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.Tinny was on his way just as the cops arrived for us.His girl's practically—""Shut up," said Kyler, not raising his voice, but still managing to express urgency.As Escott sometimes said, bloody hell.I whipped away from them and threaded between the stacks and occasional cop, feeling my way toward the front.It was like blind man's bluff, except the goal was to avoid running into people.I found the office almost by accident when I picked up half of a phone conversation.Blair was calling for reinforcements and giving out a description of me for the prowl cars in the area.He got the height and weight right and had noticed the clothes in detail, right down to the brown-and-blue stripe pattern on the muffler.Thank God he hadn't gotten a look at my face.I slipped through the front door and bore left, moving fast over the flat plain of the street, using the curb as a guide.Whenever it curved sharply, it meant a corner, and I'd have to strike out for the other side and hope to hold a straight line.A car roared toward the warehouse; the buffet of wind from its passage threw me briefly off course.A partial re-forming gave me fresh bearings and some much-needed orientation.I hadn't come as far as I thought and I was running out of time.Escott wouldn't wait forever and sooner or later a patrolman might pull up to ask him awkward questions.I dropped out of reality and sped along more recklessly than before, practically flying over the pavement.The next time I went solid, I was within yards of his corner.Escott stood in a doorway covering the street and saw me melt out of nowhere."We're up shit creek," I said, slowing only a little."Get the car in gear.We have to get to the Top Hat right away.""Good lord, they're after Miss Smythe?" He darted around to the driver's side and threw himself in.I wrenched open the passenger door and chafed at the pause needed to start the motor."Something I heard from Chaven.Dammit, I thought she'd be safe from all this.""No doubt Kyler has some excellent sources of information and an instinct for finding an opponent's vulnerable points," he said as he shifted and hit the gas."Hurry, but be careful.The cops are looking for me now." I tore off the cap and telltale muffler and dropped them behind the seat."What's happened?"While he negotiated a route out of the district, I filled him in on things."I guess you could say he kept his word; he didn't come after me, he only had to step aside and let Blair do the work.""And yet he did not give you away to him.""I think that whole fiasco was a test to see what I'd do when cornered.In one move he's gotten himself off the suspect list for the murders, shifted it onto someone else, and learned that much more about what I can do.He's probably figured there's no way to get a direct hold on me, so he'll try to get to Bobbi instead.""Which indicates that he must want something of you.""He wants me out of the way.Anybody who can do what I do is too dangerous to have loose.I'd just like to know what he meant about 'working that out.' ""Perhaps he's researching the folklore section of the local library.""Oh, great." I had a nightmare vision of Chicago's underworld searching for me, armed with crosses and draped in garlands of fresh garlic.It was just as well those items only worked at the movies.On the other hand, a hammer and stake were also part of the vampire hunter's traditional arsenal, and I knew from experience just how terribly effective those were."What about the photograph?" he asked.I shrugged."I'm not even sure I'll show up on the plate, but first things first.""Absolutely," he murmured, concentrating on his driving.He beat through a couple of stop signals while I kept an eye out for patrol cars.The street traffic was mercifully light at this hour, but it still seemed to take a long time to get there.It was the middle of the week, but the place had a good crowd if we could tell anything by the number of cars in the parking lot.Neon lights spelled out the name of the club against the clear sky and a glowing red top hat danced endlessly from side to side below them.Both caused confusing reflections on the windows of the cars, making it difficult to tell if any were occupied."I'll go check things inside," said Escott as he found a place to park.I started to object, but was interrupted."They won't let you past the door dressed like that," he pointed out.He was right and my regular clothes were inconveniently packed away in a bag in the car's trunk.We'd both prepared for the necessity of having to drop out of sight in case things went wrong."Besides, you could alarm the ones we're after if they should see you.Since they know what you look like, your sudden appearance could lead to an unfortunate incident.""I'll do more than just alarm them," I growled, but saw the sense of things.I described Tinny as best I could.Escott took it in, then slipped out to go to the club.I got out on my side to make a more thorough search of the parking lot.All I found were some courting couples in different cars who were generating enough personal heat to ignore the low outside temperature.They also ignored me, but then I was going out of my way to be quiet.I'd retrieved the cap and muffler from the back of the car and had wrapped up again.They linked me to the search Blair was conducting, but that was a few miles away, and I felt safe enough using them here.Nevertheless, I was quick to duck out of sight when a police car cruised past on its rounds.A street ran behind the club and was where I usually parked while waiting to pick up Bobbi when she was through for the night.The manager and a few other employees also parked there, so I was familiar with their cars.The Olds on the end close to the back entrance was new to the spot, though, and there were two men sitting inside.Maybe it was the jackpot, but I'd have to be sure first [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]