Dream Dark Page 8

“You want me to deliver a letter?” Couldn't Mr.

Eaton do that? He delivered the Casters' mail, too.

Macon lifted the envelope and held it between his fingers. “This isn't just any letter. The recipient of this letter is a very old friend of mine, and this correspondence must reach him. It's a matter of critical importance, I'm afraid.” That part wasn't surprising. Everything seemed dangerous and important if Macon was involved.

Link scratched his head. “Why can't you deliver it yourself, sir?” It was a valid question.

“The route is a bit treacherous for a Caster, which is what I am these days.”

“Right.” Link doubted it. He might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but even he knew there weren't a lot of things that were too treacherous for Macon Ravenwood.

“I need an Incubus to deliver it, and my sister is indisposed.” Link was pretty sure Leah wouldn't let Macon boss her and her giant mountain cat around.

That much made sense. Just like the idea that Link was the lackey in this situation.

Link gave up and stopped trying to figure it out.

“Where do you want me to take the letter?”

Macon handed it to Link. The paper was thick and heavy and securely sealed with wax. “Barbados.”

“You mean like the island?” Maybe there was a city up north named Barbados that Link didn't know about. Like Cairo, in Mississippi. It was possible, as far as he knew. He had failed geography a bunch of times.

Macon looked amused. “Precisely the one, Mr.

Lincoln. Although if you take the Tunnels, you probably won't get to see the Caribbean. Obidias lives too far inland.”

Obidias Trueblood. It was the name inscribed on the front of the envelope.

“You want me to walk to Barbados?”

“You can Travel, if you prefer. Obviously, it would be much more efficient.”

Link wasn't about to try to teleport himself anywhere. As far as he was concerned, that was like asking him to jump out of a plane. “No, thanks, sir. I think I'l hoof it, if you don't mind.”

Macon nodded. “Not at al . But you have to leave right away. I cannot stress the importance of the contents of that envelope enough.”

Link stuffed the envelope in his pocket. “How am I supposed to find my way to Barbados?” Link had gotten lost driving to Charleston once. Another time, he'd even cal ed and reported the Beater stolen when he forgot he'd parked it in the lot at the Stop & Steal. Fatty hadn't let him live that one down for months.

Macon nodded toward the door. Boo Radley was sitting there, waiting. Link could almost swear Boo

sitting there, waiting. Link could almost swear Boo was rol ing his eyes as Link made his way to the door.

“Al right. Let's get to Barbados, Boo.” The dog barked. “Get it? Two Barbados? Barbay- dos? After that, should we dial things up a notch and hit Barbay- tres?” Boo whined and turned back to Macon, who shook his head.

“Be careful, Mr. Lincoln. Our fate is in your hands.”

Now, that was a frightening thought, even to Link.

The Tunnels twisted and curved in front of him, disappearing into the darkness, but it was nothing Link hadn't faced before. It could be worse. He could think of more dangerous things than the Tunnels and whatever he might find down here—as long as his mom stayed aboveground. His mom, and maybe that cup of yel ow pee.

Link reached into his back pocket and pul ed out his trusty gardening shears, snipping the air a few times for good measure. He was making a habit of bringing them whenever he visited Macon in the Tunnels. He felt much better with a pair of giant metal scissors in his hand, whether they were meant for clipping rosebushes or the backbone of a fetal pig in the summer school bio lab—not that he'd ever done either. It didn't matter. Earlier this summer, he'd seen what those shears could do.

Which was good, because Link was moving deeper into the Tunnels than he'd ever been before.

He passed some places that looked familiar, but his memory was never great to begin with—one thing the Incubus blood hadn't improved. He recognized Exile, the club where they'd found Ridley and Lena with John Breed and a whole bunch of Dark Supernaturals. Link knew he never wanted to see that place again. Luckily, Boo seemed to know the way.

The Caster dog kept going, careful y picking his way on padded paws, until they found themselves in the darkest bend yet. The farther the dog walked, the blacker the Tunnels became, and Link realized exactly how wel he could see in the dark now.

You're almost there. Just a little farther and you can dump the letter and go.

Link kept repeating the words silently, but he wasn't sure they were true. Link could see a long stretch of darkness in front of him, like an enormous black subway tunnel except without the tracks.

He tried to distract himself by whistling one of the Holy Rol ers' latest and worst songs. But the lyrics he'd been playing around with—about a beautiful ex-Siren turned Mortal girl—didn't work anymore. The ex-Siren in the song was his girl, connected to him in ways his mind couldn't even begin to understand.

He was stil thinking about her cocky smile and the way she chewed stick after stick of gum, the way old Wal ace Gunn chain-smoked Lucky Strikes, when he caught the scent of something unfamiliar and nauseating.

Motor oil and rotten eggs and singed hair.

Link breathed in again, gagging from the stench.

He stared ahead, but the Tunnel was seriously dark, even for a quarter Incubus. And there were noises.

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