The Rising Page 3

“I . . . don’t think that would be safe,” I said slowly.

“We could make it safe. We’d go over to the Queen Charlotte Islands and make contact with one of her friends, ask them to take her a note. She’s a smart lady. If she knows what’s going on, she’ll find a way to meet us without being followed.”

“You’ve thought this through.”

“I’ve gone over all the options. There’s my brothers, but they’re too far away and I’m not sure how much help they’d be.” His two older brothers were at university in Toronto and Montreal—clear across the country. “Corey’s grandparents are in Alberta, but he said they wouldn’t understand—they’d call his mom right away.”

We couldn’t let that happen—if our parents found out we were alive—and we weren’t there to warn them—they’d confront the Cabals, not knowing how dangerous they were.

Daniel continued, “I’ve never met Corey’s grandparents, anyway. I’ve met your grandma. So has Corey. He’s good with it.”

I looked out over the city.

“It’s not like we have a lot of choice, Maya,” Daniel murmured. “Either we sit here waiting for divine intervention or we take a risk.”

“It’s not a short trip,” I said. “We’d need to take the train to Prince Rupert and the ferry over. We wouldn’t have much money left.”

“We wouldn’t need it once we made contact. Before we get on that train, we need to make sure she’s there. Call again tomorrow and see if she answers—don’t say anything, just confirm she’s home. I don’t know if she would be—she thinks you’re dead, and the funerals . . .”

He trailed off. By now our parents might have buried us. Buried empty caskets, our remains lost at sea. We tried not to think about that, and sat there for a little longer, staring into the night.

“I know you’re worried about Rafe,” Daniel said at last. “You haven’t said anything, but you must be.”

I nodded. “He double-crossed the St. Clouds to protect us. I’m afraid they’ll punish him. Not just him, though; I’m worried about everyone. Sam, Hayley, Kenjii, Nicole.”

Did he notice I said my dog’s name before Nicole’s? I hadn’t meant to, but the truth was that I wasn’t at all worried about Nicole. She’d killed my best friend because Serena was dating Daniel. He didn’t know that. Worse, at the time of Serena’s death, he’d been ready to break up with her and if he’d just done it a little sooner, she’d still be alive. I hadn’t told him because I didn’t want to put that kind of burden on him. So I had to pretend I was still concerned about Nicole, too.

“It’s not just worry,” I said. “I feel responsible. Like they’re waiting for us to rescue them and we have no idea how to do that.”

He put his arm around my waist and pulled me, so I could lean against him. “We’ll do our best.”

I closed my eyes and tried to block the mechanical roar of the city and imagine my forest instead, the sigh of wind through redwoods, the buzz of thrush and the whistle of marmots, the soft drip of rain. It took awhile, but soon I was able to hear them, and when I did, exhaustion took over and I drifted off to sleep.

There was still no answer at my grandmother’s place. She volunteered at the heritage center, most recently in project management. She was Haida, like my mom. Mom wasn’t really active in the Native community, but Grandma was. I help her out with festivals and such, but I always feel a little out of place. I’m adopted and I am Native, but Navajo, not Haida. I don’t know much about that part of my heritage, except that it doesn’t usually come with the ability to shape-shift into a wildcat. I’m just special. Unfortunately.

There was a really good chance, then, that I knew the woman who answered the phone at the heritage center, but not well enough to recognize her voice. And, thankfully, she didn’t recognize mine.

“Hi,” I said. “My name is Joy. I know this is going to sound weird, but I’m trying to get in touch with Maya Delaney’s parents.”

A sharp intake of breath on the other end.

“I know what happened,” I said. “My mom saw it in the paper. We have a cottage near Salmon Creek, so I’d met most of the kids who died, and I wanted to let Maya’s parents know how sorry I am about everything. But no one’s answering the number I have. I remember she said her grandma worked at the heritage center in Skidegate, so I’m sorry to bother you, but this was the only thing I could think of.”

“I’m afraid I can’t help, either,” the woman said. “Her parents are in Vancouver for the funeral.”

“Vancouver?” I thought I’d misheard and she’d said Victoria.

“Maya’s grandmother was hoping it would be on the island, but the people who ran the town are in charge, and I guess . . .” She trailed off. “I know they took the parents to Vancouver after the crash. Maybe they think going back to the island would be too much of a reminder. It’s all such a horrible tragedy. I think everyone’s just relieved someone else is handling the arrangements.”

Yes, I was sure the St. Clouds were happy to make the arrangements. Get the families to Vancouver—farther from us—after the crash. Hold the service there so it would be smaller. Get this charade over with as fast as possible, then whisk them off to parts unknown.

“Have they had the funeral already?” I asked. “I was kind of hoping to go.”

“It’s the day after tomorrow. You should be able to find details in the Victoria newspaper. Maya’s grandmother has a cell phone, but she’s spending the day on Galiano at a friend’s cabin. A retreat before the funeral. She’ll be out of touch while she’s there.”

We’d spent time at my grandma’s friend’s place on Galiano. I could get us there, and it was a lot closer than Skidegate.


GALIANO IS THE SECOND largest of the Gulf Islands, between the mainland and Vancouver Island. It was an hour ferry ride, after catching a coach bus down to the terminal in Tsawwassen. From the ferry stop, we had a five-kilometer hike to the cabin, which was about as remote as you could get on the island.

By the time we arrived, it was after five. The cottage was a tiny artist’s studio on a small windswept bluff overlooking the strait. There was an empty cabin about fifty meters away, and that’s where we took refuge, hunkering down in its shadow to watch the studio and wait for my grandmother to come out.

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