Jake said hello to Mouse, keeping his eyes downcast. In the mirror I saw a tinge of pink crept across his cheeks as I reversed
“Hi. You can call me Lorelei if you want. I don’t mind.” Her face was a little flushed too. Did I look like that when I first met Matt? I shuddered slightly at the thought of how quickly I’d been taken in. Catching her eye, I snorted, causing her elbow to find its way into my side.
We drove back the way we came, returning to the hidden track that wound into the forest. We would have liked to keep driving, as far away from South Carolina as possible, but we couldn’t do that. We needed to get into the labs tonight.
Something buzzed as I applied the brakes.
“What’s that?” Mouse scoured the car for the source of the noise.
I reached under my seat and gathered Matt’s phone from where it’d fallen. I flicked it open and read the message on the screen.
They have Marissa too. Tracing location to organize rescue. You in?
I showed it to Mouse.
“I have a list of property owned by Chimaera Pharmaceuticals,” Mouse said. “We can dive into it further tomorrow.”
“So I tell him yes?” I asked.
I typed out a response and sent it off.
“So, what are you doing at these labs?” Jake asked. “Am I coming too?”
“No,” I said. “It’s not safe for you.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, nothing’s safe for me,” he said. “My own father shot me. What am I going to do? I’m not sitting in here on my own while you two go gallivanting around playing secret agent. What if one of those things comes across me?”
I sighed. He was right, but what on earth would we do with him? We eventually came to a compromise. Jake would drop us off a few miles from the labs, then he’d drive back to town and withdraw as much cash from his account and Guy’s as possible so he could buy some new clothes in the morning. There wasn’t too much point being discreet now, they knew we were close by. Would they know we were going to the labs?
I wasn’t comfortable with giving Jake our car. We barely knew him, but Mouse thought it was a good so I nodded too.
Mouse cleaned Jake’s wound and patched him up. She found a blue shirt in the trunk that fit him and he excused himself and wandered a short way into to trees to change. We made haste to do the same while he was gone.
I pulled on a long-sleeved top and combat pants, both black, and dragged the tactile ballistics vest over my head. I slipped a semi-automatic pistol into the shoulder harness and added two additional magazines to the compartments below. A smaller handgun was strapped to my ankle just in case. Two spring-loaded tactical knives hid in pockets on the vest and a fixed blade sat in a holster on my thigh.
Last, I added my sword to a sheath on my back. If I was going to have to chop these creatures’ heads off, I wanted to be as far away from them as possible. I didn’t like the idea of killing them, but what other choice did we have?
Unfortunately we didn’t have the high-tech coms we’d used in the bar; having one was useless without the other.
Shock climbed across Jake’s face when he returned. “You guys are the real deal, huh?”
I scraped my hair into a high pony tail and pulled a black cap over my head. I adjusted the head-mounted flashlight and strapped it around the hat. Mouse did the same—she liked her new hair, but it was too short to tie back. The cap kept it out of her face.
Mouse removed her glasses and folded them away into the glove compartment. She could see as well as any of us during the night. She was similarly loaded down with weapons and Briana’s axes hung from her hips; of everything we carried they made the shortest work of decapitation.