Fortunately, I was saved by the entrance of Wilson, flanked by two thugs. I wasn’t sure what else to call the man and the woman, both of whom had muscling a frost giant would be proud of.
“Seducing my analysts, Ms Rudi?”
I shook my head. “Working on a way to get some spiritual protection to our demon’s next victim. Which means knowing who he is.”
“Our best guess is Charles Sarlac. She’s going after men with no, or only nominal, religious beliefs.”
“Of course she is.” A pause. “So, how do we get to Sarlac before she does?”
“Hrm. I think you should work more on how to persuade him he needs protection. Isn’t it true that people who don’t believe in anything don’t actually see magic when it’s right in front of their nose?”
I grinned. “Yeah. Although it’s more like they see something else, some logical explanation. But…”
A pause. “Does he believe he has a soul?”
“I don’t think Sarlac believes in anything he can’t see or touch.”
“Then it might be better,” I mused, “To keep him ignorant. She can’t take his soul unless he’s willing to give it. I’ll have to check on that. If not…”
“If not, then, well…”
“First thing we try is talking to him.”
Wilson mused. “He won’t talk to a kid like you.”
I called a glamor and made myself look thirty.
“…oh. Didn’t know you could do that.”
I grinned. “Put it in my file.” I let it fade. “I can be not a kid if that helps.”
“Sarlac usually takes lunch at Busboys & Poets, downtown.”
I nodded. “Hrm. I’d have to skip school to manage lunch.”
“I’m sure you can be sick.”
I could. I grinned. “Encouraging truancy?”
“To be honest, if you weren’t who you were, you wouldn’t be having to worry about finding a job anyway. Not after what I’ve seen.”
I took that as the compliment it was intended to be.