I climbed out of the car and reached in back for the spear. “I go to church sometimes.”
“You are holding the spear that pierced Christ’s side as he hung on the cross,” he said.
I nearly dropped it. “This thing killed Jesus?” I exclaimed, dismayed. And I was holding it? I hurried after him toward the open garage door. I didn’t consider myself a particularly religious person, but I had the sudden fiercest urge to fling it away, scrub my hands, then go to the nearest church and pray.
We ducked beneath the door as it slid soundlessly down, and headed across the alley. Shades lurked to my right just beyond the reach of the floodlights illuminating the rear entrances, but I didn’t spare them a glance. I was intent on getting inside and out of the wide-open night where a crime lord’s bodyguard might pick me off at any moment with a well-aimed bullet.
“He was already dead when it happened, Ms. Lane. A Roman solider, Gaius Cassius Longinus, did it. The next day was the Passover and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the victims hanging on display throughout their holy day. They asked Pilate to hasten their deaths so they might be taken down. Crucifixion,” Barrons explained, “was a slow business; it could take days for the hanged man to die. When soldiers broke the legs of the two men beside Christ, they could no longer use them to push up for breath and expired quickly of suffocation. However, Christ appeared already dead, so instead of breaking his legs, one of the soldiers pierced his side to prove it. Perversely, the so-called Spear of Longinus has been coveted ever since, for alleged mythic powers. Many have claimed to possess the sacred relic: Constantine, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, and Adolph Hitler, to name but a few. Each believed it to be the true source of all his power.”
I stepped into the rear foyer of Barrons’ residence, slammed the door behind me, and rounded on him with disbelief. “So let me get this straight. We just broke in to a mobster’s private collection and stole what he believes to be the true source of all his power? And we did this why?”
“Because, Ms. Lane, the Spear of Destiny has another name, the Spear of Luin, or Luisne, the Flaming Spear. And it is not a Roman weapon at all but one brought to this world by the Tuatha Dé Danaan. It is a Seelie Hallow and just happens to be one of only two weapons known to man that can kill a Fae. Any Fae. No matter the caste. Even the Queen herself is said to fear this spear. But if you like, I can ring up O’Bannion and see if he might forgive us if we bring it back. Shall I, Ms. Lane?”
I gripped the spear. “This could kill the Many-Mouthed-Thing?” I asked.
“And the Gray Man, too?”
He nodded again.
A third nod.
“Even Fae royalty?” I wanted to be perfectly clear on this.
“Yes, Ms. Lane.”
“Really?” I breathed.
I narrowed my eyes. “Do you have a plan for dealing with O’Bannion?”
Barrons reached past me, turned on the bright overhead in the anteroom, and flipped off the exterior floodlights. Beyond the window, the back alley went dark. “Go to your room, Ms. Lane, and do not come out again—for any reason—until I come for you. Do you understand me?”
There was no way I was going to go sit somewhere and passively await my death, and I told him so. “I will not go upstairs and cower—”
I glared at him. I hated it when he cut me off with one of those one-word commands of his. I had news for him: I wasn’t like Fiona, pining away for crumbs of his affection, willing to yield to any demand he might make to get them. “You can’t order me around like I’m F—” This time I was glad he cut me off before I betrayed that I’d eavesdropped.
“Do you have somewhere else to go, Ms. Lane?” he asked coolly. “Is that it?” His smile chilled me, shaped as it was by the satisfaction of a man who knows he has a woman exactly where he wants her. “Will you go back to The Clarin House and hope Mallucé isn’t out looking for you? I have news for you, Ms. Lane, you could be swimming in a lake of holy water, dressed in a gown of garlic, denying an invitation at the top of your lungs, and it wouldn’t stop a vampire who’s fed richly and recently enough. Or will you try for a new hotel, and hope O’Bannion doesn’t have anyone there on his payroll? No, I have it; you’ll go back home to Georgia. Is that it? I hate to break it to you, Ms. Lane, but I think it’s a little too late for that.”
I didn’t want to know why it was too late for that: whether he meant O’Bannion would come after me, dazed-eyed Goth slaves would cross water to return me to their Master, or Barrons himself would hunt me down.