Kitty's Big Trouble Page 2

“I suppose it’s possible,” he said. “But if you’re right, he kept it really well hidden.”

“Lots of people keep it really well hidden,” I said. “I’m betting it was easier to keep it hidden then than it is now.”

He sat on the sofa beside me, which was too tempting an invitation. I leaned toward him, pulling his arm over my shoulder and snuggling against him. As I hoped, he hugged me close and bent his head to my hair, breathing in my scent as I took in his. Our wolf sides, claiming each other.

I said, “I just keep thinking—who else is out there? What secret histories slipped through the cracks because people kept it hidden or no one believed it? I’m not talking about Vlad Tepes being Dracula. What if Sherman really was a werewolf? Who else might have been werewolves? Maybe there was a reason Rasputin was so hard to kill, and Jack the Ripper was so bloodthirsty—”

He stopped me with a kiss, which was okay with me. I touched his cheeks and smiled.

“What would it change?” he said. “If Sherman really was a werewolf, would it really change anything?”

“We’d know the truth.”

He looked skeptical. It was a fair question. Did this mean any more than slapping labels on people? In Sherman’s case, it meant a reinterpretation of his history—his nervous breakdown looked a whole lot different if he was a werewolf. But even that was speculation. He might have been infected with lycanthropy years before.

It wasn’t just the labels. It meant history had a whole other layer to it, and that supernatural beings might have played an active role in guiding human events for centuries. I could almost get conspiracy minded about it.

“How can you even confirm something like this for sure? In a way that would hold up in court?” he added. Always legal-minded.

“I’ve been trying to find out how to get his body exhumed—”

He looked at me. “You haven’t.”

“Um, yeah. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.”

“Of course it is. You can’t just go around digging up graves. Especially famous ones.”

“Yeah,” I said, wincing. “I know.”

“You need to find a vampire who knew him,” he said. “Get a corroborating eyewitness account from someone who wasn’t a scared teenager confronting a guy like Sherman.”

He probably meant it as a joke, but I turned thoughtful.

“You know,” I said, “I could probably do that.”

“Honey, if anyone can do it, you can.”

Damn straight.

* * *

“GOOD EVENING, it’s Friday night which means it’s time once again for The Midnight Hour, the show that isn’t afraid of the dark or the creatures who live there. I’m your ever-eager host, Kitty Norville, and I hope you’re ready for another illuminating evening of supernatural shenanigans.”

Sitting at my table in the studio, in front of the microphone, headphones on, just a few lights glowing in the darkened space, I could imagine myself in the cockpit of an airplane or at the controls of a spaceship, commanding great power. Through the glass, I watched Matt, my sound engineer, at his board. Above the door, the on-air sign glowed red. Epic.

“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about history and what to do with it. Vampires and werewolves and the like have only been public for a few years. Some of us are milking that publicity for all it’s worth, I’m not ashamed to say. But we’ve been around for a lot longer than that. We must have been. What impact have vampires, werewolves, and magicians had on history? Were any historical figures—let’s say General William Sherman, just as an example—supernatural creatures themselves? Those histories have been deeply buried, either because people didn’t believe or because the stories were written off as folklore and fantasy. Let me tell you, when you start digging there are a lot of stories out there. What I’m looking for now isn’t stories, but proof. That’s where things get tricky, because traditionally, the supernatural doesn’t leave a whole lot of proof lying around.

“That’s my question for you tonight: what kind of proof should I be looking for, and what kind of proof would you need to be convinced that a beloved historical figure had a toe dipped in the supernatural world?”

Shows like this, where I threw open the line for calls right from the start in a freeform brainstorm, were often a crapshoot. I could get a lot of thoughtful discussion and gain some new insight. Or I’d end up yelling at people. NPR to Jerry Springer, my show ran the whole spectrum. Brace for impact …

“For my first call tonight I have Dave from Rochester. Hello, Dave.”

“Hi, Kitty, thanks for taking my call, it’s so great to get through.” He sounded suitably enthusiastic—a good opener.

“Thanks for being persistent. What have you got for me?”

“Well. It seems to me you’re just assuming that supernatural beings have been around for a long time. This stuff has only been making news for a few years now, and maybe that’s because it hasn’t been around that long. What if vampires and werewolves are actually the result of some government experiment that got loose and is totally out of control?”

“I can assure you that I’m not the result of some government experiment,” I said flatly.

“Well, no, not directly, but maybe it’s some virus that escaped and spread, and that’s where vampires and werewolves came from. That’s why we don’t have any historical evidence.”

“On the other hand we have five thousand years of folklore suggesting that these beings have been around for a long time. What about that?”

“Planted. It’s all a hoax.”

I blinked at the microphone. That was bold, even for this show. “You’re saying The Epic of Gilgamesh is a hoax? That the story of King Lycaon isn’t really an ancient Greek myth?”

“That’s right. It’s all been made up in order to convince people that supernatural beings have been around for thousands of years when they’ve really only been around since World War II.”

“World War II?” I said. “Like some supernatural Manhattan Project?”

“Yes, exactly! In fact—”

Oh, yes, please say it, sink my show to this level in the first ten minutes …

“—it was the Nazis,” Dave from Rochester said.

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