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"That's been taken care of."
Harwood falls silent. "Well," he says, at last, "I suppose you should."
The man thumbs a button on the remote.
Laney flicks away from the lozenge, panicking, looking for Libia and Paco.
The projector is still here, still on the bridge. He still doesn't know what
part it plays, but
Rei Toei must have a presence in the impending cusp.
And he sees that Harwood knows that, or feels it, and is moving, has moved, to
prevent it.
He pulls the eyephones from his head and gropes through the colors of
darkness, searching for a phone.
CHEVETTE kept looking at the holes in the plywood partition between the front
and the back of
Fontaine's shop, noticing how the bullets had taken out long splinters of
plywood on each side of the actual holes; extending lines, in her mind,
through those holes and on back through the room.
She couldn't figure how she'd missed catching one. What it had done, though,
was give her the shakes; she kept shivering, and if she didn't keep her teeth
together they'd actually chatter, and she had hiccups as well, and both these
things embarrassed her, so she was taking it out on Rydell and feeling sorry
for him at the same time, because he looked like he was in his own kind of
She was vaguely aware of people coming up to the door of the shop and looking
in, but then they'd see Rydell with the chain gun and go away, fast. These
were bridge people, and this was how they reacted to something like this. If
they hadn't seen an armed man there, they'd have asked if everyone was okay
and could they help, but otherwise it was about taking care, as Skinner had
liked to put it, of your own side of the street.
She felt like she'd split in half, the part of her that was ragging Rydell for
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getting her into this kind of crazy shit again, and the part of her that just
kept looking around and wanting to say: look at this, and how come I'm alive?
But something started beeping, in Rydell's pocket, and he took out a pair of
sunglasses, black frames with cheap chrome trim, and put them on. "Hello?" he
said. "Laney?"
She looked over as the one who'd talked Fontaine out of his gun opened the
door, glass grating beneath it, and stepped in, looking exactly the same as
when he'd left, except he had a long fresh scratch down the side of his face,
where blood was beading. He took the skinny little revolver out of his pocket
and handed it to Fontaine, holding it sideways
with his hand around the thing you put the bullets in. "Thank you," he said.
Fontaine brought the gun up beneath his nose, sniffed at it, and raised his
eyebrows questioningly.
"I've adjusted the windage," the man said, whatever that meant. "No need now
to compensate for the pull."
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[1/14/03 11:18:51 PM]
Fontaine clicked the bullet-thing out and ejected five empty brass cartridges
into his palm. He looked at these, looked up at the man. "How'd you do?"
"Three," the man said.
"I think they've got one," Rydell was saying. "There's this kid here on it.
You want me to try the cable? You talk to her, Laney? She told me you used to
talk with her a lot. . ." Rydell looked idiotic, standing there talking to the
~ir in front of him, one hand up to hold the ear bead in, the other letting
that crazy-ass gun hang down. She wished he'd put it somewhere, back in the
wall, anywhere.
"Come on, Rydell," she said, but then she saw that God's Little Toy was up
against the ceiling in the front of the shop, watching her. "Tessa? Tessa, you
hear me?"
There was a burst of squawky static, like a parrot trying to talk.
"I'm sorry," the man in the long coat said. "The men who attacked you
communicate on a number of specific channels. I am employing a jammer at those
frequencies." He looked at God's Little Toy.
"This device's control frequencies are unaffected, but voice communication is
currently impossible."
"Tessa!" Chevette waved frantically at the balloon, but it only continued to
stare at her with its primary lens.
"What do you mean, burn it?" she heard Rydell say. "Now? Right now?" Rydell
pulled the sunglasses off. "They're setting fire to the bridge."
"Fire?" She remembered Skinner's caution around that, how careful people were
with cooking gas, matches; how a lit butt thrown down could earn you a broken
But Rydell had the sunglasses on again. "I thought you said to get
out? What do you mean, leave her? Damn, Laney, why don't you make some sense
for once? Why-Laney?
Hey?" She saw Rydell's tension as he took off the glasses. "Listen up.
Everybody. We're leaving now. Laney says they're setting fire to the bridge."
Rydell bent, wincing, and opened his bag, hauling this silver thing out. She
saw it glint in the light from outside. Like a big steel thermos. He pulled
out some coiled cables and tossed her a length. "Find a socket." He had
another cable in his hand now and was standing over the boy with the old
military eye-phone rig. "Hey.
Kid? We have to borrow the notebook. Hear me?" The helmet came up and seemed
to regard him blindly but sentiently, like the head of a giant termite. Rydell
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reached down and took the notebook, unhooking the lead to the helmet. Chevette
saw the boy's mouth close. The notebook's screen showed the black dial of a
clock. No, Chevette saw, it was an old-fashioned watch, enlarged to the size
of a baby's face.
Rydell studied the two ends of the cable he held, then tried a socket on the
back of the notebook.
Another. It fit. Chevette had found an outlet, set crookedly into one of
Fontaine's walls. She plugged the cable in and passed Rydell the other end. He
was plugging the cable from the notebook into the silver canister. He plugged
the power cable in beside it. She thought she heard it start to hum.
And a girl was there, pale and slim, glowing with her own light, naked for an
instant between them. And then she wore Skinner's jacket, faded horsehide.
Black jeans, a black sweatshirt, lug-
soled runners. Everything cleaner and somehow sharper than what Chevette wore,
but otherwise identical. [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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