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A crimson streak bleeding into a rising full moon held me mesmerized outside the Area 4 office of the Chicago Police Department. On my way to the parking lot after a seventy-two-hour stint working a homicide, I couldn't for a moment move. Though I wanted to believe this was no dark omen, simply a phenomenon of naturestrange cloud cover extending a colorful sunset across the western evening skya shiver coursed through me.
Already late, I shook off the odd feeling.
Rushing toward my red Camaro convertible, I was unprepared for the scrawny man who popped up in front of me and stopped me cold in my tracks. Though the evening was warm, he wore a tweed suit with vest and a Donegal tweed cap.
"You must be Detective Caldwell," he said, his accent faintly Irish.
That would be meDetective Shelley Caldwell, Homicide. "Who wants to know?"
His narrow face spread into a wide grin, showing off a gold tooth, and his sandy eyebrows wiggled. "The name's Casey Brogan."
"What can I do for you, Brogan?"
"'Tis not what you ken do for me, but what I ken do for you."
"Which would be "
His grin faded, leaving a serious expression on his wizened face. "To tell you of the murder, of course."
Another shiver. "You have information about the White case?" I'd thought we'd solved it. Did he have new information to add?
"Na, na. I'm here to tell you someone is about to die."
My gut clenched as it always did when I was about to investigate a murder. "About to Who?"
"I wouldn't be knowing the name."
But he obviously knew something. My exhaustion faded as adrenaline pumped through my veins. "What would you be knowing?"
He went all glass-eyed and a long, eerie moan escaped him. "I see a trunk bound hands " Another moan. "Water deep water "
"Seeing?" I interrupted, having a moment's doubt. "As in psychic?"
"Not psychic, not exactly, 'tis my heritage as a banshee to know these things."
Banshee. Uh-huh. I raised my eyes to the full moon and wondered why it always brought out the kooks. They came to the district office on a monthly basis with stories that spanned the city and beyond. Really beyond, as in alien arrivals. I played him along.
"Now why would you tell me if you were a supernatural creature?"
"Because you're a sensitive." His forehead wrinkled. "You would know soon enough. I'm figuring 'tis best to start out with truth between us."
I ignored the chill that shot up my spine at the word sensitive. The only person I was sensitive to was my twin, Silke. We'd always had kind of a radar which I generally chose to ignore. The curse of being an identical twin, I figured. But how would Brogan know about that?
"As far as I recall from my childhood books," I said, "banshees are young women with long fair hair, wearing flowing white dresses"
"Not very PC of you in this day and age, Detective." Brogan sounded mildly indignant. "Why can a man not be a banshee? Sexual discrimination is against the law, you know."
Part of me wanted to laugh, but with the adrenaline gone, most of me was simply exhausted and all of me wanted out of here. Circling the man to get at my car, I said, "Only if I were denying you work or some kind of financial dealings."
"Well that you are," Brogan insisted, following on my heels. "You're in need of an informantI know how the last one died a horrible death in an alley, his poor body broken."
He knew about Junior Diaz, who'd been left in a garbage can by his murderer. Only, again how? Junior's death hadn't made the evening news.