She was committed now, and she ran.

The house slammed and locked the basement door for her; she headed toward the front door, but heard footsteps ahead— one of the other cops. It didn’t really matter which anymore; either one would probably shoot her as a fleeing suspect.

She crashed through the kitchen door, heading straight for the back entrance; it flew open ahead of her, and she felt a giant shove at her back as if the house itself was pushing her out.

She felt the bullet pass by her before she actually heard the shot. It was a tiny shock wave beside her waist, close enough that it left her feeling scorched.

The door slammed behind her and locked tight before the officer— whichever one it was— could draw a bead for a second shot.

She tumbled down the steps and rolled to her feet, then ran for the back fence. She knew it was wobbly at the corner, and she shoved it out, then squeezed through into the narrow, dirty alley.

A lady watering plants in another yard gaped at her, and asked her something in a sharp, urgent voice, but Claire didn’t pause.

She just ran.

She made it as far as the end of the alley before a police cruiser blocked her off with a burst of flashing lights and a sharp blare of siren. Claire skidded to a halt, backpedaled, and turned to flee the other way, but it was cut off, too.

A dusty Detective Simonds was squeezing through the hole in the fence, and he had his gun aimed right at her. “Stop,” he said.


“Claire, don’t make this ugly. You’ve got nowhere to go.”

He was right. It could only go wrong now.

She put her hands up.

“Walk to the fence. Lean against it, hands above your head.”

She thought she was going to be sick, but she did it, and he at least warned her before he put his hands on her and began patting her down for any weapons. She answered his questions about con- cealed weapons and sharp objects without really noting what she said; her mind was racing in a blinding blur, and she thought she was probably just a couple of breaths away from passing out. He read her some rights, and she numbly agreed that she understood.

Then he took her wrists down from the prickly wooden fence and clicked on handcuffs, and she caught her breath on a sob.

But I didn’t do anything.

Shane would have warned her that for people who lived in the Glass House, that hardly ever mattered.


It took half an hour for her head to clear, and by that time she’d been taken in the back of a squad car from the house to City Hall. The jail was one floor down in the basement of the Gothic castle structure, where they booked her with calm effi- ciency. She didn’t talk. She didn’t really think she could, honestly.

There was no one else in the cells with her, but Simonds posted a uniformed guard outside her bars anyway— as a precaution, he said, though he wasn’t specific about what he was expecting.

“I didn’t do anything,” she finally told him, as he got ready to leave her. “Detective, I didn’t. None of us even knew that man was down there!”

“I’ll take your statement later,” he told her. It wasn’t unkind, just calm and brisk and a little disinterested, as if he’d already written her off as a lost cause. “Tell me where your boyfriend and Eve have gone, and we can talk about how I can help you out.”

“I don’t know where they are.” She didn’t, actually. The police had taken her cell, and she hoped Shane had heeded her text, run for cover, and turned off his phone. She desperately hoped he’d thought to warn Eve, too. Miranda could conceal herself easily, but Eve stood out like a sore thumb, and so did Shane in his mus- cle car. Both knew Morganville well, so they’d have places to go to ground. But still— she worried.

Simonds said, “I hope you think hard about telling me where they are, because if we can’t find them, you’re on the hook by yourself, Claire. I don’t want to see that happen any more than you do.

Fact is, you saw the victim alive, and just a few hours later he was stabbed, moved, and dumped in your own basement. Seems pretty straightforward. Maybe you thought you could smuggle Eve’s hus- band out of the mall and something went wrong. . . . Look, it’s perfectly okay to want to save your friend. Maybe you thought he was in real danger. Maybe Mr. Thackery— that’s his name, by the way, the dead man in your basement— maybe he tried to stop you.

Could have been self- defense, I know that.”

She shut up, because his calm, friendly tone frightened her. He was good at drawing things out of people, even things that they didn’t mean; she knew too many things that implicated her al- ready, and one wrong statement could bring Shane and Eve into it, too. Better to be silent until she could figure out what the hell was going on.

He took her silence well enough, brought her some bottled wa- ter, promised some food, and left. The policewoman stationed outside the door— not Halling, thankfully, because Claire hon- estly couldn’t stand the sight of her— had a Daylighter symbol on her collar, but she didn’t seem inclined to chat or judge. She dragged a chair over and sat down to read a magazine instead.

Claire drank her water without tasting it, then stretched out on the narrow, hard bunk. After a few moments, she wrapped the blanket around her shivering body and finally closed her eyes. Just to think.

She woke up in the dark.

Her breath stopped in her throat, because it was too dark, even if she’d slept through sunset. All the lights were off in the hall beyond her cell, and she heard something metallic scrape just before the cell door swung open with a horror- movie creak. Claire fought her way free of the rough blanket and stood up, ready to fight. But she didn’t need to.

She had a visitor.

It was Myrnin.

He was dressed in clean clothes that were at least two sizes too large for him, and probably scavenged from a clothesline or an un- attended Laundromat dryer. Even picking from someone else’s clothes, he’d managed to make it a peculiarly Myrnin ensemble of a tie- dyed T- shirt under a bright orange hoodie and khaki cargo shorts. Evidently nobody had been washing shoes, because he was wearing a pair of plastic flip- flops that he must have found in the trash; they looked like they’d seen better days in the previous decade, and they were also too large for his feet. On the plus side, he was at least wearing shoes.

“Well,” he said, and gave her a slow, delighted smile. “This is something I didn’t expect. You, behind bars. What a turnaround.”

“How did you get out?” Her eyes widened, because he was still wearing the shock collar around his neck, like a particularly ugly statement necklace. “Didn’t they stun you?”

“Oh, yes, many times,” he said. “Some of us don’t really mind that sort of thing as much. If they’d been equipped with your devi- ous little invention, then that would have been a different story al-together.” The weapon he was talking about had the ability to destroy a vampire’s ability to fight back, and she hated the thought that she was responsible for creating it. She was, and she had to own it, but that didn’t mean she had to like it. “I presume Fallon is still having our traitorous friend Dr. Anderson construct new models, so they haven’t had a chance to fully outfit their guards quite yet. Lucky for me.”

“Are you— are you the only one who—”

“Got out?” Myrnin finished. He leaned against the bars as if they had all the time in the world. She remembered the cop sta- tioned outside the door, and in the faint emergency lighting she made out the shape of the woman crumpled on the floor next to her overturned chair. “I fear so. Oliver has made several brave at- tempts, but he doesn’t really have the skill at ignoring pain that I do. I think it’s bothering him a delightful amount. He did cover for my escape, though, for which I suppose I have to be grateful.”

She couldn’t really keep track of what he was saying, because she was now worried about the policewoman. He’d moved so fast and decisively, and the woman wasn’t moving. “Did you— is she—?”

“Oh, bother, don’t make that face, Claire. No, I didn’t kill the wretched woman, I only knocked her out. I know how you feel about such things. Though she does smell delicious.”

“No biting,” she warned him.

“As always, I am at your command.” He said it in a way that made it very clear he wasn’t, not at all. “Come on, then, unless you enjoy being put on trial for a murder you did not commit.”

“How do you know about the murder?”

There was a tiny shift of his balance, but his expression didn’t change. “I’ve spoken to Shane. He witnessed you being taken away by our over- enthusiastic detective. Lucky for your young man, he decided that discretion was the better part of valor.”

“Is he okay?”

“Well, I’m fairly sure our definitions of that word vary consid- erably, dear Claire, but he seemed to be breathing and ambulatory, though understandably angry.”

She couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of the ugly, blocky shock collar around his neck. “Does it hurt?”

“This?” He touched the shock collar, eyebrows raised. “I’m out of range. It does chafe a bit, if that doesn’t make me seem pa- thetic.”

“Do you want me to— take it off?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I’ll need it later, and if you break the seal it will sound a very noisy alert and activate an explosive that would remove both my head and your hands, which I think we can both agree would be undesirable.”

“Wait, what? Explosives? ”

“Don’t worry, they won’t go off unless they’re triggered by someone trying to remove it without the appropriate tools. Be- sides, I must go back tonight before they miss me, which means the collar must be intact. Oh, and my head. They’d notice.”


“We are in the middle of a prison break! Come on, now, don’t dally. Do you have any baggage?”

“It’s a prison, Myrnin, not a hotel.”

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