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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 64)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(64) by Chloe Neill
  • “But the memories are different?” I asked. “I mean, you can tell the difference?”

    He nodded. “With the memories, I don’t really hear it. Not the same way. I’m not sure why it makes a difference, but it does. Still loud, though. Like a flashback.”

    I looked around the room, the simple desk welded to the wall that held a cup, an apple, and a small notebook. A set of paints in tiny plastic cups along a single spine sat beside it, along with an old and chipped paintbrush. The handle was wide, as if the brush had been made for children.

    “You’ve been painting?” I asked.

    Winston blinked for a moment, looked back when I gestured to the table. “Oh, my notes, you mean? I asked if I could have a notebook, a pen. They offered me a book, but I’m not much of a reader. But I do like to draw.”

    “Could we take a look at them, Winston?”

    He scratched his cheek absently, looked back. “Oh, I don’t know. There’s nothing particularly good in there. It’s just a kind of sketchbook, you see. Just something I do to pass the time. Nights get long. I practice making things look, well, real, I guess. And sometimes I just scribble out whatever comes to mind. Helps clear away the clutter.”

    Bingo.

    “You said you wanted those images, those sounds, out of your head. Did you draw them?”

    Understanding dawned in his eyes. “Oh, I see! Of course. Then if it will help, absolutely.” He walked back to the table, the hem of his too-long pants shuffling against the concrete floor. Shush-shush-shush.

    He brought the book back, held it out through the bars.

    Most of the pages had been used. Some of the sheets were bare but for a small, precise pencil sketch. Winston’s view from his cell, the pots of paint, his hands in different poses.

    “You have a lovely hand,” Ethan said, looking as I turned the pages.

    Winston shrugged. “I find it relaxes me.”

    Others were painted abstract shapes filling the page from edge to edge, making them thick and hard to turn, the paint chalky beneath my fingers. Most were in shades of gray with streaks or lines of sharp white or black, and a few featured words in the same strong colors. VOICE on one, HEAR IT on another. There were several pages with white and gray blocks that looked like teeth, others with ears and spirals of tiny words.

    “What are these?” I asked.

    He shrugged. “The mouths, I think, that are saying all those words. The images just kind of come to me, and I draw them.”

    “Winston, could I borrow this? Only for a little while,” I assured him when he looked crestfallen. “I’ll give it back, and I’m sure we can arrange for you to have another notebook while we’re borrowing this one.”

    “Why do you want it?” he asked.

    I tried to choose my words carefully. “I’d like to look through your pictures again when I have more time. Think about them, I guess. Just in case they give us some clue about what’s happening.”

    “Okay,” he said. “But I would appreciate getting a replacement.”

    “I’ll take care of it personally,” Ethan said.

    I tucked the notebook carefully inside my jacket, to keep it dry in the snow.

    “Winston, do you remember the night of the attack at Towerline?” Ethan asked. “When Sorcha used her magic?”

    He nodded gravely. “I do. Matter of fact, I wasn’t far from there when it went down. I was laid off earlier this year, been working temp and contracts since then, taking what work I could find. I was working about a block from there—helping unload boxes of materials at the Wellworth Hotel for a convention of some sort—when it happened.” He shook his head. “Quite a night that was. Never seen anything like it.”

    Bingo, I thought. Another connection to the magic that had gone down at Towerline. “That might be one of the reasons you’re hearing the voice,” I said. “We’re looking into it.”

    His eyes widened. “You think I caught something because of that magic?”

    “Not a virus,” Ethan said. “But there may have been some effects. We’ll let you know if we figure out that’s what happened.”

    He nodded, ran a hand over his head as he seemed to consider. “That’s why I came to Cadogan House in the first place. Not Towerline,” he added at our surprised expressions. “Employment. It’s been hard—not having permanent work—and not easy to find work as a vampire. I was hoping to speak to you about a job.” He shook his head. “It seems selfish now, to have caused all this trouble.”

    “It isn’t selfish at all,” Ethan said. “That’s why we offer the assistance—to help vampires in unusual situations.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire