“I’m sorry to hear that,” Sam said. “But at least you know she’s alive and okay now.”
“She is not okay,” Carmen insisted. “She is dressed like a puta. She say nothing, not one word. She hurt my Eduardo.”
Sam tried to think of what to say. “I think maybe Luce is trying to tell you that she needs some time to herself.”
“Don’t you no hear me?” Carmen shrieked. “She hurt my husband bad. He had to go to the emergency room. Luce broke his arm.”
“Sometimes a bad fall can cause a fracture, Mrs. Figueroa.” When the other woman began arguing with her, she gave up. “If you want to press charges against your daughter for assaulting your husband, I can send an officer over to the hospital. We’ll issue a bench warrant for her arrest.”
“You no understand,” the woman said before she gave up on English and continued in Spanish. “I spoke to my husband and the emergency room doctor. The fall did not do this to Eduardo, Luce did. She did all of it.”
“Like I said—”
“It was not one bone,” Carmen said. “It was thirty. Detective Brown, she broke every bone in his arm, his wrist and his hand.” #
Chris’s blood rejuvenated him, but Jamys’s strength slipped away just the same as soon as the sun rose in the sky. Resigned to seeking the rest he needed, he pulled in and parked under a shade tree in the back lot of an all-night fast food restaurant. The cramped backseat of Chris’s car wouldn’t accommodate half of his long frame, so he reclined the driver’s seat down until his head couldn’t be seen through the windows, pulled his jacket over his face, and closed his eyes.
He resisted dreams whenever he felt them hovering around his thoughts, for he never dreamt of anything but the terrors and sorrows of the past, but this time he forgot to keep up his guard, and found himself walking through the quiet forests of his homeland.
Relief surged through him. No bad memories dwelled here for him; when he had hunted with his uncle he had always known keen pleasure and a sense of belonging, as if he had been born to hunt. As Kyn he could no longer feed on animals, but that didn’t seem to matter now. He followed one primitive scent after another, surprising a hare, then a boar, then a doe nursing a beautiful white-spotted fawn.
He watched the deer for a long time, taking solace in the sight of such innocence, until someone came up behind him and frightened off the pair.
Jamys turned to see Thierry dressed in his white Templar tunic, copper-edged swords in both of his huge hands. He wanted to greet him, but his mouth would not move, and neither would his body.
“I know you are in trouble.” Thierry thrust his swords into the ground. “Show me where you are, and I will come to you.” He waited, but when Jamys didn’t answer he scowled. “I shall kill anything that harms you. You know this. Tis why you summoned me.”
Jamys looked down at the swords, and words spilled from his lips. “Those times are over, Father.”
“You are in danger, boy, and I will not—“ Thierry stopped and stared at him. “Do you speak to me, Jamys?”
Speaking was all Jamys could do. “I did. I am.” At least here, he could.
Thierry grinned and tried to embrace him, but something came between them and pushed him back. “Jamie. What is happening to you? Tell me now.”
“One of the old ones has come here,” he said. “A hunter who can use mortals as weapons. Lucan has become prey, as have his people. They see only the bait, not the trap.” He felt frustration snarling inside him. “I know, but I cannot tell them.”
“Alexandra should never have done this to you.” Thierry turned away. “I will wake, and I will come to you. Together we will find the hunter and defeat him.”
“You cannot help the boy, Thierry.” Gabriel stepped out from behind the trunk of an old oak. He wore only an old pair of buckskin trousers. “This is Jamys’s battle.”
“Uncle.” Jamys saw the terrible burn scars on Gabriel’s torso. “I do not think I can do this alone.”
“The hunter is always alone,” Gabriel chided. “So is this one. No matter how many mortals are used for the traps, in the end, it will be you and the other.”
“I do not have your power,” Jamys protested. “I cannot defeat him.”
“You have all you need,” his uncle promised. “You have but to remember what I taught you here. Remember that you are also your mother’s son.”
“Do not speak of Angelica.” Thierry seized Gabriel’s arm. “My son has nothing of her inside him. And he cannot use a bow and arrow to defeat a Kyn lord.”
“He has but to use his gifts.” Gabriel took Thierry’s arm, and pulled him away. “Leave your son to his work now, brother.”
Jamys wanted to call after them, but they vanished as quickly as they had appeared. Then he was left alone again – alone and with no thought of what next to do.
“You could come and get me out of here.”
He turned around, but only when he tipped his head back did he see Chris, standing on a high branch of the oak. She jumped down, floating to the earth, where she landed lightly on her feet.
“Sam told me about this place,” she said, smiling. “I didn’t think I could come here.”
“Where are you, Chris?”
She shrugged. “Someplace small and dark. Not much fun here.”
She must still be in pain from bleeding herself for him. “I never meant for you to hurt yourself for my sake,” Jamys told her, reaching out for her. “Forgive me.”
“I didn’t mind. I really like you. And this place is fabulous.” She threw out her arms and whirled around. “How long can I stay here?” Before he could answer, her arms fell and her shoulders slumped. “They’re waking me.”
She gave him a sad smile. “Yeah, I have to go.”
A fierce dread settled over him. “Chris, where are you?”
“I don’t know. Not a good place.” She climbed up the side of the tree, pausing to glance down. “Your uncle is right. This is your battle, Jamys, and you are your mother’s son. Don’t forget what they both taught you.”
Jamys jerked awake and pulled the jacket from his head. The south Florida sky had turned pink and gold, with dark blue clouds stretching out over the setting sun. As soon as he opened the window, the unlovely smell of hot grease and cheap meat wafted in. Parking behind the fast food restaurant had given him a chance to rest without attracting notice, but he couldn’t imagine why humans patronized such places. The food smelled so vile he wouldn’t have fed it to a goat.
And if he kept thinking about that, he wouldn’t have to remember the dream.
The last rays of the sun made his eyes burn, so he searched in his pockets until he found his shades and slid them on. Whatever his dream meant, he knew Chris was safe, although he would have to go back to her apartment and use her again. This time he would have her call Lucan’s stronghold and relate what he had discovered. This time he would write it all down rather than use his talent, so that he would not further exhaust her.
When Jamys arrived at the girl’s apartment, however, he found the door ajar and the place empty. Her scent was all over everything, but it was faint, as if she had not been in the flat for some hours. He turned and saw her purse still sat where she had left it on the small table in the kitchen, and went back to the bedroom. There, by the bed, he picked up another, unwelcome scent.
Luce had stood here, and put her hands on the coverlet. She had come for Chris.
Jamys cursed himself as he followed the scent of both females, which lead out of the apartment and down to the parking lot, where it abruptly disappeared. She must have taken Chris away in a vehicle.
Chris, who as a tresora in training would know everything about Lucan’s stronghold, his defenses and the number of warriors guarding him.
Jamys jumped back into the car and began driving toward the beach before he realized he couldn’t go into the Kyn’s lair alone. He would have to return to Lucan’s stronghold and somehow explain what had happened. He was tempted to pick up a human from the street and compel them to speak for him, but with as much as he had to say, they would only end up falling unconscious.
He stopped at a petrol station and parked next to a telephone booth in the lot. For the first time since Alexandra had operated on him, he tried to use his voice. His tongue, which the Brethren had mutilated and Alex had rebuilt, moved sluggishly, but no sound came from his throat to form words. He tried again, but the muscles in his neck knotted, and all that came out were bursts of air.
You didn’t tell your father about your mother’s evil. You hid away inside yourself and let him suffer. Why would you think you could tell Lucan about the danger to Chris, and how she is now being used against him?
Jamys choked on the bitter taste of his own helplessness, and without thinking rammed his fist into the windshield. The glass exploded outward, bouncing all over the hood of the car. He pulled back his hand and watched the glass shards fall from his unmarked flesh. Chris’s blood had restored his strength – and he couldn’t say a word to warn her friends and save her life.
A car pulled up beside him, and he got out and went around it to the driver’s side. The woman behind the wheel was short, plump and middle-aged, with a tired but kind face. She stopped hunting through her purse when she saw him, and then stared at his chest. “My lord, but you’re a mess. Were you in an accident, honey?”
Jamys glanced down; he’d forgotten the dried blood on his garments, now covered with bits of the shattered windshield as well. He held out his hand, and when she took it he released his scent and spoke in her mind. I need you to make a phone call for me.
She nodded, smiling as she got out of her car, and walked slowly to the booth. He touched her once more to give her the number, and then took out his pad and pen and began to write.