Kitty Goes to War Page 45

“You spend enough time worrying about me, I’m going to return the favor. I’ll call you when I have something,” he said, and hung up before I could argue.

I stared at my phone a moment.

“Was that Cormac? Was that about Franklin?” Ben said.

“Yes. He’s says this is because of him.” I gestured to the massive snow.

“Great. Now what do we do?”

“I’m thinking of calling Odysseus Grant.” Grant was the other wizard I knew. He always seemed to have an answer for a magical crisis.

“Can I make a suggestion?” Ben said. “Don’t pull any more people into this if we don’t have to. If you really think Franklin fried your caller in Louisiana with a lightning strike, you could be painting targets on anyone else you call about this.”

He was right. I huffed a sigh and stared out the window. “Cormac says he’ll call back when he’s figured out how to stop him.”

“Then we’ll wait,” Ben said.

I tried not to worry—Cormac could take care of himself.

I-25 was even worse than I-70.

We were well into morning, well after sunrise, not that we could tell with the overcast sky. Everything had a light gray tinge to it rather than a dark gray one. The snow wasn’t letting up. Plows were hard at work—ahead, a couple of safety lights flashed and reflected against the fog. They’d already piled a ridge of snow onto the shoulder of the road.

We moved at a crawl, and I wondered how bad it would have to get before the freeway closed. At this rate, even on foot Walters would get to FortCarson before us.

“I can’t sit here,” Tyler said. “I have to get out of here. We’re wasting time.” He was gripping the armrest on the door, his hand trembling.

“Keep it together,” I said. “If you head out and turn wolf they’ll just scoop you up along with Walters.”

He breathed low in his throat, making a sound like a growl. I reached back and touched his arm; whatever calm I could find in myself, I sent to him. As pack alpha, that ought to be part of my job, right? I was playing it all by ear, though; I hadn’t had too many role models to draw on. But Tyler’s hand relaxed, and he settled back against the seat, staring out the window.

I turned on the radio and found a news report, which was all about the weather and traffic. Which was good, since I was afraid I was going to start hearing about rogue werewolf attacks. According to the news, the storm wasn’t behaving according to any predictions. While it was snowing across the Front Range, the storm seemed to be centered on Denver—the system had rolled in from the mountains, but didn’t get bad until it had hit the plains. The city was getting more snow than the mountains had. The freeways were being closed in some places—but we seemed to have gotten past those spots just in time. If we got stuck, I wouldn’t be able to argue with Tyler about setting out on foot.

My phone rang and I answered. It was my mother, with her usual great timing.

“Hi, Kitty. I’m just checking to see if you’re okay. I know you went out with your friends last night, and I wanted to make sure you got home all right through all this snow.”

My mother knew I was a werewolf. I wasn’t sure she entirely understood what that meant. She knew I went with the pack to shape-shift on full-moon nights. Trying her best to be supportive, she called it “going out with my friends.” I couldn’t complain, but it led to some awkward conversations.

“Um… I’m not really at home right now, Mom. Something came up.” I winced. It was the conversation with Cormac all over again. And who ever thought my mother and Cormac would have something in common?

“Kitty, do you have any idea what the weather is like right now?”

“Yeah. A pretty good idea.” I looked out the car window at the falling snow and near-zero visibility.

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m going to check on a friend who needs help.”

“Couldn’t you call the police? Don’t you think you should be safe at home?”

I could almost picture her wringing her hands. “Mom, I’m a werewolf, I can’t freeze to death. I’ll be just fine.” I could, however, be torn limb from limb by rogue werewolves. I didn’t mention that. “Ben is with me—does that make you feel better?”

“Well, I suppose.” The tone of her voice said no.

“Seriously, Mom, I wouldn’t be out in this if it weren’t really important, and I’ll be fine. I’ll call you tonight, okay?”

“That would be nice, just so I know you’re all right.”

“I love you, Mom.” She said she loved me, too, and I put the phone away.

Tyler was staring at me, plainly disbelieving. “That was your mom?” I nodded. “And she knows you’re a werewolf?” Again, I nodded. “How did you tell her?”

“I lied about it until it blew up in my face and she found out anyway.” That was the short version of the story.

“And she’s okay with it?” he said, wonderingly.

“I wouldn’t say she’s okay with it. She doesn’t really get it enough to have an opinion. But you know, she’s my mom.”

Tyler leaned back, looking thoughtful. Maybe wondering how he was going to tell his mom.

It took us an hour to get to Castle Rock, a trip that should have taken twenty minutes. This was ridiculous. I tapped my fingers on the armrest and grit my teeth.

Up ahead, a row of blinking lights—blue police lights, yellow hazard lights—blazed across the freeway, breaking up the gray sheets of falling snow. We couldn’t see the road much, so Ben followed the lights. They guided us off the freeway and up the exit to the middle of Castle Rock. This wasn’t good.

The car in front of us stopped, and a cop leaned into the driver’s side window. After talking a moment, the officer stepped backed and the car continued on in Castle Rock. This didn’t look good at all.

The highway patrol officer came to talk to us next. Ben rolled down his window.

The guy was wrapped in a rain slicker and looked like he was having a really bad day. His voice was monotone. “The interstate’s closed. I suggest you find a place to stay and wait the storm out.”

I could have howled. I wondered if Franklin was manipulating this as well.

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