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Mortal Kiss: Fool's Silver *Chapter 10*

74 months ago

Finn stumbled out of the car. The bugs thumped against him, their sharp legs – or perhaps they were teeth – scratching his bare arms. He didn’t want to hang around to find out what they did when they got really angry.


Flinging his hands up to protect his head, Finn looked over at Faye. She’d done as he’d told her, and draped his Black Dogs jacket over her head and upper body, but it meant she couldn’t see where she was going. He grabbed her shoulder and pulled her close to him.


‘It’s not far,’ he shouted over the noise of the bugs. ‘Just stay close to— Ugh!’


‘Finn?’ Faye shouted as he struggled to keep the bugs away from his face. He could feel one tangled in his hair, scrabbling against his scalp. He shook it off, pushing Faye forward at the same time.


Finn saw the motel’s reception behind glass double doors. They battled their way towards it, slipping and sliding as they crunched the giant bugs underfoot.


‘We’re nearly there,’ he told Faye, one arm around her shoulders as he tried to guide her in the right direction. ‘I just have to open the door . . .’


He reached out, feeling one of the bugs land on his hand. A searing pain shot through his finger and he shouted out in shock. Now that was definitely a bite!


‘Finn?’ Faye yelled. ‘Are you OK?’


He didn’t answer; he was too busy trying to crush the bug that had bitten him and open the motel door at the same time. Eventually he managed to grab hold of the metal bar. He pushed Faye through and followed, pulling the door shut behind him.


They stood there for a moment, bent over, gasping for breath. Outside, the swarm converged on the glass, blocking out the bright sunlight with a wall of shining black carapaces.


Finn stamped on two bugs that had managed to follow them inside, crushing them against the dark green carpet. Their bodies split apart under his feet, spewing out blue insides.


‘What on earth are they?’ Faye asked in horror, looking at the dead bugs. ‘I’ve never seen anything like them.’


Finn shook his head, running a hand through his hair, still half convinced a bug was lurking there. ‘I don’t know, but I could live with not seeing anything like that ever again.’


‘What happened to the bikers?’ Faye asked. ‘Did they see the motel?’


Finn shook his head. ‘I don’t know. They probably opted to ride on as fast as they could.’ He nodded at the swarm outside. ‘Looks like most of the bugs followed us, anyway.’ He saw Faye shudder, her face pale. ‘Hey,’ he said softly, putting his arms around her. ‘Are you OK?’


She nodded, brushing her hands over her clothes. ‘I think so. I can still feel them on me, though. Horrible.’ She looked over at the reception desk, which was deserted. ‘Do you think there’s anyone here? I really need a shower – maybe they’ll let us use one of the bathrooms . . .’


Finn nodded. It was probably a good idea. He went over to the desk and punched the bell, but no one came.


‘It’s really quiet, isn’t it?’ Faye noticed. ‘Kind of . . . odd.’


‘It’s probably never very busy,’ Finn said, although he agreed.


After a few more minutes of waiting, Faye suggested that they leave a note and some money and take a key. ‘No one can accuse us of stealing then,’ she said. ‘And we’re wasting time.’


They wrote a note on a pad they found behind the desk, and took the key for room ten, which seemed to be closest – just down the corridor. Finn glanced over his shoulder as they left the reception – the bugs were still crowding against the glass doors. He tried to suppress the shudder that ran down his spine.


Room ten was basic, but clean – and it had a shower with guest soap, which was the only thing either of them really cared about. Finn was suddenly dog tired. He’d have loved to lie down and sleep, but there was no time for that.


‘Dammit,’ Faye muttered as she looked down at herself.


‘What’s wrong?’


She shook her head. ‘Just wishing I had that huge case of Liz’s. I could kill for some clean clothes. Oh, well. I’ll manage!’


Finn smiled. ‘Go ahead and have a shower anyway. It’ll do you good.’


Faye nodded. ‘I will. I won’t be long.’


Finn waited until she’d shut the door, and then headed out into the corridor again. The car wasn’t far from the door. He could probably make it there and back to pick up the case. And if having fresh clothes made Faye happy, it would be worth facing the bugs again. Maybe it would make up for their argument about Lucas.


Finn walked into reception, prepared for the sight of the bugs blocking out the sky. But when he got there, the glass was clear. The only sign of the creatures was the couple he’d stomped into the carpet. The sky was blue and endless, and Finn could see Faye’s car, parked just a few metres away.


He stepped outside cautiously, wondering if the bugs would suddenly descend on him once he was out in the open. But everywhere was silent. There were no cars on the road – even the motel parking lot was deserted.


Finn pulled the case out of the car and quickly headed back to their room. Faye was still in the shower – he heard the sound of water cascading against the bathroom wall as he pushed open the door. He placed the case on the bed and then sat down next to it, rubbing a hand over his eyes as he felt the tiredness sweep over him like a tide.


The water stopped, and a moment later the door opened. Faye was wrapped in a large, fluffy white towel that reached right down to the floor, her wet hair hanging loose around her bare shoulders. Finn blinked, feeling his heart turn over. He tried to look away, but couldn’t, so he stood up instead. Faye looked so beautiful. They stood there, facing each other.


‘Hey,’ Faye said quietly, her face flushing pink. ‘It’s . . . it’s a good shower, so . . .’


Finn nodded. ‘I’ll try it. Are there more towels, or . . .’


‘No, no – there are more. I—’ Faye’s gaze fell on the case lying on the bed. Her eyes opened wide in surprise. ‘Is that—? Finn, did you go back for it?’


He smiled at her obvious delight. ‘The bugs have gone,’ he told her. ‘I think they gave up.’


Faye took a step towards him, but Finn hung back.


‘I . . . thank you,’ she said. ‘That’s so sweet. But what if the bugs had still been out there? What if they’d come back? You didn’t need to do that for me.’


He smiled. ‘Yeah, I did.’


Faye smiled up at him, the water still glistening in her hair. Finn blinked again, and then nodded towards the bathroom. ‘Wasting time,’ he muttered. ‘I’m going to go . . . in there.’


He headed for the bathroom, pushing the door shut behind him and turning up the water until it was as hot as it would go. The water was almost as reviving as sleep. Almost.