Kitty's Big Trouble Page 4

“Everyone always assumes there’s a problem.”

“This is you we’re talking about,” he said, perfectly good-natured.

“I just wanted to have a nice, friendly chat,” I said. “How’s life—er, unlife—been treating you? What’s new in your neck of the woods?”

“Is that a pun?”

I had to think about it a minute, my brow furrowed. “Ah. Not intentionally.”

If Rick wasn’t laughing at me, he was at least chuckling, and I scowled.

“Nothing to report,” he said. Gaze narrowed, I studied him. “Kitty, I don’t ask about every detail of the workings of your werewolf pack, I’m not going to tell you every detail about my Family.”

“You can’t blame me—I’ve built a career out of gossip.”

“All the more reason for me to keep my mouth shut.”

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I blundered on. “I’d like to ask you about a story I’m tracking down. Did you know Sherman?”

“As in General William T.?”


“I’m afraid not, though I’m sure he was fascinating.”

I must have looked deflated.

“It’s not like I knew every public figure who lived for the last five hundred years,” he said.

“But you knew Coronado. And Doc Holliday. That’s a pretty amazing roster right there. Five hundred years is a lot longer than most of us get. Do you know anyone who might have known Sherman?”

“Any vampires, you mean?”

“Anyone who might be able to tell me if Sherman was a werewolf.”

He pursed his lips, considering, making him the first person who hadn’t looked at the claim with outright skepticism. “What’s your information?”

I told him about the interview with the Confederate soldier, and my own hunch, which couldn’t exactly be called information. You couldn’t tell a werewolf in human form just by looking. Unless maybe you were psychic, which was something to consider. Maybe I could call my friend Tina, a psychic with the TV show Paradox PI, and see if she could channel Sherman.

“That would be amazing if you could prove it,” he said. “We’d have a whole new perspective on his career.”

“But the only way I can really prove it is to test a tissue sample, assuming a testable sample still exists, or talk to someone trustworthy who might have known him.”

“And no one’s very excited about exhuming the general’s body, I’m guessing.”


“Alette’s the only one I can think of who would know. She has her fingers in everything, even going back to that period. If Sherman spent any time in D.C., she would know.”

“Sherman spent a ton of time in D.C. She’d have to know,” I said, excited. Alette was the Master vampire of Washington, D.C., and had been in the 1860s. She was already on my list of people to call after talking to Rick. If she didn’t know, I’d probably never find out.

“Something to consider,” Rick continued. “Even if she does know, she might not tell you. You’re not the only one who’s been asking these sorts of questions since lycanthropy and vampirism went public. Alette could have leaked the information herself if she wanted people to know.”

That vampire sense of superiority again. I shook my head. “She shouldn’t be the one to get to decide what people know.”

Rick made a calming gesture, forestalling the rest of my rant. “Consider this: if Alette knew Sherman, knew that he was a werewolf, but hasn’t told anyone, it may be because Sherman didn’t want anyone to know. The secret may be his, and Alette—or anyone else who has the information—may be keeping a promise with him.”

Sherman was dead and gone, he shouldn’t get a say in it. Historical public figures were fair game for all kinds of digging, as far as I was concerned. But a vampire’s promise went on forever, didn’t it? I had a thing about exposing people who didn’t want to be exposed. My own lycanthropy had been made public against my will. Afterward, I took the publicity and ran with it as a survival mechanism, but I could understand why Sherman wouldn’t want something like this made public. It would overshadow his entire record and all that he’d accomplished. His autobiography—considered one of military history’s great memoirs—would become next to meaningless because it doesn’t say a word about it. Which meant that maybe he didn’t want anyone to know. If Sherman’s ghost appeared and asked me to drop the question, what would I do?

Thoughtful, I rested my chin on my hand and said to Rick, “How many promises like that are you keeping?”

Smiling, he glanced away.

“Oh my God, you are,” I said, straightening. “You know. You’ve got something juicy on somebody famous. What is it? Who?”

“You’ve gone this long without knowing, why should I say anything now?”

“I just want to know,” I said. “It’s important to know that people like me have existed for thousands of years, living their lives, surviving. Roman’s been recruiting vampires and lycanthropes for his secret supervillain club for two thousand years. I have to assume that vampires and lycanthropes have been opposing him as well, like us. To know who they were, to have some kind of history—who knows what it could tell us about his methods? You know Roman would have tried to recruit Sherman. I’d love to imagine that Sherman told him to shove it.”

Rick sat back. He seemed amused, thoughtful, studying me through a narrowed gaze. As if he was considering.

“What?” I said. I got the feeling I’d said something funny or strange.

“It’s a cliché, you know,” he said. “Eternal life being boring. Maybe for some of us it is, the ones who lock themselves away in mansions or castles, cut themselves off from the world and the people in it. For the rest of us, there’s always something new coming along, if we know where to look. We stay interested by having a stake in the game.”

“The Long Game?” I said. The Long Game, a conspiracy among vampires. The few people who knew about it spoke of it in whispers, in hints, if at all. Near as I could figure, it really was a game, but one that dealt in lives and power. And the one who dies with the most toys wins.

Rick shrugged. “Not always. After all, Kitty, you’re one of the people who keeps life interesting.”

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