Mouse and I were just walking out of Mal's Place when a voice cried out: "Kat! Help!"
Spun toward the direction of her voice.
Spotted Rachel and Joshua in the hands of two burly dark-suited muscle--one had a limp Joshua over a shoulder, the other had Rachel in a bearhug, her arms pinned, but her legs lashing out in as many directions as possible.
The muscle were taking them toward a pair of waiting dark sedans.
Two more muscle standing near them whirled toward us, submachineguns in hand, rising up to firing position.
Peds around them scattered, screaming. Street vendors dove behind their porta-booths.
And the world slid into slo-mo.
Darted to my right, the Twins leaping into my hands and tracking, jumped onto the hood of the car parked at the curb, then onto the roof, bolted toward the sub-gun toting muscle.
The Twins belched thunder and fire.
Four rounds caught the nearest muscle in the center of his chest.
He sprayed blood and folded in a heap.
The second muscle got his sub-gun up, its muzzle flashing, trying to sweep an arc of fire.
Vaulted onto the next car, closing.
The Twins tracked again, roared twice each.
Caught the muscle low in the gut and hip.
He went down, his shots going wild, stitching across the side of the parked cars, then flying skyward.
Spotted Rachel in the back seat of the lead sedan, staring at me with wide, watery eyes, terror etched on her face.
Leaped from the parked car onto the lead sedan's hood, landing there at the same time Mouse did.
Then the sedan flew backwards in a screech of smoking tires, and Mouse and I tumbled off.
Hit the pavement in a roll, came up in a low crouch.
Then bolted after sedan.
It rocketed backwards toward the intersection of Oxford and 46th, swerved to a stop, its hood pointing west on 46th, then lurched forward.
I was almost at the intersection when a car horn blared.
Saw the hood of MetroCab about to sideswipe me.
It squealed to a stop.
I leaped, vaulting onto and sliding across the hood on my hip, off the other side, and caught myself before getting pancaked by a white box truck heading east.
The truck screeched to one side, horn blaring, braked, and skidded to a stop.
Turned. Saw the cab driver get out of his car, face a mask of anger, and start toward me.
I gave him the Look.
He stopped in mid-step, his face blanching, turned, got back in his cab, and took off.
Mouse jogged up to me, a grin on her face. "You scared him," she said.
"Bad people skils," I said, looking down 46th.
I couldn't see the sedan anymore.
"Anything?" said Mouse.
I shook my head. "Gone."
"Only Rachel," said Mouse. "I nailed the one carrying Joshua. And the other shooter."
She jerked a thumb over her shoulder. "Leaning next to the Shelby. Still out cold."
"Good," I said. "One less person to worry about."
"You think this was Jeffries?"
"Yeah," I said. "But I can't figure out how the hell he found..."
And then a thought struck.
"Sonofabitch," I said.
Mouse quirked an eyebrow at me. "What?"
I reached into the outer pocket of my jacket and pulled out a cellphone.
The same cellphone Jeffries had given us.
The same cellphone I used to tell him we'd found Rachel.
Mouse's eyes went wide when she saw the phone.
"Same phone?" she said.
"Yup," I said.
"You didn't toss it afterwards?"
"Slipped my mind."
"Murphy would be horrified."
I shot her a dirty look.
"I'm not the one who forgot," she said.
"Leave it alone, Mouse," I said.
Then the phone chirped.
Mouse and I exchanged looks.
I answered it.
It was Jeffries.
"You need to stay out of this," he said. "Or I'll bring in law enforcement. I know you two don't want to tangle with that mess."
"You a mind reader now, Mr. Jeffries?" I said.
"Don't force my hand," he said and hung up.
I held the phone out in front of me and looked at it.
"That was short," said Mouse.
"He seemed...upset," I said.
I dropped the phone on the ground and dug my boot heel into it. It made a nice crunching sound.
"Now you know," said Mouse. "And knowing's half the battle."
I glared at her.
She shrugged. "So what's our next move?"
I headed back toward the Shelby. "Tell you in a bit. Let's bounce."
"You do have a move, right?" said Mouse, falling in step.
"I'm working on it," I said.
"Dammit, Kat..." she said.
(to be continued...)