Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

Proven Guilty, Page 12

Jim Butcher

Chapter 22

  Chapter Twenty-two

  Murphy and I walked around the hotel, and as we did I popped open a fresh can of blue Play-Doh. At the corners of major intersections and at the exterior exits, I pinched off bits and plunked them down on top of the molding over doorways, inside flowerpots, inside fire extinguisher cabinets, and anywhere else where they wouldn't be easily or immediately noticed. I made sure to leave plenty of them in unnoticed little spots along the hallways chiefly in use for the convention, especially Dutside the rooms that the schedule designated as showing films as evening approached.

  "What are we doing again?" Murphy asked.

  "Setting up a spell," I said.

  "With Play-Doh. "

  "Yes. "

  She gave me a level look.

  I shook out the can that still had most of the original material in it, and showed it to her. "The little pieces I've been leaving around are part of this piece. See?"

  "Not yet," she said.

  "They used to be one piece. Even when they're separated, they still have a thaumaturgical connection to the original," I told her. "It means that I'll be able to use the big piece to reach out and connect to the little pieces. "

  "That's what you meant by a web?"

  "Yes. I'll be able to. . . " I twisted up my face, searching for the words to explain. "I can extend energy out to all the smaller pieces. I'll set it up so that if one of the little pieces picks up on a disturbance of the energies, I'll be able to feel it through the larger piece. "

  "Like. . . seismographs, sort of," Murphy said.

  "Yeah," I said. "And we use blue Play-Doh. Blue for defense. "

  She arched a brow at me. "Does the color really matter?"

  "Yes," I said, then thought about it for a second. "Well, probably no. But yes, for me. "


  "A lot of the use of magic is all tied up with your emotions. With what you believe is real. When I was younger, I learned a lot of stuff, like the role of colors in the casting of spells. Green for fertility and prosperity, red for passion and energy, white for purity, black for vengeance, and so on. It could be that the color doesn't matter at all-but if I expect the spell to work because of the color used, then that color is important. If I don't believe in it, the spell won't ever get off the ground. "

  "Like Dumbo's magic feather?" Murphy asked. "It was his confidence that was really important?"

  "Yes," I said. "The feather was just a symbol-but it was an important symbol. "

  I gestured with the can. "So I use blue, because I don't have to do too much introspection, and I don't introduce new doubts in a crisis situation. And because it was cheap at Wal-Mart. "

  Murphy laughed. "Wal-Mart, huh?"

  "Wizarding doesn't pay much," I said. "You'd be surprised how much stuff I get from Wal-Mart. " I checked a clock on the wall. "We've got about two hours before the first movie starts showing. "

  She nodded. "What do you need?"

  "A quiet space to work in," I told her. "At least six or seven feet across. The more private and secure, the better. I've got to assume that the bad guy knows I'm around here somewhere. I don't want to get a machete in the back when I'm busy running the spell. "

  "How long do you need to set it up?"

  I shrugged. "Twenty minutes, give or take. What I'm really concerned about is-"

  "Mister Dresden!" called a voice from across the crowded convention hallway. I looked up to see Sandra Marling hurrying through the crowd toward me. The convention's chairwoman looked exhausted and too nervous to be awake, much less standing, much less politely pushing her way through a crowd, but she did it anyway. She still wore the same black T-shirt with the red SplatterCon!!! logo on it, presumably the same I'd seen her in the night before.

  "Ms. Marling," I said, nodding to her as she approached. "Good afternoon. "

  She shook her head wearily. "I'm such. . . this is such an enormous amount of. . . but I don't know who else I can turn to about this. " Her words failed her, and she started trembling with nerves and weariness.

  I traded a frown with Murphy. "Sandra. What's wrong?"

  "It's Molly," she said.

  I frowned. "What about her?"

  "She came here from the hospital a couple of hours ago. The police came to talk to her and I don't think she's come out since then, and none of the officers I've spoken to know where she is. I think-"

  "Sandra. " I told her, "Take a breath. Slow down. Do you know where Molly is?"

  The woman closed her eyes and shook her head, bringing herself under control, lowering her voice several pitches. "They're still. . . interrogating her, I think? Isn't that what they say? When they try to scare you and ask questions?"

  I narrowed my eyes. "Yeah," I said. "Was she arrested?"

  Sandra shook her head jerkily. "I don't think so. They didn't handcuff her or read from that little card or anything. Can they do that? Just drag her into a room?"

  "We'll see," I said. "Which room?"

  "Other wing, second door on the right," she said.

  I nodded, slung my pack off my back, and took out a small notebook. I scribbled some phone numbers and names on a page, and gave it to Sandra. "Call both of these people. "

  She blinked at the paper. "What do I tell them?"

  "The truth. Tell them what's going on and that Harry Dresden said they need to get down here immediately. "

  Sandra blinked down at the page. "What are you going to do?"

  "Oh, you know. The usual," I said. "Get to that phone. "

  "I'll catch up in a minute," Murphy said.

  I nodded, slung the pack back on, jerked my head at Mouse, and started walking with purposeful strides toward the knot of reporters that had begun to dissolve at the conclusion of the official statements to the press. My dog fell in to pace at my side until I spotted Lydia Stern at the rear of the crowd.

  Lydia Stern was a formidable woman, a reporter for the Midwestern Arcane, a yellow journal based out of Chicago that did its best to report on the supernatural. Sometimes they managed to get close to the truth, but more often they ran stories that had headlines like Lizard Baby Born in Trailer Park, or maybe Bigfoot and the Chupacabra, the Unholy Alliance. By and large, the stories were amusing and fairly harmless, but once in a while someone stumbled into something strange and it made it into the paper. Susan Rodriguez had been a lead reporter for the Arcane, until she'd run into exactly the wrong story. Now she lived her life somewhere in South America, fighting off the infection in her soul that wanted to turn her into one of the Red Court while she and her half-vampire buddies campaigned against their would-be recruiters.

  When Lydia Stern took over Susan's old job a couple of years back, her reporting had taken a different angle. She'd investigated strange events and then demanded to know why the appropriate institutions had been ignoring them. The woman had a scathing intellect and penetrating wit, and she employed both liberally and with considerable panache in her writing. She was unafraid to challenge anyone in her articles, from some smalltown animal control unit to the FBI.

  It was a shame she was working at a rag like the Arcane instead of at a reputable paper in DC or New York. She'd have been a Pulitzer nominee inside of five years. City officials who had to deal with the cases I'd brushed up against had developed a nearly supernatural ability to vanish whenever she was around. None of them wanted to be the next person Lydia Stern eviscerated in print. She had a growing reputation as an investigative terror.

  "Ms. Stern," I said in a low, grave voice, extra emphasis on the "z" in "Ms. "

  "I wonder if you might have a few moments. "

  The terror of the Midwest Arcane whirled to face me, and her face broke into a cherubic grin. She was a little over five feet tall, pleasantly plump, and of Asian ancestry. She had a sparkling smile, thick glasses, curly black hair, and was wearing a pair of denim overalls over an old Queensryche T-shirt. Her tennis shoes had bright pink
laces on them. "Harry Dresden," she said. She had a sort of breathless, bubbling voice, the kind that seemed like it could barely contain laughter beneath almost every word. "Hah. I knew this one smelled right. "

  "Could be," I said. I hadn't been real forthcoming with Lydia. It hadn't worked out well with reporters in the past. Whenever I spoke to her, little daggers of guilt stabbed at me, reminders that I could not afford to let careless words get her into too much trouble. Despite that, we'd gotten along, and I'd never lied to her. I hadn't bothered to try. "You busy?"

  She gestured at the bag whose strap hung over her shoulder. "I've got recordings, and I'll want to jot down some notes shortly. " She tilted her head to one side. "Why do you ask?"

  "I need a thug to scare some guys for me," I said.

  The dimples in her cheeks deepened. "Oh?"

  "Yeah," I said. "Do this for me. I'll give you ten minutes on this. " I waved my hand vaguely at the hotel around us. "As soon as I have some time free. "

  Her eyes brightened. "Done," she said. "What do I do?"

  "Hang around outside a doorway and. . . " I grinned. "Just be yourself. "

  "Good. I can do that. " She nodded once, curls bouncing, and followed me to the room where they were grilling my friend's daughter.

  I opened the door like I owned the place and walked in.

  The room wasn't a big one-maybe the size of a large elementary-school classroom. There was a raised platform about a foot high at one end, with chairs on it behind a long table. More chairs faced it in rows. A sign, now discarded on the floor behind the door, declared that the room was scheduled for something called "Filking" between noon and five o'clock today. "Filking" sounded suspiciously like it might be an activity somehow related to spawning salmon, or maybe some kind of bizarre mammalian discussion. I decided that it was probably one of those things I was happier not knowing.

  Greene was in the room, standing on the platform with his arms folded, a sour frown on his face. Molly sat in the first row of chairs, still in the same clothes as the night before. She looked tired. She'd been crying.

  Next to her was a man of medium build and unremarkable height, with brown hair just tousled enough to be fashionable. He wore a grey suit, its gravity somewhat offset by a black tie that featured Marvin the Martian. I recognized him. Rick, Murphy's ex. He stood over Molly, passing her a cup of water, the good cop of the usual interrogation equation. He was here in his official capacity, then. Agent Rick.

  "Excuse me," Greene said, without looking over at me. "This room isn't open to the public. "

  "It isn't?" I said, overly ingenuous. "Man. I was really looking forward to a nice afternoon of filking, too. "

  Molly looked up, and her eyes widened in recognition and what looked like sudden hope. "Harry!"

  "Heya, kid," I told her, and ambled in, Mouse in tow. The dog went right over to Molly, wagging his tail and subtly begging for affection by thrusting his broad muzzle underneath her folded hands. Molly let out a little laugh and leaned down, hugging the dog, talking baby talk to him like she did to her youngest siblings.

  Greene turned to glower at me. After a moment, Agent Rick did too.

  "Dresden," Greene said, his tone peremptory. "You are interfering in an investigation. Get out. "

  I ignored him to speak to Molly. "How's Rosie?"

  She left her cheek on top of Mouse's broad head and said, "Unconscious. She was very upset by the news and the doctors gave her something to help her sleep. They were afraid she would freak out and it would hurt the baby. "

  "Dresden," Greene snarled.

  "Best thing for her right now," I told Molly. "She'll handle it better when she's had some rest. "

  She nodded and said, "I hope so. "

  Greene spat a curse and reached for his radio, presumably to summon goons.

  Greene was an ass.

  Maybe I was going a little hex-happy, but I muttered something under my breath and made a little effort. Sparks shot out of the radio and were followed by curls of smoke. Greene stood there cursing as he tried to get the thing to work. "Dammit, Dresden," he snarled. "Get out before I have you taken downtown. "

  I kept ignoring him. "Hi there, Rick. How was the wedding?"

  "That's it," Greene said.

  Rick pursed his lips and then held up a hand toward Greene, a placating gesture. "Everyone survived it," Agent Rick responded, studying me with a steady frown, looking between me and Molly. "Harry, we're working here. You should go. "

  "Yeah?" I asked. I plopped down into the chair beside Molly and grinned at him. "I'm thinking maybe not. I mean, I'm working, too. I'm a consultant. "

  "You're obstructing an investigation, Dresden," Greene growled. You're going to lose your jobs with the city. Your investigative license. Hell, I'll even get you stuck in jail for a month or two. "

  "No you won't. "

  "Have it your way, tough guy," Greene said, and started for the door.

  Molly, maybe taking it for a cue, rose herself.

  "Sit down," Greene said, his voice hard. "You aren't finished yet. "

  She hesitated for a second and then sat.

  "Greene, Greene, Greene," I said. "There's something you're missing here. "

  He paused. Agent Rick watched me steadily.

  "See, Miss Carpenter here can go any time she damned well pleases. "

  "Not until she's answered a few questions," he said.

  I made a game-show buzzing sound. "Wrong. This is a free country. She can walk out and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. Unless you want to arrest her. " I grinned at him some more. "You didn't arrest her, did you?"

  Molly watched the exchange from the corner of her vision, being very still and keeping her face down.

  "We're questioning her in relation to an ongoing investigation," Rick said.

  "Yeah? One of you guys got the subpoena, then?"

  They hadn't, of course. No one spoke.

  "See, you're the one out on a limb here, Greene. You've got nothing on the young lady. No court order. You haven't arrested her. So anything she chooses to tell you is entirely voluntary. "

  Molly blinked up at me. "It is?"

  I put a hand to my chest and mimed an expression of shock. "Greene! I can hardly believe this. Did you lie to this young woman to frighten her? To make her think she was under arrest?"

  "I didn't lie," Greene snarled.

  "You just led her on," I said, nodding. "Sure, sure. Not your fault if she interpreted you wrong. Say, let's go back and check the tape and see where the mistake was. " I paused. "You are recording this, aren't you? All on the record and aboveboard?"

  Greene looked at me like he wanted to kick my nuts up into my skull. "You've got nothing but speculation. Get out. Or, as lead investigator, I will have you barred from the hotel. "

  "That a threat?" I asked him.

  "Believe it. "

  I made a show of rubbing at my mouth. "Oh, man. I'm having quite the moral quandary. Because if you do that to me, then hell, maybe the press would find out that you're dismissing professional consultants with a positive track record with the city. " I leaned forward and added casualty

  "Oh. And they might find out that you are illegally interrogating a juvenile. "

  Greene stared at me, shock on his face. Even Agent Rick arched an eyebrow. "What?"

  "A juvenile," I enunciated, "i. e. , one who cannot give you legal consent on her own. I took the liberty of sending for her parents. I'm sure that they and their attorney will have a whole lot of questions for you. "

  "That's blackmail," Greene said.

  "No, it's due process," I replied. "You're the one who tried the end run around the law. "

  Greene scowled at me and said, "You can talk all you want, but you've got no proof. "

  My cheeks ached from smiling so much, and I chuckled.

  The door, which had never fully closed, opened on cue. Lydia Ste
rn stood there behind it, her press badge around her neck, a mini-tape recorder in her hand, held up so that Greene could clearly see it. "So, Detective," she asked, "could you please explain why as a part of your investigation you are interrogating a juvenile without her parents' consent? Is she a suspect in the crime? Or a witness to any of the events? And what about these rumors of interdepartmental noncooperation slowing down the investigation?"

  Greene stared at the reporter. He shot a glance at Agent Rick.

  Rick shrugged. "He's got you. You took a chance. It didn't pay off. "

  Greene spat a word that authority figures oughtn't say in front of juveniles, and then stomped out. Lydia Stern winked at me, then followed on his heels, recorder held out toward him, asking a steady stream of questions whose only reasonable answers would make Greene look like an idiot.

  Rick watched him go and shook his head. Then he said to me, "What's your stake in this?"

  "The girl is my friend's daughter," I said. "Just looking out for her. "

  He gave me a slight nod. "I see. Greene's under a lot of pressure. I'm sorry you got treated like that. "

  "Rick," I said in a patient voice, "I'm not a teenage girl. Please don't try to good-cop me. "

  His polite, interested expression vanished for a second behind a quick, boyish grin. Then he shrugged and said, "It was worth trying. "

  I snorted.

  "You know he can get the subpoena. It's just a question of running through channels. "

  I rose. "That's not my problem. I'll leave it to the Carpenters' attorney. "

  "I see," he said. "You actually are interfering with the investigation. He could probably make it stick. "

  "Come on, Agent. I'm protecting the rights of a juvenile. The ACLU would eat that raw. " I shook my head. "Besides. What you're doing is wrong. Bullying girls. Hell's bells, man, that's low. "

  A flicker of anger touched Agent Rick's expression. "Dresden, I know you don't have a concealed carry permit. You want me to suspect you of carrying a weapon and search you for it?"

  Oops. I thought nervously of the revolver in my backpack. If Agent Rick wanted to make an issue of it, I could be in trouble-but I didn't want him to know that. I tried to shake it off with a nonchalant shrug. "How is that going to help stop the killer before he strikes again?"

  Rick tilted his head to one side and frowned at me. Dammit, I've got to get a better poker face. He oriented on me, eyes searching over me for possible places to hide a gun. "Irrelevant," he replied. "If you're breaking the law, you're breaking the law. "

  From the doorway there was an impatient sigh, and then Murphy said, "Would it kill you to stop being an asshole for five minutes, Rick?"

  I hadn't noticed her arrival, and judging from Agent Rick's expression, neither had he.

  "He's a consultant for SI, which is also working the case. We don't have the time to get involved in a pissing contest. People are in danger. We need to work together. "

  Rick glared at her, then reined in his temper and shrugged a shoulder. "You may be right. But Dresden, I want you to consider leaving of your own will. If you keep interfering, I'll arrest you and toss you in the clink for twenty-four hours. "

  "No," Murphy said, entering the room. "You won't. "

  He rounded on her, eyes narrowed. "Dammit, Karrin. You never know when to quit, do you?"

  "Of course I do," she said, setting her jaw. "Never. "

  Agent Rick shook his head. He slammed open the door and departed.

  Murphy watched him go. Then she sighed and asked, "Are you all right, miss?"

  Molly nodded somewhat numbly. "Yes. Just tired. "

  A moment later, Sandra Marling hurried in, looked around at all of us, and then went over to give Molly a hug. The girl hugged back, tight.

  "Did you reach them?" I asked Sandra.

  "Yes. Mrs. Carpenter is on the way. "

  Molly shuddered.

  "Good," I said. "Could you stay with Molly until she arrives?"

  "Of course. "

  I nodded and said to Molly, "Kid, things are getting complicated. I want you to go with your mom. All right?"

  She nodded, slowly, without looking up.

  I sighed and got up out of my chair. "Good. "

  I left, Murphy and Mouse flanking me as I headed back into the hotel. "Nice guy, Rick," I commented. "Maybe a little manipulative. "

  "Just a tad," Murphy said. "What happened?"

  I told her.

  She let out a wicked chuckle. "Wish I could have seen the look on their faces. "

  "Next time I'll take a picture. "

  She nodded. "So what's our next move?"

  "Hey, we're in a hotel. " I bobbed my eyebrows at her. "Let's get a room. "

  Under peaceful circumstances, I'm sure that no rooms would have been available. Obviously, though, circumstances were far from peaceful, and there had been a minor avalanche of cancellations and early departures from the hotel-which only goes to show that people occasionally demonstrate evidence of sound judgment. The convention might have doubled the number of folks attending, but that didn't mean that they wanted to sleep here.

  There was a room available on the fifth floor. I paid an extra fee to allow Mouse to stay, and we got checked in.

  There was no one else in the elevator, and we rode in a silence that became increasingly tense. I shifted my weight from side to side and fiddled with one of the two plastic cards the desk clerk had given us. I cleared my throat.

  "So here we are," I said. "Heading up to our hotel room. "

  Murphy's cheeks turned pink. "You are a pig, Dresden. "

  "Hey, I didn't put any innuendo into that. You did it yourself. "

  She rolled her eyes, smiling a little.

  I watched numbers change on the elevator panel. I coughed. "Yes, sir-ree. Alone together. "

  "It's a little weird," she admitted.

  "A little weird," I agreed.

  "Should it be?" she asked. "I mean, we're just working together. We've done that before. "

  "We haven't done it in a hotel room. "

  "Yes, we have," Murphy said.

  "But they all had corpses in them. "

  "Ah. True. "

  "No corpses this time," I said.

  "Heh," Murphy said. "The night is young. "

  Her reminder of the dangers before us put a bullet through the head of that conversation. Her smile vanished, and her face regained its usual color. We went the rest of the way in silence, until the elevator doors opened. Neither one of us moved to get out. It almost felt like there was some kind of invisible line drawn across the floor.

  The silence stretched. The doors tried to close. Murphy mashed down on the Door Open button with her thumb.

  "Harry," she said finally, her voice very quiet, her blue eyes focused into distance. "I've been thinking about. . . you know. Us. "


  "Yeah. "

  "How much thinking?"

  She smiled a little. "I'm not sure, really. I don't think I wanted to admit that. . . you know. "

  "Things might change between us?"

  "Yes. " She frowned at me. "I'm not sure this is something you would want. "

  "Between the two of us," I said, "I think I probably have more insight into that one. "

  She frowned. "How do you know it's what you want?"

  "Last Halloween," I said, "I wanted to murder Kincaid. "

  Murphy glanced down as her cheeks turned pink. "Oh. "

  "Not literally," I said, then paused. "Well. I guess it was literally. But the urge died down a little. "

  "I see," she said.

  "Are you and him. . . ?" I asked, leaving the question open.

  "I saw him at New Year's," she said. "But we aren't in anything deep. Neither of us want that. We're friends. We enjoy the company. That's all.

  I frowned. "We're friends too," I said. "But I've never taken your pant
s off. "

  "We're different," she said, her blush renewing. She gave me an oblique look from beneath pale eyelashes. "Is it something you want?"

  My heart sped up a little. "Uh. Pants removal?"

  She arched a brow and tilted her head, waiting for an answer.

  "Murph, I haven't been with a woman for. . . "I shook my head. "Look, you ask any guy if he wants to have sex and he's going to say yes. Generally speaking. It's in the union manual. "

  Her eyes sparkled. "Including you?" she pressed.

  "I'm a guy," I said. "So yes. " I frowned, thinking about it. "And. . . and no. "

  She smiled at me and nodded. "I know. You couldn't do casual. You commit yourself too deeply. You care too much. We couldn't have something light. You would never settle for that. "

  She was probably right. I nodded.

  "I don't know if I could give you what you want, Harry. " Then she took a deep breath and said, "And there are other reasons. We work together. "

  "I noticed. "

  She didn't quite smile. "What I mean is. . . I can't let relationships come close to my job. It isn't good for either. "

  I said nothing.

  "I'm a cop, Harry. "

  My belly twisted a little as I realized the rejection in the words, and the lack of any room for compromise. "I know you are. "

  "I serve the law. "

  "You do," I said. "You always have. "

  "I can't walk away from it. I won't walk away from it. "

  "I know that too. "

  "And. . . we're so different. Our worlds. "

  "Not really," I said. "We sort of hang around in the same one, most of the time. "

  "That's work," she said quietly. "My work isn't everything about me. Or it shouldn't be. I've tried a relationship built on having that in common. "

  "Rick," I said.

  She nodded. Pain flickered in her eyes. I never would have seen that a few years before. But I'd seen Murphy in good times and bad-mostly bad. She'd never say it, never want me to say anything about it, but I knew that her failed marriages had wounded her more deeply than she would ever admit. In a way, I suspected that they explained some of her professional drive and ambition. She was determined to make the career work. Something had to.

  And maybe she'd been hurt even more deeply than that. Maybe badly enough that she wouldn't want to leave herself open to it again. Long-term relationships have the potential for long-term pain. Maybe she didn't want to go through it again.

  "What if you weren't a cop?"

  She smiled faintly. "What if you weren't a wizard?"

  "Touche. But indulge me. "

  She tilted her head and studied me for a minute. Then she said, "What happens when Susan comes back?"

  I shook my head. "She isn't. "

  Her tone turned dry. "Indulge me. "

  I frowned. "I don't know," I said quietly. "We decided to break it off. And. . . I suspect we'd see a lot of things very differently now. "

  "But if she wanted to try again?" Murphy asked.

  I shrugged. "I don't know. "

  "Let's say we get together," Murphy said. "How many kids do you want?"

  I blinked. "What?"

  "You heard me. "

  "I don't. . . " I blinked a few more times. "I hadn't really thought about it. " So I thought about it for a second. I thought about the merry chaos of the Carpenter household. God, I'd have given anything for that when I was little.

  But any child of mine would inherit more than my eyes and killer chin. There were a lot of people who didn't think much of me. A lot of not-people thought that way, too. Any child of mine would be bound to inherit some of my enemies, and worse, maybe some of my allies. My own mother had left me a legacy of perpetual suspicion and doubt, and nasty little surprises that occasionally popped out of the hoary past.

  Murphy watched me, blue eyes steady and serious. "It's a big question," she said quietly.

  I nodded, slowly. "Maybe you're thinking about this too much, Murph," I said. "Logic and reason and planning for the future. What's in your heart doesn't need that. "

  "I used to think that, too. " She shook her head. "I was wrong. Love isn't all you need. And I just don't see us together, Harry. You're dear to me. I couldn't ask for a kinder friend. I'd walk through fire for you. "

  "You already did," I said.

  "But I don't think I could be the kind of lover you want. We wouldn't go together. "

  "Why not?"

  "At the end of the day," she said quietly, "we're too different. You're going to live for a long time, if you don't get killed. Centuries. I'm going to be around another forty, fifty years at the most. "

  "Yeah," I said. It was one of those things I tried really hard not to dwell on.

  She said, even more quietly, "I don't know if I'll get serious with a man again. But if I do. . . I want it to be someone who will build a family with me. Grow old with me. " She reached up and touched the side of my face with warm fingers. "You're a good man, Harry. But you couldn't be what I need, either. "

  Murphy took her thumb from the button and left the elevator.

  I didn't follow her right away.

  She didn't look back.



  God, I love being a wizard.