Kitty Saves the World Page 57

We’d just closed the truck doors and were standing in the parking lot when the asphalt under our feet shook, just for a couple of seconds. Having felt this a few times now, I knew exactly what it was. I put both hands on the truck’s hood for balance and waited. A car alarm somewhere started wailing, glass in the diner’s windows rattled, then everything fell still. A few people ran out of the diner and surrounding shops and buildings. There was talk and confusion.

“That’s the kind of thing you’re worried about, isn’t it?” Sun, also leaning on the truck’s hood, asked.

“If things get really bad, I don’t suppose you can use your divine power to zap us out of here like Ashtoreth does?” I asked.

His brow wrinkled. “Ashtoreth. That one is bad news. Really annoying. But no, I can’t. Sorry.”

As other diners wandered back into the building, a pair of calm men in smart business suits came out, apparently unaffected by the tremor. They went to a nondescript white sedan a few parking spots down, and one of them glanced up at me.

They were my two Men in Black.

I took a few steps toward them and called, “You!”

The one at the driver’s side looked up and smiled widely. “Oh! Hello, there.”

“What are you doing here?”

They glanced at each other, then back at me. “We thought we’d try a little early season fly-fishing.”

“Seriously?” I was sounding a little screechy. “You obviously know what’s happening. You have some stake in it, you have … some kind of power. So why don’t you do something? What don’t you stop Roman? Or Lightman?”

They flinched a little when I said the name.

“She’s met him,” one of them said to the other.

“Things really are bad,” his partner answered.

“Then help me!” I demanded, my fists clenched.

The pale one looked chagrined. “I’m sorry, Ms. Norville, but we can’t really do anything but watch. Technically, this isn’t our world, so our influence here is limited. A push here, a nudge here—you know?”

“He knows,” the black-haired one said, indicating Sun.

“Hi,” Sun said, waving. “Have we met?”

“No, but I believe Xiwangmu knows us.”

“Oh, well, okay then.”

I wanted to pull my hair out. I was very tempted to strip naked and run back to the park, but I had to wait for Ben.

“Ms. Norville,” the black-haired Man in Black said. “We very much look forward to talking to you when this is all over.”

I stared. “Should I be encouraged? That you think we’ll be around to talk when this is all over?”

“Yes,” he said. “Definitely. There’s always hope, don’t ever forget that.”

“Who the hell are you guys? At least give me a hint.”

“Good-bye, Ms. Norville.” And just like that, they got into their car and drove away.

Sun had come up beside me and was also staring.

“Do you know who they are?” I asked.

He shook his head. “No. But they are totally not human.”

“What?”

He crossed his arms, pursed his lips, like he was considering a particularly complicated puzzle. “Don’t know exactly what they are, but they’re definitely not human.”

“What does that even mean?”

“Since you and I aren’t human, either, I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” he said.

Oh dear lord, I needed a fucking nap.

Inside the diner’s front door I used a pay phone and called Ranger Lopez. I absolutely could not wait until I got my phone back, only I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do that, since it was in the pocket of my jeans, which I’d left somewhere outside the Norris Geyser Basin, along with my wedding ring. She’d given me her card in case I needed anything. “Hi, yeah,” I said when she answered. “How’s Old Faithful doing?”

“I’m sure it’s fine—”

“Can you just check? Did it go off as scheduled?”

“Just a minute…” The line clicked as she put me on hold. A minute later, she came back on. “Yes, it went off right on schedule. Nothing to worry about.”

“Yeah, okay. Thanks.”

“You’re sure everything’s okay?”

Not really … “There was a little bit of an earthquake a few minutes ago.”

“Yeah, we felt that one. Seismologists say it was a pretty good one. But you know we get little quakes up here all the time, right?”

“That was little?”

“Pretty little, yeah. Try not to worry, Ms. Norville.”

“Yeah. Okay. Thanks.”

Try not to worry, ha. Next I called Ben again, to tell him exactly where we were waiting. And to hear his voice. “There’s been an earthquake. A tremor, like in Denver.”

“That can’t be good.”

“Apparently earthquakes are pretty common around here.”

“But still.”

“I know.”

“Just hold tight. We’ll be there as fast as we can. I’m glad Sun is there with you.”

“Yeah, me, too.”

Staying still means being a target.

Yeah, it did. “Wolf wants to run.”

“I know. Soon.”

A pot of coffee and plate of bacon had already arrived at the booth Sun had claimed. I was starving and hadn’t even realized it. I’d run to get away from Lightman, but I hadn’t hunted.

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