I fired a grappling gun while I was still falling, and I didn’t do it right away. I waited, and I shot at the next building over—another big, brick building—and let the rope turn me until I was above the semi-truck. Then I let out the line until I was just a few feet above it, set the gun to release it’s hold, holstered it, and dropped.
It was almost perfect.
I landed on the trailer, but I was moving a little slower than the truck, and I started sliding toward the back. You know how cute and funny cats can be when they’re chasing each other across a slippery floor, and lose control? It was exactly like that, except the worst thing that could happen to the cat was sliding into a wall. Meanwhile, my claws were screeching down the top of the trailer to stop me from falling directly in front of a moving car.
And cats don’t shout, “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!” while they’re sliding. I might have. Maybe.
I stopped halfway down the trailer, but it felt like forever. The whole time I was sure I was going to slide off. When I came to a full stop, I ran up to the front of the trailer to see where Laser Guy was. I couldn’t pick out his van from the rumble of all the other cars and trucks by sound.
I dropped low when I reached the front—no reason to tip him off.
The white van moved down the street only three cars ahead of the truck. Then it turned left under the highway that goes through Grand Lake, and up the ramp. For a second, I tensed my legs to jump. I thought I could make it to the van’s roof, but then the truck turned too, so I didn’t even try.
Laser Guy didn’t drive the van all crazy, so he didn’t pull away from the semi on the highway. We weren’t far behind him, and so I could almost take a break. It sounds silly, but riding on the top of a semi-truck in the middle of the summer is almost fun. The highway runs through downtown, so it’s near the lake. You can see the marinas, and the campground on the north side of the lake. If you let your eyes follow the piers to the end of the channel, you can see the lights glowing red and green.
Once I got used to the smell of exhaust, I could smell Grand Lake, restaurants, bars, cigarettes, and faintly hear the sound of an electric guitarist playing the blues. Grand Lake had an outdoor concert series.
But it’s not like I could sit there. I called HQ. I thought about sending a yellow over the communicators, but I didn’t want everyone to show up.
Kayla answered, and I thought she sounded nervous. “League HQ.”
“Oh,” I said. “I didn’t know you were in.”
“I’m in every night. Are you on call? The schedule says Night Wolf.”
“I’m not on call. I’m chasing some guy with laser arms, and I need help.”
“What did you say? I can barely hear you.”
So I tried to shout over the wind. “I’m chasing a BAD GUY. I’m ON a TRUCK. I need HELP.”
“Oh my god! Are you hurt? Do you need me to send a red? Do you need an ambulance?”
“I’m not hurt. NO reds, and NO yellows. I need ONE person.”
“I’ll call Night Wolf.”
“NO Night Wolf.” Because he’d be my over-protective older brother, and take control of everything, and I hate that.
“But he’s on the schedule.”
“Who ELSE?” We had to have more than than one back up on the list.
“Almost everyone’s gone.”
I thought about it, and I felt a little bit bad about saying no to calling Travis. Nick and Rachel were at their grandparents. Marcus was working at one of the family restaurants, and I didn’t want to get him in trouble. Jaclyn had gotten offered another scholarship out of nowhere, and even though she’d already decided to go to U of M, she was still checking out the school.
That left Daniel, Cassie, and Vaughn. Daniel sounded like the best choice.
“The Mystic?” I asked.
“He’s doing something with his dad. He said emergency only.”
“Remember her checkup? She’s supposed to be back tonight, but I don’t know when.”
Cassie was with her mom in Washington D.C., visiting the people who’d activated her powers.
“I’ll try. I already called Storm King. I don’t think he’s got his League phone on.”
That figured, but it might not be all his fault. I’d met his mom, and if I were him, I wouldn’t be in her face about the League either.
“Did you try his normal phone?”
“I’m not supposed to unless it’s a life and death situation. It isn’t, right?”
“I guess not.” I couldn’t blame Kayla for following the rules, but this was getting annoying. Half of me wanted to hang up and call Sydney, except if I called Sydney, I might get Sean too. Worse, if Sydney were busy, she might ask Sean to help, and not come herself. That would be worse than doing it alone. A lot worse.
The white van slowed down. We were nearing the Michigan Street exit. He was going to get off the highway. I knew it. The red jeep to our left was slowing down too, and it had its top down. I jumped into the back seat as it followed the white van down the exit ramp.
The driver couldn’t have been more than a few years older than I was. His face was pimpled. He had three days’ growth of beard, and from the smell, he’d been wearing his jeans for at least four days in a row.
He turned his head around and stared. “Hey, you’re Night Cat!” And then the wheels on the jeep’s left side hit the rumble strip. The noise made him turn his head back around where it belonged, but startled him into jerking the wheel right, so we almost went into the grass on the opposite side of the exit ramp.
“Could you please follow the white van?”
“Sure. What’s in there, stolen stuff?”
My communicator beeped, and I ignored him. It was Cassie, and so I took the call. Kayla must have hung up.
“Hey Night Cat, whose ass are we going to kick?”