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Mortal Kiss: Fool's Silver *Capítulo 22*

há 40 meses



‘If you keep driving like this, we’ll be in Mexico by tomorrow.’

 

Liz watched as Jimmy’s eyebrows rose behind the sunglasses shading his eyes from the bright desert light. He’d been driving – very fast – since they swapped places about three hours ago.

 

‘We’re nearly there,’ he said. ‘Do you want to get to Silver Cross quickly, or slowly?’

 

Liz sighed. She was hot and irritable – the air con in her car was broken, and the heat of the desert day was making her top stick to her skin. She picked at one nail. She’d forgotten to re-do her nail polish before they left, and it was horribly chipped. Usually that would be enough to freak her out, but right now there were more important things to worry about. Namely Faye.

 

The thought of her best friend made Liz’s stomach clench. ‘Quickly, of course. But we’ve already broken, like, a ton of speed limits to get this far. God, I hope my dad never finds out!’

 

Jimmy laughed. ‘Don’t worry. There’s no one around for miles, especially not a cop.’

 

He was right. Liz looked out at the empty landscape and, despite the heat, she shivered. ‘Everything just looks so . . . dead,’ she muttered.

 

‘We’ll find them, you know,’ Jimmy told her gently. ‘Faye, Finn – and maybe even Lucas, if Faye’s hunch was right.’

 

Liz nodded, but Jimmy’s reassuring words didn’t do much to settle the sick feeling bubbling in her stomach. They’d been on the road for two days now. Liz had guiltily fobbed off her parents with a story about her and Faye going camping, and Jimmy had told his mom something about getting in a solo road trip on the bike before the weather grew too hot. But they’d heard nothing from either Faye or Finn since their last call, after the bikers had lost the trail.

 

‘Look,’ said Jimmy, nodding through the windshield at the road ahead. ‘We’re getting somewhere.’

 

Liz sat up and craned her head forward. They had been driving towards the highest point for miles around – a mountain with a crest like a jagged arrowhead. Now, emerging from the heat shimmer that hovered around its base, they saw some kind of town.

 

‘Is that it?’ she asked, frowning. ‘It doesn’t look like much.’

 

‘No, but I think this is it,’ Jimmy said. ‘Actually, I know it is. Look!’

 

He took his hand off the wheel to point up at an old wooden sign that looked as if its hand-painted red and blue words had been peeling for decades. welcome to Silver Cross, home of american silver! it said, adding proudly, population 236!

 

‘God,’ Liz said, staring out at the abandoned cars that littered the roadside as they approached the town. ‘And I thought Winter Mill was quiet . . .’

 

Jimmy didn’t answer. Liz glanced over to see him frowning, his fingers gripping the steering wheel.

 

‘Jimmy?’ she asked. ‘Are you OK?’

 

He smiled, but Liz could tell it was forced. ‘Yeah,’ he said. ‘Just . . . suddenly felt a bit weird. I’m tired. It’s fine. We’ll be stopping soon.’

 

‘OK, well – if you want me to take over, you know—’ Liz broke off, turning to look at something they had just passed. ‘Oh my God! Jimmy – STOP!’

 

‘What?’ Jimmy asked, confused.

 

‘Stop, Jimmy – just stop!’

 

He did as he was told, pulling to a halt in the middle of the dusty road. He hadn’t even killed the engine when Liz opened her door and jumped out. She ran through the hot dust towards the car she’d seen as they passed.

 

‘Liz,’ Jimmy called after her, getting out and following her. ‘What are you doing?’

 

‘Look,’ she hissed. ‘It’s Faye’s car!’

 

Jimmy’s eyes widened as he looked at the little red car, which had stopped at a skewed angle to the road.

 

Liz walked around it, hands on her hips. The car had obviously been abandoned in a hurry – the doors were open, as if Finn and Faye hadn’t even had time to shut them. She peered in through the grimy back window. ‘The case I gave Faye is still in there,’ she said. ‘Oh, Jimmy – what happened to them?’

 

Jimmy came over and rested an arm around her shoulders, shaking his head. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘But whatever it was, the answers are in that town. Let’s go.’

 

Liz collected the case and they drove on more slowly, parking up beside a post office that looked as if it had last seen business in 1895. There was no sign of anyone – or anything – anywhere. It was deserted. Liz shivered as she got out of the car into the searing heat.

 

‘What do we do?’ she asked. ‘Where do we start?’

 

Jimmy started to shake his head, then stopped. ‘Look, there’s someone.’

 

Liz turned to see a scruffy man shuffling round the corner of an ancient timber building. He was tall, but walked with a stoop and was dressed in jeans and an old leather jacket, despite the heat.

 

Liz ran towards him. ‘Uh, sir? Hello? I’m sorry to bother you, but . . .’

 

The man didn’t seem to have heard. He was muttering to himself.

 

‘Sir?’ Liz tried again. ‘Sir, can you help us? I—’ Realizing that he wasn’t going to take any notice unless she did something drastic, she stepped in front of him. ‘Sir?’ she said again.

 

The man’s head jerked up and he stared at her in surprise, turning to look at Jimmy too. ‘Well!’ he said with a frown. ‘I thought you two would be long gone. The sun’s been up a while, you know. Didn’t I tell you to move on? What is it – do you need directions?’

 

Liz frowned. ‘No, sir, no – we don’t need directions.’

 

‘Wait,’ said Jimmy. ‘We haven’t met you before, sir. Have we?’

 

The guy squinted up at him and then frowned. ‘Sure we have. Last night, wasn’t it? Or perhaps the night before. You wanted a place to stay.’

 

‘That wasn’t us,’ Liz told him. ‘That must have been our friends! We’re here to find them. Can you tell us where they went?’

 

The man’s eyes narrowed and he looked them up and down. ‘I can tell you where they stayed, all right. But if you aren’t them, they won’t still be here. I told them to move on. Mr Koskay doesn’t like visitors, I told them.’

 

‘Mr Koskay?’ Jimmy asked. ‘Who’s he?’

 

‘He owns this whole place,’ said the old man, turning and walking away unsteadily. ‘This way . . .’

 

Liz grabbed Jimmy’s hand as they followed their guide to a tumbledown shack. Jimmy and opened the door and peered inside, and then looked back at Liz and shook his head.

 

‘It’s empty,’ he said. ‘If they did stay here, they’ve gone.’

 

‘Well, I did tell you,’ said the man. ‘I said they would have gone. Taken their car and headed out into the desert somewhere.’

 

‘But they didn’t,’ Liz said. ‘We found their car. Could they have walked somewhere?’

 

The man’s expression grew angry. ‘The next town is nearly a day’s drive away. If they didn’t take a car, they didn’t leave. I should warn Mr Koskay. I told him they would be gone by now. He doesn’t like strangers here. He’ll want to know . . .’

 

He began to shuffle away. Liz looked at Jimmy in terror, and realized that he knew exactly what she was thinking. They might have just made everything a hundred times worse for Faye and Finn!

 

‘Wait,’ Jimmy said. ‘Sir, please – wait!’

 

The man didn’t listen. Jimmy started to go after him, but Liz put a hand on his arm. ‘Let’s look inside again,’ she suggested. ‘Maybe they left a note . . .’

 

Jimmy frowned, but nodded. Then he pushed the door to the shack open and they both went inside.

 

There was nothing. It was completely empty. The bed didn’t even look as if it had been slept in. ‘I don’t think they stayed here,’ said Liz. ‘If they did, why didn’t Faye take the case out of the car? She would have needed fresh clothes.’

 

There was a sudden noise outside – the sound of footsteps running along the dusty sidewalk. Liz gripped Jimmy’s arm, scared, and he put a finger to his lips, pushing her into a corner of the shack before turning towards the door.

 

For a moment there was silence, and then the door was wrenched open on its hinges. Liz screamed, backing away as far as she could as two huge figures appeared in the doorway.

 

‘Jimmy!’ one of them barked, his voice harsh. ‘Where have you been? We could have used your help out there.’

 

Liz blinked. It was Cutter, one of Finn’s bikers. She saw Jimmy sigh in relief as the rest of the pack trooped in behind him. They looked as if they’d been in another fight: they were all covered in dust, cuts and bruises. Hopkins had a gash over one eye.

 

‘Sorry,’ Jimmy said, waving at his leg. ‘I kind of got held up. What happened?’

 

Cutter glanced at his companions. ‘You didn’t get ambushed? Out there, on the road, as you were coming in?’

 

Liz shook her head. ‘No – everything was quiet. Why?’

 

The biker frowned. ‘There are some weird creatures here. They attacked us – killed Mackey. We dealt with them. For now, anyway. Got them holed up in their den. But we don’t have long.’

 

‘Where are Finn and Faye?’ Jimmy asked. ‘We thought they’d be with you.’

 

Cutter shook his head. ‘They were heading for the mine. I think it’s time we saw what’s under this town, don’t you?’

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