another murder," Max Irving
announced without preamble.
    She straightened and the phone slid from the
small table, crashing to the floor while she still held the
receiver to her ear, the curled, sticky cord stretched taut. Jinx,
who'd been sleeping near her pillow, disappeared under the bed.
    "Thought you might want to know."
    She shut off the ceiling fan, killing all
extraneous noise. "Where?"
    She listened intently, chest rising and
falling, heart hammering, ears picking up the sound of a far-off
siren. Nearer, possibly in the same room with Irving, was the sound
of indistinct conversation. Her mind shuffled through various
backdrops, finally settling on the homicide, realizing he was
already at the murder scene.
    "No need for you to come out in the middle of
the night," Irving said.
    Was she imagining it, or was there a
challenge, a dare hidden behind the smoothness of that delivery?
Perhaps he wanted to be able to tell Abraham that she couldn't be
bothered to leave her bed.
    "I'm coming."
    She picked up the phone from the floor. With
the receiver to her ear, she reached for her backpack on the floor
near the bed, finally snagging it with her toe. She dragged it to
her, then dropped to her knees, digging until she found her
stenographer's notebook and pen.
    She uncapped the pen with her teeth. "Give me
the address."
    Surprisingly, he didn't argue. He gave her
the address, then said, "Call a cab. It's not far from you, only a
few miles."
    With one finger, she ended the call, then
quickly put in another to Yellow Cab. After hanging up, she grabbed
the clothes she'd taken off just hours earlier—jeans and a T-shirt.
Probably not professional crime-scene attire.
    Into her canvas backpack, she jammed the
notebook and pen. Then, slipping her bare feet into a pair of
clunky-heeled leather loafers, she grabbed her apartment keys and
headed out the door.
    Downstairs, she waited just inside the double
doors that locked automatically whenever someone came in or out of
the building, straining to see the street through a narrow strip of
beveled glass.
    In the distance, she finally spotted
distorted headlights. On the roof was the lighted cab logo. She
watched as the vehicle pulled up next to the curb in front of her
    Fresh, cool air hit her in the face as she
stepped outside. The moon was almost full, a few of the brighter
stars visible past the glare of light pollution.
    She slid into the backseat of the cab and
gave the driver the address.
    They floated through the surreal cityscape,
stopping at traffic signals that continued to function even though
most people were in bed asleep. As they drew closer to the crime
scene a roadblock consisting of a single police car with a flashing
red strobe stopped them. A uniformed policeman shined a powerful
flashlight inside the cab, first at the driver, then at Ivy. She
lowered her window and pulled out the temporary badge Abraham had
issued to her. The policeman took it from her, examined it with his
flashlight, handed it back, and let them pass. Two blocks later,
they were at the scene.
    She paid the driver. Too distracted to
mentally compute the tip, she gave him what she thought was
adequate. It must have been too much, because his bored-out-of-my-
mind attitude vanished and he flashed her a big grin before she
stepped away.
    It was a poor neighborhood, with converted
three- story houses that came almost to the street, all looking
alike, with hardly enough room for a person to squeeze between
them. Most were

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