Pure Blood | Chapter 27 of 40 - Part: 1 of 3

Author: Caitlin Kittredge | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2226 Views | Add a Review

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I left Dmitri standing on the sidewalk on Cannery Street and I can’t say I felt bad about it. Traffic was bad, so I parked at the precinct and walked down Highlands, letting myself stare at the skyscrapers of downtown and think about the O’Hallorans.

No caster witch I knew of was capable of using black magick, no matter how much they wanted it. They couldn’t use their own blood as a focus, and by its very nature their magick focused toward positive outcomes. Sure, they were as bitchy and insular as the next group of magick users, but as sure as I was that an O’Halloran had killed Vincent and Joubert, I couldn’t for the life of me glean how, and it was giving me a headache.

Seeing the snarled knot of honking cabs and pissed-off civilians on foot ahead, I turned onto Devere. Nocturne University loomed at me, black bricks gloomy even in the sun. A hobo with a shopping cart shoved it toward me. “Got any change? Anything at all?”

I handed him a dollar and he snatched it away, tucking it into his coat pocket. I shivered. Cold wind always seemed to whip down Devere, an east-west street lined with narrow old buildings. “Thanks,” said the bum. “Wouldn’t need no money, ‘cept Wylie ripped off my bottle earlier today. Said he needed it more on account of fall bringin’ out his arthritis. Damn fool.”

I left him muttering about Wylie’s many character flaws and kept walking toward the university. Shelby had said her relatives stole something from the Blackburns a long time ago. A spellbook, the written workings that are supposed to be memorized and burned? Some sort of blood focuser that would allow a caster access to daemon magick? Whatever it was, the O’Hallorans were using it, which meant they were no longer playing fair. If I figured out exactly what had been stolen, I’d bet my yearly salary we’d break Vincent’s case.

Not that betting my salary is any kind of grand gesture. I turned up my collar against the September wind, and headed for the university grounds.

The faculty offices at the university were nearly as cold as the outside air. Somewhere far away a radiator clanked and groaned, doing little good. I climbed to the third floor on foot, figuring it would warm me up, and rapped on the door marked JACOB HOSKINS—MYTHOLOGY.

“Who is it?” Hoskins’s voice was nervous, with no inflection. He’s one of the twitchiest people I’ve ever met, but also one of the most honest. In my line of work that’s about as rare as a chaste call girl, so it might explain why I like him so much.

“It’s Detective Wilder, Professor.” I knew better than to just walk into his office—such a trespass would send Hoskins into cardiac arrest. Plus, there was that promise I’d made last time we talked to never darken his doorway again, or something equally dramatic.

“Ah.” I heard brisk footsteps and the door opened exactly an inch. I put a game smile on my face.

“Hi, there.”

Hoskins pursed his lips and opened the door all the way. “If you were going to disappear for an entire summer, you might have written me a postcard. Even something via that dreadful e-mail would have sufficed.”

“Why, Professor, I had no idea that you cared.”

He snorted. “You are at least compelling, Detective, which is more than I can say for this year’s crop of freshmen. Come in, please.”

Having been given passage to the inner sanctum, I stepped over the threshold and into Hoskins’s painfully sterile and organized space. All of his books lined up exactly one inch from the edge of the shelf. His tribal masks and paintings were displayed in rows along the wall. The large desk held no papers, no evidence that anyone even worked there except for a flat-screen computer monitor and a gold pen resting precisely next to a blotter.

Hoskins returned to his desk and removed a stack of essays from the middle drawer. He clicked the pen to life and began marking them in handwriting so small it could have been mouse tracks. “What brings you here, Detective? How do you find yourself?”

“Fine,” I said, deciding a recounting of exactly how crappy the past week had been would just waste time. “I needed to ask you something about the Blackburn family.”

“Well and good,” said Hoskins, making a neat slash through an entire paragraph on the page he held. I felt sorry for the student. “But I am a professor of occult mythology, not history.”

“This is in your area, believe me,” I said. Hoskins had some experience with the practice as well as the theory of magick. He had taught the Cedar Hill Killer, a blood witch trying to summon the same daemon Alistair Duncan had succeeded with, many years ago. The affair still made the veins on Hoskins’s neck bulge if you brought it up.

“Then continue, Detective,” he said, writing some scathing remark on the last page of the essay and setting it aside.

“A long time ago—I don’t know how long—the O’Halloran caster witches stole something from the Blackburn family. I need to know what it was.”

“Ah,” said Hoskins. “You are speaking of the murders which resulted in the founding of the university.”

“I guess,” I said. “Was that why Gertrude Blackburn ended up dead?”

Theodore Blackburn, the first scion to settle in Nocturne City, was a wealthy man, depraved and ruthless by all accounts, who had turned to blood magick to increase his profits. Siobhan O’Halloran, the family’s maid, had taken it upon herself to slash Madame Blackburn across the throat and leave her body as a message for Mr. Blackburn, a sort of polite missive that the white witches of the city weren’t going to take his crap anymore.

Unfortunately, Gertrude had gotten off a magick shot before Siobhan managed to kill her, and Theodore returned home to find them both dead. He was so devastated that he turned to drink, lost his fortune, and ended up losing his estate to the city, who turned it into the university. Or so the PG-13 version of the story went.

“I will only say this,” said Hoskins. “After Gertrude’s death, the Blackburn family went into a tailspin, and the O’Hallorans went from immigrants in shacks by the waterfront to powerful bankers in less than a half century. Use your own deductions.”

I sighed. “But you have no idea what the object actually is.”


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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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