Page 124

I had never hated someone for being deluded before. I was starting to consider it where Fishy was concerned. “We should keep moving,” I said.

“The ferry landing is just up ahead,” said Fishy. He retook Dr. Banks’s elbow. “Come on, Dr. Frankenstein. Let’s roll.”

“Don’t call me that,” snarled Dr. Banks… but he didn’t resist, and he didn’t pull away. Like the rest of us, he understood that strength was a matter of numbers now—and more, he recognized that maybe arguing with the man who had the assault rifle was a terrible idea.

Beverly’s nose was virtually glued to the ground, inhaling all the scents of the seaside as we walked. I felt a pang of guilt as I realized how much time she’d been forced to spend inside since all this began; a few excursions to the rooftop garden weren’t the same thing as running wild and free the way she used to, back when she lived with a man who liked to jog in a world where people didn’t suddenly go feral and start trying to destroy everything they’d ever loved. It wasn’t just the humans who had had their lives completely turned upside down by the advent of the sleepwalkers. It wasn’t just the people who’d made the problem who were going to be suffering its effects for years to come. Dogs, like Beverly, and cats, like the ones back at the shelter—any domestic animal, anything we’d bred and raised to depend on us—they were going to be paying for it too. Their lives were never going to be what they’d been before the sleepwalkers woke and started demanding their own freedom of movement.

Sure, maybe I should have been worrying about bigger things than my dogs, but my dogs’ lives were something I could, at least superficially, control. How was I supposed to save Tansy if I couldn’t even take care of a dog? “Sorry, Bevvie,” I murmured. Beverly, sniffing raptly at a patch of seagull poop, ignored me.

Nathan glanced my way. I offered him a small, slightly apologetic smile. Explaining my thoughts would have taken too much time and involved too much talking, and neither was a good idea right now.

“Nathan.” Fishy’s voice was low but it carried well, holding an authority that made both of us turn to see what he wanted. He shoved Dr. Banks back toward me. The man who used to represent my greatest fears took a few stuttering steps in my direction before stopping and turning back to Fishy, a scowl on his face.

“Now you see here—” he began.

Fishy raising his rifle and leveling it on his face made Dr. Banks stop midsentence. He took another step backward, toward me, and stepped in Beverly’s much-valued patch of seagull poop. She made an irritated snorting noise. “Sal, you’ve got babysitting duty. Nathan, I know you have a handgun. I need you in the ferry launch with me. We have to check the boats for seaworthiness, and that’s going to be faster if we’re not dealing with the baggage.”

“Gonna pretend you didn’t just implicitly lump me and my dog into ‘the baggage,’ ” I said blandly.

Fishy’s shrug was unapologetic. “Sorry, Sal. Them’s the breaks. Well, Nate? Come on, boy, the sooner we launch this boat, the sooner we can get you back to mama.”

“We’re not launching anything until everyone is on board,” said Nathan. He hadn’t budged, and his hands were balled at his sides, clearly telegraphing his unhappiness with Fishy. “You understand that, right? We’re all going to San Francisco.”

“I got it,” said Fishy. “Are we going to stand out here arguing about shit, or are we going to get shit done, son?”

Nathan frowned before turning to look at me. “Can you handle keeping an eye on him while we check the boat?”

I nodded. “I’ll be fine. If he tries anything inappropriate, I’ll push him into the water. That’ll teach him.”

“Don’t push me into anything,” said Dr. Banks.

“Sal, if any sleepwalkers come…” said Nathan, ignoring Dr. Banks entirely. I wished I had the same option.

Forcing a smile, I said, “I’ll scream. Now go.”

“All right.” Nathan kissed my forehead before pulling the handgun out of his jacket and turning to Fishy. “Lead the way.”

I didn’t like Fishy’s grin. I didn’t like it one bit. But we didn’t have another option, and so I didn’t say anything; I just stood there, Beverly’s leash in one hand, and watched as the two of them slipped into the building that housed the entrance to the ferry.

Dr. Banks waited until they were gone before he turned to me, expression going imperious, and said, “Untie my hands.”

“No, I don’t think so,” I said. “I mean, thank you for asking nicely? But that wouldn’t be in my best interests.”

“I’m defenseless,” he said. “Are you trying to get me killed? Untie my hands.”

“I’m not trying to get you killed, but I’m also not sure why you think I’d be upset if something happened to you.” The drums were finally back, beating their old familiar tattoo inside my veins. I didn’t have time to be relieved about their return. I was too busy trying not to let Dr. Banks see how nervous I was about standing here alone with him, with no one to save me if he decided to rush for me. I was much smaller than he was, and my only weapon was a dog who was much more interested in sniffing the dock than she was in keeping an eye on him.

“This is unreasonable,” he said. “You’re being unreasonable. Untie my hands.”