Vision in Silver Page 24

He turned on the news, half listening as he made a sandwich he had no interest in eating and poured another glass of wine.

“In a day full of bewildering tragedies, the terra indigene and police departments all across Thaisia worked together to locate at-risk teenage girls who were wandering alone beside country roads and highways. The girls, left homeless by the sudden closing of several institutions that had cared for troubled teens, were suffering from dehydration and, in some cases, exhibited psychotic behavior when approached by rescue personnel.

“Motivational speaker Nicholas Scratch had this to say about today’s tragic events.”

Monty studied the man now filling the television screen—the man who was currently living with Elayne and Lizzy. Classically handsome with skin that might have been described as swarthy if it didn’t have the gleam of a pampered life. Wavy dark hair that was long enough that it should have looked unkempt if it hadn’t been perfectly styled to defy anything that might leave it mussed. Dark eyes that were filled with fiery sincerity.

Considering what had happened today, it wasn’t surprising that Nicholas Scratch was much in demand. But even if Elayne was attending the news conferences with Scratch, someone should have been home with Lizzy once school let out for the day. Someone should have been answering the phone, especially this late in the evening.

“While humans everywhere applaud the efforts the Others have made today to assist in the search for these troubled children, we also recognize that it is the actions of the terra indigene that set these tragic events in motion in the first place,” Scratch said. “The destruction of an institution in the Midwest, whose personnel allegedly engaged in questionable practices or forms of abuse, and the subsequent threats against any and all places that care for troubled girls, especially those with an addiction to self-harm, is at the core of today’s tragedies. Would the personnel running these establishments have closed them so precipitously if they hadn’t feared reprisals by creatures that cannot understand the pressure humans live with when under constant threat? Would they have left these girls to fend for themselves if they hadn’t feared that the communities where they lived and worked would be destroyed? Clearly the number of suicide victims found by rescuers should be a sufficient message that these establishments are needed and should be left alone.

“When humans asked what would be done with the rescued girls, the Others said the girls would be taken to safe, undisclosed locations,” Scratch continued. “Many of us are wondering tonight if these mentally fragile teenagers will ever be seen again.”

“They won’t be seen again by humans like you,” Monty muttered as he turned off the TV.

He had to admit that Scratch pushed all the right buttons, especially when earlier news reports were about the number of girls, many heavily pregnant, who ran out into the road and were struck by fast-moving vehicles.

It was easy enough to grab the spotlight by reminding everyone that the Others had started this by pressuring humans to reveal the locations of every place holding cassandra sangue. But the general population didn’t know that the Others had forced the issue because the girls’ blood was the main ingredient in the street drugs that had sparked violence in many towns across the continent. It was easy to point the finger and express fear for the girls the Others had taken out of reach, but what, if anything, would be said about the babies who had been disposed of by humans? Go ahead and bang the “we’re all humans” drum but don’t even whisper the words “benevolent ownership,” which might make a few people wonder why these girls with their evenly spaced scars had been shut away in the first place.

The phone rang. Monty almost spilled the wine as he grabbed the receiver. “Hello?”

“Lieutenant? It’s MacDonald.”

Had something else happened? Was he being called back to work? Please, gods, don’t ask me to face anything more tonight. “What can I do for you, Lawrence?”

“I got a call from Vladimir Sanguinati. He says the Business Association discussed matters, and they agreed that the girls should return to work tomorrow, and the Denbys should come by as planned. Just wanted to let you know.”

“I appreciate the call. Good night, Lawrence. See you tomorrow.”

“Good night, sir.”

Monty ended the call, drank the wine, and almost dumped the uneaten sandwich in the trash can. Then he remembered seeing a new sign on the bus: WASTE TODAY, GO HUNGRY TOMORROW.

He wrapped the sandwich and put it in the fridge. The bread might be stale tomorrow, but he could warm it in the wave-cooker and have the sandwich for breakfast.

After washing the few dishes sitting in the sink, he headed for bed. But he stopped and stared at the phone. Then he picked up the receiver and called Elayne’s number.

Someone picked up before the answering machine kicked in. Monty waited, but no one spoke.

“Elayne?” he said.

Nothing but heavy breathing on the other end of the line.

“Elayne?” Monty said again.

The person in Elayne’s apartment hung up.

Monty set the receiver back in its cradle and continued to stare at the phone. There was no one he could call in Toland, no fellow officer who would do him the favor of swinging by Elayne’s apartment. He’d been transferred from the Toland police force because he had killed a human to save a Wolf child who had been in human form. He’d been seen as a traitor to his own kind.

It could have been Elayne who answered the phone and decided to screw with him. Wasn’t her typical way of dealing with him, but he wouldn’t put it past her. She had blamed him for her sudden drop in social status and used Lizzy as a way to punish him, refusing to let him talk to his little girl. During one phone call a few weeks ago, she’d informed him that she and Lizzy were going to Cel-Romano with Scratch for the summer—and might not be coming back to Thaisia at all.

She and Monty hadn’t married. He had no visitation rights beyond what she might allow. In fact, the only thing Elayne did for him when it came to Lizzy was cash the support checks promptly.

“Lizzy,” Monty whispered as he picked up the receiver and dialed Elayne’s number again.

“You’ve reached the Borden residence. Leave your name, number, and the purpose of your call.”

Nothing this time. Not even heavy breathing.

Monty went to bed but didn’t sleep. Captain Burke knew a lot of people. Someone in Toland might be able to tell him something. And Vladimir Sanguinati knew some of the vampires who ruled the Toland Courtyard. He’d rather owe Burke a favor than deal with Vlad, but he’d take whatever help he could get to confirm his little girl was all right.

Prev Next