“My phone!” the woman wailed. “My purse! Make him pay for that, baby!”
She shot Pixie a look of disgust. “You. Get away from my car. I’m already going to have to fumigate it the second we get home.”
“That does it.” Pixie flung open the door to the Lexus and leaped in. She slammed the door shut behind her and hit the gas, tearing out of the parking lot with a screech of rubber on the asphalt.
Glancing in the rearview mirror behind her, she saw Dominick leap into his car. The blonde was literally stamping her feet up and down on the ground with rage. Hillary just stood there with her mouth hanging open.
Pixie was annoyed enough that she deliberately led Dominick on a good half hour long chase, bobbing and weaving all through town before she ditched him. He was very good, but when it came to evading capture, she was better. Then she turned around and headed back towards Shifters, Inc.
She grabbed her cell phone and called the main office line to tell them she’d be back in a couple of minutes, and to have someone on hand to keep Dominick from ripping her face off when she pulled in.
To her surprise, the phone went straight to voicemail. That was unusual. There was always a live person answering the phone.
She tried to call Bobbi, and the phone rang half a dozen times, and then went to voicemail. Then she tried Hillary. Then Kenneth.
What the heck was happening? Was she wrong to be worried? She could understand one or two lines being busy, but all of them?
By then, she was pulling up in front of the building, behind Dominick’s parked car. There was another car parked in front of Dominick’s, a limousine with darkened windows, and the engine was running.
A new client? She’d worry about that later.
She hadn’t survived growing up in the worst neighborhood of Playa Linda without developing an instinct for sensing trouble. Something was wrong; fear hummed along her nerves and quickened her heartbeat. She quickly parked and leaped out of the car, leaving it running, and dashed to the front door.
Dominick stood there, his back to her. The front door was wide open. Dominick was backing away slowly, and as she ran up the sidewalk, he spun to face her.
“Pixie, stop!” he bellowed, holding up a warning hand.
He didn’t look angry. He looked panicked. Pixie had never seen that look on his face before.
For once, Pixie didn’t challenge him. She did what he said; she stopped in her tracks. “What is it?” she called out.
She looked past him, and her heart froze in her chest.
There were at least half a dozen people sprawled on the floor of the lobby, not moving. The receptionist was slumped over her desk.
Her boss, Kenneth. Kenneth’s wife, Chloe. Her best friend Bobbi. Bobbi’s husband, Jax. Hillary. Kory. Hans. Were they unconscious, or dead? From where she stood, Pixie couldn’t tell.
Furniture was overturned. A blue glass vase which had rested on the desk was shattered on the floor, flowers and little glass marbles scattered around it. A chair was broken.
In the distance, sirens wailed, and grew louder.
“Don’t take another step,” Dominick called out to her. “Don’t come close to me, I might be contaminated. I checked on them, and they’re all burning up with fever. I’m waiting for Haz-Mat to arrive.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t bother with that. They won’t have what you need to save your friends.” The voice was deep and mocking, and it came from inside the building, behind Dominick.
A tall, silver haired man stood in the lobby. He wore shiny mirrored sunglasses which obscured much of his narrow face. He was clad in a black tailored suit of raw silk, with a red handkerchief in the pocket, and his shoes were shiny and black, and he held up a syringe in one hand.