I kept my eyes on the ground as I headed for the meeting place. A cold wind blew, but I couldn't really feel it. I had the hood of my jacket up, my hair stuffed into it, and that helped fight off the chill. Hopefully, it would keep anyone from recognizing me too.
I kept repeating my earlier reasoning to myself, over and over. I was doing the right thing. I could handle things without Stark. Kimberly did need Majestic's gifts more than she needed him. So, why did I still feel so guilty?
I got to the bank. The lights inside were dark, and the parking lot was deserted. Or, at least, that was how it was supposed to look.
“Hey," a voice said softly from the shadows.
“Hey, Ed," I replied.
“Aw, man!" he stepped out to join me. “How'd you know I was there?"
“Ed, I could smell you the minute I stepped onto the parking lot." I put my hands in my pockets. “Where's everyone else?"
“Here," Victor said, stepping out of the same shadow Edgar had been standing in. I fought down the urge to bare my teeth at him.
“It's a temporary pocket dimension," Ed explained with a grin, pointing at the shadow. To me, it didn't look like anything except another shadow cast by the streetlights. “That's where everybody will be hiding until the Silverblood gets here."
Mr. Wrogan stepped out of the shadow, his massive body materializing out of thin air.
“I assume you know what's going on, Amber?" he asked in his rumbling voice.
“Yeah," I nodded. “What do you need me to do?"
“The Silverblood was attracted to your presence that night at the funeral home," Victor spoke up. I scowled at him, but he ignored it. “The hope is that the same thing will happen tonight."
“I've been outside since then," I said, pointedly speaking to Mr. Wrogan instead of Victor. “It never showed up."
That was a lie, of course. Stark had two more times since then. I wasn't going to tell them I'd been talking to their precious lost Silverblood, though.
“It probably has," Mr. Wrogan answered. “You just didn't realize it."
I sighed. “Okay, fine. What do you want me to do?"
He pointed to another nearby shadow. “There's another pocket dimension in there. Go in and change out of your clothes. Turn into your wolf form, and then come back out here."
I did as he said. When I stepped into the shadow, I was expecting to feel something. An icy wind, a tingle of electricity, or a shift in gravity. The kinds of things people feel in stories. I was a little surprised when I just stepped into a room without feeling anything. It was a small room, without any windows. The only door was the one I'd walked through to get in. When I looked back through it, I could see Wrogan and the others standing outside, waiting for me. If this was anything like the dimension they'd been in, they wouldn't be able to see me. I took a little comfort in this as I stripped down and shifted. I left my clothes lying in a pile on the floor and trotted back out join the others. When I came out, I found Dex with them.
“- finished my rounds, sir," he was saying. “There's no sign of it."
Him! I thought defiantly. Stark is a him!
Mr. Wrogan shook his head. “I'm not surprised. If it's been able to evade me for this long, I wouldn't expect it to reveal itself to you. No offense."
“None taken." Dex pulled one of his yellow vials from his jacket and drank it. Grimacing, he groaned and threw the empty container into a nearby dumpster and then turned to me. “Looking good, Sugarsnout."
I huffed in my throat and turned away.
“Ah," he said, running a hand through his hair, “still not talking to me?"
“She's a wolf," Edgar interjected from the other end of the parking lot. “She can't talk to anyone."
Dex gave him a sharp look. “Thank you for that, Ed. What would we ever do without you?"
Ed shot him the bird and then winked at me, grinning. So the stupid kid still hadn't gotten over his crush. Great…
“Shut up, both of you," Victor snapped, making his way back over to join us. “It's almost time."
Ed's face turned red. “You're not in charge here, old man."
The look Victor gave him would have made Hendricks hide under a table. It was more than enough to shut Edgar up.
“Enough!" Mr. Wrogan said, his voice easily drowning out the squabbling idiots. “He's right. Everyone to your positions."
Dex nodded and headed for the shadow where the others had been hiding earlier. After straightening his tie, Victor followed him.
“You want to hang out after we're done here?" Ed whispered to me.
“Now, Edgar!" Mr. Wrogan snapped, pointing to the shadow where I'd gone to change. Ed hopped up and obeyed.
You'd better not do anything funny with those clothes, you little punk! I shouted after him inside my head.
“Amber," Mr. Wrogan said, pointing to the back wall of the bank, “go over there and lie down. Try to look like you're going to sleep."
I cocked my head at him, unable to voice my questions.
Wrogan understood. “If the Silverblood sees you standing still in the middle of a parking lot, it will assume something is going on. If it thinks you're asleep, it will feel more confident in approaching you."
Not likely, I thought, hoping the huge man couldn't see the guilt on my face. Since I told him about it.
“Don't worry," he added. “We'll be here the whole time. It won't be able to smell us in the pocket dimensions, so it shouldn't have any idea that we're here. Just wait for it to come in, and we'll take care of it."
He began to back towards the shadow where Edgar had gone. “Do not try to fight it, Amber, no matter what. It hurt you badly enough last time. I don't want to risk that again."
Yeah, no problem. He hadn't needed to tell me that. If the trap didn't work, I planned on running away as fast as I could.
“You'll be fine. Just leave it to us."
With that, he vanished back inside the shadow, leaving me alone in the deserted parking lot. Anxiety gnawed at my gut, but I did as he said. I made my way to the wall and lied down.
And I waited…
NEXT TIME: Ooh, the suspense! Will Stark show up? Will Majestic catch him? Who will help Kimberly through her change? Questions, questions, questions, and not single answer to be had... yet!