hamburger-cheeseburger-burger-fries-french-fries“They are just sitting there,” Elantra said. She swiped a fry from Detective Osborne’s plate, her blue-eyed gaze fixed at a point somewhere beyond the diner’s front door.

He gave her a look for that insult to his personal space, but continued to work his way through the burger and soda. He did not turn.

“And now they’re kind of moving…” Elantra frowned. “They’re standing awfully close to each other for a pair of strangers that claim they’ve never even heard of the other…”

Osborne gave her a Look.

She gave him one of her own and stole another french fry.

He rolled his eyes. “Try listening, maybe?”

“I don’t particularly want to hear what everyone in the entire five mile radius is-“

“Listen to them or I turn around.”

Her shoulders hunched forward. She grabbed another fry.

He was quicker—he grabbed half of it back.

They glared at each other for a moment longer.

She threw up her hands. “Fine. But this is on you. When my head is so full of chatter and my brains are oozing out of my ears, this is on you.” She slid out of the booth and stretched her neck to the side. Her angry stride was hidden beneath quiet footsteps as she made her way across the diner.

Osborne still didn’t turn around. He listened to her leave and polished off the rest of her burger. Of all the weird ones to be assigned to in this district, he’d been hopeful. Her dossier had promised many impossible things, but the small, handwritten note at the bottom—had initially given him pause.

It had warned him, in no uncertain terms, to never, ever, push her too far. It spoke of her massive power and various, impossible abilities.

So far, all he’d encountered was a whiny, fretful young woman with an appetite that would put a crowd of teenage boys to shame.

She’d polished off three trays before he’d finally demanded that they switch places—so he could eat his own meal.

It’d been a rough day and the current case was wearing on him. The last thing he’d needed was a newbie with absolutely no clue about—

The explosion rocked the diner.

Osborne nearly inhaled the coke he’d been sipping. He dropped the french fry and bolted out of his seat, heading for the front door.

He nearly lost his lunch at the sight of the gaping hole in the diner parking lot, now miles deep and so far down, there were shadows rushing up.

The two suspects were nowhere to be seen and Elantra stood there, her head cocked to the side, staring at the hole.

He grabbed for her shoulder and froze when she whirled around to glare at him.

Burning, ice-blue eyes pierced through him, lips pulling back in a crazed snarl. Bright blue energy burned beneath her eyes, spilling out through her mouth and pooling at her hands.

This was not Elantra. This wasn’t even human—!

Osborne took a step back, hating it as he did so. He’d never backed down from anything or anyone. But he was no in hurry to die—in the middle of a case.


“Hello Detective,” she purred. “My host has told me so much about you.”

(c) S. Harricharan

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