The Promised Snippet of an Accidental Monster

Some short stories are not polite. They plant their roots and spread and grow like weeds to take over far more space than they were ever alotted. "Dowse and Bleed" is one of those stories.

Killinger was the oldest of them, well into her late thirties and clearly resigned to her chosen deal, her chosen work. She stepped out into the middle of the room without hesitation and half-shut her eyes, immersing once more into the emotional layout of the room, meticulously checking for intensity and time-induced fade.

Mira and Rachelle uncurled slowly, pulling hands out of pockets, from under arms, reaching to brush with unwilling fingers, passing a bare hand inches away from the detritus in the room. Rachelle had the advantage: she didn't have to touch an object physically to get a read on it. Mira had the advantage: she didn't have to cover her skin to avoid a read.

Rachelle checked the door, pulled in a new entry and compared the time-fade from one to the other. "Might have exited through here." She shrugged.

Mira followed her and wrapped her hand around the handle. She held on for several moments, then shook her head. "I should feel something."

"Unless Weller was unconscious and our man is too cold to leave traces," Rachelle pointed out.

Killinger glanced at Jarod, but he was focused on reading the inputs from their chips.

"Well," Mira resigned herself with a single clipped syllable. She pulled her purse over her head and handed it to Jarod, who took it absently and slung it over one shoulder. Mira buttoned up her coat to keep it out of the way and flexed her fingers. Then she delicately touched one finger to the door handle and started walking, tracing that one finger around wall, furniture, cabinets, counter—circling the entire apartment before she stopped on the bathroom door. She wrapped her hand around the handle and grimaced. "Here."

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