Vision in Silver Page 52

“Your mommy put you on the train?” Burke asked.

“She showed me where I was supposed to stand when it was time; then we went to a restroom so Boo Bear could make poop before getting on the train. And I had to . . .” Lizzy stopped, her cheeks flushing red. “Mommy got mad because Boo Bear didn’t keep his mind on his business and took a long time and we were going to miss the train. But when we left the restroom, she looked around and made a sound, like she was going to be sick. She told me to get on the train, to find a family with children and act like I belonged with them, like a girl would do in the movies. She told me to go now, and she pushed me. Then she went back into the restroom.”

“Did you get on the train?”

“I didn’t want Mommy to be a decoy! I did what she told me, sort of, but then I went back to the restroom because I didn’t want to go without her. But she was on the floor, holding her tummy. I shook her arm, and she looked at me and told me to run. She told me she would be all right in a minute, but I had to run before the bad man hurt me too.”

The button Lizzy had been fiddling with the whole time came off the shirt. She looked at it for a long moment, then set it on the table.

“There was a boy and girl with their mommy and daddy getting on the train. The boy was crying and stamping his feet and all the people were looking at him. While the daddy was scolding him and picking him up, I got on the train with the mommy and then found a seat by myself.”

Silence. Then Burke said, “Thank you, Lizzy. That was a very good report. Why don’t you and your father get something to drink and wait for me in my office? I’d like to get Mr. Wolfgard’s statement about the train ride.”

Nathan would have preferred getting a drink with the Lizzy, but he remained seated and watched Montgomery and the Lizzy leave the room.

“What happened on the train?” Burke asked.

“I had spent some time in the Addirondak Mountains and was on my way home,” Nathan replied, shrugging. “Took a seat. Noticed the Lizzy and Boo Bear by themselves. A human male kept walking through the car and looking at her. She’s just a pup, and Boo Bear doesn’t have teeth, and no adult members of her pack had shown up, so . . .” Another shrug.

“So you stepped in,” Burke finished. “Lizzy might not have reached Lakeside if you hadn’t.”

Nathan shifted in his chair. “This room stinks. Can we leave now?”

“Stinks because you don’t like being here?”

“It smells of sick and cleansers.”

“Ah. I’ll let maintenance know.”

The moment Burke stood up, Nathan was on his feet too.

“Officer Kowalski will drive you back to the Courtyard. Would you mind taking Lizzy with you, just for an hour or two? Lieutenant Montgomery and I have some work to do.”

Nathan studied the human. The voice. Too casual. Like when a Wolf trotted past a herd of deer pretending not to notice them.

“Why do you want her there?” Nathan asked. “This building is protected. You have many humans with guns.”

“I’ve been told that Celia Borden wants custody of Lizzy,” Burke said quietly. “Leo Borden knew where Lizzy and Elayne were staying. Not a big leap to think Leo told someone, and that person wanted to make sure Elayne Borden didn’t leave Toland while her daughter’s toy held a fortune in gems.”

“What does that have to do with the Lizzy staying in the Courtyard?”

“Human law doesn’t apply in the Courtyard. I want to make sure our laws can’t be used against Lizzy and put her in danger. I don’t want to be compelled to hand her over to the enemy.”

Nathan thought trying to force Burke to do something that made him angry would be like trying to force Henry Beargard, with pretty much the same result. “That’s Simon’s decision, not mine.”

Burke didn’t mention that he and his police had helped Simon protect Meg, had done more to be helpful than humans had done before. Smart of Burke not to mention it and to keep the choice with the terra indigene.

“Tess is angry, so I’m not sure the Courtyard is the safest place, but the Lizzy can come back with me,” Nathan said. And he’d just hope some of the human pack were around and knew what to do with a human pup.


Watersday, Maius 12

There had been the sound of dripping, and blood on the floor, and the other girls. . . .

She stood next to the bed and focused on the man who blocked the room’s doorway.

A different place. A new keeper. But he didn’t look like a Walking Name. It wasn’t just the jeans and blue shirt that made him different from the ones who had controlled her in the compound. He seemed . . . wild . . . and his amber eyes made her certain that he wasn’t human.

Why had one of them brought her to this place?

“I’m Jackson Wolfgard. You said you wanted to live. The Intuits couldn’t keep you in their village, so we brought you here to the Wolfgard camp in the terra indigene settlement.”

She had said she wanted to live. Had screamed the words. Yes. She remembered that much. Her memories of how she had gotten from that room to this one were veiled.

She recalled training images of expressions in an attempt to figure out what she saw in his face. Reluctance. Resignation.

He moved to the desk and chair, the only other pieces of furniture in the room besides the bed and small table with a lamp. When he stepped away, she stared at the silver razor he’d left on the desk.

“Meg, the Trailblazer, says you should have the razor, that cutting should be your choice. She says this kind of room will help quiet your mind.” Jackson watched her, just as she watched him. “We don’t know how to take care of the sweet blood, but we’ll try to help you stay alive, if that’s what you want.” A hesitation. “You should choose a name.”

“I’m called cs821,” she whispered.

“That’s not a name.”

She didn’t know what to say.

“If you want something, ask us.”

When she nodded, he left the room and closed the door.

She waited, but nothing happened. When she got tired of waiting, she explored the room. Wood walls, wood floor, wood ceiling. Wood desk, wood chair, wood table, wood headboard. Wood shutters that were open, but the screened window was covered on the outside with white paper that allowed light to come in but prevented her from seeing out.

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