The bookshelf slid shut just as Jeannette Carroll stepped into the office. She was taller that Frederica expected, dressed all in black. She moved fluidly, almost like a dancer. She hesitated a moment, eyeing the bookshelf, then continued on her way, her heels clicking on the stone tiles.
She stood over her desk for a long while, staring down at the photo of her parents. Frederica’s mind flashed back to a similar situation she’d gotten herself into last month in the basement of VCU’s Arts & Humanities building. Was she dealing with another demon? she wondered.
“I know you’re there,” Jeannette said, her voice echoing off the high walls.
Frederica’s heart pounded in her chest and Sam squeezed her hand tight. Jeannette scanned her eyes across the room. Frederica peered into them and saw… nothing. Not even the icy darkness she saw in Norman Hobbes’s eyes when he was possessed by the Hunter.
“There you are,” she said.
Frederica froze. She looked down to make sure she was still invisible—she was. Jeannette cocked her head to one side and an alarm started blaring. Frederica glanced at the door; if she went out that way she might run into Josephine or someone like her, and that wasn’t going to end well.
Jeannette took a step forward. Frederica glanced at the huge window looking out on the city. A potentially stupid idea began to form in her head.
“Do you trust me?” she whispered.
“Is this a trick question?” Sam replied.
Frederica ran for the window, dragging Sam behind her. She phased through the glass and the two of them tumbled, weightlessly, down the side of the building. Frederica caught Sam in her arms and flew into the sky. She didn’t stop or turn visible again until they were several blocks away.
She touched down on the roof of a laundromat and Sam climbed out of her arms. They staggered forward a few steps, doubling over like they were going to throw up. Frederica squeezed their shoulder.