“This,” Vic said as he paced the floor, “Is what comes of your ridiculous policy of making us be on time for everything.”
Ricky pulled out his BlackBerry. “Stop that. She’ll be here any minute.”
“I hope so.” Nevin conjured a chair and sat down with a heavy sigh. “This is an ugly place. It’s making me very depressed.”
Ricky glanced at the brick walls, sooty and stained with graffiti. High windows let in yellow shafts of light through their broken panes. A photo shoot in an old factory wasn’t an original idea, but the photographer had sold him on it by assuring him the play of light and shadow at this time of day would be incredible. She was right.
“Well, I just want to get on with it,” Kalila said, kicking a coil of filthy rope. She stepped back and gestured for it to unwind itself, and laughed as it snaked toward the rafters.
“Will you stop that?” Ricky said.
The rope fell back upon itself in a cloud of dust and Kalila turned on him. “Why so cranky? I’m only trying to have a little fun.”
“Can’t you do something normal and human for entertainment?”
“I find those two terms mutually exclusive.” She conjured a Rolling Stone magazine and sat down beside Nevin to wait.
Ricky checked the time on his BlackBerry. Fifteen minutes late. No call, no text. The young woman had seemed reliable; an ambitious, up-and-coming sort, eager to make a name for herself. She didn’t strike him as the sort to bail on them.
He heard footsteps and looked up, but it was only Lazaro lumbering in from a dark hallway at the other end of the abandoned warehouse floor.
“This place sucks,” Lazaro announced.
“Let me see if I can reach her.” Ricky tried to call the photographer but didn’t get an answer. “We’ll wait ten more minutes, and if she still doesn’t show, we’ll leave. Tell Bo, would you?”
Lazaro muttered and stalked back into the darkness.
Ricky accepted a chair from Kalila and sat down. Ten minutes became fifteen. Then twenty. The others looked at him expectantly.
“Fine.” Ricky stood up. “Bo! Lazaro! Come on, we’re leaving.”
Lazaro emerged from the shadows, alone.
“Where’s Bo? Tell him we’re going back to the studio.”
“I don’t know where he is. I’m not some demon’s keeper,” Lazaro said. He brushed past him, heading toward the door.
His mind bursting with a sudden suspicion, Ricky followed the others outside where a car with remarkably steamy windows was parked in the weed-choked lot. He had been wondering if he should call the photographer again, but now there was no need. Ricky put the BlackBerry away. “Let’s go back inside, guys,” he told the others. “I have a feeling we’ll be able to get started soon, and the photographer will be in a very happy mood.”