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Titel: Whiplash
Autoren: Catherine Coulter
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heads up and down, making the plaintive sounds camels make when they know something is wrong. The women press close to them even though the camels' breath is foul and their bites sharp. The women don't care because the camels are real and solid in a world that has become something they can no longer understand. They don't know that camels never bite when they are terrified, that they are struck dumb, even their feet stop moving, their humps stop swaying. Terrified camels hunker down. The camels are relieved the women are so close.
    The women can't see, can't hear, can only feel the dark wind blowing, stinging their faces, and they know the wind is bringing something very bad. They wait. The camels wait with them. There is nothing else to do. But wait.
    "Okay, kiddo," Erin continued in a whisper so as not to wake up Sean and Astro, "that's the beginning of our story. You chew that over before you go to sleep. I expect you to continue the story tomorrow night, all right?"
    "Let me do it now, Erin, I know what the dark wind is bringing, let me tell you now."
    "Shush, sweetie, you don't want to wake them up, particularly Astro, he'll spend the next hour licking off your face." Erin brushed Georgie's hair off her forehead, leaned down, and kissed her small nose. "No more of our mysterious story tonight, it's time for you to sleep and dream about dancing in Swan Lake and that beautiful second arabesque you're going to hold flawlessly before you fly into a sweeping glissade."
    Georgie giggled, then whispered, "But the dark wind blowing, Erin, I know-"
    "Tomorrow night, sweetie," Erin whispered back. She leaned down and kissed her forehead, smoothed the covers to her chest, and rose. "Good night, Georgie."
    "Good night, Erin. Kiss Daddy for me."
    "I will."
    Erin watched Georgie close her eyes and shut down.
    She walked back downstairs to the Savich living room. The house was quiet, too quiet for her. She thought about the dark wind in her story and wondered if a dark wind was blowing outside. She decided that wouldn't be good because she didn't have any camels. She realized then that her story was excellent fodder for a nightmare. Oh dear. But Georgie had laughed, excited to continue the story. She'd have to be more careful in the future.
    She grinned as she looked through the front bay windows over Dillon and Sherlock's lovely lawn, currently covered with piles of raked autumn leaves. A wind was rising, she saw. They'd had no time to bag them up. The dark wind would whip them all over the yard again.
    She looked at the houses still lit up across the street. So many families-kids and parents, pets, getting ready for bed. Maybe telling stories to their kids? And she thought of Bowie Richards, FBI Agent Bowie Richards, and of herself, Ms. Erin Pulaski, Polish-Irish-American dance teacher and private investigator, who'd severely crimped the bottom line, for at least a year, of two major drug companies.
    She hoped there was a dark wind blowing for those conscienceless men. She hoped it would blow on them for the rest of their lives.
    She heard a car pull into the driveway. It wasn't the low roar of Dillon's magnificent Porsche, it was the smooth sound of Bowie's rented Taurus. Where was the Shop 'N Go? What had taken him so long?
    Life, she thought, waiting for the front door to open, held great promise. Who could have guessed all this would happen when she took the huge, and really stupid, risk of breaking and entering into a CEO's office? Life was amazing. She wouldn't even go to jail. That in itself was amazing enough.
    Bowie came in, something in his hand. He closed and locked the front door, set the alarm, and turned to face her. He wouldn't show her what he'd bought, but he was grinning.
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