Iced - Page 67/120

“Two to three seconds at most, boss. The fog rushed out, the thing came, the fog sucked back in and it was gone.”

“I assume it was Fae,” Ryodan says.

“Unequivocally,” I say.

“You’re a sidhe-seer. That means you should be able to get a read on it like Mac did with the Sinsar Dubh.”

“I could to a degree.”


“Enormous sentience. Stupefying.” I wish I’d felt the Unseelie king. I’d have something to compare it to.


“None discernible. No malevolence. I got the impression destruction was a by-product, not a goal.” I notice everyone’s looking at me funny. “Dude,” I add and flash my best street-urchin grin at the room in general. “Fecking-A, was it ever cool!” Got to watch my tendency to geek out when I get excited.

“You think it had a goal.”

“There was … I don’t know … purpose to what it was doing. I could feel it. Some Fae feel simple when I focus on them with my sidhe-seer sense. They’re dumb, acting on instinct, capable of random destruction. Then there are things like Papa Roach, that Fae that breaks down into little parts,” I remind him, in case he missed that especially scintillating edition of my Dani Daily. “Papa feels … structured. It has plans. So does the Ice Monster. But there’s a big difference between Papa and the Ice Monster. Papa has a beady little mind. This thing is … vast in construct and purpose.”


I sigh. “No clue. Just that it had one.”

“No idea why it chose that place, or why it ices things.”

“None,” I say. “It didn’t even touch anything, as far as I could see. It just kind of hovered above it all. Unless the fog is like its fingers or something and it sucks folks’ life force up with it and inadvertently ices them in the process. No way around it, I need more time with it. Got to feel it out longer.”

Jayne starts cursing and says nobody is going to be spending more time with it because it’s too dangerous, and even Lor looks disturbed by the idea of another encounter with the Iceman. Which reminds me …

“Why were you afraid?” I say. “I didn’t think anything scared you dudes.”

Lor gives me a cool look, like I didn’t see what I saw, and says, “What are you talking about, kid? Only thing I was worried about was how pissed Boss was going to be if the thing killed you.”

Bull. I know these dudes. They don’t care about anything but themselves and he was freaked, which means it was a threat to him somehow. I want to know how. I want to know what Ryodan’s Kryptonite is. I know a few universals like: he who can destroy a thing controls it. Not that I get off on destroying things but when you get backed against a wall, coming out with both guns blazing is pretty much your only choice. I want enough power to void a contract, enough to quit my job, permanent-like. I’m ready for retirement. I want enough leverage to get Jo out of the kiddie subclub, assuming she ever wants to leave.

She will. The day he chooses someone else.

In my estimation that won’t be long at all.

Half an hour later I’m outside Chester’s, skidding holes in the rain-slicked pavement, pacing in hyperspeed, munching power bars to keep myself juiced. I’m waiting for Ryodan to get done with whatever the feck business he said he had to take care of that couldn’t wait, so we can get on with our investigation. He told me to sit tight inside the club, but me hanging around inside Chester’s without my sword ain’t real likely and he should know better than to expect it.

Then again, without my sword I’m not straying far either. I hate waiting for backup but I want it. The Unseelie princes freaked me out. I got a major thought brewing about them, an idea I despise but have to consider for its end result. Right now I’m keeping it back-burnered where it can’t burn me too much.

I got so many other thoughts exploding inside my head that I expect a few are poking out my ears. One second I’m so excited to be living in these times I almost can’t stand it, the next I’m a nervous wreck because my people are out here in these streets and they don’t have any clue we got a big scary Ice Monster turning parts of our world into a deep freezer! I got to get the word out fast, but what do I tell them? If you see a shimmery spot in the air—run? That’s assuming they even notice the shimmery spot before they’re iced!

Trouble is, I know folks. You can tell them to run all you want but there aren’t a lot of people that will, until they believe they’re in major danger—which is usually too late. They gape like cows, and if you don’t know it, cows gape a lot. There used to be a big herd out by the abbey where I tested my speed and navigating abilities after Ro took me in and I was drunk on my new freedom. The cow pasture was a great place to practice freeze-framing on a dime because (a) cows move and are unpredictable, therefore hard to map like the real world, and (b) if I hit a cow it usually hurt me more than the cow. I had a riveted bovine audience the entire time. They’d chew their cud and swing their big heads back and forth, watching me like I was cow TV. If all I had to do was chew regurgitated food and watch other cows all day, I’d be riveted by me, too. Heck, that bored, I’d be enraptured by a fly battle on a cow pie.

But back to folks, shimmery spots aren’t terrifying enough to make them flee. And there are some folks, like the see-you-in-Faery chicks that hang at Chester’s 24/7, sporting new Papa Roach bugged-sized waistlines, trading sex, competing with each other to see who can eat enough Unseelie to turn immortal and get to hang with the Fae first, that would deliberately linger if they saw a shimmery spot, just because it was, like, pretty. Gah, some chicks should be shot. Put out of everyone else’s reproduction pool.

I need a couple of pictures to put in my daily, to show peeps the gruesome finality of what the Ice Monster does. I need to get over by Dublin Castle, shoot a few frames. Then I need to get to TDD headquarters and fire up the presses! I love printing my dailies. I got double the reason to get one out fast now. After seeing the Unseelie Princes WANTED posters, folks are no doubt worrying their butts off about me! I need to reassure them, let them know I’m still on the job.

“You must be Dani!”

I turn.

And pop up on my heel and keep turning. I’d turn all the way to bum-feck-China if I could. I spin in a full rotation so she’s at my back again and stand there, trying to compose myself. I don’t want to look at her. I don’t want her to see my face. I didn’t expect this. Wasn’t ready for it. Feck, I’ll never be ready for this. It’s one thing to know she’s out there somewhere, along with Mac. It’s another thing to have to face her.