Vision in Silver Page 95

Kowalski shook his head. “The lieutenant and the Denbys took the children to the movies this afternoon. His phone will be turned off. You call the station. I’ll call Captain Burke.”

As the two men made their calls, Kowalski headed for Ruthie and Merri Lee, while Debany made his way back to the table where Lawrence MacDonald stood, a questioning look on his face when he noticed his partner heading toward him.

Simon looked around and swore silently. Henry was easy to spot, even with so many humans. Jenni, Crystal, and Starr were spread out at different tables and kept disappearing as humans crowded the tables and blocked the Crows from his line of sight. Jenni and her sisters had heard his order, but their attention was too caught by the objects filling the tables. He was going to have to talk to the Crowgard leaders about this obsession with shiny objects. It was getting in the way of survival.

He tried to avoid bumping into humans as he moved toward Jenni, but it seemed a couple of the men deliberately shouldered him, delaying his approach to that merchant’s table. When he reached her, something about the shifty, nervous way the merchant looked at him made his fangs lengthen. Fur suddenly covered the upper part of Simon’s chest and back, and his hands were no longer even passing-glance human.

Jenni glanced at him and immediately stepped away from the table—a silent admission that she had ignored his command.

“What about this?” the merchant said quickly, flipping a cloth out of the way to reveal a flat piece of metal that, as far as Simon could tell, didn’t do anything except shine.

“Ooooh,” Jenni said.

Before she could step close to the table again, Simon grabbed her arm and pulled her away, ignoring her protests.

“Simon!” Jenni cried.

“Meg says we need to leave now.”

“Just one more thing. Please, Simon. Just one more—”

He turned on her. “We’re in danger,” he said with quiet menace. “Whatever Meg saw scared her so much she fainted. She didn’t faint the last time she saw Crows in danger, so this is bad, Jenni. This is very bad. Stay if you want to, but I’m not going to risk the rest of us because you can’t resist grabbing another bit of shiny.”

“Our Meg says?”

“Yes.” He began moving toward the front of the building.

Jenni wouldn’t let go of the damn carry sack, but she hurried to keep up with him, darting and dodging around humans as they headed for the front doors of the big building.

<Nathan?>

<I’ve got the bus started and ready to go. Simon, move fast. Men are gathering in the parking lot. They all have clubs and crowbars, and they’re watching the bus.>

He kept moving, kept watching. The shoppers and merchants at nearby tables looked around as he passed, like deer that sensed there was something wrong but weren’t sure if they should run. Humans a couple of aisles away paid no attention. But the feel of the place had changed; an ugly scent now drifted in the air ahead of him, a scent Wolves recognized as a threat.

Kowalski and Debany were on his right, keeping pace with him. Ruthie and Merri Lee, along with Starr, were a step behind them, each lugging a carry sack. The men were still talking on their mobile phones, but their shirts were rucked up to reveal the badges attached to their belts.

<Henry?> Simon called.

<I’m here, on your left and a couple of steps behind. Keep moving.>

<Vlad?>

<Behind you. Crystal and MacDonald are just ahead of me. But there is a pack of humans behind us who . . . Simon, I think one of the merchants was selling weapons in secret. Some of the humans might have guns.>

<If they fire at us, they’ll injure or kill some of their own.>

<Do you think humans care about such things?>

No, he didn’t think they cared.

Jenni stopped and looked back when Crystal cried out. Simon looked over his shoulder and snarled. A man had snatched one of the Crow’s carry sacks and waved it above his head, taunting her to try to get it back.

Crystal dropped her other carry sack and tried to reclaim the sack that had been taken from her, leading her away from the rest of the Others.

<Let it go, Crystal,> Simon snapped.

<I gave the humans money. Those shinies are mine!>

MacDonald caught Crystal around the waist and lifted her off her feet. Ignoring her cries about her lost treasures, he headed toward the rest of their group, pushing aside humans who didn’t have enough sense to get out of the way.

<Simon!> Nathan shouted. <Hurry!>

Looking toward the front of the building, Simon saw the men standing between him and the building’s open doors. At first he thought there were only six men looking for a fight. That made it an even number of males, with the terra indigene and police officers having the advantage of teeth, claws, and training. Then more men joined the first six enemies. And more. And more.

And all of them carried some kind of weapon.

Simon stopped. Kowalski and Debany stopped with him, forming a line.

“These are not good odds,” Debany whispered.

“We’re police officers,” Kowalski said, his raised voice both a warning and a challenge. “You men step aside and let these people leave.”

“They aren’t people, and you’re nothing but a fucking Wolf lover,” one man said. “Don’t care if you’re a cop. We’re going to teach you a lesson.”

“You don’t want to do this,” Simon warned.

The man bared his teeth. “Yeah, we do.”

Kowalski shouted, “We’re police officers! Put your weapons down now!”

“Humans first, last, and always!” the man shouted, rushing toward Simon.

As the man swung a length of pipe at Simon’s head, Henry yelled “Simon!” and swatted the Wolf, knocking him to the ground at the same moment the Grizzly roared with rage and pain—and the man who had swung the pipe fell to the ground, his shirt turning wet and red.

Shouts. Screams. Gunshots behind them.

People ran toward the doors or to another part of the building or anywhere that would take them away from the fight. But the men with clubs and knives rushed toward Henry and Simon while others attacked Kowalski and Debany.

Instinctively, Simon shifted what he needed as he sprang up to meet the attack. Wolf head with teeth that could slash and jaws strong enough to break bone. Hands with claws that could tear flesh.

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