Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wyre-rat (part 23)

He didn't hold a gun, or a knife, but he crept toward the bed on soundless feet. I tensed to move.

The stranger lunged forward. I tried to move away, but was tangled in the blankets. I felt the pop of a pressure syringe against my upper shoulder and responded, throwing him off. He stumbled backward and I set myself, but the cat erupted from the bathroom and seemingly by accident found a hold that the stranger could not shake off. A few seconds later the man crumpled and lay shaking on the floor.

I swallowed, eyes wide as a pool of dark spread across the dirt floor. "You killed him." I looked from the narrow piece of broken plastic in the cat's hand to the corpse.

"Wasn't I supposed to?" He sounded both puzzled and frightened. Underneath, I heard exhilaration. "He would have killed you."

I touched my shoulder. I wasn't feeling lethargic or drugged in any way, and the painful pressure indicated that something had been injected into the muscle. I could guess what it was. "You're going to have to do this alone, now."

He blinked, suddenly frightened. His eyes went to my shoulder. "A tracker," he breathed. "They found us because of my tracker."

"No. The water I gave you last night would have neutralized any tracking devices. Unfortunately that was the only bottle I had." I rubbed at my face. "So it'll be up to you." I hated to leave him on his own, but this situation had just become more complicated.

"What will be up to me?"

"You need to get out, and let my people know what happened. If you stay in animal shape until you get across the border you should be fine." I didn't have much choice. At least the route I had planned wouldn't risk anyone.

"Do you know how to swim?"

His eyes widened in alarm. "Swim? I'm a cat."

"Good. Are you afraid of water?"

He hissed, perhaps in contempt at the idea.

"Good. Right now, before dawn, go down to the bay. The northern section, the trees come right down to the water. Go in cat form. Somewhere along the shore, under a large tree there's a small cave that you can get into as a cat but that no human could find. Inside you'll find a diver's mask and a tank."

He blinked in surprise.

If you want to start at the beginning: Wyre-Rat episode 1

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