The Willow Society

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Chapter 71

Chapter 71

Izzy walked out of the TransClarion Building last, while Myth hurried a shaking, and sniffling, William ahead of her. Tate lead them. The little boy did not want to leave his brother behind, but William managed to hold down most of his crying as they wended their way through the building, as long as Myth stayed close to him. The little boy seemed to find her comforting. Tate had been spectacular, as hard as it was to imagine. The fat teacher had taken out four guards; one after another, yet managing not to have to kill any of them. They had left them wire-tied and useless, unconscious. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. Four fewer chances the others might fail. At times it seemed to Izzy that Tate might want to go back, but he'd look at William, at Myth, and even her, shake his head and carry forward. Izzy's hand was wrapped around the wiper. She had tried to use it after Myth handed it to her, but it had failed each time. Myth didn't know why. There wasn't time to examine it yet. Still Izzy hadn't wanted to put it away. It was comforting to have a weapon, even a useless one.

When she had tried to use it on a guard, as the blank faced man prepared to shoot at them, only to have the wiper fail, a terrified Izzy had been force to fall to the ground to dodge a bullet. Myth had hid William behind herself. Tate somehow waddled to the rescue. Izzy hadn't seen what the big man had done, only when she had looked up, the guard was on the floor, Tate looming over him. Panting, winded, his armpits wet with spreading stains of sweat.

Izzy had vomited on the floor after that. She had spent years doing everything she could to not end up like Katherine. To not end up being Katherine, and in the space of a few weeks she had lied to Isabel, engaged in covert spying on the government, broken who knew how many laws and now she had just tried to use a mind-control device. Whatever lines of distinction had remained between herself and the image she had of her sister, they were fading fast now, if they weren't already entirely gone.

Reminded of the horrid taste in her mouth from vomiting early, Izzy rubbed her mouth with the back of her hand, took one last look at the lobby. She ran after Myth and William and Tate. They ran down the street, heedless of the random, but rare, people of New York City also walking around midtown at such a late hour. It had to be near five in the morning on a Monday, traffic was light. Izzy saw Myth and William turn a corner, two blocks down from the TransClarion building, still following Tate.

And they were in the van.

Izzy took a quick furtive look around to see if they had been followed. It appeared they had not been. Myth locked the van and pushed a begrudged William into the backseat. She hoisted herself up, looked back at Izzy and said, “Izz? Are you OK?“

Izzy tried to nod, but her head didn't want to work. Her stomach roiled again and she had to clap a hand over her mouth hoping to keep her gorge for rising again.

Rubbing a small dark hand across the back of Izzy's neck, Myth said, “It's OK, Izz! They'll be OK! Come on we have to go!“

It was all Izzy could do to nod. What are we going to do now? They couldn't wait for the others, not with William in to care for. The agreement had been to meet back at Chatham House. Pulling her trembling hand down, Izzy gulped. She clambered into the front passenger seat, feeling like a coward. Myth climbed in the back, next to William and handed up the keys to Tate. They were off.

Izzy watched the building recede, but inside she grew smaller as well. If she were going to turn into Katherine, couldn't she at least be brave and strong as well? Katherine had been fearless, so much more like Lou than Izzy. It came like a flash of insight so deep it grew as the light of an oncoming subway train down a long tunnel until it was so bright it was blinding. A grim smile spread across Izzy's face and she knew. She knew how she was different that Katherine. Knew what she had to do. Her voice sounded firm and calm when she told Tate to step down on the accelerator.

And she smiled full of expectation.

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