Vanished - Kat Richardson

Kat Richardson - Greywalker #4 - Vanished

Vanished (Greywalker #4)
Kat Richardson

fantasy/vampires/mystery

PROLOGUE

When I was a kid, my life seemed to be run by other people’s designs and not by mine. Once the time was ripe, I escaped from the life other people pushed me into and made my own. Or so I thought. Now it appears I was wrong about . . . well, everything. But I’ll get to that later.

Two years ago, I died for a couple of minutes. When I woke up, things had changed: I could see ghosts and magic and things that go bump in the night. You see, there is a thin space between the normal and the paranormal—the Grey—where things that aren’t quite one or the other roam. It’s not a place most people can visit; even witches and psychics only reach into the surging tide of power and the uncanny and haul out what they need. But once in a while there’s someone like me: a Greywalker, with a foot on each side of the line and fully immersed in the weird.Sounds cool? Not so much. Some of my friends in the know are fascinated by it, but to me it’s more frequently a royal pain in the ass. Because when I can see the monsters, they can see me, and if they have problems, I’m the go-to girl. I’ve been a professional private investigator for ten years, and it’s a job I’ve come to practice on both sides of the vale because ghosts, vampires, and witches just don’t take no for an answer.

Since I’d died, I’d made my accommodation with the Grey and I thought I had it pretty well figured, even if some things were still a mystery to me, like, “why me” and “how does this stuff work?” It just did, and I did my best to get along. Until May of this year, when things got rather personal, starting with strange dreams and a phone call from the dead.

ONE

It started just like it had in real life: The man belts me in the temple and it feels like my head is caving in. I tumble out of the chair, onto the hardwood floor. In the dream I can see its pattern of dark and light wood making a ribbon around the edge of the room, like a magic circle to contain the terror.

I grope for my purse, for the gun, for anything that will stop him from beating me to death this time. I am still too slow. He rounds the edge of the desk and comes after me. I roll up onto my knees and try to hit him below the belt.He dodges, swings, and connects with the back of my head. Then he kicks me in the ribs as I collapse again. This time I don’t shriek—I don’t have the air—and that’s how I know something’s changed. It’s not just a memory; it’s a nightmare.

The man’s foot swings for my face and I push it up, over my head, tipping him backward. As he falls, I scramble for the door into the hall. This time I’ll get out. This time I won’t die. . . .

But he catches up and grabs on to my ponytail—an impossible rope of hair a yard, a mile long and easy to grip. Was it really so long? I can’t even remember it down to my h*ps like that. But in the dream it’s a lariat that loops around my neck and hauls my head back until I’m looking into the man’s face.

But it’s my father, not the man who beat my head in. Not the square-jawed, furious face of a killer, but the bland, doe-eyed face that winked like the moon when I was tucked into my childhood bed. He read me Babar books and kissed my cheek when I was young. Now he calls me “little girl,” and slams my skull into the doorpost.

I don’t fight back this time. I just wrench loose, leaving my long hair in his hand. He lets me go and I stumble toward the ancient brass elevator, my legs wobbling and my pace ragged. I feel tears flooding down my cheeks, and the world spins into a narrowing tunnel.

I see the elegant old elevator at the end of the tunnel, the gleaming metal grillwork shuffling itself into shape, as if it is formed from the magical grid of the Grey. There’s a vague human figure inside, beyond the half-formed doors. There never was anyone there before. . .