Vision in Silver Page 98

“I’m sorry,” Ruthie said, crying. “I am so sorry.”

“We talked to the merchants’ association last week and asked them if there would be a problem with terra indigene visiting the stall market to shop. We were told it wouldn’t be,” Kowalski said.

“I’m so sorry.”

“Wasn’t your fault,” Simon said. “You wanted to give the Crows a treat. Other humans took the opportunity to try to kill us.”

No, this wasn’t Ruthie’s fault. Allowing himself to be lured to a place where the terra indigene had so little chance of surviving an attack was his fault. As the leader, he should have remembered why the terra indigene didn’t go to movie theaters or concerts or any other place where a mob of humans could attack a small number of Others. He should have heeded Vlad’s concerns about going to the stall market instead of relying on Kowalski’s and Ruthie’s trust in these humans. Crystal Crowgard had died because of that trust, and Lawrence MacDonald was badly wounded.

Burke returned as Debany and Merri Lee joined them. “Officers, you and the ladies are going to the hospital for treatment. I’ve left messages for Lieutenant Montgomery and Pete Denby, so they’ll be aware of the situation and will take precautions. Mr. Wolfgard, there’s transportation waiting for you and the rest of the terra indigene.”

“We’re ready.”

Vlad joined them, carrying Crystal and trailed by Jenni and Starr.

Nodding to Burke, Simon walked outside, followed by Vlad and the Crows, with Henry bringing up the rear. Nathan waited for them near some kind of police van. The Wolf was still bleeding from some of the deeper cuts, and judging by the way Nathan moved, Simon suspected there were other, deeper injuries. He just hoped those injuries were things Jane Wolfgard could fix.

As they drove away from the stall market, more ambulances were turning into the parking lot—and Simon wondered if the humans who started this had any idea how much damage they had done.

*   *   *

Blair growled and looked over his shoulder, but the warning ended quickly as Elliot joined them and said, “I have news.”

“Simon?” Blair asked.

“He’s hurt,” Elliot said. “So are Nathan and Henry. Crystal is dead. Jenni and Starr are upset but don’t appear wounded. Vlad is unharmed. They’ll all be here in a few minutes. The human pack is being taken to the hospital. Various injuries. One of them is badly wounded.”

“Let’s move these carcasses.” Blair hesitated. Then he looked at Tess. “Are these meat?”

She considered the two men, who were already beyond answering questions, and acknowledged to herself that she’d harvested more than she’d intended. She shook her head. “They’re rotting too fast.”

“Mine is weakened, but the meat and blood are fresh,” Nyx said.

Blair nodded. “We’ve also got the van’s driver. Two will provide enough special meat for everyone who wants some.”

<Sirens,> Jake Crowgard reported from his position on the roof. <Police are coming.>

“Then we need to hurry,” Nyx said.

Blair fetched the drop cloths he’d left at the end of the hallway. The four terra indigene wrapped up the three bodies and hauled them down to the Utilities Complex’s pickup, which he had parked near the back stairs. They also took the soiled rug.

As soon as Blair and Elliot had driven off with the meat, Tess opened windows in all the apartments—even the ones that hadn’t been invaded. Then she wiped the floors while Nyx arranged to have the personal belongings returned after the police left.

By the time Nyx returned and police officers were coming up the stairs from the street door, Tess had everything sufficiently tidy.

She let the officers look around. She answered the questions she chose to answer, and the officer in charge, a Commander Gresh, who had provided assistance on previous occasions, was smart enough to be satisfied with the answers he’d been given.

She told him he could do the smudging thing on the street door to check for fingerprints. The cars in the Courtyard’s parking lot? Not customers of any of their shops, so the officers were welcome to seize them, detain them, tow them, or do whatever else they pleased with them.

“A police van just drove in,” Nyx said once the police were sniffing around the parking lot. “Vlad says the police will take Simon and the others to the Market Square medical office.”

“I don’t think our humans will be returning soon, but let’s put everything back as best we can.”

“Everything?”

Tess looked at Nyx, knowing the Sanguinati was asking about the pink book. “Not everything.”

CHAPTER 48

Watersday, Maius 26

Smiling as he listened to the children’s excited jabbering, Monty pulled his mobile phone out of his pocket and turned it on. Not that he expected anything. Captain Burke knew he’d taken the day off to spend time with Lizzy. Now that the question of custody was settled, at least for the time being, he had decided it would be safe to take Lizzy to the movies as a treat and had invited the Denby family to join them.

“Do we all want something to eat?” Pete Denby asked.

“Pizza!” Lizzy said.

“Pizza, pizza, pizza,” Sarah said.

“Hamburgers,” Robert said. “I’m so hungry I could eat a hamburger the size of a cow!”

“A whole cow?” Eve Denby gave her son a disbelieving look. “Even the hooves?”

Before Robert could reply, Lizzy looked at Monty. “Daddy! You turned on your phone.”

“I have to check in, Lizzy girl.” And what he saw made him uneasy. Three messages from Burke’s phone number while he’d been in the theater? That wasn’t good.

“You always put work first. Mommy said—”

“That’s enough,” Monty snapped, stung to not only hear the same words but Elayne’s disapproving tone of voice coming out of his own daughter. He looked at Pete. “Check your messages.” Then he listened to his own.

“Lieutenant, there’s been an incident at the stall market. Call me when you can.”

“The Courtyard is under attack. Do not, I repeat, do not take Lizzy back there until you talk to me.”

“Lawrence MacDonald was shot. He’s in surgery. Come to Lakeside Hospital as soon as you can.”

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