Sequel to Bad Seed
After tracking down a murderer, Dane wants life to get back to normal. But when an Order of Decrypters representative shows in Dane's coffee shop, he knows he's going to have to watch his step.
Reeling from a reprimand for his conduct and annoyed at having nothing better to do than make coffee, Dane is relieved when he learns there's a problem monster on the loose. Hunting down whatever is killing and eating cows sounds like the perfect cure for his moodiness. Add in the company of his unlikely partner professor Sean Sanderson, and Dane might just get over disciplinary action.
The problem is Dane can't figure out what kind of monster is on a killing spree. And Sean doesn't seem to remember him anymore.
This is going to seem unbelievable at first, but give it a few hours to sink in. Call Dane with questions. Sean.
He read the note four times, then put it back in the box and drank his coffee in gulps. That was his handwriting. Those were his words. Sean had no memory of writing them. He didn't know what they meant either -- and they seemed to imply he and Dane had some sort of relationship -- but maybe whatever was on the USB would explain it. He didn't know what it meant that Dane hadn't mentioned anything, and now Sean was very confused.
But he couldn't ask Dane if he wasn't in, and Sean hadn't brought his laptop, so he finished his coffee and brought the skull shaped mug up to the bus-your-own tub. Winter was too busy for him to thank her, and Sean ended up returning home dissatisfied. He plopped on the couch with his laptop and opened the files on the drive, all word documents.
They were a journal of sorts, or notes. Some were dated, some seemed to be random thoughts. He didn't usually take notes like this -- some of them appeared to be hurried summaries. Sean went through them all, everything sounding unreal to him. They referred to paranormal bullshit like ghosts and witches' spells. There were magic wells and even a ghost possessing a tree to try to kill him. A woman had been murdered. The man who ran BigFroot Smoothies was supposedly a Bigfoot. A woman named Javalynne sold weapons out of her repair garage.
It was all so implausible Sean sat back on his couch and held his head. Maybe he'd tried something a student was selling, but then drugs weren't really his thing, and that wouldn't explain why everyone was treating him normally, or how he felt fine now. He was beginning to get really worried about his mind, though. He'd have to make that appointment first thing Monday.
He kept reading, annoyed with himself for having brushed over the fact he and Dane supposedly slept together. More than once. He could have described it for himself -- then there'd be something about this nonsense he'd enjoy reading now. He stopped at the point he and Dane got captured and got up to get himself a drink. It wasn't noon, but he thought he could use one.
There was a brand of whiskey in the cupboard he didn't usually buy, and he decided to have that. He measured and brought the glass back to the couch, ready to get through with this. He read about madness from magic exposure, cutting his bonds with some sort of sharp crystal, Dane shooting and killing a man. Sean made a face at his description, but nothing came back to him. If these things had really happened, why could he remember none of them? Some of this was from less than two weeks ago.
Sean picked up his phone again, looked at the texts from the strange Dane he was beginning to believe was the same Dane. He didn't understand. Why would Dane go along with his memory loss if these things had actually happened? The normal reaction would be confusion, not acceptance without question.
Frowning, Sean finished off his drink. Dane had to know something, something that wasn't in these files. Sean had read mention of an Order and mind wiping, but even the Sean who'd wrote this seemed to think mental erasure was a bit of a joke. Sean considered calling Dane for a moment before pulling the box over and looking for anything else he might have left himself from his missing months. All that was left was a wadded piece of paper; Sean picked it up and uncrumpled it to find a milky crystal inside. It had a point on it. Sean turned it over and over in his hands, thinking. This had to be what he'd cut his ropes with. It was so small ...
It was so warm. Unnaturally, but not unpleasantly warm. In fact, when Sean got over the strangeness of it, it felt pretty good in his hand. Comforting, grounding. He hoped holding it would bring back some of his memories of whatever crap this was he'd written, but nothing. He opened the first of the documents and began over again. He wanted to give himself a little time before asking Dane about it.
The words, like someone else's story before, began to feel closer now. Sean toyed with the crystal in his hand, more intent on things the second time around. They felt realer than before, more genuine. He got hooked, despite already knowing the ending, and by the time he was at the point where he and Dane were captured again he tore through the words.
He clenched the crystal so hard it dug into his palm. Everything came back in one sudden, heavy rush. Sean remembered everything.