Vision in Silver Page 109

“Arroo?” Nathan queried softly.

How long had she been standing there, holding the door open?

“Busy brain,” she said, entering the room. Picking up the book she’d left on the table, she chose the new lounge chair that faced the Green Complex’s courtyard. Merri Lee and Michael Debany had given her two lounge chairs as a housewarming present. Ruth Stuart and Karl Kowalski had given her a small round table and two chairs that provided her with a place to eat or work on a project.

Someone, probably Vlad or Tess, had done a little rearranging in order to move the Wolf beds into the summer room.

After a confirming sniff to determine which bed was his, Nathan lay down, put his head on his paws, and dozed off.

Meg didn’t know where her human friends were today. In mourning, certainly. Were they at the MacDonalds’ house, helping Lawrence’s parents and Theral do whatever was done at a time like this?

She had seen videos, and sometimes live demonstrations, of girls being abused or even killed, but she didn’t have many training images of men being killed. Instead, there were images that, put together with another image, would mean a kind of death. A wrecked car and a sympathy card. A gun and a cremation urn. Not that the Controller or Walking Names had told the girls what those combinations of images meant, but eventually she and Jean had figured it out.

Did the blood prophets who were floundering see that kind of combination of images as they made their final, fatal cut?

Meg shook her head as if that would dislodge the thoughts. When she realized she was rubbing her arms to relieve that pins-and-needles feeling, she also realized Nathan was awake and watching her.

“It’s all right. The prickling is going away,” she told him, which was true.


Despite being hurt, he was still on guard. In her own way, so was she.

Meg opened her book and tried to read. But she couldn’t settle into the story because she kept thinking of Henry carving a new bear for Lizzy. Here in the Courtyard, they looked after one another.

Lawrence MacDonald’s friends were looking after his family, but what about Jenni and Starr? Was there some way she could take care of them?

She polished coins until they shone. A small token, a gesture of sympathy for the loss of a sister. And . . .

A big paw pushed against her thigh with considerable force.

Meg gasped. Nathan stood next to her chair, looking like he was about to howl his head off.

“I’m fine,” she said, although how could she be fine if she’d just had a vision without cutting? That had happened only once, before the attack on the Courtyard earlier that year, when she’d been making deliveries during the day and suddenly thought she was driving at night.

“Rroo!” Decisive disagreement.

“I’m fine,” Meg insisted. “I was thinking.” She raised her hand to give him a reassuring pat and keep him quiet, then remembered not to touch his face. “I was thinking.”

“Arroo?” Not convinced yet that she was fine, but listening.

“This is different, and I’m not sure how to explain it.”

Nathan sat next to the lounge chair and waited.

“I was thinking about Jenni and Starr and if there was anything I could do for them. And then I saw something I could do. I thought it was a vision because I have visions. But it wasn’t really a vision. It was my mind supplying an answer to the question by showing me doing something nice for them.” Excited, she swung her legs over the side of the chair, which put her nose to nose with Nathan. “It wasn’t blood-prophet thinking, it was regular-girl thinking!”

He sniffed her face and apparently decided there was no cause for alarm.

“Could you tell Julia Hawkgard that I’d like to see her?”

Nathan cocked his head. When she didn’t say anything else, he went back to his bed and lay down. A minute later, Julia showed up.

“Is something wrong?” Julia asked.

“No,” Meg assured her. “I just need a few things from the Market Square, and my knee . . .” She gestured to the bandaged knee. There was nothing that wrong with her knee. All she needed to do was avoid bending it so far that she would split the healing cut. She could have walked or driven her BOW, but Nathan would have come with her no matter what she said, and he needed to rest.

“Oh. Sure,” Julia said. “What do you need?”

Meg told her what she wanted. While she waited for Julia to return, she wondered what the Others thought about her request. Maybe Julia thought it was something peculiar to humans. Or maybe the Hawk had understood the reason for the request. Either way, Julia returned swiftly with all the items.

While Simon was at his meeting and Nathan snoozed, Meg sat at the table in the summer room and polished two rolls of dimes until every coin shone.

*   *   *

Simon wasn’t sure if Blair and Elliot shifted to Wolf because it was Earthday and they customarily were in this form on the day that was free of contact with humans, or if they didn’t want him to feel uncomfortable about being the only one who wasn’t in human form for this meeting.

Either way, once he chose a spot in Vlad’s living room and lay down, Blair and Elliot settled on either side of him. Vlad, Nyx, and Erebus Sanguinati sat on chairs that faced the Wolves. That left Henry and Tess sitting at opposite ends of the room.

“There aren’t many entries in the book that are of interest to us, so I’ll just read those bits out loud,” Tess said.

“Diary,” Vlad said. “That kind of book is called a diary. Where did you get it?”

“I took it from Lieutenant Montgomery’s apartment. It was in a drawer with the Lizzy’s clothes, so it’s likely that this came with her—and after Nyx and I read it, we realized this was the reason someone is still after the girl.”

“The Lizzy is young,” Erebus said. “What could one so young write down that would have so many hunters on her trail?”

“The Lizzy didn’t write anything,” Tess replied. “Elayne Borden, on the other hand . . .”

<Read it,> Simon said, eyeing the diary as he would an angry rattlesnake.

Tess read the entries. When she finished, Simon waited to hear what the rest of them would say, but no one spoke . . . unless he counted Blair growling.

“This confirms what the terra indigene already figured out, but now humans in government should be told why their people won’t have enough food, why some possessions will be difficult to buy,” Henry finally said.

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