I wasn’t reassured. Martial arts wouldn’t save her against guns or monsters, but I also knew the only thing that was going to keep her from poking her nose in my business was for her to get a major fright. Major enough to scare her off, without her ending up in hospital, dead, or grounded for life.
I wasn’t about to set anything like that up. I could pray, if I had any clue who to pray to. After fighting fairies I wasn’t going to dismiss the idea of gods.
Then again, I never really had. But no sooner had I left the group home, than I felt the presence of the bird again.
I heard its voice in my mind, wrapping around my brain stem. I gave it a bit of a shove, and it withdrew, but the words were still clear. “Let me have the kid and I will.”
“Why is he so important?”
“He’s got some talent. Wasted, of course, washed away by the drugs.”
Talent for? I didn’t ask, instead I gave the thing a massive shove, forcing it out of my mind, turning to walk away. It was still around, but it didn’t try telepathy or whatever the heck that was again.
Telepathy. Maybe that was the kid’s talent. I was, though, going to send that thing back where it came from. Except Thea couldn’t. If she could, she’d have done it. I trusted her that much, enough to be sure she wouldn’t let it stick around if she could get rid of it.
Which probably meant she didn’t know how. I almost seized on that. It was a good reminder that she wasn’t perfect.
Maybe Mr. Otter knew. I had no clue how to ask him about it. He showed up when I didn’t want him, but I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to appear when I did.
Which meant it was up to me.
The kid has some talent. I found myself heading towards the hospital. He was supposed to be being released this afternoon. I could offer to walk him home or something. Give him some protection. When I got there, one of Thea’s biker friends was loitering by the door. Red hair, heavy makeup, chains on her jacket. She nodded to me with a slight, knowing smile, as I headed inside.
They all carried themselves like her, I’d noticed. Sisters under the skin, perhaps. Sisters beyond blood and DNA. Inside, I loitered in the reception area, waiting for the kid to appear. Hoping they wouldn’t, for some reason, hustle him out the back door.
He showed up. Pale, thin, clearly in withdrawal from something. “Hey.”
Sullen eyes turned towards me. “…hey.”
“Relax. I’m just here to make sure you get home. After you passed out I was worried.”
“‘Cause I’m crazy and care for people, that’s why.” As we stepped outside, the bird circled overhead.