Kitty Goes to Washington Page 30

Frederick, Maryland. Some thirty-five miles away. Close enough for Flemming to think that following the lead was worthwhile, far enough away to keep him busy for a couple of hours. Flemming would be gone all afternoon, assuming he took the bait. Considering Flemming was more paranoid than I was, I could assume he had.

That was hilarious. I was beginning to think that Cormac hadn't just done this sort of thing before. I was sure he'd done it often.

Now, Cormac put on gloves, made of thin black leather. I followed suit, though mine were cheap knit ones I'd dug out of my car. Not nearly as cool as his. By the time we got to the door of Flemming's office, he'd pulled something out of his pocket: a card key.

“Where'd you get that?” I hissed.

“Janitor,” he said. “Don't worry, I'll give it back.”

Oh. My. God.

The lock clicked; the door slipped open.

I followed Cormac into the office. He closed the door smoothly behind me.

The office was dark. Cormac made no move to turn the lights on. Enough ambient light showed through the frosted window in the door to find our way around the room. My sight adjusted quickly. Quicker than Cormac's—I headed toward the paper shredder in the corner while he was still squinting.

The bin under the shredder was empty. So was the counter next to it. All those papers, gone. Of course they were, he'd spent the morning shredding them.

I started working my way through the remaining stacks of documents piled around the desk and bookshelves. They were all medical journals, published articles, photocopies of articles, dissertations, and the like. Some of them I'd dug up on my own. At first glance, none of them offered insight into Flemming's research. It was all background and supporting documentation. The bread, not the meat at the middle of the sandwich.

Cormac went to the desk to fire up the computers. After they'd booted up, the screens coming to life, he shook his head at me. “Password protected,” he said. “Hacking isn't my strong suit.”

No, he was a stolen key and .45 revolver kind of guy.

I wasn't prepared for serious digging. I'd assumed—wrongly—that in all this mess I'd find something just lying around, even with all the shredding going on. I studied the bookshelves, hoping for a spark of inspiration. The physiology reference books butted up against the folklore encyclopedias amused me.

I sighed, on the verge of defeat. “Let's see if we can get into the next room.”

The second door also had a frosted window in it, but the other side was dark. I couldn't see anything through the glass. Cormac took out his trusty stolen card key, slid it through the reader, and popped the door open. The door swung away from him. He straightened and gestured me inside.

“After you.”

I felt like I was stepping into an ancient Egyptian tomb. The place was so still, I could hear my blood in my ears, and it was cold with the kind of chill that seeped through stone underground. I could see well enough in the dark. The linoleum floor continued, and like the office this room had walls of shelves. It also had lab benches, sinks and faucets, and a large metallic refrigerator that hummed softly. Also, Flemming had here a good collection of the medical equipment I'd expected to find in his laboratory: racks of test tubes, beakers, Bunsen burners, and unidentifiable tabletop appliances plugged into walls. They might have been oscillators, autoclaves, the kind of things one saw on medical dramas on television, or in the dentist's office. Again, the place had more of the atmosphere of a college biology laboratory than a clandestine government research facility.

The far wall was made of glass, maybe Plexiglas. Behind it, the room continued, divided in two by a partition. I moved closer. Both extra rooms had a cot, a washbasin, and a simple toilet in the corner. The Plexiglas had doors cut into it, with handles only on the outside. The doors had narrow slots through which objects might be handed through. Like meal trays. They were cells.

Moving quietly, Cormac stepped beside me. “This is kind of fucked up.”

Yeah. “Do you smell garlic?” One of the cell doors was open. I wasn't mistaken; inside, the scent of garlic grew strong. It wasn't like someone was cooking with it, or there was a chopped-up piece of it somewhere. It came from everywhere. I went to a wall, touched it, then smelled it. “Is it in the paint? Did they put garlic in the paint?”

“Check this one out,” Cormac said from the next cell over. He shined a penlight over the wall, which glittered. Sparkling like silver—tiny shavings of silver, imbedded in the paint. I kept my distance.

Two cells. One for a vampire, one for a werewolf, designed to keep each of them under control using innate allergies. They looked like they'd been empty for a while.

The sheets were fresh, unwrinkled. They didn't smell occupied.

“Hands-on research, looks like,” Cormac said.

Involuntary test subjects was what it looked like to me. My stomach hurt.

Cormac left the cell. “You seen enough?”

“Just a minute.” I scanned the room one more time. Most of the paperwork had been moved to the office and shredded, it looked like. Nothing here but empty tables and defunct equipment.

To the side of the silver-lined cell, a clipboard hung on a nail. It looked like the kind of setup someone would use to keep medical records handy. It seemed rather forlorn and forgotten. I picked it up.

Only three sheets of paper were clipped to the board. They were charts, with a list of names. Names—jackpot. Quickly, I scanned them. First names only, maybe two dozen in all.

Halfway down the second page I read: Fritz, 6', 210 lbs., h.s. lupus. Homo sapiens lupus. It couldn't possibly be the same Fritz.

I flipped back to the first page and caught another name, one I should have noticed right away: Leo, 5' 9”, 150 lbs., h.s. sanguinis. Vampire.

Riddle wrapped in an enigma… I wasn't sure I wanted to know how Flemming and Leo were tied together. I was about ready to buy into any conspiracy theory that came my way.

“This is it,” I murmured. “This is what I need.” I took it off the clipboard and started to fold it, to take it with me.

Cormac snatched the pages out of my hand. He stalked back to the next room and the tabletop photocopier parked near the shredder. The machine was so loud, and the scanning lights so bright, I thought surely security goons would find us. Quickly, in a perfectly businesslike manner, Cormac had the three pages copied. He handed the copies to me, clipped the originals back on the board, and returned it to its nail on the wall. He closed the door to the lab and made sure it was locked.

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