Shadow Games by Glen Charles Cook

Shadow Games by Glen Charles Cook

Author:Glen Charles Cook [Ismeretlen]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: sf_fantasy
ISBN: 0-812-53382-8
Publisher: A TOR Book
Published: 1989-06-01T22:00:00+00:00

Chapter Twenty-Three

Willow, bats, and things

It was late. Willow yawned as he tumbled into his chair. Blade, Cordy, and the Woman looked at him expectantly. Like the Prahbrindrah couldn’t talk for himself. “We talked.”

“And?” the Radisha demanded.

“You maybe expected him to jump up and down and yell,’Oh, goodie!’”

“What did he say?”

“He said he’d check it out. Which is about the best you could expect.”

“I should have gone myself.”

The Prahbrindrah said, “Sister, the man wouldn’t have listened at all had not someone just tried to kill him.”

She was astonished.

Willow said, “Those guys aren’t stupid. They knew we was up to something way back when they let us hook up with them at the Third Cataract. They been watching us as close as we been watching them.”

Smoke drifted in with all the racket of his namesake. It was a big room in the cellar of a friend of the Radisha, near the olive grove. It smelled moldy although it was open to the night in places. Smoke came a few steps into the light cast by three oil lamps. His face puckered into a frown. He looked around.

“What’s the matter?” Cordy asked. He shivered visibly. Swan got a creepy feeling, too.

“I’m not sure. For a moment... like something was staring at me.”

The Radisha exchanged looks with her brother, then with Willow. “Willow. Those two odd little men. One-Eye and Goblin. Fact or fraud?”

“Six of one and half a dozen of the other. Right, Blade? Cordy?”

Cordy nodded. Blade said, “The little one. Like a child. Frogface. That’s dangerous.”

“What is it?” the Woman asked. “The oddest child I’ve ever seen. There were times when it acted a hundred years old.”

“Maybe ten thousand,” Smoke said. “An imp. I dared not investigate lest it recognize me as more than a silly old man. I don’t know its capacities. But definitely a supernatural entity of great efficacy. My question is how an adept of a capacity as limited as the One-Eye creature obtained control. I’m superior to him in talent, skill, and training, but I can neither summon nor control such a thing.”

Sudden squeaks and flutters came from the darkness. Startled, everyone turned. Bats hurtled into the light, peeping, diving, dodging. A sudden larger shape flashed through, dark as a chunk of night. It ripped a bat on the fly. Another shape flung through a second later, dropping another bat. The others got away through a barred but otherwise unclosed ground-level window.

“What the hell?” Willow squawked. “What’s going on?”

Blade said, “Couple of crows. Killing bats.” He sounded perfectly calm. As if crows killing bats in a basement at midnight, around his head, was something that happened all the time.

The crows did not reappear.

“I don’t like it, Willow,” Cordy said. “Crows don’t fly at night. Something’s going on.”

Everyone looked at everyone else and waited for somebody to say something. Nobody noticed the pan-therine shadow settle outside the window, one eye peeking inside. Nor did anybody realize that a child-sized figure lounged atop an old crate beyond the light, grinning. But Smoke began to shiver and turn in slow circles, again with that feeling of being watched.


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