The glowing hair flew like an arrow through the living room, and Dex chased after it, and I chased after Dex.
“What is that?” I asked as we followed it to the back door. It ran into the door and coiled up, like it was trying to push its way though.
Dex stopped and snatched it up before looking at me. “A tracking spell. Whoever this hair belongs to, it’ll follow the path that they took when they left the house and lead us to them!”
I nodded, but couldn’t help but feel a little doubtful. “But what if they teleported again?”
“What makes you say that?”
Dex looked at me and smirked. “Trust me, okay?”
With that, he threw the door open and let the hair go, letting it zip into the victims’ backyard.
“Come on!” he yelled, charging ahead of me. “Don’t let it get away!”
I followed him as the hair made a beeline for the chainlink fence and leaped over it, with Dex in hot pursuit. Putting away my doubts for now, I went after them. The hair was moving fast, but not so fast that Dex and I couldn’t keep up with it at a brisk jog. It led us through their neighbor’s yard, over their fence too, and then took a sharp right to follow the road. I looked around, suddenly worried that someone might see us. That would make quite a sight, two grownups, one wearing a suit, chasing a flying hair through a middle class neighborhood. It’s not like we were breaking any laws—not now that we’d left the murder scene, anyway—but I didn’t want anybody remembering us in case any questions got asked later.
Whether or not we were seen, nobody came out to stop us as we followed the hair away from the road and into a dry concrete canal. From there, it made a straight line following the empty ditch for over half a mile. A few minutes later, I spotted a bridge in the distance. Sure enough, the hair led us straight to it. It was a small thing, barely tall enough for me and Dex to go underneath without stooping over, but as soon as we were down there the hair veered off course and headed for…
“Jackpot!” Dex said, grabbing it out of the air just before it vanished into the rusty pipe.
I went to peer into the pipe, weighing the situation. It was just big enough for us to crawl through, but that didn’t stop a shiver from going down my spine.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” I asked, my voice echoing a little in those dark, dank depths.
“Not in the slightest.” Dex pulled out his scepter and lit the gem up. “Why do you ask?”
“You want to go first, then?”
Chuckling, heedless of how he got mud all over his nice suit—at least I hoped it was mud—Dex hoisted himself up and made his way into the pipe on all fours. I waited until he was away from the opening, swallowed hard, and then went after him.
Have I ever mentioned how much I don’t like tight spaces? Because I totally don’t. I’ve hated them even before I became a werewolf, but the big stupid mutt inside me hates them even more. It sees any place where it can’t run for a mile in any direction as a cage. I could feel it squirm inside me as I followed Dex, his scepter dimly illuminating his butt a few feet in front of me, but I pushed the uneasiness down. If we didn’t get that glove back, we’d both have way scarier things to worry about than dark tunnels.
“Where does this lead?” I whispered just to break the silence.
He shrugged. “Candyland, probably.”
“What makes you think I know, Amber?”
Growling under my breath, I let us crawl in silence for the next five minutes. I don’t know if the pipe was really that long, or if we were just going really slow, but by the time it started to slope upwards I was about ready to go nuts and start digging my way to the surface. A minute after that, Dex put away his scepter, and I realized there was enough light coming from in front of us that we didn’t need it anymore.
Dex stopped and looked back at me, putting his finger to his lips, then pointed upwards. With some difficulty, I managed to squeeze in beside him. We were right below a metal grate, and through it I could make out a sunlit room above us. Without saying anything, Dex nudged me and put his hands against the grate. I joined him, and together we raised it up.
After we’d set it to the side, I hurried to be the first to climb out, and found myself standing in a dirty old restaurant. The sun streamed in through the windows, lighting the place up even with the lights off. Tables were strewn about haphazardly, the chairs stacked upside down on top of them, while a long mahogany bar stretched from one end to the other.
Dex climbed out after me and fished the magical hair out of his pocket. Even with it clutched between his fingers, it pointed directly away from him as stiff as a wire.
“This is definitely where he went,” he said, looking around.
“Question is,” I added, “is he still here?”
Dex turned to look at the door, where the bar’s hours of operation were printed backwards on the glass, and shook his head. “This place opens every day at five pm. If it’s really a werewolf we’re chasing, then he wouldn’t want to be caught in a place packed with humans. Unless…”
He paused, and I looked at him. “Unless what?”
Before he could answer, the door leading to the back of the bar burst open and two big, burly men came out to join us. Except, they weren’t exactly men. Their skin was as gray as stone, and their teeth were so long that they poked out of their lips. Rolling up their sleeves, one of them went to the left, the other to the right.
“Unless this place isn’t owned by humans,” Dex said under his breath.
One of them snarled at us. “She said you’d be comin’ here before long.”
“And she don’t want you leavin’,” the other added. “Never.”