“I must admit this little toy is an interesting conundrum,” Hojo-lite observed, gray gaze flicking over the rukh as if he couldn’t believe it wasn’t shading darker. “Obviously modern steel, yet the symbol is utterly mythical.” He twirled the multitool on its lanyard, watching silvery rukh flicker to and from it. “And it appears to have limitations on it to bind it to specific owners; a very archaic trait indeed. Something you’d find in an ancient tomb, or as an… heirloom. Where did you find it?”
Sarah was staring at the man as if she couldn’t believe her own ears.
Heh. Yeah. Magic. No wonder she’s blinking. Not to mention, guy casually skims past a murder, like it’s the weather, Alan thought, fury still icing through him. Man, that’s one thing about the past I did not miss. “Online, twenty bucks on eBay.”
“Not cold enough yet.” The mad magician shrugged. “Perhaps some more time will persuade you to change your mind. After all,” he glanced through the tank, where water washed over magoi-draining shackles, “halting that flow must take an incredible amount of concentration. I wonder how long you can keep it up?”
Turning on his heel, he stalked off through the ranks of creature-tanks, heavies trundling in his wake.
“Right,” Alan murmured, listening to a door close out of sight behind them. “So. Assume we’re on candid camera.”
Sarah apparently had a better angle to see the door; her shoulders relaxed, just a little. She swallowed, and shivered.
“Don’t bother trying to get inside that guy’s head, Mrs. Dominguez,” Alan advised her. “Guys like him, the rest of us are just things. And a new toy’s so much more interesting than an old murder.”
Something hardened in her gaze as she nodded. Her arms tightened around her son; enough to make the boy squirm, before she relaxed them again.
Yeah. If they’re willing to leave us alone, camera or no camera – leave Matt loose, even if they’re pretty sure a kid’s too scared to leave his mom – they’re not planning on keeping us long. We’re dead when we’re not interesting anymore. Or useful. I need a plan.