Cross automatically reached under his right sleeve, but suddenly he recognized the voice. He turned around and saw Grant Walker – his childhood friend, whom he hadn’t seen ten years. Grant smiled widely and straightened.
“You didn’t change, buddy,” Grant said.
Cross clenched his teeth. It wasn’t good. He was supposed to abandon his past, and here it came to him itself.
“How did you find me?” Cross asked coldly.
“It wasn’t so difficult.” Grant looked around, scratching his head thoughtfully. “Do you really work in such conditions? Wow, you’re really something, Easton.”
“Don’t call me that,” Cross growled, standing up.
“It’s your name, isn’t it? Or did you change it?”
“Cross, we’re leaving!” the assistant called from the other side of the room.
“I’ll be right behind you!” Cross answered, ignoring Grant’s smirk.
“Cross? Really? Are you a high schooler who wants a cool nickname?”
“Shut up.” Cross looked once again at the TV. “Did you hear something a moment ago?”
“What?” Grant raised his eyebrows.
“Like tapping on a glass.”
“Nope.” Suddenly the look in Grant’s eyes got sharper. “Did you?”
“No,” Cross said confidently. “Just asking.”
Grant kept looking suspiciously at Cross, but when they left the flat, Cross grabbed Grant’s arm and took him aside. “Spill it,” he said.
“Spill what?” Grant asked innocently.
“Why did you come here?”
“I missed you. Isn’t it a solid explanation?”
“Not at all.”
Cross tighten his grip. Grant sighed, saying, “Sorry, buddy. I know you wanted to forget the past, but I really need your help.”
“Then you know my answer,” Cross said and passed him, going toward his car.
“Wait!” Grant grabbed Cross’s right wrist and jerked him. “You’re still wearing that, so you’re aware of them, right? Why won’t you return to the family business?”
“My family is full of crazy creeps and most of them are mentally hospitalized,” Cross hissed, freeing himself. “Do you really want me to be hospitalized too?”
“You’re different! You’re the real deal, Easton... okay. Cross. Anyway, you’ve been into detective stuff for a year maybe? It’s not too late to come back.”
“I don’t want to come back, you idiot! Don’t ask for things you don’t understand!” Cross opened the door.
“My sister is missing!”
Cross stopped in the midway. “So that is the reason?” he asked. “Are you asking for detective’s help, or the other one?”
“I think both. I’m sure they are connected to it.”
“And how can you be so sure?”
Grant took out something from his pocket and gave Cross. Cross took a look at the photos.
“On every photo you can see it,” Grant said. “I think it’s some kind of message –”
“It’s not a message,” Cross interrupted him. He threw photos back to him. “In any Photoshop you can do it. You were tricked, or you want to trick me yourself.”
“I’m not!” Grant outraged. He pointed to one of the photos. “Isn’t this related to your family?! You didn’t take closer look!”
Cross sighed, but took a closer look. On the photo, which represented an old room and a woman’s bag, was something else indeed. Cross frowned. On the wall was a sentence, written in red, probably blood.
Long live Crosswell, die fast.
“Does it make any sense to you?” Grant whispered.
“Not at all,” Cross grumbled. “You sure it wasn’t human?”
“I’m not, but the ‘long live Crosswell’ refers to your ancestors' motto, when they faced them, right? Besides, this is a case for a police and you’re the only one I trust.”
“You shouldn’t trust me,” Cross warned. “I’ve changed.”
“Maybe, but you’re still jerk, who would risk his life for a money, right?”
Cross clenched his fist, trying not to look more interested in it.
“It’s actually my grandfather’s request and you know him,” Grant continued. “He never goes back on his word.”
“I’ll think about it,” Cross said. “But why ask me and not some other Crosswell? Or people who actually are interested in it?”
“I told you. You’re different.”
“Do you have any suspects in mind?”
“Not exactly... But have you heard about this year’s Halloween?”
Cross shivered. Another word he hated the most. “No. What about it?”
“Some say it’ll be different. To be honest, exorcists are on alert all the time, waiting for information.”
“Do you always have to sound like you’re telling a scary story? Say it in one sentence: about what?”
Grant looked at Cross worried. “About Hallow Eye’s return.”