Vision in Silver Page 105

She jolted when Simon and Nathan howled. So did Steve.

“Are they hurt?” he asked. “I mean, freshly hurt?”

“No, that’s the ‘We want the cookies’ howl,” Meg replied.

“Gotcha.” Steve took a step back. “You take care, Meg. And call us if you need anything.”

“I will.” She hesitated, but he was here. “The girls who were rescued from the compound. How are they doing?”

“Better now that we’ve lessened the visual stimuli in their rooms. The girls have a very fine line between enough and too much stimulation or information. The woman we hired to help them has a good feel for where that line is. The more successful outings the girls experience, the easier it is for them to let someone know when they’ve had too much. Hopefully they’ll learn other ways besides cutting to cope when they’re feeling overwhelmed.”

“They’re cassandra sangue,” Meg said. “Eventually, they’re going to cut.”

“But not as soon, and even once they start, maybe not as often.”

She thought of the information Jackson Wolfgard had sent about cs821. “Wait. Another cassandra sangue who is living with the Wolfgard in the Northwest is revealing visions through drawings.” She rubbed her left arm, trying to quiet the prickling. “Maybe that is something other girls could do to delay cutting.”

“Other girls,” Steve said softly. “But not you.”

“No, not me.” The prickling faded with the words, confirmation of a truth.

Steve took another step back. “Thanks for the suggestion. Get some rest, Meg.”

She closed the door, hefted the basket, and limped to the kitchen, ignoring the soft, whiny howls coming from the living room.

Were injured Wolves usually this whiny, or were they trying to play the sympathy card to get more attention . . . and more cookies? She’d ask Jane when the bodywalker dropped by this evening to check on the patients.

After putting away the food that needed refrigeration, she limped back to the living room with a tray that held a sandwich, two small plates with various flavors of cookies, and a pitcher of water for all of them. She filled Simon’s and Nathan’s water bowls halfway, then poured the rest of the water into her glass.

She didn’t want to watch television while they ate. And the radio kept talking about the attack at the stall market, so she couldn’t listen to that either, especially after hearing the one report. . . .

No. Simon was hurt, and Nathan was hurt, his face all cut up from the broken glass and whatever else the people had thrown at him while he was trapped in the bus. So, no, she wasn’t going to tell anyone yet that hearing Nicholas Scratch commenting about the attack in Lakeside had made her skin buzz.

CHAPTER 50

Watersday, Maius 26

Monty rubbed his hands over his face and looked around the efficiency apartment.

Long day. Long, terrible day. There would be physical and emotional repercussions. There would be the potential for reprisals. Local members of the Humans First and Last movement were loudly blaming the Others for the deaths, injuries, and destruction of property. If the Others had stayed in their designated piece of the city, where they belonged—if they belonged in any part of Lakeside—the incident wouldn’t have occurred, turning a friendly place like the stall market into a battleground. Mayor Rogers had waffled when interviewed, refusing to acknowledge that members of the HFL movement had incited the conflict and had been responsible for the shooting death of a police officer.

Nicholas Scratch, on the other hand, hadn’t waffled. Speaking from a safe location in Toland, he had been heavy on condolences for the families of the slain and emphasized how the HFL movement was rallying the whole Northeast Region to provide emotional support and physical assistance to those families. And he laid the blame on the terra indigene in the Lakeside Courtyard for making the people at the stall market feel so threatened, they had lashed out. And while it was regrettable that a police officer had been killed, along with several other humans caught in a senseless fight, such a reaction should have been expected.

The most chilling statement was made by Elliot Wolfgard when reporters cornered him after a meeting with the mayor.

“The earth natives who reside in Courtyards are property managers, the middlemen between humans and the rest of the terra indigene. We may speak for the earth natives who live in the surrounding wild country, but they are Thaisia’s final voice, and they will decide what happens next.”

And they, whoever they were, could not be bargained with, because anyone who managed to find them didn’t survive. That was assuming humans could communicate with them at all.

Tess had done a fair job of putting all the personal belongings back where she’d found them. If he’d walked in unprepared, he would have known someone had gone through his things, would have sensed differences before he searched out the confirming details. Something folded a little bit off or put in the drawers in a different order. Since he’d been told the Others had taken his and Lizzy’s things and then put them back, he’d given drawers and closet no more than a cursory look.

Going into the little kitchen, Monty cracked open a bottle of whiskey and poured himself a healthy glass. He didn’t drink much, but tonight he wanted something to smooth off the edges, especially since Lizzy wasn’t here.

When he called the Denbys to tell them about Lawrence MacDonald, Eve had insisted on Lizzy staying with them overnight. There were unanswered questions about the attempted break-ins. He didn’t doubt there had been an attempt, just as he didn’t think the timing of the break-in and stall-market attack was coincidence. But Boo Bear and the jewels were gone. The people in Toland who were involved with Elayne’s death had to know that. He didn’t think Captain Felix Scaffoldon was directly involved in Elayne’s murder, but he’d bet the captain was keeping someone in the information loop.

Which meant there was still a piece missing. Someone was still searching for something and thought it had reached Lakeside. Could some of the jewels have been hidden in something besides Boo Bear?

Monty stood absolutely still, letting that thought coil around him.

Something in a story he’d been reading to Lizzy before he’d been transferred to Lakeside. Pages of a book had been cut to form a secret compartment. She’d been excited when he’d read that, had wanted to turn one of her own books into a hiding place for secrets. He’d intended to look for a used book so that she wouldn’t ruin one of her new books. But she hadn’t brought any books with her, just . . .

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