The Rising Page 7


My fingers dug into the ground as I struggled against the first prickle of tears.

“I know,” he whispered. “But she’ll know the truth as soon as we can manage it. Better for now if she thinks it was a dream.”

He was right, of course. At least the Nast team didn’t plan to haul her away and lock her up.

Corey whispered, “I think the other two are gone. Your, uh, father and that guy. Can you hear anything?”

I started to rise up on all fours and felt a chill. I glanced down. I was lying on my stomach. Without clothing.

“Yep, you’re naked,” Corey said, with a ghost of his usual grin. “Don’t worry, I’m saving all my skeevy comments for later.”


I realized then that there was something on my back, covering me down to my butt. Daniel’s sweatshirt. It was too tight under the porch to put it on me, but he’d stretched it over my back.

I let out a soft sigh of relief and looked over at him. “Thank you.”

A quirk of a smile. “Anytime. Corey? Keep your eyes on the forest while she puts that on.”

“Seriously? You’re going to rob me of the one ray of light in—Oww.”

I crawled from under the porch and pulled on the shirt. Everything was silent. The scents I detected were very faint. Moreno and Antone had passed through the woods and carried on. We had to get moving before they came back.

I found my clothing and got my jeans and shoes on, saving the rest until we were farther away. Antone might be my father, but he wasn’t on my side, no matter what he said. My biological mother had run away from the experiment before I was born, along with my twin brother. I didn’t remember either—she’d abandoned me shortly after my birth and had kept my brother. I was still dealing with that. I was still dealing with a lot.

We carefully made our way back to the ferry docks. The last one had departed. Corey suggested stealing a boat. We could do it—he was an excellent boater. But it was too risky—they’d be watching for a small craft making a hasty exit. Through otherwise empty waters. Better to hole up in a stretch of woods and wait for the morning ferry.

First we found a park with a washroom. We did break into that—we had to. Then we cleaned up as best we could and found a safe place to spend the night.

We waited for the second ferry the next morning. We’d bottlenecked ourselves on the island. There was only one way off. Antone would know that. So he’d expect us to be on that first ferry.

When the time came, we sent Daniel to get the tickets. He had a sixth sense for danger. It wasn’t perfect, but benandanti were mainly demon-hunters and Moreno was a half-demon. Meanwhile I’d be downwind, on full alert.

After Daniel got the tickets, we stayed hidden in the forest waiting for the departure time. The ferry dock was basically slabs of cement plunked down in the wilderness. A couple of buildings. A parking lot. A long pier. Not the ideal location for anyone trying to sneak on board. Just as we were thinking we might need to just make a run for it, a school bus pulled in and disgorged a couple dozen students.

“Please tell me they’re walk-ons,” Corey said.

“Even if they’re taking the bus, we might be able to sneak on with them,” I said.

Daniel made a noise deep in his throat. Disagreeing. He was right. Kids on Galiano Island would be a lot like kids from Salmon Creek, where you’d known your classmates forever.

When the first group headed for the pier, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. They were indeed walking on.

“We’ll split up,” I said. “Daniel, you go first. Corey, you’re next. I’ll bring up the rear and keep my ears open for trouble.”

We joined them in the parking lot. Merging with the group wasn’t easy. When Daniel cut in, they noticed. The girls did, anyway. They always do. It’s the blond wavy hair, the friendly smile . . . the wrestling and boxing champion physique.

When Corey joined, he took some of the attention, but that hardly helped us pass unnoticed. And when I slid in, they all noticed, because I was the only brown face in the group.

“Hey,” one of the guys said to me. “You going to the mainland?”

“I am.”

He started telling me about their trip and I struggled to pretend I was listening while my attention was attuned to the parking lot behind us. I hoped an overly polite nod or two would stop him, but he continued chattering away.

I glanced back. All the cars were on the ferry now, the gate closing.

“Looking for someone?” he said.

“No, I—”

“Right here.” Corey appeared and slung his arm around my shoulders. “I thought you were already on board, baby.”

The guy grumbled and walked faster as we reached the pier.

“Baby?” I said.

“You can thank me later.” He glanced back. “I don’t see anyone, but other than Antone and Moreno, I don’t know who I’m looking for.”

Daniel overheard, having slowed to let us catch up. “Just watch for anyone acting like they’re looking for somebody.”

“Like that woman running toward the gate?”

Corey didn’t wait for an answer, just tightened his grip on my shoulders and started propelling me through the crowd.

“Slow down,” I hissed. “Running will only make it worse.”

Damn it, we shouldn’t have attempted this. As soon as we set foot on the ferry, we were trapped. I looked up and down the pier, but there was no place to hide. We were being funneled toward the boat and—

“Jimmy!” the woman shouted. “Jimmy! You forgot your EpiPen!”

A few of the kids laughed. A red-faced boy grumbled something and stomped back.

“Bullet dodged,” Corey said. “Now let’s get on the boat.”

We stayed with the school group until we were on. The ferry was the Queen of Nanaimo. It wasn’t a little ship. It had room for a couple hundred cars and close to a thousand passengers.

We headed straight upstairs to the top deck. Some of the kids were already there for the best vantage point. We stayed behind them as we strained to look out. My night vision is better than average, but my regular sight is about the same. There were a few people on the pier as the ship prepared to depart, but no sign—

Daniel gripped my arm and whispered. “Don’t move. It’s Antone.” He didn’t say “your father.” He knew how I felt—my father was Rick Delaney. “To the left. Back at the ticket counter.”

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