The Calling Page 73

There was a fire escape around back. As kids we used to dare each other to climb it and spy on Corey’s mom, always hoping to see some big arrest in progress. There wasn’t even a jail cell in the tiny police station. But we’d always hoped anyway.

Now I swung onto that ladder and climbed. Hiding behind the roof peak, I peered out to see the helicopter lift from the pad. I could make out figures inside. At least three heads, plus the pilot.

Someone with dark hair was sitting beside the rear window.

The figure turned. It was Rafe. He shielded his eyes and he seemed to be looking straight at me. I raised my hand. He raised his.

His lips moved, but there was no way I could tell what he was saying. Then another figure leaped across his lap, long black hair swinging.

Annie. She waved frantically, grinning, then disappeared, pulled away by Rafe, quieting her.

I pushed to my feet as the helicopter rose. Rafe reappeared. He flashed four fingers, then a thumbs-up, and I knew that meant everything was all right, or as all right as it could be, that he was okay and Annie was okay, and so were Sam and Kenjii.

Then, with one last lurch, the helicopter lifted off.

We took Mrs. Tillson’s car. We didn’t dare use the van, in case it had a GPS. Maybe the car did, too. Not much we could do about it.

We still had our money, but our bags were lost. Again, nothing we could do.

Daniel headed for Nanaimo. I stared out the window, lost in thought.

“What did he give you?” Daniel asked.

I glanced over at him. “Hmmm?”

“Rafe. He put a paper in your pocket before he left. Was it anything important?”

I’d forgotten all about it. I jammed my hand into both my pockets, certain the note had fallen out. It hadn’t—the paper was just folded into a small square and shoved deep.

It was actually printouts. Two pages. Watermarked CONFIDENTIAL.

“Rafe must have grabbed them when he was taken captive the first time,” I said. Daniel had told Corey about this earlier on the drive. “They’re memos about an escape.”

Corey leaned over to read them. “Not our escape, though. Does that say Buffalo?”

Daniel looked over sharply. “Buffalo?”

I nodded. “It’s about the experiment that went wrong. Project Genesis. Details of what happened.”

“And what happened?” Corey said.

I had to finish reading the first page before I could answer. Then I explained. As we’d guessed, Project Genesis was another experiment with genetically modified supernaturals. Only these ones seemed to be normal types. Well, “normal” in the sense that we’d heard about them before. Witches, sorcerers, half-demons, werewolves, and somethingcalled necromancers.

“I’ve seen them in video games,” Corey said. “They control the dead.”

“Zombies?” I said.


As supernatural types went, that seemed weird, and I suspected there was more to it. According to the notes, some of the kids had problems. So they locked them up in a group home. The kids figured out why they were there and escaped. And apparently came back and destroyed the laboratory, killing Dr. Davidoff and several others.

“Why can’t we do that?” Corey said.

“Because we don’t know where to find anyone,” I said. “Even if we did, we aren’t ready for that. They had help. A father and an aunt who’d been in on the experiments.”

“So what happened?” Corey asked. “And what does this have to do with us?”

I read the second page. Then I told him.

We ditched the car in one of the big shopping plazas in Nanaimo’s north end. From there, we’d hop a city bus to the ferry. Before that, though, I found a pay phone. I put in my money and dialed my grandmother’s number in Skidegate.

It rang four times. I knew the machine was going to pick up, and as I waited, I considered what I’d say. I had to make sure she knew it was me, not some ghoul pretending to be her dead granddaughter. I couldn’t give any information about where I was. I just wanted to get a message to my parents that I was okay. I imagined what would happen then. I imagined them confronting the St. Clouds, demanding to know where I was, accusing them of lying and threatening to call the authorities.

I imagined how the St. Clouds would react to that.

My grandmother’s voice invited me to leave a message. I closed my eyes and listened to her. As I hung up, I whispered “I love you.” Then I went back to the guys.

We splurged in the gift shop, buying hoodies. Then we split up to buy the ferry tickets, and didn’t reunite until the boat left the harbor.

We stood on the back deck, watching our island fade into the mist. When it disappeared, I took out the notes from Rafe again and reread the second page—details on the subjects who’d escaped. Rafe had added notes at the bottom, about a real contact his mother had given him.

He might know more, he’d written. Find him. Then find them.

“Find them,” I whispered, shaking my head. “How do we find them if the St. Clouds can’t?”

Daniel put his arm around my shoulders as we leaned over the railing, cold mist spattering our faces, our island long vanished. “We try.”

I leaned against him and nodded. Try. That was all we could do. And we would.

Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies