here.” Rebecca waited for Sparks to say more, but the well of words had run dry. At least she was opening up. Since the night Sparks had seen Artair kiss her, her mentor seemed angry. The only mention she’d ever made of the event was when she was trying to tweak Artair’s temper. Artair. If he went to get Sparks, that made him— Damn, he had to be over a hundred years old. But he was so handsome, he didn’t even appear to have hit forty yet. Just how old was the Sentinel? And how old was Sparks? A flapper? That meant that she was at least— Good God. How old did Amazons live to be, assuming they didn’t get killed by some demig or revenant? Rebecca’s mind swam. She glanced at Megan who, as usual, seemed to be taking the whole thing in stride. She turned her mind to weightier thoughts. “How will we know?” Sparks arched an eyebrow. “Know? Know what?” “When it’s time to fight. How will we know when the bad guy is making his move?” “Because people start to disappear.” Sparks’s expression grew tight, hard. “And then people start to die. Lots of people.” Megan’s asked, “Why disappear first?” Artair was the one to answer. “Demigs need followers. They brainwash eager people, gullible people, to be priests and priestesses. The demig trains some of them to be necromancers, to control the dead. People who don’t bow to them are killed and become revenants.” Sparks nodded. “Some demigs—hell, even some gods and goddesses—only think of humans in terms of controlling them. The one who controls the most wins the game. For this round. Some of the Ancients wouldn’t mind if they snapped their fingers and every person on the face of the Earth died. They wanna create new dimensions, harness new powers, cure themselves of their boredom. Some like the thrill of having people follow them.” She sighed. “They’ve never come after us before.” “Seriously?” Megan asked. “Most of the baddies give us wide berth. Until now.” Sparks took a long drag on her cigarette before exhaling with a small cough. “Maria is dead. Someone got to her. I can’t find Trishna or Helen. I know they’re alive, but I can’t protect them if I can’t locate them. Damn right, they’re coming after us. We’ll have to be on constant guard.” “And you’ll be ready,” Artair added. Since Artair had led her away from her wedding, Rebecca had been repeatedly wrestled to the ground, bashed with a sword, thrown down a wall, almost strangled by a zombie, and shot. How much worse could it get?
Chapter Eight Rebecca threw herself belly-down on the bunk. She didn’t care if Artair shouted at her about lying down while the sun was still up. Every muscle in her body ached. Damn, has it really been three weeks? Twenty days. She’d been so busy, she might have lost track somewhere. Maybe she needed to start tallying hash marks on one of the cabin walls like some prisoner locked up for a long stint at Alcatraz. At least Sparks wasn’t shooting at her anymore. Thanks to Beagan and Dolan, Rebecca didn’t want for anything. Fresh workout clothes always appeared at the foot of her bed each evening. A bottle of liniment showed up after particularly horrid workout sessions. A handful of Hershey’s Kisses waited on her pillow right before she went to sleep. The changelings also made sure her hurricane lamp was lit every night because Artair wouldn’t allow them to use electricity, claiming it would make the Amazons soft. She’d quickly fallen in love with the two changelings. They never failed to leave behind things she might not have needed but truly desired. Her favorite lilac soap. Well-broken-in flannel sheets. Slippers shaped like Tweety Bird. Cherry Coke. Wanting to thank them, she would pick wildflowers, make small bouquets or weave them into crowns, and leave them on her pillow. She wasn’t sure how they felt about the gifts, but her offerings were always gone whenever she returned,