Kitty Saves the World Page 56

“Kitty—”

I hung up, because I didn’t have anything else to say. What else was there to say? I didn’t want to spend more time going around in circles about whether or not I was crazy.

“We’ll stop it, Kitty,” Sun said gently and with confidence. “I’m sure we’ll stop it in time.”

“Yeah. But … it’ll make me feel better.”

I made the next call. The phone rang once, twice, more, and I thought my head was going to burst until finally he picked up. “Yeah?”

“Ben?”

“Kitty! Holy shit, where are you? What happened? I smelled the brimstone but it was over by the time I got to the back of the building, and—are you okay? Kitty—”

“I’m fine, I’m alive,” I amended. “There’s so much crap going on I don’t even know where to start.”

“Where are you?”

Another deep breath. I was forgetting to breathe. “I’m in Yellowstone.”

“Right, good, okay.”

I blinked. “What do you mean, good okay?”

“That’s where we thought you’d gone. Tina and Grant tracked you. And Anastasia—I guess she found a way to let them know. We’re on the way, somewhere in BFE Wyoming, still a couple hours away. Can you hang on until we get there?”

I started crying, silent, stressed-out tears. “Yeah, I think so. Sun found me here—you remember Sun? Ben, something really terrible is about to happen. I called Cheryl and told her to get the family out of Denver.”

He paused and said, “So it’s happening, for real?”

“I don’t know. I met … is Cormac with you? Tell him I met the Caesar commanding Dux Bellorum.”

“It’s bad, I take it?”

“It’s very bad,” I said.

“Kitty, just hold on. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

I didn’t want to hang up, but we had to. I scrubbed tears off my cheeks, and Sun held my hand. By then, the ranger was watching us. She’d listened in on my conversation this time.

She said, “Ms. Norville, what do you think is going to happen?”

The end of the world … “You’ve got a lot of geologists monitoring the park, right? A lot of seismographs. You track earthquakes and stuff pretty carefully, right? Has there been any increase in activity? Has anything changed?”

Her smile was wry and long suffering, like she got asked this question a lot. “I know everyone likes to talk about what would happen if the caldera blew, and I know geologically it has to happen sooner or later. But I really don’t think we have anything to worry about.”

“Okay, yeah, but say it was going to happen, oh, tonight—would there be any warning?”

“This is all just speculation—”

“I know. Tell me.”

“There’d be an increase in seismic activity—earthquakes. There’d be a measurable bulge in the crust, and probably a drastic change in thermal activity.”

“Like, the geysers would all go off at once or something like that?”

“Or they’d all stop. My geologist friends say that’s when we really need to worry, is if they ever all go quiet.”

“And there’s been nothing like that?”

“Let me make a call to a buddy over at Old Faithful.”

We waited. I chewed a fingernail. Glanced out the window just in case Lightman came striding up the road. He didn’t, not yet.

“Hey, Roy,” Lopez said. “When’s the last time Old Faithful blew? Half an hour ago? So it should go off again around”—she glanced at the clock—“four fifteen, yeah? Great, thanks.” She smiled at me. “Geysers are normal. Feel better?”

Oddly, I did. Whatever was going to happen, it hadn’t started—or it wasn’t about to finish. We had time. While it was still daylight, Roman couldn’t be out causing trouble. And Lightman couldn’t, not by himself, or he’d have done it already. He needed pawns, Ashtoreth and an army of vampires and werewolves.

In the meantime, I was still snuggled in the office chair, wrapped in a blanket.

“Thank you for not calling the cops on me,” I said to the ranger.

“No worries. You just seem lost, not crazy.”

Small comfort, there.

Sun asked, “Is there a restaurant or diner around here where we can get something to eat? And maybe a place to pick up some clothes?”

“Yeah, down the road in West Yellowstone. Wait just a sec.” She went into a back office.

She came back with spare set of clothes, sweatpants and a hoodie. “This should be more comfortable than that blanket.”

I sighed a very heartfelt thanks. “I promise to wash them and get them back to you—”

“Don’t worry about,” she said. “Just take care of yourself.”

Yeah, that was me, crazy enough to elicit worry from strangers, but not enough to actually commit. Yet.

Chapter 17

WEST YELLOWSTONE, a few miles outside the park’s west gate, was a lot like other wildnerness tourist towns I’d been to, except maybe a little more hopped up on hype and enthusiasm. A lot of one-story motor lodges done up to look like log cabins, a lot of billboards advertising snowmobile tours. They probably offered ATV tours in the summer.

We pulled up to a rustic diner—fake log cabin siding, murals of moose and bison hung up between picture windows—to wait for the others and come up with the next plan. Maybe Ben and Cormac and the rest had thought of the ultimate Stop Roman Plan, at long last. How hard could this be? Two thousand years, and no one had stopped him yet. That was how hard.

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