I knew Thea knew I had taken the bike. The bike knew I had taken the bike, but whatever mind or mentality it had, it was with me. It knew this was a true emergency. Sensed it from me, perhaps, the sense of urgency that flowed through me.
Why had she called me, not the cops? Or maybe she had called both, but she was at home, or had been when she’d made the call. Help. Home. The only words she’d been able to get out.
Had been when she’d made the call. Wasn’t now. The fyrhund. I needed it right now, the only asset I had that could track her down, but I wasn’t sure where the beast was.
No, it was there, running next to me. I’d called it, somehow, without knowing I had. It liked me, but it couldn’t be trusted. The bike didn’t seem to trust it either, it felt like it shied away a little.
“Easy girl,” I murmured. For a moment, it felt like a horse again, running on swift hooves across the pavement, but all anyone would see was a girl on a bike, gunning it through an alleyway, between cars. Fastest way to get across a city. And knowing you wouldn’t wreck, knowing that what was under you wasn’t a dumb machine?
I went even faster, squealing to a halt outside the house.
It wasn’t Kanesha who came out. It was Wilma, the quiet one, whom I almost never spoke to. “Oh my…oh my…where did you get the bike?”
“It’s a friend’s. Where’s Kanesha?”
“Her old man grabbed her.”
“Dammit.” Where would he have taken her? “She should have hit him in the balls.”
“She did. Bastard was wearing a cup.”
Of course he was. Mr. Clem…which wasn’t even Kanesha’s last name…would take precautions like that. “Wilma, can you do one thing for me?”
“There’s a gun under my bed. Get it for me. Wear gloves, just in case.”
Her eyes widened at the mention of the illegal weapon, then she vanished inside, retrieving it after a moment. Wearing gloves.
“Good. Now stay here…”
“Are you going to shoot him?”
“Probably not, but he doesn’t need to know that.”
I knew she wouldn’t tell the cops I had it. She was, though, pale and shaking her hands as if the weapon had contaminated her. “There’s chocolate ice cream in the freezer.”
I couldn’t suggest alcohol, not when she was no older than I was, but I could give her my ice cream. It was about all I could do. Then I turned the bike towards Southeast.