Vision in Silver Page 6

Meg had come from that Midwest compound. Simon had found her cell while looking for her friend Jean, and just the memory of Meg’s scent in that place filled him with rage.

The man in the ticket booth waved them away. “No charge for you today. Best get down to the water. They’re holding the ferry for you.”

<Not a usual occurrence,> Henry said, switching to the terra indigene’s form of communication as they walked to the ferry.

<No. But when Steve Ferryman called and asked for this meeting, he sounded scared.>

Simon wasn’t sure how the Intuits saw themselves—as a race separate from other humans or as a group of people who had been persecuted because of their particular ability to sense what was around them in ways other humans couldn’t. Whatever that ability was called—intuition or second sight—the Intuits didn’t see visions, but they would get a feeling about something, good or bad. Driven out of human settlements generations ago, they had made their own bargains with the terra indigene and now had their own villages hidden in the wild country, out of reach of their persecutors.

But they hadn’t always been out of reach. When they had lived among other humans, sometimes they had sired girl children who were more sensitive than the rest of the Intuits, girls who could see visions. Out of the Intuits had come the first cassandra sangue, the girls who saw warnings of things to come whenever their skin was cut.

In a way, they were all coming full circle. The Intuits, who had given up those offspring, thinking they were saving the girls as well as their other children, were now volunteering to be the caretakers of the girls who wanted to leave the compounds where they had been considered, and treated as, property.

Meg was not property. Not anymore. She was his friend—and she should have waited for him to return before using the silver razor.

As soon as he got home, he’d growl at Meg for being sneaky about this cutting. And he’d growl at Merri Lee too. That might make more of an impression.

Or not.

When Howling Good Reads had been open to human customers, the females who came sniffing around were there to see a terra indigene wearing fur or feathers or they were looking to take a walk on the wild side, viewing sex with a male who wasn’t human as some kind of trophy. That behavior was easy to understand and ignore. But the Courtyard’s human pack! Nothing simple about those females.

<Stop growling,> Henry said. <You’re scaring the humans.>

He hadn’t realized he’d been growling. A quick check of tongue over teeth warned him that he needed to shift his canines back to something closer to human before he smiled at the twitchy humans who were watching him.

“Good morning,” the human male said as Simon and Henry stepped onto the ferry. “I’m Will Ferryman, Steve’s brother. And this is our aunt, Lucinda Fish. We’ll take you over to the island. Steve has a room reserved at the government building. You know where that is?”

“We do,” Henry said.

“Do you mind if we stay outside?” Simon asked. The ferry wasn’t a big craft, and he really didn’t want to spend the time closed up in the cabin with a bunch of nervous passengers.

Nervous humans smelled more like prey, making it easier to react as a Wolf on the hunt—and making it much harder to back away once the scent of blood filled the air.

“Not a problem. Just don’t lean over the rail too far,” Will said. “Even a good swimmer can get in serious trouble in this current.”

<Does he think we’re that stupid?> Simon asked Henry as they made their way to the bow.

<No, but I think he’s dealt with humans who were that stupid,> Henry replied.

Will and his aunt cast off the lines, and the ferry began its journey across the Talulah River.

Ferryman’s Landing was an Intuit village divided by the river. Half the village was on the mainland, while the other half was on Great Island. Unlike Lakeside, which was a human-controlled city built on land leased from the Others, Ferryman’s Landing had always been a human settlement controlled by the terra indigene. That meant the earth natives had the final say in everything humans did, whether it was putting up a new building or allowing someone to become a village resident, and they had no qualms about eliminating humans who tried to cause trouble.

That was a hard truth the residents of Talulah Falls were still learning, now that the town was no longer under human control.

“Looks like Steve Ferryman didn’t want to wait for us to go up to the government building,” Henry said when they were in sight of the ferry’s dock and saw the two males who were watching them. “Or else Ming Beargard also has a reason to meet us.”

The Black Bear claimed he was just a part-time peacekeeper on the island. But Ming was one of the few terra indigene on the island who actually ventured into the village itself, so saying Ming was just a peacekeeper was like saying Henry was just a sculptor. Lakeside’s Grizzly was a member of the Business Association as well as the Courtyard’s spirit guide. As such, Henry’s opinion carried weight.

So did the paw that could, and would, wallop sense into a person.

<Steve asks that you remain on the ferry,> Ming told them. <The meeting place has been changed.>

A mantle of fur sprang up around Simon’s shoulders. As a human, he was an adequate swimmer. As a Wolf, he was excellent. But he wouldn’t want to test his strength and stamina against the Talulah River. He didn’t like feeling suspicious that Steve Ferryman would bring them to the island and then not want them there, but he had no reason to distrust the village’s mayor. Yet.

As soon as the ferry docked, Steve and Ming boarded. While Steve went up to the wheelhouse to talk to Will, Ming and Lucinda Fish encouraged the human passengers to disembark with alacrity.

The passengers looked at Henry and Simon and didn’t need to be asked twice.

Still standing at the bow, Simon watched Roger Czerneda, the village’s official police officer, and Flash Foxgard, another part-time peacekeeper, set up sawhorses, closing off access to the ferry. “Something’s happening,” he said quietly to Henry.

<Steve wants us to sit in the cabin and talk,> Ming said when the last passenger hurried up the dock and eased between the sawhorses.

<Is there a reason he doesn’t want us on the island?> Simon asked.

<Too many humans want to talk instead of letting Steve be their voice,> Ming replied. <Many gathered in front of the government building in anticipation of your arrival. Steve slipped out the back door of the building in order to meet you here.>

Prev Next