Kitty Goes to Washington Page 42

The pale wolf crashed into the door, jaws open, slobbering on the window.

Stockton was filming it.

“Roger, would you put down that camera and drive?” I shouted.

The second time the wolf charged us, causing the whole car to rock on its wheels, Stockton put the camera down and started the engine. We pulled out onto the road a second later.

My straggler curled up in his seat. Hugging himself, he shook, sweat breaking out on his face. He mumbled, “Stop it… stop it…”

He was starting to Change. It began inside, a feeling like an animal clawing its way out. It hurt more when you tried to keep it from happening. When you couldn't stop the Change from happening.

I grabbed him, taking hold of his face and making him look at me. “Keep it together, okay? Take a deep breath. Slow breath. Good, that's good. Nice and easy, keep it together.” His breathing slowed; he stopped trembling. After another moment, he even relaxed a little. Some of the tension left his arms.

He closed his eyes. He wouldn't look at me.

“What's your name?”

He needed a moment to catch his breath. “Ty. It's Ty.”

“Nice to meet you, Ty.” He nodded quickly, nervously, keeping his head down. I moved a hand to his shoulder—a light touch to keep him anchored in his body—and sat back.

Now maybe I could catch my breath.

I didn't want to think about the can of worms we'd opened. In the long run, Smith being gone could only be a good thing. But all those people were homeless now, and confused. And monsters. At least we were in the middle of nowhere. They could only hurt each other. Which was bad enough.

“Kitty, you're bleeding.” Jeffrey stared at me between the two front seats.

Blood covered my right arm. Just looking at it sent waves of pain riding through my shoulder.

“It's okay,” I said, gritting my teeth. “It'll be fine by morning.”

“The rapid healing, that's true?” Stockton said. The reporter turned his camera onto me, holding it between the front seats with one hand while steering with the other and only half watching the road. “Can I watch?”

“No.” I glared until he set the thing down. I took the charm off and handed it to the front seat. Roger accepted it, pulling the chain over his head. “Roger, your grandmother got you into this, didn't she? The fairy charms, the supernatural. Working for Uncharted World?”

He smiled wryly. “Some people think I'm on that show because I'm a crappy reporter. I could be on CNN if I wanted. Except I believe. No, I don't believe. I know. The supernatural—it's like any other mystery. You find enough evidence, you can prove the truth. This gig gets me closer to that.” Just like Flemming. The search for truth. Stockton was just traveling a different road. “So—you sure you won't let me film you next full moon?”

“No.”

“How about you, kid?”

“What?” Ty looked woozy.

“No,” I said.

Stockton chuckled, entirely too amused. “Hey—where are we going?”

I found my phone in my pocket, turned it on, and hesitated, because I didn't know who I could call for help. I hated to say that my first impulse was to call Cormac. He'd know what to do with a couple dozen rogue vampires and werewolves rampaging the countryside. Unfortunately, his solution would involve lots of silver bullets and stakes, and we'd end up with a bunch of corpses. I was trying to avoid that.

My next idea was to call Ahmed. I didn't have a phone number for the Crescent, so I called information. They were able to get me through to the restaurant side. A cheery-sounding hostess whose voice I didn't recognize answered the phone.

“Good evening, this is the Crescent. May I help you?”

“Hi, yeah—is Ahmed there?”

“Who?”

A sinking feeling attacked my stomach. “Ahmed. The guy who owns the place.”

“Oh! Just a moment. May I tell him who's calling?”

“It's Kitty.”

She set the phone aside. I could hear the murmur of generic restaurant noises—voice talking, tableware clinking—in the background. The moment stretched on. I started tapping my foot. I didn't have a lot of time here.

A familiar, robust voice picked up the line. “Kitty! How are you?”

Situations like this made it so hard to answer that question. “I need some help, Ahmed. What would you do with a couple dozen vampires and lycanthropes who'd lost it and you wanted to get them under control so they didn't get hurt?”

I grit my teeth. When I said it out loud like that, this mess sounded ridiculous.

He hesitated for a long time, so that I had to listen to the restaurant white noise again. Then he said, “I would leave the area, and wait until morning to return to see what was left.”

“But the vampires will die without shelter.”

“That would not be my concern.”

No, it wouldn't, would it? “Then what about the lycanthropes? I know you'd want to help the lycanthropes.”

“If you can bring them here, to the club, I can shelter them.”

“But I have no way of getting them there.”

“Kitty, what have you gotten yourself into?”

I sighed. He wasn't going to be any help. He probably never even left the Crescent, his little domain. “It's a long story. I'll have to talk to you later. Bye.”

“Goodbye?” He sounded confused. I hung up anyway.

That left one other option.

I called Alette to ask her if she could help. Bradley answered the phone, put me on hold, and returned to say that she could. She'd meet me at Smith's caravan in an hour.

An hour later, we drove back by the site. The police had already arrived in squad cars, along with a sedan I recognized as the one Bradley drove, and a large, windowless van.

Stockton pulled onto the shoulder. A cop came forward and tried to wave him away. I rolled down the back window. “I'm with Alette,” I called. The cop hesitated, then let Stockton park.

While a trio of cops moved alongside the road setting out flares and obviously standing guard, Alette and Leo stood at the edge of the grassy field. A group of people approached them from the caravan. Leo held something out to them, and they moved slowly, cautiously toward him.

“Stay here, lock the doors,” I said as I climbed out of the car. I didn't stick around to see if they listened to me. I didn't get too close. I had my limits. The people drawn to Leo were thin, wan, cold—vampires. Leo held a jar of blood, open to the air, so that the smell drew them.

Prev Next