“Not good,” was Thruor’s pronouncement.
“Was it Surtur?”
She shook her head. “Neither his style nor, really, his capabilities. Usually that kind of mind control means demons, but the green fire doesn’t match that.”
“Great. Somebody else who wants to sleep with me, probably.”
She didn’t disagree with me, which left me tracing a shape on her table with the tip of a finger and trying to think. Kanesha was using Thruor’s shower. She said she felt filthy after touching them.
I felt a bit the same way, but I’d let her go first; and besides, I had to worry about finding out who it was and stopping him.
And working out why the cult was after me again.
And, knowing my luck, there would be more trouble. “Okay. Other than demons, what can do that?”
“Wendigo, but that doesn’t seem likely. A wendigo can only possess people who have tasted human flesh. They were just gangster kids, right?
“Ghosts?” I asked. “I mean…”
“Not impossible. Who’s died recently that we know about?”
“Nobody important. I mean, nobody who would want to test me.” Of course, it could be somebody who had died a while ago. “I don’t know anything about ghosts.”
Thruor pursed her lips. “If it’s a ghost, I’ll take care of it. Dead people are part of my job.”
Kanesha came out of the shower in time to hear that. “I noticed,” she teased.
“Just try not to end up being part of it,” Thruor said with a slight smile. “Ghost is definitely possible, but it would have to be a very powerful ghost to possess multiple people.”
“None of them talked until I told it to get out.”
“And did it sound like the kid’s own voice or somebody else’s?”
“It sounded…” I frowned. “Like both the kid’s own voice and somebody else. And the more I think about it, the less I buy ghost. But it didn’t feel like a demon either. Heck, it didn’t feel that malevolent, but it got those kids beaten up. And if I’d been paying less attention, I might have killed one of them.”
“Maybe that was the test. Somebody was playing games with you…or something. But whoever it was was capable of possession.”
“Or straight up mind control,” Kanesha suggested. “Mesmerism with a magical component. The speech could have been like, pre-recorded.”
Thruor perked up. “You’re the smart one again. That’s not impossible, in which case it could be…”
“…I know who it was.”
I did, too. And I was not happy. Not happy that I could have killed one of those kids; but then I knew it would not have gone that far.
Only a test. Of course. To make sure I was being as careful as he had asked. “It was the Old Man.”
And I was sure as sure could be.