In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Eighty One
By AL BRUNO III
Saturday, December 4th 1996
Hao was waiting for them in a stolen car. Isobel and Zeth piled in and they sped off leaving fire and bodies in their wake. They drove out of Windam passing by a trio of emergency vehicles. Isobel sank down in her seat as they shrieked past but then felt ridiculous for having done so.
“See anything yet?” Hao asked.
“Nothing promising,” Zeth replied, “head towards the mountains.”
Now what are they talking about? Isobel wondered.
But she was more concerned with Galen and the others at Laurel House. This whole thing had been a trap. They had been betrayed from within- by Bodivar if Hao was to be believed. The Monarchs had used Thompson’s Pharmacy to slowly poison Angie.
Why poison her? To trick Laurel House’s most dangerous residents into leaving on a mission of mercy.
The two most dangerous residents and me, Isobel thought. She knew Zeth was deadly with a gun but she was curious what there was about Hao that worried the likes of Mr. Suano and Ms. Ginnmett.
The car fishtailed and then righted itself. The darkskinned woman asked again, “What about now?”
Zeth growled with annoyance, “When I see something I’ll tell you.”
What is Galen doing now? Is he running again? Is Warren safe? Isobel felt sick to her stomach, if there had been any food in it she might have thrown up.
Another firetruck sped past. Had the fire spread? Were innocent people coming to harm? Is it my fault? The thought was as familiar as it was terrible. Is all this because I picked up a stranger on the side of the road?
Of course it is.
If she had just driven around Galen none of this would have happened. She would still be moving through her miserable and safe existence, her brother’s friends would still be alive, her brother’s hands wouldn’t hurt to look at and Cheryl...
What have they done to Cheryl?
“There!” Zeth’s voice was an excited whisper. The stolen car skidded to a halt.
Hao was out of the car before it stopped moving, she pulled Isobel roughly out of the back seat. There were more sirens coming.
The three of them ran across the road, Zeth urged them on. Isobel tried to understand where they were going but all she saw was more snow and trees.
Then Zeth began to sing, his voice was deep and powerful but the words it filled the air with were nonsense to Isobel’s ears.
No. Not nonsense. She realized. This is magic
Hao’s hand tightened around hers. “Don’t be afraid,” she said.
The world seemed to bend away from them as they ran, contorting and refracting like funhouse mirrors. Isobel tried to speak but there was no air for her to draw in. She felt like she was falling, she felt like she was falling through the world.