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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 91)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(91) by Chloe Neill
  • A few hardy and wrong-minded souls still sat on the strip of snow across the street, clearly convinced of their rightness, the rationality of Sorcha’s two-for-three-million calculation. Would it be the same, I wondered, if she’d asked for one of their wives or husbands or children? I seriously doubted it.

    Once we were in the SUV, the going was slow, and Catcher took his time driving through the alternating mix of crusty slush and snow-covered ice. Beyond Hyde Park, the world was mostly quiet. The El wasn’t running; icicles hung from the elevated platforms, as sharp as sharks’ teeth. Few vehicles braved the roads, and then only snowplows, Guard vehicles, and cars headed out of Chicago, hoping to get clear before things got worse.

    There were no people downtown. Those who were still in the city had stayed indoors, because of either the chill in the air or the fear that hung with it.

    We parked in front of the building and headed inside.

    The mayor asked that we meet her not in her office, but on the roof of City Hall. We went through security, then were escorted up an elevator and into a long hallway.

    Lane stood at the end, gaze on a phone, fingers skimming and sliding along the screen. He looked up, nodded. “She’s waiting for you,” he said, then opened a heavy door beside him, sending a gust of cold air down the hallway.

    We stepped outside and onto the building’s roof—and into a frozen world. The city spread out around us, most of it gleaming with the ice and snow that Sorcha had managed to dump in less than twenty-four hours. The cold had a boundary; we’d seen it on the map last night. But the parts of the world that remained green weren’t visible from up here.

    To the northeast, clouds still swirled over the Towerline building. They didn’t look any bigger or fiercer than they had the night before, but until we figured out exactly what Sorcha was doing, I wasn’t sure that mattered much. How much colder could Chicago get?

    Apparently, very cold. The wind on the roof was a thousand ice picks, harsh enough to make breathing feel like fire. Snow was bundled over what looked like planter boxes, with rows between for walking.

    The mayor, bundled in a long, baffled down coat, was crouching near one of the piles of snow, sweeping the crust of it back from the plants beneath. Three guards in black suits stood around her, each of them gazing in a different direction, as if waiting for a threat to descend from the air. We walked toward her.

    “There was a garden here last week,” she said without glancing up at us, rising and wiping the snow from her gloved hands. “Tomatoes, corn, beans. They were thriving in the heat, the rain we’ve gotten.” She looked around. “Part of the effort to ‘green’ the city and cut our heating and cooling costs. And it was working, until now.”

    I didn’t know much about gardening, but I doubted much would survive the snow and the cold.

    The mayor crossed her arms, tucked in her hands. “I’ve lived in this city for fifty-three years. And I’d never have imagined seeing something like this. Or not in August, anyway.” She sighed heavily, her breath crystallizing instantly in the frosty air.

    She looked back at us. “I asked you to come up here because I wanted you to get a good look at it, to see what she’s done. The lengths she is willing to go to get what she wants.”

    It wasn’t hard to guess that we were being set up for something.

    “We drove in from Hyde Park,” my grandfather said. “We saw much of the city along the way.”

    “A portion of it,” she agreed. “But not the whole. Not the reach of what she’s done. The sheer enormity of the problem she has created, and the suffering she has caused by it.”

    “Why are you telling us this?” Ethan asked.

    “Because I have a request. And you’re not going to like it.”

    • • •

    The mood wasn’t any less somber in her office. Worse, since Ethan and Catcher were nearly vibrating with anger, and Mallory didn’t look much better. I wasn’t sure how I’d become the calm one of the four of us, but I’d have to use that to our advantage, if I could. That depended very much on what the mayor had to say.

    Lane was back in the office, and when we came in he glanced up at us from the tablet that seemed to absorb most of his attention.

    “Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan,” he said by way of greeting, gaze still on the screen.

    “‘Merit’ is fine,” I said.

    He slid me a glance, looking me over with distaste, like the fact that I’d declined the name made me suspect.

    The office door opened. Jim Wilcox and Mikaela Pierce walked in, the man and woman from the SWAT and FBI units who’d been behind the barricade at Towerline. Pierce wore a suit again; Wilcox wore dark fatigues. They nodded at the mayor, at Lane, at us, before moving to the other side of the room to stand alone and apart. If anything, it said we weren’t on the same team.

    “Status?” the mayor asked.

    Mallory and I stood beside each other, Catcher and Ethan on the outside edges like guards.

    “Stable, for the moment,” Pierce said. “The clouds above Towerline continue to spin, but the temperature is holding. There’s been no precipitation in the last two hours.”

    “The Guard has units in the designated emergency zones,” Wilcox said. “They’re working to keep people calm, but with the city frozen over, people who would normally be working are home. They’re home, and they’re thinking.” He slid a glance to me, to Mallory. And for the first time, I saw guilt in his eyes.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire