The pine sap scent of winter tinged the cold air. The wind blustered needles into Ambrose’s skin and froze the metal surrounding his wrists and neck.
Ambrose lay still on his back and stared blankly at the gray afternoon sky.
He tried to think, but his thoughts came only in bits and pieces that didn’t quite match up. Trying to figure out those pieces made his head hurt even more than it already did.
He closed his eyes and his mind reeled in too many directions all at once. Spinning and twirling and revealing memories. Glints and edges of memories of the past six months, of every experiment she performed on him.
He took a breath and exhaled a shuddered sob.
Something cold landed on his skin. Sprinkles of cold on his face, his arms, his hands.
He startled violently and opened his eyes.
It wasn’t holy water as he had feared.
It was snow.
And it was coming down in fast, heavy clumps.
Elsie answered her phone. “Hello? I’m sorry? Hello, Mr.Borscht. What is this regarding?”
“I understand you’re Mark Caten’s hunter. Is that true? Very good. Would you know the location of his various business properties?”
She frowned. “Who are you exactly, Mr. Broscht? And why should I tell you anything?”
His expression went blank. But his desk lamp knocked over, anyway. “I am the owner of Sammy’s Place here in Pinkerlee. I run a business matching extraordinaries with suitable jobs. Thank you. That is very kind of you to say. The point is Mark Caten has stolen away one of my employees and I intend to bring him back. Can you help me, Ms. Vansing?”
She thought it over. “Why did they take him?” Her face went pale as she remembered what Ambrose went through when they put him on display.
I can’t let that happen to anyone else. “Yes. I will help you.”
He smiled. “Thank you, Ms. Vansing.” He grabbed a pen and paper. “I’m ready when you are.” He shrugged. “I guess from nearest to Pinkerlee to furthest. Ready.”
The cruel hunter walked up to Ambrose and dusted his face off. “Hmm. You aren’t showing any signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Interesting.” She smiled with a cruel brightness. “I’ll be back in a couple of hours. Have fun lying there!”