Vision in Silver Page 16

“I’ll set up an appointment with the property agent, and Eve and I will see you tomorrow.”

Monty wondered if Simon was waiting for Pete to leave before telling them about the other thing that had brought a Wolf to a police station. There were aspects of the Courtyard the Others didn’t share lightly. On the other hand, if Pete was going to do some house hunting for them, he was bound to meet the Courtyard’s carefully guarded and special employee.

Simon studied Pete for a moment, then turned to Burke. “Have the police been told to search for girls left on the side of the road?”

“Any particular kind of girl?” Burke asked quietly.

“Girls with silver razors. Girls who are gestating.” Simon growled. “Roadkill.”

Burke’s eyes looked like blue ice. “Here in Lakeside?”

Simon shook his head. “Beyond Lakeside and Great Island.”

“How . . . accurate . . . is your information?”

“We sent out a warning to all the terra indigene in Thaisia because of what we were told. They’re already searching. You’re the last pack to hear the warning.”

“We’ll get the word out. Lieutenant?”

Monty looked at Simon and motioned toward the door. “I’ll walk you out.”

“My scent here is fresh. I can find the door to outside.” Simon cocked his head. “This walking. It’s like a female in a story saying she’s going to powder her nose when she’s really going to pee?”

Pete choked.

“Something like that,” Monty said in a strangled voice. He walked out of Burke’s office. Simon followed him.

Monty waited until they were outside. “Is Ms. Corbyn all right? That’s how you know the information is accurate, because she made a cut?”

“Meg is fine—but she doesn’t know about the girls yet.” Simon shifted his weight from one foot to the other, a small sign of anxiety in someone who was usually bold and direct. “Humans paid a lot of money for prophecies. That makes the cassandra sangue valuable to the humans who run the compounds. Why would they leave girls on the side of the road?”

“The girls could have left on their own. Meg did.”

“Meg escaped. These girls can tell police, can tell us they want to leave. They didn’t have to run away and be alone.” Simon’s eyes were full of sadness and acceptance in equal parts. “We won’t find some of them until they’re dead.”

“The police will be out there searching too, and we’ll save as many as we can.” Monty waited a beat. “Anything else?”

“Nothing that can’t wait.” Simon walked away.

While Monty watched Simon and Blair drive off, Louis Gresh, commander of the bomb squad, approached.

“You look like you’ve just found a ticking briefcase,” Louis said.

“Close enough. But thank the gods, the bomb isn’t in Lakeside this time.”

“Anything I can do to help?”

“Plenty.” Together, they went back inside to help Burke send the warning to police stations throughout Thaisia.

CHAPTER 7

Thaisday, Maius 10

He looks sad, Meg thought as Simon walked into the sorting room and stopped when he realized Merri Lee and Ruth were with her. He looks angry and sad.

She rushed toward him. “What happened?” When he didn’t answer, she looked at her friends, then back at him. “Simon? What happened?”

What were you supposed to do when a friend looked angry and sad but you didn’t know why?

“You’re the Trailblazer,” Simon said. “You have answers, and we need answers.”

“He’s right,” Merri Lee said.

Meg compared Merri Lee’s face to training images. Pale. Sick. Upset.

She knows why Simon is upset. It’s because of the prophecy, because of the thing she didn’t want to tell me about.

Ruth, on the other hand, looked concerned, but she didn’t look knowing.

“This is what we figured out.” Merri Lee set a series of photographs on the sorting table. “Meg has created a framework of tangible things that acts as an anchor and keeps her from being overwhelmed by visual and auditory stimuli. The framework is a combination of big things like the sorting table and smaller things like where the CD player and the stack of CDs are placed on the counter. These are the constant things that can’t change because Meg needs to count on them being exactly where they are.”

“It’s like the furnishings in Meg’s room at the compound—,” Ruth began.

“Cells,” Meg said tightly. “They were called cells. They locked from the outside, and we only had what the Walking Names allowed us to have.”

Ruth nodded to indicate understanding. “The cells’ contents didn’t change for as long as the girl lived in the compound. We think that lack of change balanced all the new images and videos the girls were shown as part of their training to describe the visions.”

Meg didn’t add her personal bit of speculation: that the sterility of the cells made the girls want to study the images—and made them more willing to cut in order to experience some stimulus. The addiction was still there, the craving for the razor and how the euphoria made her feel. It still veiled her mind to protect her from the visions, but the euphoria didn’t feel as intense as the sensations she’d felt a few months ago. Or maybe she wanted to believe that because there were so many other kinds of pleasant stimulation now.

Something she needed to think about a while longer.

“We can’t say if it’s because of the training or simply how their brains work, but we think that, because they absorb everything around them, blood prophets suffer from information overload much faster than other people, and they zone out in order to give their minds a rest,” Merri Lee said.

Meg could tell by the way Simon’s ears had gotten a little furry and more Wolf shaped that he was listening hard to everything they were saying, but she wasn’t sure if he understood what they were saying.

“When pups are young, they have to absorb everything too in order to learn about the world,” he said. “Their constant things are the den and the pack.”

“What happens when their little brains get tired?” Merri Lee asked.

Simon narrowed his eyes at Meg. “They curl up and take a nap.”

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