Episode Twenty-Four: Flowers: Scene 8

Tonya turned out to be a woman of quite interesting appearance. A slender, willowy Asian, almost as tall as I was, but with striking red hair.

I wondered if it was natural. She reached to shake my hand. “I hear you think…”

“That there’s a problem with Red Flowers.”

“And the government’s somehow involved.”

I smiled. “They don’t know about this.”

“Good, because if they did, we’d be talking entrapment for sure. As it is.” She let her eyes drift over me.

I felt a little embarrassed by her gaze. “As it is, we are looking for anything we can use. And watch out. The woman who runs it…”

“…is very dangerous. Likely to try and persuade me to things.”

I wasn’t sure what Monica had told her. But there was, almost, something behind her eyes. “What…”

She let out a breath. “I know what she is. Monica warned me. And while I don’t have direct experience, I know the stories. I know she can’t touch my soul unless I let her.”

I nodded. “She’ll try and make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

“I won’t accept anything from her but agreed upon money. What if she’s controlling some of the people in there by supernatural means?”

I sighed. “We can’t use that. We can’t prove it.”

“And no fighting.”

“She can’t die. You can.” I kept my eyes on her. “Call if it gets to that point. I’ll be ready.”

Apparently, Tonya took that as read. She let her own gaze drift from her observation of me, then, quietly. “You can’t just exorcise her?”

“We’re working on that too.”

A sharp nod. “Good. I don’t have the skills myself, but I know how to avoid falling into her traps.”

“She shapeshifts too,” I felt it necessary to warn.
“So, no bargains like that with anyone. Even you.”

I smiled. “If she impersonates me I’ll hurt her.”

I might not be able to kill her, but I was pretty sure I could do something she wouldn’t enjoy.

“Not even you,” she repeated. Apparently she didn’t trust that my threats would stop impersonation from happening.

I was glad, because neither did I.

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