Vision in Silver Page 50

Meg shook her head. “We’re doing an experiment.”

But she wished she could have run a hand through his fur, just for that moment of connection. Just to say I am here.

*   *   *

Simon pulled on the clothes he’d left at HGR: jeans, canvas shoes, and a dark green polo shirt. Not the kind of outfit he used to wear during bookstore work hours, but he didn’t have to worry about making the correct impression on human customers anymore. Besides, now that it was warmer, these were the same kinds of clothes Kowalski, Debany, and MacDonald wore when they weren’t on duty. For the terra indigene who kept watch on the humans, blending in on a city street was just as important as moving unseen in the wild country.

Meg looked fine. He’d caught the scent of fear when he’d caught up with the girls, but it hadn’t come from her. Someone else in the gaggle had feared the Wolf because he looked like a Wolf.

He grinned. Gaggle of girls. Female pack had a sound of teeth and power. But gaggle? Easier to deal with a gaggle as long as he remembered a gaggle could change into a pack pretty damn fast.

As he reached the archway between HGR and A Little Bite, he noticed the lattice door was still closed. When he tried to open it, he discovered it was locked.

<Tess?>

<Fucking monkeys. Wither their eyes. Squeeze their hearts into black pulp. Turn them into festering cesspools contained in a weeping bag of skin.>

Simon stepped away from the lattice door. The voice sounded like Tess, but not the Tess he knew.

Plague Rider.

Harvesters were a rare form of terra indigene, loners who could kill with a look when their true nature was revealed. He’d invited Tess to live in the Lakeside Courtyard when he’d taken over as the leader. He’d known she was a dangerous predator, but he hadn’t known what she was until recently. And he’d never felt that he’d put the rest of the terra indigene in Lakeside at risk by letting her live here—until now.

<Tess? What’s wrong?>

<Go away, Simon. Just . . . go away. I’ll talk to you later.>

Hurrying to the stock room, he found the cloth they sometimes used to cover a table for an extra display. He tucked it over the lattice door. He suspected that Tess was somewhere in the back of her shop, out of sight of anyone looking in the windows, but if that wasn’t the case, he didn’t want any of his own being struck down by catching sight of her.

“Simon? Something you should know before you meet with the police.” Vlad approached him and eyed the covering. “What’s that?”

“Something’s wrong with Tess. Lieutenant Montgomery and the Lizzy will be coming down from the apartment anytime now. I think Tess locked all the doors into A Little Bite, but wait by our back door and make sure everyone comes into HGR.”

“You going to call Henry?”

Simon nodded. Not that a Grizzly could do any more than a Wolf against a Harvester, but Henry had been the first to recognize Tess’s form of terra indigene by the way she’d killed Asia Crane during the attack on the Courtyard. And Henry could help him keep everyone else away from the coffee shop.

While Vlad went out back to keep watch, Simon called Henry, Blair, and Nathan.

Lieutenant Montgomery walked in first, followed by Kowalski. Blair and Nathan arrived moments later.

“Where is the Lizzy?” Simon asked sharply.

Montgomery hesitated. “I needed a minute to talk to you, and Mr. Beargard kindly invited her to see his garden totems.”

The girl hadn’t slipped past Vlad and stumbled into Tess. Good.

Montgomery and Kowalski looked at the cloth covering the lattice door.

“Is there a problem?” Montgomery asked.

“Tess needs some quiet time,” Simon replied. And as soon as it was safe to approach her, he’d find out what had angered her so much.

“I need a favor,” Montgomery said, looking uncomfortable. “Lizzy has to make a formal statement this morning, and she’d like the Wolf police to go with her.”

“Wolf police?” Blair said.

Nathan huffed. “I didn’t think she’d know what an enforcer was.”

“Why does she want Nathan?” Simon asked.

“Lizzy believes that Boo Bear protects her from bad things, and now he’s not with her when she has to talk about what happened to her mother. That’s why she’d like Nathan to come with us. She says he has big teeth, even bigger than Boo Bear’s.”

They stared at Montgomery. Finally Simon said, “Boo Bear doesn’t have any teeth, so everyone has bigger teeth.”

“I know that.” Monty hesitated. “Lizzy’s mother was stabbed at the train station yesterday morning. She’s dead.”

Had I looked that tired and confused the night Daphne was shot? The night Sam watched his mother die? Simon glanced at Vlad. <You knew?>

<Captain Burke asked me to check with the Sanguinati in Toland for news,> Vlad replied. <Stavros called early this morning with information. It sounds like the lieutenant has learned enough to know why the Lizzy was on the train alone.>

“I’ll go with the puppy,” Nathan said.

“A lone Wolf in a building full of humans with guns?” Blair growled.

“Not alone,” Kowalski said. “Nathan won’t be alone.”

Simon nodded to acknowledge that promise.

“I’ll go with her,” Nathan said. “But the Lizzy is a squeezer, so I won’t shift to Wolf form.”

“It’s a sign of fear,” Simon said, pleased to share a nugget of information about human females—and relieved to think of something besides a death that stirred up too many memories. “When Meg watches a Wolf Team movie with Sam, I end up being squeezed.”

Should he mention the nervous fur plucking? Nah. That might just be Meg. Besides, Nathan wasn’t going as Wolf, so it shouldn’t matter.

“I’ve got the car,” Kowalski said. “We can go whenever you’re ready, Lieutenant.”

Montgomery looked at the covered door. “Anything I can do to help with that?”

Simon shrugged. “When I find out what upset her, I’ll let you know.”

Montgomery, Kowalski, and Nathan left the store to fetch Lizzy and drive over to the station.

Simon studied the doorway, then went to the counter to work on whatever orders he could fill.

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