Vision in Silver Page 122

Do you know what happened to the dinosaurs? The Others is what happened to the dinosaurs.

A joke Captain Burke had told him his first day on the job in Lakeside. Except it wasn’t a joke. Burke had known that, at least to some degree.

And now so did he.

Captain Burke,

Leo Borden was found in the water near the Toland docks yesterday. His throat had been cut. Inside a secret pocket in his jacket, investigators found two emeralds and a white gold and diamond ring of distinct design that match items recently stolen. Police speculate that a falling-out among thieves might have led to Borden’s death. ITF tried to question Celia Borden about her son’s associates. However, neighbors said she left home two days ago and has not been seen since.

—Agent Greg O’Sullivan, ITF

P.S. Felix Scaffoldon didn’t show up for work today and no one has heard from him.

CHAPTER 58

Windsday, Maius 30

“This morning’s top story . . . Government officials throughout Thaisia claim they had no knowledge or involvement in the deal to sell grains and other foods to the Cel-Romano Alliance of Nations while claiming shortages at home in order to drive up prices. The farming association that was fingered by an anonymous source is denying any wrongdoing, but officials say there will be an investigation and this particular association, owned by a group of businessmen, will be under careful scrutiny from now on. Meanwhile, independent farmers and other farming groups who are not currently under investigation say that, barring natural disasters, they anticipate the usual yield from their crops this year.

“In other news, on the orders of Northeast Region Governor Patrick Hannigan, a task force of humans and terra indigene removed all of the alleged ‘blood prophets’ from halfway houses and other institutions in Toland. Citing health and safety concerns, the girls were taken to undisclosed facilities elsewhere in the Northeast. A spokesman for Governor Hannigan said some of the facilities could be facing charges of pandering and abuse.

“This just in. The captain of a ship from Brittania reported seeing a cargo ship sucked down by a whirlpool that appeared and disappeared without warning. The Brittanian ship looked for passengers and crew but found no survivors. The captain did say an unprecedented number of sharks were in the area. He also noted that, after leaving the area, his ship was followed by orcas until they were well away from the Fingerbone Islands, which the other ship was approaching when it went down.”

*   *   *

Meg tried to distract herself from the pins-and-needles feeling that roamed under her skin since their little caravan had left the Courtyard. She should have made a controlled cut yesterday, but Simon had asked her to wait, saying he needed a day to make arrangements.

But he wouldn’t tell her what kind of arrangements, only that they would take a little trip before she made the cut.

A moving image, like a movie. She absorbed the experience of riding in the backseat of a car. Merri Lee was in the backseat with her; Simon was in front with Michael Debany, who was driving. The hum of the tires on the road. Trees and grass and flowers growing wild. And the river! She wanted to stand on the bank and just watch the Talulah River.

She jumped, startled, when a hand closed over hers.

“You’re trembling,” Merri Lee whispered. “You okay?”

Meg nodded, then noticed Simon watching her. A whisper was as good as a shout to Wolf ears—even when those ears were human-shaped.

“I’m fine,” Meg whispered back. But she looked at Simon when she said it, then waited until he turned his attention to the front of the car before continuing. “The river is . . .” She shook her head, reluctant to admit just how much the river pulled at her.

“Closer to Talulah Falls, where there are rapids, it’s a powerful experience. And the Falls themselves. I saw them once.” Merri Lee smiled. “Hard to describe.”

Meg nodded.

They turned off the main road, passing a large, unappealing building before they drove up to the dwellings. House, garage, garage, house. That kind of dwelling had a name, but she wasn’t interested in searching through her training images to recall it, not when Karl and Ruth drove up, followed by the Courtyard’s minivan. Blair got out from the driver’s side, Henry from the passenger seat. Nathan and Tess got out from the side door.

“Simon?” Meg said as another group of cars drove up and parked nearby.

“That’s Steve Ferryman,” Simon said. “He’s bringing some of his people for this.”

“For what?”

“Look around, Meg. Before anyone says anything, just look around, get an image of this place.” Simon pointed at Merri Lee. “You stay with her.”

He walked away, gesturing for Michael and Karl to follow him.

Ruth joined her and Merri Lee. “Did you know there was a development here? It looks . . .”

“I don’t think we’re supposed to offer opinions yet,” Merri Lee said. “Meg needs quiet time to absorb.”

Ruth nodded.

It felt a little odd to stand there quietly with girls who weren’t cassandra sangue, absorbing images. She wondered what they saw.

She looked over her shoulder and watched Simon talking to Steve Ferryman and the people he’d brought from Great Island. She noticed Nathan carrying a basket over to a blanket that Tess had set over weedy grass.

The pins-and-needles feeling that had been roaming under her skin during the drive settled in one spot on her back.

Time to cut, she thought. As she looked at the houses and saw the columns of black smoke shift into Sanguinati, she thought she understood why Simon had brought her here.

*   *   *

“This is Emily Faire,” Steve Ferryman said. “She recently received her degree as a nurse practitioner. After you called and told me what you wanted to do, I asked her to join us. Thought it would be a good idea to have a trained medic on hand.”

“I’m pleased to meet you, Mr. Wolfgard,” Emily said. “Is it okay if I go over and introduce myself?”

Simon nodded. He waited until she was out of earshot before turning back to Steve. “You had a feeling?”

“No, not that kind of feeling,” Steve replied. “But Dr. Lorenzo is on that task force regarding the cassandra sangue. He may not be able to have regular office hours, so you should consider having someone else working in the Courtyard’s medical office. Emily is interested.”

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