Written in Red Page 88

A human someone, anyway, since Simon Wolfgard controlled pretty much everything and everyone in the Courtyard. Which didn’t help her now, as he was still out of town.

Leaning into the BOW, she shook her finger at Sam, bopping him on the nose a couple of times.

“All right,” she said. “You can come with me. But, Sam, you have to mind me, or we’ll both get in trouble. Do you understand?”

He licked her finger and wagged his tail. Once she was sure feet, tail, and leash were safely inside, she closed the door and went around to her side.

After starting the BOW, she considered her delivery route. She wasn’t going near the Wolfgard Complex while Sam was with her. That would be asking for trouble. She had a box for Jester. The Pony Barn was safe enough. The Utilities Complex? Trickier if Blair and Ferus were there, but she had sent a note along with the mail telling Blair she would deliver his boxes when she made her afternoon rounds, and she didn’t think it was a good idea to break a promise to the Courtyard’s enforcer.

“I’m going to get bitten one way or the other,” she muttered as she headed for the Pony Barn. When she pulled up in front, she counted four Owls perched on a decorative piece of wooden fence. Three Hawks claimed a similar bit of fence on the other side of the barn. And the trees around the barn held a dozen Crows. Apparently, she was still entertaining enough for the Others to watch her activities.

Jester walked over to the BOW, glanced in the passenger’s window, and grinned. Coming around to Meg’s side, he waited until she rolled down her window and blocked Sam’s attempt to climb in her lap and poke his head out.

“Got a helper today?” Jester asked.

“I’ve got something,” she replied. Then, “Sam! Stop it! You promised to behave.”

“If you had a better sense of smell, you’d want to sniff around too,” Jester said. He looked at her face and let out his yipping laugh. “I’ll get my own box out of the back.”

“Thank you.” She grabbed Sam before he climbed in the back with the packages, but she couldn’t stop him from howling to let the whole Courtyard know he was there. And the whole Courtyard would know, because the Crows cawed, the Hawks screamed, the Owls hooted, and the ponies neighed. And the damn Coyote raised his voice along with the rest of them, despite being in human form.

“Drive carefully,” Jester said. “Got some snow coming.” He closed the BOW’s back door and headed for the barn.

As she drove off, several ponies, including Thunder, Lightning, and old Hurricane, left the barn and trotted along behind her, turning off on one of the unmarked tracks while she continued to the Utilities Complex.

Blair was there, waiting for his delivery. So was Ferus. When she pulled up, both of them were focused on her passenger.

“You have to stay inside,” Meg said quietly. “Big Wolves don’t like the safety line.” She got out of the BOW and had the back door open before the two Wolves approached.

There were flickers of red in Ferus’s eyes. He snarled at her. Blair immediately turned and snarled at him until Ferus lowered his eyes and took a step back. And Sam, poking his head between the seats to watch the Wolves, vocalized opinions to everyone.

Blair studied the pup. Then he studied Meg. Finally, he said, “You have any packages for the Wolfgard Complex?”

“Yes.”

“You leave those here. I’ll take them with me when I go home.”

Relieved, she hauled out boxes and packages, which Blair handed to Ferus to take into the Utilities building.

“Simon will be home tonight,” Blair said as he took the last box.

“Oh. That’s good.” It was good. It also meant she needed to have Sam tucked at home before Simon arrived.

Having sufficiently expressed his opinion, Sam was curled up in the passenger’s seat, napping, when she got back into the BOW and headed for the Chambers.

Her hands shook a little as the BOW chugged up the road and snow swiftly covered the pavement. She wanted to finish her deliveries and get home before the snowfall surpassed her driving skills—and it wouldn’t take much snow on the roads to do that.

Sam didn’t stir when she stopped at the first set of delivery boxes for the Chambers, but he woke up when she rummaged through the BOW to find the snow brush and clean off the windows before she could drive to the next group of mausoleums the Sanguinati called home.

By the time she pulled up in front of Erebus’s home, Sam was almost bouncing with excitement, pawing at the passenger’s window and then at the door handle.

“Come out this way,” Meg said, holding her own door open.

He leaped out of the BOW and dodged across the road to explore as far as the leash allowed.

“Over here, Sam.” Meg breathed a sigh of relief when he immediately obeyed. Crouching, she put a hand on his head. “We must never run across a road without looking in both directions. There could be other vehicles on the road, and the drivers might not see us in time to stop. That would be very bad, especially if anyone got hurt. So you don’t run across the road like that. All right?”

He licked her chin, which she took as agreement.

When they went to the back of the BOW and she began gathering the packages, she noticed the way the pup stared at the wrought-iron fence, and thought of what Jester had told her about the Chambers.

Getting Sam’s attention again, she said, “This is also a very important rule that we all have to follow. No one is allowed to go inside the fence unless Mr. Erebus gives his permission. Even Simon doesn’t enter the Chambers without permission. So we stay on this side of the fence and don’t even poke our noses between the bars.”

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