Lorry pulled another blanket up over Carina and took a deep breath. She hadn’t been sleeping well for the past couple of nights. If there was one thing he hated about this trip, it was leaving Carina on her own. He could take her with him, but she would be safer here.
It was time. He felt an uneasy lurch in his stomach, a yearning to stay here and just tell Eric about the flower. He set his jaw. No. Now was not the time for second guessing.
Lorry eased open his hotel room window and, with one last look at Carina, slipped out onto the fire escape. The Organization had moved Carina and him into a hotel, for, once again, their safety.
Lorry climbed down the ladder into the alley below. His fingers shook as he descended. It was only a matter of time before Eric checked in on him. He needed to be long gone by then.
He dropped down into the alley as silently as he could and looked around in the murky dark. Night had fallen hours ago.
“Morrigan?” he whispered.
She melted out of the brick wall next to him. Lorry gave a small yelp, and Morrigan clamped a hand over his mouth.
“Shh!” she hissed, “The guards are about to make their rounds.”
She jerked him up against the wall next to her, forming an illusion around them just as two guards rounded the corner.
Lorry’s heart began to pound within his chest. He hardly dared to breath as the two men passed by them and out into the street.
Morrigan dropped the illusion, “Come on.” She led Lorry through the shadows out into another alley. They hurried across, weaving their way as discreetly as they could towards the train station.
Once inside the train station, they waited.
“Michael should be here,” said Morrigan, arms crossed, “Our train leaves in ten minutes.”
“He’ll be here,” replied Lorry. Lorry gave a dry swallow and rubbed the Amulet with his thumb, a habit he had developed. They had been planning this escape for a week. If it went bust now…
Lorry’s fears dissipated as Michael burst in through the doors.
“You’re late,” replied Morrigan.
“At least I’m not too late,” said Michael, “This trip would be a real ‘trainwreck’ without me. Get it? ‘Cause we’re taking the train?”
“We get it, Mike,” replied Lorry, “It’s just not funny.”
They payed for their tickets and climbed aboard the nearly empty train.
“Think they’ve realized that you’re gone by now?” Michael asked Lorry as they slid into their seats.
“Probably,” replied Lorry, “Now all we have to do is stay one step ahead of them.”
“Who are those guys, anyway?” asked Michael.
Lorry shrugged. He had decided to leave Morrigan and Michael out of the Amulet mess, if at all possible. The less they knew about it, the safer they were.
“You’re an awful liar,” replied Morrigan, “Who are they?”
“It doesn’t matter,” answered Lorry, “Please, don’t push it.”
“Fine,” grunted Morrigan, “We’ll drop it for now.” She was anything but happy about it.
Lorry jolted awake. The train had stopped at a station. Michael and Morrigan were still asleep. The sun was just beginning to rise. With a shiver, Lorry spotted a woman getting on the train, a woman in canary yellow. She had lackeys with her.
“Guys, wake up!” Lorry hissed, “We’ve got to get off the train! Now!” Michael and Morrigan snapped awake.
“What’s wrong?” asked Morrigan.
“We’ve got to-” began Lorry, but he was interrupted by the noise of the train pulling out of the station.
Back in Applegate, Eric opened the door to Carina’s room a crack. Empty. She was probably sleeping with Lorry again. Eric sighed. He never wanted his niece and nephew to have to go through a mess like this. They were, however, being very brave about it.
Lorry had accepted the Amulet and his newfound position as its guardian like an adult when Eric had given it to him. So much weight on the shoulders of one so young.
He quietly opened the door to Lorry’s room. Carina was snuggled up on the bed. Lorry was nowhere to be seen. Eric’s eyes flicked to the open window.
“No,” he muttered under his breath, “Lorry wouldn’t.” Eric rushed over to the bathroom. Empty, too.
He ran over to the window and looked down into the dark alley below. He rushed out into the hall and called a red alert.
By morning, they had scoured the entire hotel. There was no doubting it. Lorry was gone, and the Amulet went with him.
Illustrations by Millie King