Today’s sample occurs after the antagonist, Delilah, has convinced Matty and Kristy to head for Vegas with her amid the breakdown of civilization occurring all around them, and constitutes our first proper introduction to Matty’s friend Daniel.
“What are we talking about over here?” Delilah said from right behind us; we turned on her.
“How do you do that?” I asked.
“Years of experience, I suppose. I find it almost always helps to be light on one’s feet.”
“You’re going to be light on teeth if you don’t back up a few steps.”
“So hostile. Are you like this with the whole world?”
“As a matter of fact, I am.”
“Don’t rise to her level,” Daniel said, “she’s trying to bait you.”
Delilah raised an eyebrow. “Bravo. Perhaps he is wiser than he appears.”
“Aye, perhaps he is, and perhaps he’s dealt with a few old crones such as the one standing in front of him right now.”
She chuckled, shaking her head. “It all becomes clear. Does she know?”
“Know what?” I said.
“Know how he really tracked us here – please, did you believe his puff about seeing us going away?”
Daniel had his hands on his hips. “How did I do it, genius?”
“You haven’t told her. Naughty boy.” She wagged one finger.
“Will somebody clue one of us in?”
“He’s a magician, my dear.”
“Say what now?” I asked.
He tightened his mouth, then gave one curt nod. “It’s as she says.”
She clapped her hands, once, the sound loud as thunder on the abandoned stretch of highway. “Magnificent! A true Maleficarum in our midst.”
“So how did you track us?” I asked.
“I’d be happy to tell you, but I don’t feel comfortable out here in the open. Too many bad spirits out in the world these days, if you catch my drift,” he said.
“Good heavens, what is this I hear? An exalted traveler of the Aethyrs frightened of the Reckoning? Tell me it isn’t so,” Delilah said.
He tightened his mouth. Divine intervention alone kept him from popping her in the mouth. “And what are you, you old bag?
“I am a servant of the Watchers, and you will watch your tone with me, dilettante.”
His face went pale. “Oh. Right. Sorry about that one.”
Now this was interesting. Some otherworldly politics were going on here, ones that I didn’t fathom. Daniel seemed ready to crap his pants, and that was even knowing Delilah’s crazy instability.
“Listen, lasses,” he said, “I’d love to stand here gabbing all day, but we’re not safe here. Can you give me a hand getting this wreck off the road, please?”