Kitty Goes to Washington Page 59

I smiled. “Greetings! Welcome to the first televised edition of The Midnight Hour, the show that isn't afraid of the dark—or the creatures who live there. I'm Kitty Norville.”

The inside of the cell was lit as brightly as the outside, and the camera was at an angle. They'd made sure there wouldn't be any glare. Everyone could see me. All of me.

“If you're not familiar with The Midnight Hour, let me tell you what this is all about. Every Friday night for a few hours, I talk to people on the radio. I take calls, I invite guests on for interviews—politicians, writers, musicians, anyone I can convince to talk to me. What do we talk about? Nightmares: werewolves, vampires, witches, ghosts, demons, and magic. All those stories you read under the blanket with a flashlight, that kept you awake on nights when the wind rattled your bedroom window? You may not be ready to believe it, but those stories are real. And if you don't believe it now, just stick around. Because in an hour or so, I'm betting you'll change your mind. I'm a werewolf, and tonight I put my money where my mouth is.” Money shot? Hoo-boy.

I turned the music down but let it keep playing. It distracted the part of my brain that was starting to gibber. “If you are familiar with the show, you may notice something a little different about the format. You may also notice this isn't the usual time slot. And those of you who are very astute might notice that tonight's the full moon, and you might be asking yourself, what the hell am I doing locked in a room? Those are really good questions. Let me introduce you to the people who've made this possible. Can we get the camera pointed that way for a second? Great, thanks.” The cameraman obliged, pivoting the camera toward the other side of the room.

Flemming backed away, shaking his head. But he didn't have anywhere to go. The camera lens pinned him against the wall. Duke, a little more used to appearing on camera, didn't flee. But he glared bullets.

“Let's see, to your right is Dr. Paul Flemming, director of the Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology, whose laboratory I'm currently locked up in. Across the room you might recognize Senator Joseph Duke, who's heading up hearings regarding the Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. Camera back here, please. Thanks.” Keep smiling. Beauty queen smile, frozen and glittering. Oh, yeah.

“I want to add at this point that I'm here completely against my will. You see, Flemming and Duke are both afraid that cheap talk in a special committee hearing isn't enough to convince the government or the American public that werewolves are real. They both really want to do this, because Flemming wants to keep his funding for the lab, and Duke wants to start a witch hunt. Wolf hunt. Whatever. So they arranged to tie me up with silver, lock me up, and broadcast the results live on national television. You know why they think they can get away with this? Because they don't believe I'm human.”

“No, that isn't—” Flemming stepped forward, beginning some kind of protest. I glared him to silence.

“If you thought I was human you wouldn't have agreed to this. You wouldn't have this jail. So. I sort of made a deal to try to tell my side of the story before things get hairy. I mean, really hairy.

“A couple of things before we go much further. Mom, Dad, Cheryl?” If Cheryl was watching, she'd have called my parents by now. She was always telling on me. “I'd really appreciate it if you turned off the TV right now. You do not want to watch this. It'll upset you. You're probably not going to listen to me, but don't say I didn't warn you. I love you guys. And Ben, if you're watching? Just one word: lawsuit. No, make that two words: multiple lawsuits.”

I rubbed my hands together. “Right. Let's get started then. Roger, come on over here.”

The reporter slicked a hand over his mussed hair, smoothed the front of his shirt, and adjusted the mike he'd clipped to his collar before moving to stand by the door of the cell. We glared at each other through the Plexiglas, as if we could pretend it wasn't there.

“Also here tonight is Roger Stockton, a reporter for the supernatural expose show Uncharted World. Hello, Roger. As I recall, you insisted on conducting an interview. Is now a good time for you?”

He smirked. “As long as you're not busy.”

“I'm a captive audience. Do your worst.”

As much as I hated to admit it, his interview was good. I wished it had been under more comfortable circumstances. He made it a conversation, letting one answer lead into the next question, rather than rattling off a rote list of prepared questions. He didn't jump on the ends of my answers, letting me finish before talking again. He began by asking about the show, how it started, what my policies were, behind the scenes insights. He might not have been entirely pleased with my answers: I didn't say anything that I hadn't already said at the Senate hearing or on the show at one point or another.

Stockton started the wrap-up. “One last question, Kitty. Tonight, those of us here along with the audience at home are going to witness the legendary transformation of a werewolf, with your help)—”

“—my completely involuntary help, I want to make that clear.”

“Um, yes. Of course. Can you tell us a little about what we can expect to see?”

“Sure. Out of all the movies I've seen, Robert Carr's werewolf films like New Tricks and Bloody Moon are the closest I've seen to depicting what it's really like. That's because at the end of the transformation you see something that looks like a real, wild wolf—Canis lupus. The only difference is the werewolf is usually bigger because of conservation of mass. The average full-grown person weighs more than a wild wolf. What happens in between—it's hard to explain. Bones re-form, skin grows fur, teeth change—all of it.”

“Is it painful?”

“Usually. But most of the time it happens quickly. You try to make sure it goes quickly.”

“How do these changes happen without killing the person? Without destroying the body completely?”

“People have been studying this, but no one has a good physical explanation for how the body changes shape without being destroyed. When all is said and done you still have to label this as the supernatural, because it goes beyond what we understand.”

“Propaganda!” Fuming, Duke stormed into the camera's line of sight. His face was red and he was shouting, almost to the level of sounding incoherent. “This is a ploy by the left-wing radical media to undermine the truth of the Good Book, which tells us thou shalt not suffer a witch to live! This is what happens when you listen to the words spoken by an agent of Satan!”

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