I had never felt so out of place in my life. The community center Kanesha took me to? Well, being the only white kid in the home had been one thing.
Being the only white kid in a room this size? That was intimidating. And brought with it an almost guilty feeling that revolved around certain things my ancestors might or might not have done. I was glad I didn’t know for sure I was descended from slave traders or plantation holders or something.
I suppose you just kept with it, but without knowing my ancestry I could at least fantasize they were innocent of direct involvement…although not, of course, of benefitting from black labor.
Yeah, there was guilt in there, but this isn’t a treatise on racism. It wasn’t important, anyway.
“Who’s the white chick?” That from a young man who looked very clean cut. His hair cut appeared to have been chosen from the limited repertoire of a military barber.
“Housemate of mine with a problem.”
I glanced at Kanesha. “Okay. Got a crazy cult gunning for me. Their leader’s got it into her pretty head that I’m the anti-Christ. Need to convince them to leave me alone.”
“And I assume you don’t just want them shot.” The man flickered a grin. “You’re wanting subtle.”
“I definitely am.” I let out a breath. “Kanesha said you could…give them something to think about.”
“Think a series of complicated…pranks,” he said after a long moment. “Their cell phones ringing at odd times. It all stops if they leave you alone.”
“Worth a try. I don’t want to hurt these people. They’re being used. But they’re competent enough to give problems. This won’t track back to you, right?”
“Heck no. I’ve fooled the FBI, I can handle some cult.”
I wished I felt as confident as he sounded. He sounded very confident indeed, very sure of himself. I’d never be that way.
Or would I? I was pretty good at fighting, but if you screwed that up you were dead. I knew I couldn’t afford to be that cocky. “And we’ll pay you as agreed.”
Nothing for nothing, that was the rule of the street. “Also, if you manage to find anything out about this Ladyship.”
Ultimately, I wanted to have words with her. Myself. Preferably face to face, but she wasn’t here. I was sure of that. Ivory Cane had given me the strong impression she wasn’t in the city, perhaps not even in the country, although I didn’t know for sure.
“I’ll keep my eyes open. That’s the only name you have?”
“Yes. The only one.” Ivory Cane hadn’t called her anything else any more than he’d given his own name. I’d rather have false names, I decided, than no names at all.
Then again, I was traveling under a false name myself, but until somebody saw fit to bother to tell me what my real name was, I had no choice. “And anything about this prophecy. Maybe they stored the actual wording somewhere.”
That would help. The actual words…then maybe I could work out for myself what it meant.