Kitty Saves the World Page 40

He held his semiautomatic in both hands and fired at Ashtoreth. Three clear, ringing shots.

They went through her. I saw them hit with puffs of smoke. But she didn’t react, didn’t even flinch. The leather of her armor seemed to seal back over the wounds. She drew spears off the holster across her back. Two of them, tipped with gleaming silver, flashing like mercury in the glow of the streetlights. She’d throw them at us, and we’d be dead.

Shift, fight, tear her throat out …

Not with all that silver.

“Do we have time to run?” I murmured.

“What have we got to lose, I say.”

Not that we could run fast enough. In tandem and without discussion, we stumbled backward into the parking lot and toward the car, like a couple of losers in a horror movie. I dug in my pockets for a spare amulet, hoping I’d forgotten something there. A cross, a rabbit’s foot, a can of mace, anything.

Ashtoreth was an assassin, and she was unstoppable. We didn’t have a whole lot to say about what happened.

Those damned goggles, if I could just get them off … I was too far away to go around her reach, and she had too much silver for me to get close. She cocked back her arm, ready to throw both spears at us. We’d split, we’d dodge, we could get out of this.

A car pulled into the parking lot—a nondescript white sedan, the kind you’d rent. Two men sat in the front, silhouettes visible through the reflection cast by streetlights on the windshield. We all stopped to look, even the demon.

I thought maybe I should shout a warning at the newcomers—battle with evil demon in progress, please leave! But I was stunned. The car very smoothly pulled into one of the empty spots, and the engine shut down. Ashtoreth regarded the car with her head tilted, lips pursed, and even lowered her spear.

Now, we rip her throat out …

I appreciated that Wolf had so much confidence in our ability to inflict damage on indestructible supernatural beings.

When the car’s two front doors opened, and the two men stepped out, one of them held up an object that suddenly flashed. Incredibly bright light filled the lot, like a strobe or a bolt of lightning. Ben and I ducked, coming together and shading our eyes.

The demon hissed in pain. The goggles—the light had gotten through her goggles. Her eyes, acclimated to darkness, couldn’t adjust. She hunched over, her arms shielding her face; her expression was wracked.

A blast of wind smacked into us, a choking smell of fire overcame me. A whirlwind, a tornado coming to instant life right over us. Ben fired to where Ashtoreth had been standing, but I couldn’t see her anymore. A maelstrom hid her.

Just as quickly, the storm ended. Dead leaves and stray trash skittered across the pavement as the wind died down. Ashtoreth was gone. That was her exit strategy.

I didn’t know what to think. I looked over at the car and the newcomers. Two men in suits stood at the open doors, looking over at us with vaguely bemused expressions, as if they were embarrassed to have interrupted a conversation. They looked like two lost salesmen in their dark suits, with their unassuming manners. They looked like—

“You!” I said, pointing, marching toward them. They weren’t wearing sunglasses this time; that threw me off. “You were at New Moon, after the fire! You’re following me! Why? Who are you?” I only got halfway to them when Ben held my arm and pulled me back. I must have looked like I wanted to rip someone’s throat out. Well, I did.

I winced, because my injured arm had started throbbing. The broken bone would heal, but it would take time. I wondered if it needed to be set. Ben and I both stank of blood and sweat.

The driver, the olive-skinned one, very casual like, as if it wasn’t the middle of the night and he didn’t just happen upon a supernatural battle in the middle of Denver, said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but we’re looking for the Brown Palace Hotel—can you tell us where it is?”

I thought about laughing but choked on the impulse. Ben did laugh, and the sound was both relieved and exhausted. He rubbed a hand through his hair and walked off a few steps, burning off energy.

“Are you serious?” I demanded.

“Um. Yes?” the man in the suit said.

I gestured over my shoulder to where Ashtoreth had stood a moment ago. “What did you do to drive her off?”

The passenger, the brown-haired Man in Black, said, “Full-spectrum light. They’re quite useful. Vampires don’t like them much, either.”

Ben returned to my side. His gun was still in his hand, but he held it lowered at his side. It wasn’t like these guys were waving silver-pointed knives at us.

“Who are you?” I demanded again.

The driver’s smile was far too calm. I wanted to hit him. “Mostly we came to say—your pack is safe. We didn’t think your care for them should be used against you, so we removed them from the game.”

I took a deep breath—they didn’t smell like anything. They didn’t have the chill of vampires. They weren’t human, either. I couldn’t tell if they even had heartbeats.

“Are you Fae, is that what you are?” But I’d smelled Fae before, and they weren’t it.

“And where is our pack?” Ben said, stepping ahead of me.

“They’re safe,” said the driver.

“That doesn’t answer the question. You haven’t answered any of our questions!” I said.

“I know. It’s all very complicated,” said the passenger. “Maybe we can explain it later.”

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