“We’re not sure of anything,” Pixie sighed. “Then again, it seems like everyone who was infected, or bewitched, or whatever, just keeled over right away. Dominick’s still walking around, he’s just acting weird as hell. Tyler! What took you so long?”
“Are you kidding? I practically flew here.” Tyler strode through the door, accompanied by one of Fraser’s human bodyguards. He carried a small leather suitcase.
The bodyguard nodded at Pixie and walked away.
Tyler was a wolf shifter, handsome in a bookish way, with a stocky body and gold-rimmed glasses.
He sat down on the couch and opened up the suitcase, scowling. As usual, he didn’t look Pixie in the eye.
“Where’s Dominick?” he said as he unpacked his laptop, and various other machines that Pixie didn’t recognize, but that she knew Tyler could use to hack into any database or computer in the world.
“He went for a walk.”
“Now?” Tyler was startled.
“He’s acting weird. Weirder than usual. What have you got so far?” Pixie asked impatiently.
“I’m getting calls from our operatives out in the field,” Tyler said. “I’ve told them all to stay put and carry on with their assignments. It wouldn’t be safe for them to come back here anyway, not until we figure out what we’re dealing with.”
Tyler was Kenneth’s second in command. Pixie didn’t envy him his position at the moment, having to run Shifters, Inc. while trying to track down the source of a deadly plague, but if anyone could handle it, he could.
“Have you heard anything about the situation at headquarters? About what happened to everybody?”
“Nothing useful. ” He was turning on his laptop as he spoke to her. “Everyone has been transported to the hospital, they’re all alive but unresponsive, and nobody has identified the cause yet. I spoke with the Chief of Police, he ordered me to come to police headquarters immediately to speak to him, I declined. I can get more done out in the field than I can locked away in some briefing room.”
“That’s what we figured,” Pixie said. “We’re going to have to lay low and investigate this on our own. The chief didn’t tell you anything about anyone’s condition?”
“He just said that tests are being run. You know they’re not going to give me too much information on a case that’s under investigation.”
Pixie quickly filled Tyler in on what had happened, and showed him the cell phone that the man had handed her. “He hasn’t called back yet.”
Tyler examined the phone. “It’s a burner phone. A disposable. Still, I might be able to trace where any calls originate from.”
He opened up the phone, pried out the sim card, and slid it into a tiny slot on one of his machines. After a few seconds, there was a ping sound; he pulled the card back out and put it back in the phone, handing it to her.
“That should work. If he calls you, I can track down where the call is coming from. What did he mean that you had what he needed?” Tyler asked her.
Pixie shook her head. “I’ve been racking my brains. I have no idea. I don’t have anything of value, especially to someone like that. You could tell that he’s rich just from the way he dressed and carried himself. He looked like some corrupt billionaire. What could he want from me?”
“Anything that you might have stolen from somebody?”
“I’ve largely retired from that business since I came to work for Shifters. Nowadays I steal things to amuse myself and then I put them back.”