“Granger isn’t involved,” Emily said.
Pierce countered. “Unless she was involved and the one controlling the experiment decided she was expendable.”
Emily thought, but shook her head. “There haven’t been any more attempts on her life. And she was not around during the zombie attack at the library.”
“I was,” he admitted. “I was with Bernie the campus cop, keeping a safe distance.”
“Good thinking,” she encouraged him. “But mostly there hasn’t been an attack or any sign of zombies since before Christmas. It has been over a month and nothing.”
“Maybe they can’t get the formula right since Swenson is no longer with them,” Pierce suggested.
“I don’t think so. Swenson was the type to keep meticulous records. She still had Owen’s freshman paper on file from a year ago. Maybe they can’t get the magic component right. Heinrich said he smelled magic on the zombies. That may have been the trigger to make it all work.”
“Maybe Flabby isn’t cooperating,” Pierce suggested.
Pierce sat up straight. “How likely is that?” This was clearly a new thought for him.
“No less likely than three elect being in this same little town together.”
“Hi.” Jessica bounced up from the dance floor with a new boy. “Pierce and Emily, this is Dylan. Bye.” Dylan just had time to wave before he was dragged out on to the dance floor again.
“The Undead are in rare dance form tonight,” Pierce said.
“I heard they play from Boston to Raleigh, mostly colleges and places like the Hive.” Emily made it a conversation.
“The antiquities professor?” Emily looked close. The man was sitting with three others. Two looked fairly young, big and ugly. The third was dressed in a robe like some Orthodox priest. “I imagined him older.”
Pierce nodded. “It was his grandfather that collected and brought the stuff from Europe during the war. He persuaded a Greek shipper to front for the buildings to house it all and make the work space to study it.”
“Do you want to say hello?” Emily asked, but Pierce caught her hand and shook his head.
“He is a strange fellow. Probably comes from breathing so much dust.” He took Emily by the hand and led her to the dance floor. It was a wonderful evening. Emily went to bed happy. Too bad the night was so difficult.
Jessica was still out when Emily laid down to sleep. She had plenty on her mind, but was too tired to think about it. Pierce gave her a real workout, but it was good. She did not stay awake long. She dreamt about being in the student center on a busy afternoon. The people there stared at her. She felt self-conscious and tried hard not to notice as she bought her latte. She sought out a back corner where she could be inconspicuous, but the eyes followed her.
Across town, Latasha tossed in her bed. She was running in her sleep, running from the police who had all become zombies and put Latasha on the menu. At the same time, Lisa huddled with her children. The dogs were all around the house. She could hear them scratching at the doors, trying to break in when the phone rang.
Lisa bolted up, but needed a moment to clear her head. It did not clear quickly so she had to reach for the phone in her fog. It was Libby.
“Wake up. Wake all the way up. The witch has got into our dreams.”
“What?” Lisa asked before she understood. “Call Latasha. Get her up and walking. Have her mother wake her if she has to. I’ll get Emily.”
Libby said nothing. She hung up to dial.
Emily was presently in the hands of a half-dozen men who held her out like a lamb of sacrifice. The women in the center had the knives. Emily did not see Abby, but she sniffed the air and it smelled familiar. Something in the back of her mind said witch as her phone rang. She was already half-awake, retreating from the attack as hard as she could.
Emily sat up and shook her head. “I know. I figured that out.” She heard Lisa take an audible breath as they heard a third voice on the phone.
“That was just to say hello. Now I know where you live.”
Lisa and Emily hung up the phones as fast as they could.