I half-seethed, half-quivered over Daniel’s statement. “Gee, asshole. I’m so sorry I’m dead.”
Daniel smiled ever so faintly, and I wanted to hit him.
“I get it, Daniel. I really do. You don’t like me. Well, I don’t like you, either.”
He grabbed my shirt and pulled me within inches of his face. He smelled like a bonfire—a woodsy smell with an earthy weight to it. His irises flickered red—I thought I’d imagined it before, but up close there was no mistaking it.
“At least I hung in there,” he said, breathing onto my face. “Something you couldn’t do.”
So, this was it—the reason he seemed to hate me so much. “Oh, I suppose you ended up as a demon because you were so perfect.”
Lame. Totally lame. But he’d caught me off-guard and I had nothing to say, really. He was right. I hadn’t bothered to stick around.
He studied my face, my mouth, and I hoped he couldn’t feel my heart pounding with fear. He let go of me.
“Jerk,” I muttered softly, turning away from him. I started off in search of Banning.
Behind me, Daniel applauded. Hurt and furious, I spun around to glare at him.
“Congrats,” he said. “It’s about time. I was beginning to wonder about you. Purgatory is a nasty place for newbies like you, all weak and grieving. But I figured with the way you killed yourself, you had to have spunk somewhere.”
Damn him! Daniel had baited me and I had been foolish enough to fall for it. “Well, I’m glad you find this so amusing.” I wheeled around to continue my search for Banning.
“Wait!” he said, catching up to me. I backed up into a wall. “Chill, all right? I just didn’t want you to keep crying, so I figured if you got mad, you’d move on to the next step of the whole acceptance thing.”
I didn’t answer.
“Come on! You were bound to head that direction anyway. Just saving you some time.”
He gently touched my arm. I didn’t move, didn’t speak. Why did he have to be so mean?
“So, you want to find your sister’s killer, or what? That is why you were so interested in what I did to that kid back there, right?”
Had I been that easy to read? More than anything I could think of, I wanted my sister. But I wanted to avenge her death almost as much. I raised an eyebrow. “I suppose you know where Peter Fagan is?”
Something in his dark eyes ignited, something akin to flint on stone. “I know a lot of things. I know that he was never officially charged. So far, the cops haven’t found enough clear-cut evidence to keep him in jail and he’s out free—for now. He’s staying in the area, but not at his house. I also know you haven’t been dead long enough to do anything you’d like to do to this guy without a little demonic assistance. So, what do you say? Let me help.”
I continued to stare at him, unable to come up with a single counterpoint.
“And maybe you’d like a few leads on where your sister might be while we’re at it.”
He had my complete attention.