Written in Red Page 109

“Might as well unlock HGR’s door,” Vlad said. “The customers aren’t going to go far with this much excitement going on.”

Tess sighed and held out a hand. “Give me that. I’ll send Merri Lee to the Market Square to replace it.”

His hands fisted in the material that held Meg’s scent. “Merri Lee doesn’t need this one to fetch another sweater.”

Tess gave him a long look. Then she walked back to A Little Bite.

Nyx shifted to smoke below the waist and drifted up the access way. The Sanguinati were less concerned about being seen in a between form than the Wolves. Perhaps because humans didn’t understand the danger and weren’t sufficiently afraid.

“I’ll look after the store,” Vlad said after a moment.

“I’ll deal with the police,” Simon said.

“Montgomery isn’t a fool. You called him, let him in that much. He’ll ask questions.”

Simon nodded. “He isn’t a fool. Hopefully that means he’ll know when to stop asking questions.”

* * *

Monty’s heart banged against his chest, and his mind wouldn’t let go of the story of the Drowned City.

A possible bomb left in the Liaison’s Office. An attack against the Others? Or against Meg Corbyn? Either way, the backlash could cripple the city if the Courtyard’s leaders decided to punish all humans for the actions of one.

Police cars blocked the intersection of Crowfield Avenue and Main Street, redirecting traffic away from the Courtyard. The bomb squad was already there, along with a fire truck and an ambulance. Another half dozen police cars were parked haphazardly on Main Street. As Kowalski pulled up and parked, Monty spotted his other team, officers Debany and MacDonald.

Cops everywhere, but not one of them with so much as a toe inside the Courtyard.

“Gods above and below,” Kowalski breathed. “What happened here?”

“That’s what we’re going to find out.” Monty opened his door, then signaled for Debany and MacDonald to join him. “You two go around and talk to whoever is running A Little Bite and Howling Good Reads today. See if they know anything, and try to confirm that the human customers and employees are all accounted for.” And unharmed, he added silently. That wasn’t something he needed to tell his men.

Once they were on their way, Monty stepped up to the barricade erected by the bomb squad. “Louis?”

Louis Gresh, the squad’s commander, spoke quietly to his men, then walked over to the barricade. “Monty.” He nodded at Kowalski. “Not a bomb. Just a box full of rags and a telephone directory to give it some weight. I’ll take it in and hand it over. Our people might find something useful.”

Crows winged in. Some settled on rooftops. Others flew across the street to perch on streetlights. They cawed to one another and preened feathers—and noticed everything.

Louis watched them. “There are probably plenty of witnesses who could tell you what happened here, but I doubt you’ll find one who will tell you anything.”

Depends on how I ask the questions, Monty thought. “Appreciate the fast response.”

“Any time.” Louis looked at all the Crows watching the police, then looked up.

Following his gaze, Monty saw the Hawks soaring over the Courtyard. And deeper in the Courtyard, he heard Wolves howling.

“Good luck,” Louis said before he walked away.

Taking a deep breath, Monty summoned the officers who had responded to the call. He gave them the task of checking the businesses across the street from the Courtyard. It was possible someone saw something and would be brave enough to admit it.

Slipping around the barricade, Monty stepped into the Courtyard, Kowalski beside him. “Karl, go see if there’s anyone working at the consulate.”

“Yes, sir.”

He didn’t look at the Crows gathered on the wall or the woman in the black dress standing next to the office. He just opened the door and walked up to the counter.

When Meg Corbyn stepped out of the other room, she looked pale and was wearing a gray sweatshirt that was too big for her.

“Are you all right, Ms. Corbyn?” Monty asked quietly. That’s as far as he got before Simon Wolfgard appeared in the Private doorway. He would have preferred talking to her alone. He still had a question about that bruise on her face, and a woman wouldn’t usually ask for help with the abuser listening to every word.

No, he reminded himself. Wolfgard didn’t put that bruise on her.

“Shaken up, but I’m fine,” Meg replied.

He studied her for a moment and decided that was close enough to truth, so he pulled out a notebook and pen. He’d ask anyone else to come to the station to make a statement. No point asking when he knew she wouldn’t come, and if she did, he didn’t want to consider who would be coming with her. “Can you tell me what happened?”

She told him about the white van and all the details that weren’t there and should have been. She pushed up one sleeve and showed him the dark bruise on her wrist where the man had grabbed her, and then told him how the man had run back to the van when Simon appeared.

But she couldn’t tell him where the van went, which way it turned when it left the Courtyard. She had been in the sorting room when the van drove off.

She didn’t say it, but he’d be willing to bet she had been helped into the sorting room precisely so she couldn’t see where the van went.

One glance at Simon Wolfgard was enough warning to ask about something besides the van.

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