Written in Red Page 161

Dr. Lorenzo shook his head. “Considering the condition of the streets, none of us are going anywhere until morning. Besides, you need warmth and rest. Which is why Lieutenant Montgomery, Mr. Sanguinati, and I were talking about moving you to a private room on another floor. It will be quieter, and, frankly, we need the exam rooms down here in emergency.”

“I agree with Dr. Lorenzo,” Vlad said. “A private room will be less stressful for everyone.”

“But I want to leave,” Meg said, looking at Simon. Would he understand why she was afraid to be here?

Simon hesitated, then shook his head. “Your lungs rattle. I can hear them. We’ll stay here until your lungs don’t rattle.”

So they bundled her up, plunked her in a wheelchair, and took her up to another room, where they tucked her into another bed, gave her warm drinks and a bowl of soup, and then left her with the vampire and the Wolf.

“Sam?” she asked.

“He’s fine,” Simon said.

“He’s a little hoarse from howling for so long,” Vlad said. “But otherwise, he’s fine. After we sent news to the Courtyard that you would be all right, he settled down. He’s still with Grandfather Erebus. They’re watching movies.”

“Kept him safe,” she whispered.

“You should have stayed with Erebus too,” Simon growled. “Stupid female. And I do not want to know about you spinning the BOW, because I’m sure I would have to bite you.”

She blinked at him. Oh. That wasn’t a dream either?

Vlad chuckled, an earthy sound. “Let it go, Simon. It’s probably best if we don’t know too much about how our Meg ended up in the creek.”

“Asia,” Meg said. “She came to the apartments. She tried to take Sam. Did she get away?”

They both shrugged, but she saw the look they exchanged. And she wondered how much special meat was going to be available to the Courtyard’s residents over the next few days.


Throughout the night, Monty, Louis, and Kowalski stood shifts outside Meg Corbyn’s hospital room, while Debany and MacDonald ferried medicines to people who needed them and could be reached. At one point, Jester had ridden back to the Courtyard with Vlad, who returned with clothes for Simon and Meg, two more snowmobiles that the Others offered to MacDonald and Debany for their use . . . and Jake Crowgard.

Monty didn’t ask about the location of the previous owners of the snowmobiles. Maybe they would be filling out DLU forms for those men; maybe not.

By dawn, news began filtering in.

Lakeside was cut off for the time being, not only by a record snowfall but by the “glaciers” that blocked every road out of the city. Monty wondered if spot melting to clear a road or two was possible—if anyone dared to approach the Courtyard and ask politely.

An hour earlier, Officer Debany called to tell him Asia Crane had been found dead in her car. Monty hoped he never heard that much controlled terror in a man’s voice again.

The shifters and the vampires are the buffer between us and the rest of what lives in the Courtyards, Monty thought. We were given a glimpse yesterday. Let’s hope we’re smart enough to heed the warning.

He pushed to his feet when he saw Douglas Burke walk toward him, then walk past him a few steps—just far enough so they wouldn’t be directly outside Meg Corbyn’s room.


“Lieutenant.” Burke hesitated. “Thought you should know. Our mayor died in the blizzard.” There was a peculiar, almost fearful note in his voice.

“He was out in it?” Monty asked.

“He was in his bedroom, with the door locked and the windows shut. When they found him this morning, the room was filled with snow, floor to ceiling. Medical examiner will have to determine if he froze to death or smothered—or died of some other cause, since there are some suspicious wounds around major arteries and an insufficient amount of blood around the body.” He paused. “The acting mayor wants it known that he will do his utmost to maintain a cordial relationship with the terra indigene.” Another pause. Burke lowered his voice even more and added, “Between you and me, I think the terra indigene connected His Honor’s interest in apprehending Meg Corbyn with the attack on the Courtyard and the abduction attempt. And that’s why they killed him.”

“But the governor was the one who had pushed for it, sending the orders down the line.” Monty studied his captain’s face and felt chilled. “What else happened?”

“The governor of the Northeast Region also died last night.”

“But the governor lives in Hubbney.” The actual name was Hubb NE. A small town that was the hub of government for the Northeast, it was an hour’s train ride north of Toland, and it was hundreds of miles away from Lakeside. “How did he die?” Heart attack? Monty hoped. Or a traffic accident?

“He froze to death in his bathtub.” Burke’s smile held no humor. “Not only did the water freeze around him so fast he wasn’t able to escape, but it somehow forced its way down his throat and then froze in his lungs. A hideous way to die, I should think.”

“Not too dissimilar to what might have happened to a woman if she fell through the ice while being pursued by unknown assailants,” Monty said, shuddering.

“Not too dissimilar,” Burke agreed.

So the Others had decided the governor was also to blame for the attack and had reached across hundreds of miles to eliminate another enemy.

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