Kitty Saves the World Page 41

“So,” the driver added. “Can you tell us how to get to the Brown Palace? Please?”

Oh for fuck’s sake. “Take this road, turn right, and in a little ways you’ll get to Colfax. Take that into downtown, go left on Glenarm, then right on Seventeenth. Driving that area’s a bitch; if you don’t want to go on a safari for parking you might want to just use the valet.” The suits looked fancy enough they could no doubt afford it.

“Thank you,” the driver said. “Is it a nice place? I’ve heard it’s nice.”

I blinked. “Yes,” I said. “It’s also haunted.”

He beamed back at me. “Excellent. Thank you very much.”

I rushed forward, broken arm or no, and slammed my good hand on the hood of their car. They looked on with casual interest.

“Who. Are. You.”

“Friends,” the driver said, and climbed back in.

Then they were driving away, as if time had skipped a beat.

The whole parking lot and space in front of KNOB fell still, silent. I looked at Ben, who looked back at me. Finally, he shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t explain it.”

“Are they telling the truth? About the pack?”

He considered a moment. “I think they are. I don’t know why I believe them, but I do.”

I sank to the curb and whimpered. My arm hurt. I wanted some of Tina’s painkillers.

Ben sat beside me. “You’re hurt—what happened?”

I showed him my arm. Bone wasn’t sticking out, which was good, I supposed. He felt it, pressing gently. I winced.

“I think it’s already healing. Can you move it?”

“Yeah, but it hurts.” I wiggled my fingers for emphasis.

The cuts on his face were healing, fading to pink lines. The gashes in his arm, and mine, took a little longer, scabbing over as we watched. The bone would take the rest of the night to heal.

Ben put his hand against my head, and his warmth was a balm. He kissed my forehead, breathing deeply to take in my scent. “That was close,” he murmured.

“That was weird,” I said, and kissed his lips in return. Somehow, we’d lived.

I resisted the urge to chase after the Men in Black. I had a feeling we wouldn’t find them anyway.

The pile of ashes that had been Angelo was gone, scattered by the wind. He was gone, and it had happened so fast I was numb. Didn’t feel a thing. I would, the next time I went to Psalm 23 and he wasn’t there. I wondered who the Family had lined up to be the next Master, or if there even was a Denver Family anymore. Not that I cared. I couldn’t trust any of them anyway. The Denver vampires wouldn’t help us.

It had all happened in just a few minutes, and no one from the KNOB building had noticed. No one came out to see what all the commotion was about. No one else had gotten hurt. Thank goodness.

Ben and I clung to each other. After a moment, and a deep breath, he said, “You get the feeling someone is looking out for us?” he said.

Those guys in the car, of course, who’d also been at New Moon. But they weren’t looking out for us, they were just looking. Voyeurs. I didn’t know.

“No. I have the feeling we’ve gotten stuck in the middle of someone else’s war.”

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” he said, and urged me to my feet.

*   *   *

BEFORE LEAVING, I looked around at the spot where Angelo had disintegrated and found the coin he’d been wearing. The coin that meant the Master of Denver had been recruited, and the city was now in play in the Long Game. I wished yet again that Rick had a phone number.

Ben had some tools in the back of the car, and found a nice solid hammer to smash the design out of existence, rendering the coin useless.

“If these mark Roman’s followers, do you suppose wearing the smashed-up ones might protect us from Ashtoreth?” Ben asked.

“No,” I said. “Kumarbis was wearing one when she killed him. I don’t know that they do anything once they’ve been broken.” Still, I was proud of the collection of them we’d gathered. Every one was an ally Roman didn’t have anymore.

I put the coin around my neck, a talisman against the dark. A reminder.

Sitting in the car, I felt safer. Not safe, just safer.

Ben asked, “What did Angelo say to you at the end? I’ve never seen a vampire do that—hang on to try to talk. It was…”

“Sad?”

“I was going to say creepy. But yeah, that, too.”

“Obsidian,” I said. “He just kept saying obsidian.”

“So we need to look out for volcanic rocks? Is there some kind of artifact? Is that Roman’s weakness?”

Nothing so arcane as that. It took me a minute, then I kicked myself for needing that long. “No. Turn around, we need to get downtown. Obsidian—the gallery Obsidian. Go.”

Ben swerved, turning the corner and sending us around the block until we were headed back—back downtown, to the vampire Family’s lair.

Chapter 13

FOR AS long as I’d known there were vampires, the Denver vampire Family housed itself in the basement of a fancy art gallery and import business, Obsidian. The business was a front, a place to launder money, a public face when one was needed to do business in the world. I didn’t think I’d ever seen the gallery actually open. The real action happened down a rough concrete staircase and through a plain door in back to a set of windowless rooms and chambers underground.

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