Chapter 14

“My mother wouldn’t do that,” Fiona said, glaring at the man who called himself Drake Alcaide; if, Jay wondered, thinking of the little girl and the woman with the knife, he was actually a ‘man’ in a human sense. At least his eyes looked normal. “That’s stupid,” Fiona continued. “Were the dragons supposed to talk?”

As if on cue, the present dragon clumped around the side of the building and disappeared like Alisana and the woman. Maybe it left to avoid proving it could talk.

“If Kenley sent a message with dragons,” Jay said, attempting calm rationality, “they didn’t deliver it. Can she deliver it herself now? Is she here?”

“No, she isn’t here. Yes, that plan failed. She said she would try another way. Did she?”

“If you want to call it that,” Fiona retorted. “She showed up with a ghost and told Jay she needed him, and said to meet her at Twelfth Street.”

“She didn’t say that. She said Twelfth Street, she didn’t say meet her there.”

Fiona turned on him. “Well maybe I don’t understand my own mother anymore and maybe they don’t need me at all because I’m just a Lombardo package delivery person, but if you’re going somewhere with this guy, I’m going too.”

“I’m not stopping you.”

Drake Alcaide made a soft exasperated sound. “Kenley Dirac sent both messages because we need help that you can give us. This is closing though. I can’t control it and there’s no more time.”

He turned his back on them and walked on up the stairs toward the arches. “Wait,” Fiona called out in a firm voice. “You keep saying that the door is open because Alisana comes to see a friend. Who is the friend? Did my mother know? Is the friend living or dead?”

Taking yet another step, he did not look back as he said, “She won’t say, they’re hidden from us, and we can’t see the dead. We can’t answer that question.”

“I can.”

He did finally turn around once more and looked at her and said, “I know that too. We can’t stay any longer, both of you come with me.”

Fiona followed him without another word, then at the top of the stairs she looked back and said to Jay, “Bring the clothes. Your mother gave me some of hers so it’s important.”

Jay was left alone in the dark, the lights of the marina shops and restaurants on his right, the lights of his own home across the narrow channel, his car parked behind him. It was obvious what he had to do. He had to go get the clothes.

He was not going to refuse to go through that doorway arch thing. No one in his family would have ever refused, and it was a choice he had little difficulty making anyway. In the meantime, the dragons and his little sister? Not even a dragon could get past his mother. Maybe. She was a human woman, after all.

He’d already stopped depending on her. There was no real decision to be made. He walked on through.

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