“What is that thing?” he asked.
“Trouble. That’s why I’m staying with you.” I glanced around for the biker. Saw her, got an acknowledging nod before she tugged on her helmet and mounted the vehicle.
She wasn’t offering us a ride. I knew that. “Where do you live?” I asked.
“You won’t want to go there.”
“I can look after myself. And my white skin.” I offered him a smile. “I’m taking you to safety.”
“That monster’s real, isn’t it? I’m sober. I think I’m sober.”
“Why did you start the drugs in the first place?” I steered him towards the Metro station. Underground, we were safer. It could only get down there in human form, not giant bird or murderous horse. But it would take us a while. We were almost a mile from Brookland Metro by the shortest route.
“To stop the voices. I’m schizo. I couldn’t…I can’t…I still can’t. I tried to tell them.”
“You’re not schizo. It’s something else.” Telepathy? Magic? Both? I didn’t know. “Come on.”
“You and your friend. You’re…you’re…” He fell silent. A moment later the bird swooped. It didn’t touch us, but the wind from its wings was enough to stagger us.
Attacking with witnesses? But there was almost nobody around.
Well, except for Thea’s biker sister, who had been scouting ahead. She turned the bike across the road, the engine rumbling like some kind of predatory beast. I pushed the kid behind me.
“You’re going back where you belong.”
It touched down, turned into the fanged horse, pawing the ground, staring at us. “You don’t know how.”
“I’m pretty sure I can work it out.”
The biker had knives. She drew them, hopping off the bike to walk towards us.
“Or I’ll just let her deal with you.”
It reared, striking towards me with blade-like hooves. I ducked, rolling to the side.
A bit of talent. Hearing voices. The kid was shivering, though…I kept thinking of him that way, even though he was likely older than I was. Older, but weaker.
Then he drew himself up. “Go home,” he said in a weak voice.
Its front end came down, it started to move towards him, teeth bared, bent on destruction.
And then the biker was on it from behind, darting towards its shoulder. When it snaked its head round to bite her, she thrust a knife into the base of its skull.
It…disappeared. I felt the breath go out of me. “Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me yet. It’s not dead. It’s likely to come back. Get that guy home.”
With that, she hopped on her bike once more and rode off.