Fable Page 22

“I-I thought it was a dream,” she whispered, fearing to touch it.

“What dream?”

“I dreamed about the Fae, about Reid and Temple and…and my brother. He was in a golden cage, and there was fire everywhere. He touched me in my dream, and now this.” She swallowed and turned to Jared. “What do I do now?”

He stood there, looking at her in disbelief. “I can’t believe it. You can do it?”

“Do what?”

“Do you understand what this means?” He was getting angry, and reached forward and grabbed her forearms.

“No, I don’t know what it means, except that I’m scared.”

“I—I’m sorry. I was wrong, and this proves it.” He touched her hair in wonder. “If anyone can finish all of the quests and break the curse, it’s you. And you’re right—just because I can’t help you with the Stiltskin, doesn’t mean someone else can’t. The old broads are going to hate me for this…well, they already hate me, but they will be very interested in this new development.”

“Who?” she said impatiently.

Jared ignored her and headed down the hall to the front door. “Come on, let’s go.”

“Go? Go where?”

“To the old biddies. It’s time to stir up the henhouse.”

Chapter 14

Jared led her outside to his motorcycle. She looked up at the house and the broken shutters he was supposed to fix. “What about the shutters?”

He turned toward the house and snapped his fingers, and the shutters reattached themselves to the house magically.

“And the front porch.” Mina wasn’t letting him out of his ruse that easily. Jared leaned toward the porch and barely looked at it before the step was fixed.

“Can we go yet?” Jared was chomping at the bit.

“The house needs painting.”

“Done, now get on,” Jared demanded.

Mina looked up, and the house was a pristine sparkling white.

He grinned and helped Mina put her helmet on, even going so far as to move her braid off her shoulder.

She looked up at the cloud-filled sky and frowned. Jared noted her look. “Trust me, I won’t let a little rain ruin our parade.”

She gave him a shocked look. “Trust a Fae? Never. But you’d better keep me dry, or next time it’s the bus for us both.”

He grinned, showing his white teeth, and flicked his visor down. Mina swung her leg over the back of his motorcycle and didn’t know where to place her hands. This wasn’t the first time she had ridden with him, but every time it was the same discombobulated feeling of what to do with her hands. She quickly got over it when the motorcycle roared to life. She wrapped her hands around his body to hold on as he sped toward the gate. He didn’t slow down to enter the security code but sped up the closer they got.

Her heart thudded loudly and she squealed, thinking they would crash right through it, but it was all for nothing. At the last second, because of Jared’s Fae power, the gate opened, letting them dart through. Jared laughed at Mina’s scream and did nothing but go faster, making her squeeze him even tighter.

It was a twenty-minute drive before he pulled up to an old recycling plant on the waterfront. The building was a faded pea green, with the words Green Mill Recycling Center barely legible. The windows were boarded up, and even the doors had chains on them, deterring unwanted visitors. She headed toward the front door, but paused when Jared passed her and headed around back.

Jared searched around in the piles of “to be recycled bins” until he found the metal entrance door to a cellar. This door, unlike the others, wasn’t chained or boarded up. It was sealed with a metal disc. The disc itself was bronze, with a sun and moon engraved on it. Ancient lettering was scrawled around the edges. He reached down, placed his palm upon the emblem, and whispered something unintelligible. Seconds later the seal glowed, then unlocked.

Jared grinned, opened the doors that led into a dark stairwell, and beckoned for Mina to enter. “Ladies first.”

Mina hesitated. “Uh, age before beauty.”

“Grimms never win.”

“Prince before pauper.”

“Oh, fine. Just don’t say chivalry is dead. ’Cause you had your chance.” He went down the steps first, stepping confidently over the plastic bottles and cardboard containers.

“Do you have a flashlight?” she asked, feeling uneasy.

“You’re not scared of the dark, are you?”

“No, it’s not the dark that scares me. It’s the unknown…and you,” she whispered.

He wasn’t supposed to have heard the last two words, but he did. He turned on his heels quickly to face her, making Mina stumble on a glass bottle and skid into him. He deftly caught her against his chest, and when she struggled to remove herself from his grip, he didn’t let go at first.

“Careful,” he said. Pushing her back away from him roughly, Jared reached down, picked up a glass Coca-Cola bottle, and closed his eyes. A few seconds later a bright light emanated from inside the bottle. “Here you go. It will only last for a few minutes, but it should help chase the scary monsters away…including me.”

Mina took the glass Coke bottle from Jared and stared at it in wonder. It was beautiful, a treasure, and it indeed lit up the passageway quite nicely. Walking with it, she could feel soft warmth coming from the bottle, but it never once burned her.

“It’s right up here.” He led them another twenty feet before he came to a dead end.

“There’s nothing there.”

“Aren’t you the observant one,” he replied sarcastically. “I bet you could always find Waldo, too. Now, bring the bottle closer so I can see.”

She complied, and Jared reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small metal box. He selected two odd-shaped objects and inserted them into a miniscule hole in the wall. She could hear a few clicks of metal on metal.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Since I don’t have a key to this fine establishment, I’m picking the lock.”

“But you just used magic on the other lock. Why can’t you do that on this one?”

“Because the other one was a magic lock, and this one isn’t. It’s a regular Schlage five-pin, so stop talking and let me concentrate…or would you rather do the lock picking?” He held the lock picks out to her.

Mina shook her head but asked, “If we are going to these people for help, why don’t we just knock and use the front door?”

Jared’s shoulders hunched in guilt. “Because I never knock. I shouldn’t have to knock.”

“So you just do this for your own enjoyment.”

“Yes, and to see the look on their faces when I get the better of them.” He grinned at Mina, and under the glow of the Coca-Cola-induced light, he looked stunning. So handsome that she almost forgave him for wanting to give up on finding her brother.

“A-ha!” The lock clicked, and he doused the light. Jared reached behind him and grabbed Mina’s hand, and opened the door silently. A soft glow filled the passageway, and they entered a large library. Jared pushed the bookcase door they’d just entered through closed without a click.

Prev page Next page