February Thaw

February Thaw by Tanya Huff

Book: February Thaw by Tanya Huff Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tanya Huff
Tags: Sci Fi & Fantasy
fine patina of pigeon shit, only an easy four foot jump away.
    "It doesn't open!"
    "No problem." Taking a deep breath, Jack moved back a dozen paces and ran at the window as hard as he could. The noise he made on impact wasn't quite splat, but it was close.
    "Move your skinny ass out of the way," Lyra snapped.
    It seemed like a plan, so he did and then watched amazed as Lyra took a deep breath – he was definitely in love now – and sang. One note. One very high, sustained note.
    The window shattered.
    "You okay?" she asked as the glass fell to the roof below.
    "Thrash metal band," he told her. "I got callouses on my ear drums an inch thick."
    "Sweet." She gestured out the jagged opening. "Age before beauty."
    "Pearls before swine."
    "Together?"
    Her hand was warm and dry.
    "Together."
    A moment later, they stood shoulder to shoulder on the roof and stared up at the tower. As impossible as it seemed, they could clearly hear the footsteps of the minions still pounding after them, prodded on by screams from the fiftieth floor.
    "YOU BELONG TO ME, LYRA GOLD! WE HAVE A CONTRACT!"
    "You signed a contract?"
    "I was desperate!"
    Jack raised both hands. "Say no more. Been there."
    "I'LL GET YOU! I'LL GET YOU AND YOUR LITTLE BAND TOO!"
    "I think he's confused," Lyra muttered as Jack ran for the door leading down into his building. "Hey, where you going?"
    "I've got an idea."
    The door was never locked, but then again the wood was so rotten there wouldn't have been much point. Jack ripped it open and stuck his head into the mouldering stairwell. "Gustav!"
    Down below, the door to the apartment opened and Gustav peered out into the hall. "Dude?"
    "Up here!"
    "Dude!"
    "My axe, man. Throw me my axe!" After a moment he added, "And an amp and an extension cord!"
     
    *
     
    The tower threw the first note back at him. Jack smiled. He was just warming up. By the third note, Gustav was plugged in and playing beside him. By the… well, after a while, Maitland had his set up and was pounding out a rhythm on his skins. Chording right up at the top of his fret board, Jack turned to Lyra and nodded.
    "Dude!" Gustav bellowed into his ear. "She doesn't know the words!"
    "Yeah, she does!"
    "But…"
    "Trust me!"
    And Lyra sang. They weren't the words as written, but that didn't matter.
    Two angry verses later, nothing had happened.
    Jack threw everything he had at the lead in to the chorus. Knew the guys were doing the same. He watched Lyra draw in a deep breath – worth watching regardless.
    Last verse.
    The tower began to shimmer.
    The gold colouring in the glass began to pick up an oil slick on a puddle kind of iridescence. It began at the edge of the broken window and worked its way out. It shimmered and moved faster, growing brighter, chasing itself from floor to floor until it finally caught itself and…
    Jack had been on stage at the community centre once when they were testing the lights. This was a thousand times brighter. This wasn't community centre lighting or bar lighting – this was stadium lighting!
    Although they couldn't see, they played on to the end of the song, Lyra's final note hanging in the air until it became the distant sound of a police siren over on Harris Street. Clutching his guitar, blinking away after images, Jack shuffled to the edge of the roof; pretty much exactly as far as his cord would let him go before he tipped over his amp.
    He wasn't surprised to see that the tower was gone.
    The grocery store with the bins of fresh fruit out front, that surprised him a bit.
    As Lyra joined him, an old grey haired guy with a guitar hanging down his back stopped in front of the apples, picked up a granny smith, and tossed a coin to someone just out of Jack's line of sight.
    "Thang you, thang you very much."
    The old man didn't look up; he just shoved the apple in his pocket and walked on.
    Except that Jack was ninety percent certain it wasn't an apple by the time it reached the pocket. He was ninety percent certain it had

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