“His mind is processing at turtle speed,” Nick added, snickering behind his hand.
Zane placed a hand on Ty’s forehead, and Ty’s eyes fell shut. The warmth of Zane’s palm was like heaven.
“You know about this voodoo stuff, right?” Zane asked.
“Yeah,” Digger answered. Ty felt him shift on the bed. “The color and material of the bag are just as important to its purpose as the contents. I’m not an expert, but I’m betting if we get it open, Grady and I can tell you what it was meant to do.”
Ty opened his eyes at the sound of his name.
“You want me to open it?” Ty asked. Zane and Nick both nodded. “Are y’all going to freak out if I open it?” He held up the bag gingerly. He wasn’t an expert by any means, but he knew enough about the purposes and the ingredients to get a good idea of what the bag had been intended to do. And what he didn’t know, Digger probably did.
“Why would we freak out?” Zane pulled the little rolling table over to the bedside and turned it so Ty had a flat surface in front of him.
“You freak out over things like that,” Ty mumbled. He pulled at the opening to the bag but couldn’t get the string loose. His fingers weren’t working. Digger finally took it from him and carefully poured the contents onto the shiny surface of the table.
Ty looked up and around the room, his mind chugging to work. Finally he pointed at the boxes of sterile gloves that were attached to the wall. “Hand me some of those, please.”
Zane amiably nabbed a couple of pairs and brought them back. “Things like that,” he repeated.
“You said I freak out over things like that.”
Ty pulled on one of the gloves. “You just . . . don’t believe in them.”
“You’re right,” Zane said with a shrug.
“Ty don’t touch home plate before the first pitch,” Digger added. “He believes in everything.”
“Shut up,” Ty muttered. He poked through the contents as Digger and Nick laughed at him. He began to separate the different things, making little piles, forgetting what he was doing.
“Hey Ty? Buddy?” Nick finally said gently. “Time to stop organizing and get back on task.”
Ty looked up at him. Nick was smiling fondly.
“It’s okay. You can straighten them later.”
Ty nodded. He knew they were humoring him, but he also didn’t give a f**k. He bent his attention back to the gris-gris bag. There was a small roll of parchment, a sprig of crushed juniper, a mossy substance he couldn’t identify, a root of some sort, what appeared to be iron shavings, and two large teeth. Ty pushed them around the table, tidying up his little piles.
“How do you connect not believing in something with freaking out about it?” Zane asked. He’d pulled one of the chairs over to the side of the bed and was now sitting at Ty’s side.
“I meant, are you going to make me feel stupid for believing this was put under my mattress to kill me?”
“Is that what you believe?” Zane sat and leaned back in the chair, right ankle propped on his left knee.
Ty narrowed his eyes, recognizing Zane’s interrogation posture.
Nick leaned forward. “Is that what he does when he’s questioning suspects?”
“Yes,” Ty groused.
“Well hello, Agent Garrett,” Nick said, laughing.
“Behave yourself,” Zane grumbled. He looked back to Ty. “Is that what you believe?”
“Yes,” Ty answered after a moment of thought.
Zane was watching him intently despite his casual pose. “Can you explain to me why?”
Ty looked back down at the assortment of items that had been in the gris-gris bag. He was blushing, but during the course of his time in New Orleans, he’d seen and learned things that made it impossible to dismiss the power of simple faith.
“Ty?” Zane sounded more curious than anything. Not amused, and certainly not angry or frustrated like he got when he couldn’t figure out a puzzle by logical means. He was probably still humoring Ty, but hopefully he wouldn’t dismiss any of this, thinking the drugs were making Ty goofy.
“It’s about faith,” Ty finally said, looking first at Zane and then at Nick and Digger. Nick was frowning now, and Digger was nodding. Ty met Zane’s eyes again. “I’ve seen things I can’t explain. And I believe in things I can’t see. I believe in fate and luck and curses.”
Zane crossed his arms. “Really?”
Nick nodded. “Really.”
Digger was nodding too. “So do I. I also know that people around here don’t take this stuff lightly. And this bag here is quality work; it’s no tourist prank.”
Ty took a deep breath. “It’s a murder weapon. Just like a gun or knife. It’s poison. It was put in our room by someone with knowledge and belief in the power to cause us harm.”
Nick turned to whisper into Digger’s ear, but Ty heard his words anyway. “Goddamn, I hate it when he uses real logic.”
Digger made a dismissive noise and shivered.
Zane didn’t speak for a long moment as he studied Ty, and then he abruptly nodded. “All right.”
Ty watched him with narrowed eyes. Zane never agreed with him that easily. Maybe he was just taking pity on him since he was in pain and medicated and planned to continue the conversation later. Ty nodded, though, willing to accept it for now.
Nick stood again and leaned over him, studying the contents on the metal table. “Can you tell what’s in it? What’s it meant to do?”
“I’m not sure what this moss is, but the rest . . . This is juniper, and I think this root is High John the Conqueror root.”
“What do those things do?”
Ty shrugged one shoulder. “I don’t know.”
“Dammit, Ty,” Nick grunted.
“The red felt bag is usually used to attract a lover, but the contents aren’t consistent with that purpose,” Digger offered. “They’re meant to draw something. Like those iron fillings.”
Ty sighed. “Yeah. So basically . . .”
“The whole bag is one big-ass hoodoo magnet.”
Nick rolled his eyes. “Thank you, Digger, as always, for your contribution to the sanity of the group.”
“So it’s a magnet,” Zane said.
Ty nodded. “A bad one.”
“A magnet to draw something bad to us,” Zane concluded.