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Walker was quiet for a moment. "I guess we are more like sisters than I ever realized," she said softly. "Dad was always one to hunt with a partner. Said it made the bad parts tolerable and I know he was glad to have someone who understood this crazy life. I know his closest ties were to his hunting partners; much closer than his ties to mom, or any other woman he shared his life with. It's true; no one else really understands." Walker thought a moment more. "Maybe I shouldn't try so hard to stay away from hunting. I head to New Mexico or Montana for months at a time, but I always come back. I love the challenge. Guess it's time to admit it's a big part of who I am and where I came from. And it's honestly a g o d d a m n relief to talk to someone else who understands." "So, you and Grit...sounds like it's a good match as far as partners go."

“Thanks, Walker. That sounds like a good idea to me, too. You’re a great hunter, and your dad was right -- hunting with good partners does take a lot of the crappiness out of the crap we deal with. Now, we both know I’m not as good at research as you are, but any time you want someone to help you kick in some heads, I hope you’ll give your ole sis a call.”

"And since we're on the subject...and on the phone right now," Walker continued, "I'm betting that you have a stack of folders on the seat next to you. And for God's sake, don't try to read while you drive, but, I'm also betting you know everything that's in those folders inside and out...what do you know about what sort of thing we're going after here? "


Kate took a deep breath, recalling what she could remember from her files. “Well, Jersey Devil sightings go back about 260 years. Most sightings have been in the Pine Barrens, but not all of 'em. And descriptions of it are vague. It almost always has wings, which is gonna make it freakin’ difficult to track, but everything else about the description is all over the map – feathers, cloven hooves, horns, a beak, a horse’s head, a tail – who knows what this thing really looks like? Some have said it walks upright -- others that it walks on all fours...One odd thing that's consistent is it usually doesn’t hurt anybody – just freaks the hell out of folks, raids garbage cans and camp sites, that sort of stuff. I also recall some isolated reports of it stealing and eating chickens, cats and small dogs, but nothing bigger than that. What about you? Have you come across any lore on it before?”

Something had gotten Gigi's attention and she shifted still half asleep and then groaned at the stiffness in her back and leg. As she realized where she was and that Walker was sitting not 2 feet from her, she quickly bit the inside of her cheek to stifle a curse and another groan. "'M up, 'm good! What'd I miss? Did someone say HORSE?" She rubbed her eyes and sat up trying to get into a more comfortable postition and then cracked a crooked smile at Walker.

Listening to Gigi grumble in the background brought an involuntary smile to Kate's face. "Hey, Walker, tell Mary Sunshine nobody's talkin' about horses. Heh, heh -- I guess you better put me on speaker..."



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