Touched (The Marnie Baranuik Files)

Touched (The Marnie Baranuik Files) by A.J. Aalto

Book: Touched (The Marnie Baranuik Files) by A.J. Aalto Read Free Book Online
Authors: A.J. Aalto
Batten, who may or may not show up here any minute.”
    I didn't know whether they would or not. Last time I'd been injured, Chapel came every other day until my release. Batten hadn't shown. Considering this time it was his fiancée who stabbed me, and she was pissed because of his cock's activities, I thought the least he could do is put in a few minutes at my bedside. Did Hallmark make a “sorry my Love Muffin stabbed you repeatedly until she thought you were dead” card? On second thought, maybe I didn't want to see him.
    I realized that Sheriff Hood was reading the whole story as it crossed my face.
    “Ok, fine! I nailed her man, OK?” I threw my hands up. “I'm a disgrace to society! Are you writing this down, word for word? Bowlegged slut can't keep her knees together. Go ahead. Write it!”
    He leaned back slightly, letting surprise flood his face. Big shoulders shook under taupe nylon; I realized he was trying not to laugh. He didn't write a word. He just bounced his knee some more and gave me space to ramble.
    “So she found out, and decided I was the worst person on Earth. I get that, I do. Hate my guts, fine, but don't stab them.”
    He waited, face gone cop-blank again.
    “In my defense, I had no idea that Agent Jerkface was engaged,” I pointed out. “He never bothered to tell me, and I can't read him psychically. So how is that my fault?”
    “Agent Jerkface is…”
    “Ah, fuck,” I straw-stirred the ice in angry circles in my big plastic cup. “Agent Batten. I know it's wrong. We worked together. Briefly. We don't even like each other. I'm not his type. Hel-lo! Do I look like a Barbie doll?” I sulked, stabbed at the ice chips with my bendy straw. He was staring curiously at my forehead. I wondered what the hell he was looking at. “I don't even know why it happened. We were under a lot of stress, and he didn't like needingto use my Talents and I didn't like his attitude. Which, by the way, is as close to asshole as you can get without actually being a sphincter. And we were stuck in a car on stake-outs for hours, then stuck in a cramped motel room in bloody Cheektowaga for days, overtired, keyed up, always fighting…” I drifted off helplessly.
    I looked up to see if he got what I meant. The keen glint in his eyes said he knew exactly how it must have happened. He nodded almost imperceptibly.
    “So anyways, about Room 4, I faked dead with a mimicry spell called necromimesis. When psychobeast left, I called 911. Harry showed first, and drove me to the hospital. We should have stayed, but I was afraid of the cops getting the wrong idea about the revenant and the blood if I passed out unable to explain. Besides, Harry drives much faster than an ambulance.”
    “Go back to the faking dead part?”
    “Bit of witchcraft involved. I'm not really sure how I pulled it off. Necromimesis is sort of out of my league.”
    He looked at me doubtfully. “Could you do it right now, show me?”
    “No,” I said truthfully. “I couldn't. I don't have any of the stuff…”
    Hood took a clear plastic evidence baggy out of his inside jacket pocket, dangling it. In it was my onyx. “This yours, then?”
    “Yes. Still, even with that, the bark and herbs are just symbolic objects for focus. The kind of energy output required for that level of spell is only drummed up by someone like me during periods of extreme stress. Energy, focus, belief, will, those are the real ingredients. This level of magic leaves a taint on your aura. I wouldn't attempt it again, it's not exactly clean.”
    Hardly a proud moment for a white witch, but death wasn't all black. It was the very definition of middle ground, the grey area, limbo, death being neither good nor evil. I'd only interrupted my own life, and I didn't think one emergency spell was crossing over to “official dabbling”.
    There was a soft knock at the door and we both turned our attention to Agent Chapel's long-jawed Great Dane face peering in.
    “Pardon me,

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