“You want me to do what?”
David couldn’t tell if Rebecca was confused or irritated. “I need you to connect me to someone else’s mind, so I can try to undo the damage caused by a horror.”
Clearly skeptical, Rebecca just stared at him.
“I figure, if I can get into her mind, I can use my own training to strengthen her against the madness.”
“Are sure the horror hasn’t driven you mad?”
“Rebecca, please . . .”
“First Thomas, and now you. If everyone is in such need of a mental specialist, we should recruit one. I am a spirit mage. There is some overlap, but this isn’t really my forte.” She didn’t sound upset so much as helpless.
“I know, and I’m sorry, but I have no one else I can ask. I just need you to get me in. I can take it from there.”
“You know I’m not prepared for this, and I’m not just talking about specialties. I have no training in dealing with horrors. What if the madness spreads to me?”
“That won’t happen.”
“Are you certain? You’ve done this before?”
“Well . . . no, I haven’t. But horrors can’t infect others through an intermediary.”
“David.” She sounded a bit like Samuel. “Even if it’s not dangerous for me, what about you? I’m not comfortable with the idea of helping you do something so risky.”
“I know this seems foolish, but this woman came to me for help. She doesn’t deserve this. I have to at least try.”
Rebecca was silent for a minute, perhaps considering his plea. “You know, I may not be able to do it. This really isn’t my area.”
“I know, but we can try. Thank you.”
She sighed and followed him. As they turned the corner onto the block with Jennifer’s house, they saw the flashing lights of an ambulance. David ran to the house just as the ambulance doors slammed shut. Jennifer’s sister, Sue, was standing in front, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Gesturing at the ambulance as it drove away, Sue replied, “I left her alone for just a minute. She seemed better . . .” Her voice trailed off, and she began sobbing. David tried to console her, but she shoved him away violently.
“You said you would help her! Where were you?!” Sobs again wracked her body.
David started to explain but stopped himself. The last thing she needed was to hear him make excuses. Rebecca arrived and gently pulled him away from the inconsolable woman.
There was still a police officer on the scene taking notes. David walked over to him.
“Can I ask what happened?”
The officer looked up. “Who are you?”
“A friend of Jennifer’s.”
“Her sister seemed pretty angry at you.”
“I had promised to help, but I took to long to get here.”
“How were you going to help a suicidal woman? You a therapist?”
“Something like that.”
“What did you say your name was?”
Before David could respond, the radio on the officer’s shoulder began making an inhuman shrieking sound. The officer covered his ears involuntarily, then ran to his car, which was making the same noise.
With the officer distracted, Rebecca again came up to David and led him away.
“Did you do that?” He asked.
Rebecca smiled. “Spirits love messing with electronics. It doesn’t take much encouragement.”
The rest of the walk back to the house was quiet. David was lost in his own thoughts, and Rebecca seemed unwilling to interrupt him. Just before they went inside, though, she stopped him.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“Why does it feel like it is?”
“Because you care. But you can’t save everyone.”
“You sound like my guide, Samuel.”
“He must be a very wise person.”
He gave a half-hearted chuckle, but he couldn’t forgive himself. Not yet.