“Yeah.” Luke shook his head. “We told Marcus we’d let you guys know. He’s going to have the doctor who was in the morgue interviewed to see if he possibly had something to with it.”
There was an unspoken “but” there, because the film would’ve captured Colin’s body being removed.
Luke and Deacon parted ways with us at that point, and we headed outside. Josie was quiet as we walked to the infirmary. I knew she was thinking about Colin—about him and her father, about the demigods and the Titans. Her head had to be in a million places.
“We’ll figure out what happened to Colin’s body,” I told her. “It couldn’t have just disappeared.”
“I know,” she whispered, and I knew she wasn’t entirely confident in that belief.
Neither was I.
Worst part was we had so much going on, it was something neither of us could focus on at the moment, which also had to cause a hefty amount of guilt for Josie.
Dr. Morales was busy with a patient, but the receptionist handed over a slip of paper with the doctor’s information on it. As we walked out, I asked, “Where’s the doctor?”
Josie studied the little card. “Looks like the doctor’s office is in Manhattan.” She peeked up at me. “I’ve never been to New York.”
“First time for everything.” I nudged her with my hip as we made our way down the path. There was no one out but Guards and Sentinels. Marcus had put a curfew in place due to the violence, but it was early in the day and there was not a student to be seen. “Manhattan is pretty cool. You’ll like it.”
“Dr. Morales wrote a note on the back of the card.” She flipped it over. “She says we can call their office at any time, and they’re expecting to hear from me.”
I nodded at a Guard we passed. “Want to call them now?”
“I…I think we should do what we’re planning to do first.” Reaching behind her, she slipped the little card into the pocket of the loose dress she wore. “We’ll call the doctor’s office afterward.”
“You want to wait?”
Nodding, she smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Yeah. It’s something to look forward to. You know, just in case we get nowhere with the gods, we’ll end the day on a high note.”
That brought a smile to my lips as I reached over, tugging her braid. “I like the way you think.”
Her smile warmed then. “It’s because I’m brilliant.”
“Now, don’t get too ahead of yourself.”
Gasping, she smacked my arm as we rounded the courtyard and the library came into view. “Ass.”
Josie shook her head, but with each step we took, the lightness faded from her. “This was…this is where Colin died.”
Gods. Clasping her hand, I didn’t know what to say as we walked down the wide path. There were cracks in the marble I didn’t remember seeing before.
“There was so much…blood and gore, but they’ve cleaned everything up. It almost looks like nothing happened.” She pressed her lips together as we reached the steps. “But I can…I can still see it.” Staring at the wall of the library, she let out a shaky breath. “And we don’t even know where Colin’s body is or how it just vanished.”
Stopping at the top, I turned to her and pulled her forward. Folding my hand around the back of her neck, I pulled her head down and kissed the top.
She lingered, our chests close but not quite touching. A moment passed and then she stepped back. “I’m okay.” Her gaze lifted to mine. “I mean, I’m okay to do this.”
“I didn’t think that you weren’t.”
“Really?” Josie’s laugh was hoarse. “I’ve been a hot mess since yesterday—well, probably before then.”
“You haven’t been a hot mess,” I corrected, flashing a quick grin. “No one, especially me, would hold it against you. You’ve been through a lot. If someone thought you weren’t dealing, they either aren’t paying attention or they’ve lived a sweet life and never had to deal with shit.”
“Thank you.” She stretched up and kissed my cheek. “I just want you to know that my head is screwed on right for this. I’m ready.”
“Damn straight you are. Let’s do this.”
We made it about five feet and discovered our first obstacle. “The door is locked.” Josie stepped back with a frown, scanning the sign that read CLOSED. “Must be because of what happened yesterday.”
“Locks really aren’t an issue for me.” Taking her hand, I winked. “Hold on.”
Josie’s soft gasp was lost in my laugh as I used the godly way of entering the building. She squeezed my hand so hard I thought she might actually break a bone when we reappeared just inside the doors.
“That is still so weird,” she said, swallowing. “Okay. Wow. The closed library is actually going to work in our benefit.”
“Yeah, it is. I really didn’t want a librarian screaming while I blew a hole in a wall.”
Josie chuckled as she pulled her hand free and started to walk between the empty tables. “Would’ve been entertaining, though.”
I snickered as I followed her. “Marcus is going to be so mad.”
“Maybe not.” She looked over her shoulder. “If we come back with good news, I think he’ll get over the damage we’re about to cause.”
I didn’t know about that. Marcus was not a fan of destruction of property, but oh well.
“This is where the doors were,” Josie said as she walked under the staircase and pointed at the wall. “Three of them. Right here.”
I eyed the area. “And it was the center door?”
Josie nodded. “Yes.”
“All right. Stand back.” Lifting my arm, I waited until Josie was behind me and then I let a bolt of akasha smack into the wall. It was like a crack of thunder, and dust plumed into the air. Bricks evaporated under the energy. Pulling the energy back, I found I hadn’t created the biggest gap in the wall. Just big enough for both of us to slip through.
As the dust settled, Josie stepped out from behind me. “Hot damn. It’s still here.”
A brightly lit hallway appeared beyond the dust. “Finally,” I said. “Something is going right.”
“I know.” Josie stepped around me. “From what I remembered, there is really nothing in this hall until you reach the end.” She walked ahead, her pace brisk. “Crap. I forgot.”
“Forgot what?” I stopped behind her.
“Dammit.” She turned to me. “See that marble wall? Medusa touched it or waved her hand and a door appeared. Maybe…” She sprang forward, smacking the wall.
I arched a brow. “That didn’t work.”
She scowled. “Then why don’t you try it? Maybe it will work for you, because you’re so damn special.”
Smirking, I sauntered past her and placed my hand on the wall. “Open sesame.”
“Really?” She slowly looked at me.
“You have a better—whoa.” I jerked my hand back. The atmosphere appeared to ripple, warping the marble. Electricity charged the air, and the glyphs sparked alive, racing across my skin.
“It’s doing it!” Josie whirled, her eyes bright.
The wall was definitely doing something. The marble expanded and then shrunk back. A tear appeared at the top and then split down the center, peeling back to reveal a wooden door with vertical slats held together by a dark metal. Hinges creaked as it opened.
“Holy shit,” I murmured, glancing down at my hand. “Maybe the world needs to stop making fun of ‘open sesame?’”
Josie looked at me weirdly as she started forward. A flame, unsettled by the burst of air, flickered from a large torch jutting out from a wall. There were more torches, placed every so many feet. Their soft glow bathed statues of—“Dear gods, these are the men Medusa turned to stone.”
“Yeah, I think we should definitely pick up our pace,” Josie quipped.