Vision in Silver Page 19

Cleaning house. Isn’t that what humans called it when they wanted to avoid being punished for some wrongdoing? Cleaning house. Destroying the evidence that would show everyone they were bad, even for humans.

Maybe we should do a little housecleaning too.

He wasn’t sure what else he said to Joe, or what Joe said to him, before he ended the call with a promise to send information about how to keep the rescued girls alive.

Humans. He had tried to watch them, work with them, even help some of them.

Right now, all he wanted to do was get rid of them before they hurt Sam. Before they hurt Meg.

He could, and would, rid the Courtyard of the sickness called human before it contaminated the terra indigene, before it changed them. He was, after all, the dominant Wolf, the leader.

He went downstairs. John Wolfgard took one look at him and cowered.

Simon took the keys from his pocket and calmly locked HGR’s front door.

No escape from that direction.

“Simon?” Vlad’s voice. Sharp. Almost challenging.

“All humans are banished from the Courtyard. I don’t want to see them, hear them, smell them.”

“What happened?” Tess’s voice now. Just as sharp.

Simon turned and felt the fury explode in him when he spotted Merri Lee and Ruthie standing next to Tess, whose coiled red hair rapidly gained streaks of black.

Ignoring Tess’s visual warning, Simon rushed at the girls, his hands shifting to accommodate Wolf claws.

“Filthy monkeys!” he howled at them. Spittle flew from his mouth. He swiped at Vlad when the vampire stepped between him and the girls. “Filthy, greedy monkeys! Meg’s puppies aren’t something you drown like a bag of kittens! But that’s what you do, isn’t it? You destroy anything to get what you want, anything that isn’t exactly like you!”

He almost dodged Vlad when he leaped to attack Merri and Ruthie. He might have survived Tess. But Henry’s big, furry arms caught him, lifting him off his feet so that all he could do was struggle and rage.

“Get out,” Vlad said, pushing the girls toward the back door. “Get out of the Courtyard and stay away until I call you.”

“But I live in the efficiency—,” Merri Lee began.

“Find another place tonight,” Vlad snapped.

“Give her ten minutes to pack a few clothes,” Tess said. “Ruthie can run over to the Three Ps and tell Lorne to close up, then go to the medical office and tell Theral.”

Simon howled. The prey was getting away!

“Go!” Tess said.

The girls ran toward the back of the store. But Merri Lee turned back. “What about Meg?”

<Our Meg!> Simon screamed.

“We’ll look after Meg and keep her safe,” Vlad said, watching Simon. “Go.”

Simon panted. Hard to breathe. The prey was gone. No point fighting with the Grizzly now that the prey was gone.


Fucking vampire was right in his face again. Bite him!

“Who did you talk to?” Vlad asked quietly. “Simon? Who told you about Meg’s puppies?”

Not Meg’s puppies, but they might have been.

His mouth couldn’t shape human speech. <Joe found . . .> Without the fury, he felt sick and too tired to fight with Vlad and Henry.

Henry hauled him up to the Business Association’s room. Unable to stand being in that filthy human skin a moment longer, Simon tore off his clothes and shifted fully to Wolf. The relief was almost painful.

He curled up and studied Henry, who stood guard at the door.

<Meg?> he asked.

<We’ll take care of Meg,> Henry replied. <You can see her when you’re calmer.>

Henry wouldn’t lie. With the humans out of the Courtyard, Meg would be safe.

Simon closed his eyes. Drifting in an uneasy sleep, he dreamed of Meg falling through the ice on Courtyard Creek, weighed down by bags that wailed and screamed.

*   *   *

Vlad hung up the phone with exaggerated care . . . and wondered how long Tess had been standing in the doorway.

“It’s bad?” she asked.

He understood killing to eat, to survive. He understood killing an enemy. He understood killing to protect family and home.

But he didn’t understand this. He wasn’t sure there was any kind of terra indigene who could understand this.

One chance, he thought as he picked up the phone and dialed. One chance to show us you’re not all monsters. “Come in so you can listen. I’d rather not repeat this more often than required.”

*   *   *

Monty stepped into Burke’s office to ask if the man wanted a cup of coffee, but the captain was on the phone, and his face was set and pale.

Retreating, Monty bumped into Kowalski, who grabbed his arm and pulled him toward his own desk, where Officers Debany and MacDonald waited for them, along with Louis Gresh and Pete Denby.

“Ruthie just called me,” Kowalski said, speaking so low the other men had to lean in to hear him. “Something has happened, something bad, but the girls don’t know what it is. Simon Wolfgard just banished all humans from the Courtyard. He’s so pissing mad, he tried to attack Merri Lee and Ruthie.”

Monty’s heart banged against his chest. Mikhos, guardian spirit, please spare us from having to fill out a Deceased, Location Unknown form for any of these girls. “Are they all right?”

“Yeah. Tess, Vlad, and Henry intervened. Right now, the other two girls are with Ruthie at our apartment. Merri Lee is staying with us tonight. Lawrence can pick up Theral after his shift.”

“Thanks,” MacDonald said.

Pete looked at the rest of them. “Is this because of the girls everyone is searching for?”

“Ruthie doesn’t think so,” Kowalski replied.

“The Others knew about those girls before we did,” Monty said. “Wolfgard wouldn’t have lost control hours later, so it has to be—”

“Gentlemen,” Burke said from his office doorway. “In here. Last one in, close the door.”

Monty went in first. Pete Denby came in last, closing the door.

“I’ve just had two phone calls. The first was from a contact in a police department in the Northwest.” Burke gave them all a chilling smile. “The girls the police and the Others are searching for? They’re all pregnant. Every single girl who has been found so far is pregnant, and some of them were in labor when they were found.”

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