Spy Glass Page 43

“The makeup will stay fresh for a few days. Don’t get it wet. Get in and get out as fast as possible,” Valek said.

“Yes, sir,” I said.

“And don’t get caught. Yelena will kill me,” he joked.

“I’ll be careful for your sake.”

“Good. See you on the other side.”

My “companions” wore guard uniforms from the Jewelrose Clan. I studied their builds and looked for the clues Valek had taught me to see through a disguise, but didn’t recognize them. A part of me had hoped Valek would use Ari and Janco as my escorts.

I climbed inside, reviewing the plan in my mind to keep from screaming. The door clanged shut and the lock clicked into place.

After a few moments, the convicted murderer named Rhea Jewelrose was on her way to start her prison sentence at Wirral.

12

“TRANSFER PAPERS?” THE BORED RECEPTIONIST ASKED.

I stood between my escorts. They had manacled my wrists behind my back before we arrived at Fulgor’s security HQ. Valek’s people had forged the paperwork and I hoped no one would discover the fakes.

“Collin,” the receptionist called over his shoulder. “Take her down to cell five.”

A Fulgor guard arrived and one of my escorts removed my manacles.

“She’s all yours,” he said as they left.

I bit my lip and rubbed my wrists, waiting.

“Come on,” Collin said. He swept his arm out, indicating I should go first.

I glanced at his weapon belt, spotting a pair of manacles.

He chuckled. “I don’t think we need them. You’re not going to cause trouble, are you?”

“No, sir.”

“Good.” He put his hand on my shoulder and guided me to the prison cells below HQ.

Unfortunately, I’d been here before. I would count the number of different cells I’d been in over the last year, but didn’t want to start… What? Crying? Or laughing hysterically? Both seemed possible at this moment. I swallowed the knot of emotion.

I spent the night in cell number five. When my prison escorts arrived the next morning, my disguise and training were put to the ultimate test. I tucked a strand of my dirty blond hair behind my ear. No hair ties were allowed and with the chin-length style, my hair tended to fall into my face which itched from the putty. I now had full cheeks and a pudgy nose compliments of Valek.

“Another killer?” Nic asked Eve.

They stood on the other side of the bars. Eve consulted a clipboard. “Yep. Killed her husband in a fit of jealous rage.”

“Really?” He peered at me in confusion. “She doesn’t look the type.”

“I’m not. It was a horrible accident,” I said, pitching my voice a little higher than normal. “I’m innocent.”

Nic glanced at Eve.

“He fell on her knife fourteen times. A real klutz,” she said.

He snorted. “What is it about the cold season? We get twice the number of murders during those two months.” He shook his head and unlocked the door. “Stand back.”

I moved away and he entered, grabbing the manacles from his belt. A powerful and dizzying sense of déjà vu hit me and I swayed.

“Easy there,” he said, touching my arm to steady me.

I blinked. Just when I thought I understood him, Nic was being…nice? Unexpected.

He manacled my hands behind me and guided me from the cell, resting his hand on my back. I guessed it was safer to have a prisoner in front where you could see them.

As we walked through Fulgor’s streets, fear simmered. To distract myself from my impending ordeal, I said, “I can tell you why there are more murders during the cold season.”

“Is this a confession?” Nic asked.

“No.” One thing Valek had stressed—criminals always pro-claimed their innocence.

“The cold’s the reason,” Eve said. “Her husband warmed himself in another woman’s bed.”

“Not quite,” I said.

“Oh?” Eve asked.

“He was in our bed when he had his…mishap.”

“That is cold,” Nic said.

“But that’s not the reason you have more murders,” I said.

“Do tell,” Nic said. His voice was edged with sarcasm.

I ignored his tone. “Sunlight. Or rather the lack of sunlight. It turns everything gray. It’s depressing and makes you crazy. You’ll do anything for a bit of color.” I had remembered Kade commenting on this phenomenon.

“I don’t think bright red blood is a nice change of pace, but then again my partner insists I’m color-blind,” Nic said. “You are color-blind. No one but you would ever match lime-green pants with an orange shirt,” Eve quipped.

We remained silent until we reached the outer gates of Wirral. Even though I had been there before, the prison’s presence hit me like a physical blow to my guts. I blanched and skidded to a stop.

“I hope you’re not one of those people who go crazy with a lack of sunlight,” Nic said. “Because there’s no sunlight in there.” He studied me.

No need to act, I let my fear show. “He killed himself,” I whispered.

Eve raised an eyebrow. “Fourteen times?”

“He had bad aim.”

Nic laughed. “First time I’ve heard that one!” He tugged me into motion.

As we drew closer, I asked Nic, “Is everyone in there for life?”

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