Home > The Dragon's Psychic

The Dragon's Psychic
Author: Linzi Baxter

1

 

 

Talia

 

 

When the universe throws you a curve ball, you can either fight it head-on or run for your life.

The fresh air of the West Virginia mountains did nothing to calm Talia’s nerves. It wasn’t the first time the supernatural council had summoned her. Once the council found out about her ability, they used her to help solve cases, and now they called at least once a month. But something about that day’s call made her uneasy.

If Talia could hide from the council, she would. Yes, she loved the money she made—it helped support her Jimmy Choo habit and kept a roof over her head. But the visions took a toll on her with each new case. It wasn’t as if she could unsee her visions. The images haunted her in her dreams.

Each state had its own governing council. A handful of high-ranking government officials in each state’s council governed the supernatural community. Only a few humans were aware of the supernatural world, and the supernatural beings wanted it kept that way. The council’s headquarters for West Virginia were in the mountains, a few miles from Haven Springs, a small town inhabited mostly by shifters.

Talia had not only helped the West Virginia Council—sometimes other state councils also called when they needed her help. The council was made up of supernatural beings who had been around for centuries, whose moral compass only consisted of black-and-white beliefs.

Talia parked her red Toyota Corolla at the end of the gravel parking lot. She shifted in her seat and stared at the building, which resembled a warehouse. The morning sun hadn’t burned off the layer of fog surrounding it. From the outside, the building looked small, but she knew that under the structure was a maze of offices and research labs. A chill went through her as she thought about the research labs. She’d overheard horror stories over the years about the criminals being used as test subjects.

Ever since Gideon, from the high council, had called, she felt like something bad was about to take place. Talia couldn’t call in sick—the council would send someone to her one-bedroom apartment and drag her to the warehouse. Few people had her ability, and some days, it seemed more like a curse than a gift. Today was one of those times she wished she had no abilities, because she had an inkling that once she walked into the building, her life would change.

The council had placed cameras around the warehouse—Gideon would be informed the second Talia arrived. Even if she wanted, she couldn’t sit in her car much longer, or Gideon would send a goon out to grab her. Talia’s best friend, Nyx, had called her when she was in the parking lot a few weeks earlier, and they’d been on the phone for five minutes before one of Gideon’s men had shown up at her car window, ushering her inside.

She took in a deep breath of the mountain air before she exited her car. The gravel crunched under her high heels as she walked toward the side entrance. Gary stood outside. He had been the day guard for as long as she’d worked for the council. The council used trolls for protection around the building because they were particularly loyal.

No matter how many times Talia came to the council, Gary would motion for her badge. This time, she held it up, and he scanned it with his phone then nodded when a green check mark appeared on the screen. She grabbed the cold metal door and pulled it. Gideon had told her to head to the interrogation rooms.

Talia stopped at the security desk. “Hi, Olinda. Is this new?”

Every time Talia walked past Olinda’s desk, a new flashy trinket was sitting on it. Fairies loved to collect sparkly charmed objects.

Olinda’s face lit up as she reached for her glittery gold miniature gnome. “Yes. Gary bought it for me.” She blushed.

Talia held back a smile. She couldn’t image the petite blond fairy with the muscular Gary. He didn’t resemble a troll unless he shifted, but he was close to seven feet tall, and his muscles had muscles.

“That was nice of him.” Talia shifted to her other foot. “You have any clue why Gideon called me?”

Olinda was in charge of the front desk for the council and heard all the latest gossip. She might be able to give Talia a hint about what she was about walk into.

Olinda’s lips turned down. “I have no clue why he called you in, but Gideon is in a bad mood. Something happened, and he isn’t happy about it.”

Great. Now I have to deal with a thousand-year-old grouch. She couldn’t remember the last time he’d been in a good mood, but if Olinda thought he was mad, well, their meeting would be bad.

“Okay. I’ll head back.”

Olinda reached in her pocket and threw gold glitter on her. Talia hated when Olinda doused her in glitter, but the fairy didn’t understand, and Talia didn’t want to upset her. Talia mumbled a thank-you and walked through the door to the left of the receptionist’s desk.

She stepped into the back, where TVs lined the far wall of the warehouse. Each TV displayed the local news around the state and country. A team scrutinized the news and waited for someone to shift in public. Within minutes, the council would have someone on the scene, cleaning up the mess. The council members perceived it was important to keep their abilities a secret so humans wouldn’t do research on them, but it didn’t stop them from using the lab in the basement on their latest criminal.

Talia bypassed the group working and walked down a plain hall to the back of the warehouse. On her way, she passed the stairway that led downstairs. In her years of helping the council, she’d never set foot downstairs, and she didn’t plan to ever go down there.

Outside the interrogation room stood another guard. Talia didn’t remember his name, but she knew he was one of the council’s top guards. He stood with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. Talia’s stomach turned with uneasiness again. Instead of opening the door to the room with the suspect, the guard nodded to the next door. Talia grasped the handle and pulled.

Over the years, Talia had sent many supernaturals to life in prison and few to their deaths. Two years before, she’d observed a father murdering his family because he wanted to start over. The screams of his daughter as he stabbed her had stuck with Talia. She shook off the thought of the evil man she’d helped put away forever.

“Kael,” she muttered as she entered the room. Gideon had always annoyed her, and his powers vibrated around the room, but Kael’s power seemed beyond anyone’s thoughts. Some days, her fingers itched to touch him and find out what he really hid under his perfect blank face. Talia believed he worked hard to cover who he really was, unlike Gideon, who let his powers out constantly. She didn’t understand how Gideon didn’t see Kael’s power.

“Talia, we need your help on a case.” Kael gestured toward the two-way mirror. “The knife is the key to putting the girl away.” A long serrated kitchen knife wrapped in a white linen cloth sat on the silver metal cart, but that wasn’t what caught Talia’s attention in the four-by-four-foot interrogation room. No, it was the little girl sitting there, all of eight years old. Tears streaked down the girl’s face, but it was the vacancy in her eyes that made Talia want to help her. The young girl stared down at her hands until her head jerked up and her eyes focused directly in Talia’s direction. There was no way the girl could be aware of her on the other side of the glass, but she looked as if she was asking for help with her eyes before she glanced down at her blood-covered hands.

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