Black Heart Page 48

“Don’t you talk to me about responsibility, boy,” I said furiously, spinning him around and grabbing him by the lapel. “You have no idea what I’ve done, what I’ve sacrificed, while all of you were safely sleeping in your beds dreaming of sugarplums. I was fighting a war before any of you even knew the war existed.”

“And the public should know that,” Dabrowski said. “They should know that someone is out there working for them. You should be on all the morning shows, letting people know that all supernatural creatures aren’t killers.”

I smiled, and I knew it was not a nice smile. “What makes you think I’m not a killer?”

Dabrowski paled. “You don’t kill people. You save them.”

“How old are you?” I asked casually.

“Twenty-seven,” he said.

“Would you like to make it to twenty-eight?”

Beezle had been busily tapping away at the screen of the iPhone while this conversation was occurring. “Listen,” he said.

He held up the phone and I heard my voice and Beezle’s, as clear as day.

“You didn’t hear a thing, huh?” I said to Dabrowski.

He swallowed. “What are you going to do?”

“Drop the phone, Beezle,” I said.

Beezle released the phone, and I blasted it with nightfire as it fell to the ground. There was nothing left of it except a few microscopic fragments.

“My phone,” Dabrowski moaned. “That phone cost four hundred dollars!”

“You can send me the bill,” I said as I released him. “And that will teach you not to mess with things you don’t understand in the future.”

“You should be grateful, really,” Beezle said. “Just think. That could have been your head.”

Dabrowski fell to his knees, picking up the tiny pieces that remained of his phone. Then he stood up and faced me, fire in his eyes. “I don’t care about the phone. Everything that just happened is going to be all over the Internet in an hour.”

“Listen to me, Jack Dabrowski,” I said. “If you continue your pursuit and harassment of me, if one word of anything I said or did is printed on your blog, you will regret it.”

“You think you can threaten me and get away with it?” Dabrowski said.

“Yes,” I said simply.

“Do not mess around with her,” Beezle said. “She has this addiction to fire. I don’t know where it came from. But she might just decide to burn your house down.”

“With you in it,” I added.

Dabrowski shook his head. “I can’t believe you’re like this. I thought you would be nicer.”

“I don’t know why you thought that,” I said. “The only thing you’ve ever seen me do is kill things.”

I turned and walked away then, leaving Dabrowski staring after me.

Beezle waited until we crossed the street and we were well away from the nosy blogger before speaking. “So, what are we going to do about that problem?”

I shrugged. “Burning down his house sounds like a great idea.”

“You’re not serious,” Beezle said. “I thought you were just throwing your weight around to scare him.”

“I wouldn’t burn it down with him inside,” I clarified. “But if he becomes too much of a liability, I will definitely make sure that he realizes he’s going to suffer.”

“And there’s the dark-side Maddy I know and despise,” Beezle said.

I stopped short and pulled Beezle off my shoulder, settling him in one of my palms so I could look him in the eye. “It’s not dark side. I’m trying to help that kid.”

“Help him by wrecking his house? Didn’t someone else just do that to you?”

“Yes, they did,” I said. “And I am grateful that it was only the house that burned, and not me, or my loved ones. What do you think would happen to Dabrowski if he had eavesdropped on one of my conversations with Lucifer? Or if he had stumbled upon one of the fae? What do you think Focalor would do to Dabrowski if he caught him spying?”

“He’d have his head ripped from his shoulders,” Beezle said reluctantly.

“Yes,” I said. “Unceremoniously and without warning. He’s all excited because his lifelong theories have been proven true. But he’s messing around in things he doesn’t understand. The supernatural world is no place for a mortal.”

“So you’re protecting him,” Beezle said.

“And myself,” I said. “I can’t do what needs to be done if I’m being trailed by a band of groupies.”

“And what needs to be done?” Beezle asked. “Seems to me like you’re a soldier without a war at the moment. You wiped out those bug-things that were supposedly going to invade. Daharan is taking care of the Agency/Retriever problem. The vampires are gone and the humans are learning how to play nice with things they don’t understand.”

“There’s still the pending problem of Lucifer and Evangeline’s child,” I reminded him. “And the fact that Titania probably still wants to kill me for defying her several times in a row.”

“Oh, she does,” Beezle assured me. “My contacts in the court have told me that she curses your name several times a day, particularly now that Bendith has left.”

“Bendith left his mother’s court?” I said.

That was interesting. I returned Beezle to my shoulder and continued walking north on Lincoln. We passed by Wishbone, a southern-cooking restaurant that always had delicious smells wafting out. The odd mixture of middle-class professionals and low-income students with a penchant for organic eating came and went from the Whole Foods across the street. Sweaty-faced gym-goers emerged from the YMCA. Everything seemed normal, like there had never been a crisis at all.

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