Winter Rain, part 19

“Tara, keep up with them,” I say as I jump between two couples at a run, “I’m on my way.” Someone curses behind me, but I’m already gone. I glance over my shoulder, then forward along the street, but there is traffic in both directions.

“No!” Conlan’s voice snarls. “Tiergan, stay where you are! Tara, let them lose you. We’re done!”

Of all the . . . . “Conlan, didn’t you hear me? We’ve got to warn the others!”

“About what? You screwing up? Plenty of time for that later, Tiergan. You’ve made us obvious. There’s nothing subtle left to do. Tara: don’t make it too easy, but, let, them, go.”

Oh, Conlan—you fucking idiot. Be afraid, if you want. But don’t let it make you stupid.

I leap over a parked bike to avoid a threesome walking abreast, then glance again into the street. Still no way. But the far sidewalk is nearly clear.

“Tara, the girl: she was at Rian’s estate last summer, when Faolan took me hunting.” Oh, screw it! I leap across the near lane and stop short on the center line. A car zips past on either side. The one behind leans on his horn.

Wait—“I saw her after,”—wait—“she was taking instructions from Rian.”—now! I launch across the gap to the curb and bank off a concrete planter to avoid a young woman. Tires squeal behind me, but I’m clear.

“So why would Rian get us to follow someone who works for him, right?”

Tara: ever the voice of reason!

“Exactly! And if he lied . . . I don’t know what he’s up to, but it can’t be good.”

“Tiergan,” Conlan snarls again, “I told you to stay where you are! I’m in charge of this team!” The panic in his voice is sharp and clear.

But he’s wrong. On both counts.

“Conlan, if you were up to the job, Faolan wouldn’t have had to tell you you were in charge.”

And I’m tired of this. Conlan’s a good friend, but . . . . I hate that things always come down to who is bigger and stronger. And more willing to use it.

But that’s the way it is.

“Let me make this real easy for you, Conlan. Come over here and stop me, or shut the fuck up!”

The line goes silent.


“Tara, things are bad with Rian, right now. He’s up to something—I know it. Faolan thinks he can manage it, but . . . I don’t think he can.

“We’ve got to warn them.”

I glance down a side street and tear into the intersection at speed. People ahead see me coming and scatter out of the way. I think I see Tara up ahead, but it’s too dark to be sure.

I haven’t a clue what I’m going to do when I get there.

“Okay,” Tara says. “Go find a place to change.

“I’ll stick with them until it’s done.”

Now, why didn’t I think of that?