I didn’t see Earthmover at first, but then the picture moved. Earthmover sat on a bench off to the side of the crowd. Seemingly alone, he stared off into space, or if not space, at least into the air above the residential area of the compound.
Haley gave me a sidelong glance. “That’s same bench where we…” Her sentence trailed off.
I gave the spot another look. She was right. I remembered that bench as being out of the way, and this one sat among the trees, slightly separate from the main area visually, but close enough to the edge that you could look out over the houses and lawns below.
Amy’s mouth slowly widened. “Wait. You didn’t have sex on that bench, did you?”
Both Haley and I said, “No,” at the same time–which set Amy to laughing. This was made even more awkward by the fact that we had to keep on marching in order to keep the spell from ending.
As Amy finished, Haley glanced over at the visible portion of the group. “I guess this must work on sound too because there’s no way Vaughn would have let that topic die.”
Nodding, Amy said, “You’re right. Samita forgot to mention it, but they do. It’s a fairly clever bit of magic, and it looks like we’re going to have to waste this one if we want to discuss what’s next.”
Amy planted her feet firmly on the ground.
Instantly everything around me seemed clearer, crisper—not that there was much to see. One rock wall looked like another. They weren’t perfectly smooth, and they did have streaks of white or other colors of rock running through the more common reddish brown. All the same, Earthmover wasn’t much of a interior designer—not that I was any better.
As we appeared, Sean swore, Vaughn’s eyes widened, and Samita gasped. In her hands, the basin of water wobbled.
She looked at Amy, eyes narrowed, obviously suspecting who had broken the spell.
“Well,” Samita said. “We do need to talk about our plan of action.”
“In the hall?” Haley raised an eyebrow.
Samita held the basin of water still, watching the water splash against the sides. “We certainly can’t use Hunter and Adam’s room.”
“They’d never expect it,” Vaughn said.
Amy shook her head. “But Hunter might have left his creatures inside to watch the room. I would have.”
She had an excellent point, and if she was right everything we’d said so far would be heading straight to Hunter’s ears.
Samita let go of the basin with one hand, and shut the door.
Haley checked up and down the hall. “My room’s not that far.”
I considered pointing out that we were walking around visibly now and the longer we walked, the more likely we were to be caught. Then I realized it wasn’t worth it. The longer we stood around talking in the hall, the more likely we were to be caught too.
A few minutes of of quiet, but slightly frantic walking brought us to the girl’s section first years’ floors.
Haley and Camille’s room smelled slightly of perfume or maybe soap. Anyway, it smelled like someone had deliberately assembled a number of things that were supposed to smell good, and there was no point in pretending I had any clue what they all were.
They’d made their beds (Camille’s was neater). It reminded me of Adam and Hunter’s room, but less sterile.
Camille’s laptop sat on one of the desks. I’d noticed it before. It had a wide screen, but was ultimately slow and underpowered. In short, highly disappointing.
The orange and blue calendar listing all the Detroit Tigers’ games for the year? That was Haley’s.
Sean glanced at the bottom of the mirror where the calendar stuck. His mouth twisted into a frown for a moment, but he didn’t say anything.
Vaughn looked around the group, catching people’s eye. “It looks like we’re going to fight everybody at once. Looks like we might have to use a tornado or something.”
Samita’s eyes widened. “Are you crazy? You could easily kill somebody, probably a lot of people.”
Vaughn shook his head. “I wasn’t saying attack them with it. We might have to scare them though. We sure can’t charge them, and fight everyone hand to hand.”
Before Samita could reply, I said, “Vaughn’s got a point. I think we’ll have to use Vaughn and Sean for a distraction, but I’m not sure anything’s really changed from what we were talking about earlier. Adam and Hunter are obviously behind what’s going on right now. Other people might be using them, but they’re controlling everybody. If we take them out, all we have to do is survive what comes after that.”
Her gauntleted hands moving as she talked, Amy said, “Exactly. That’s what I was going to say. It’s just a question of who takes them out. Haley might be good for Earthmover. Fog the place up, and he’ll never know what hit him.”
“Earthmover?” Haley grimaced. “He didn’t look like he was all there. Are you sure it’s worth it?”
Amy gave her a very firm, “Yes. He may look out of it, but as long as he’s awake our chances go lower. Nick, do you have anything to add?”
“Not really,” I said. “But I was just thinking a couple things. First, it kind of bugs me that if Tara’s around, she’s probably on the other side. Second, why do you think he brought them outside?”