My woolgathering got me to the main room of the shop. Angela had assembled a little operating room, with tweezers and antiseptic, witch hazel, a pot of her herbal salve, and a few doctor’s instruments, including a scalpel. It all waited on a thick white cloth on the little bistro table where we usually sat to drink chai and discuss guardian matters. I was in no shape to either force my unsteady legs to get me up the stairs, or work with Kurt to fly me up there. Just the thought of using my telekinesis made my head throb again.
“Whoever took the Parker boy was prepared,” Hayward said, once everyone had taken seats and Angela started washing my neck before examining it. “They were ready for failure. If as you speculated the three boys broke free of their handlers, maybe they were closing in. They could have witnessed the takedown on Tuesday. One telling factor in the report I got, which was more extensive than the one your friend, Stanzer got …” He glanced at Angela, who was standing behind me.
“What?” I said, trying not to snap, when the look he gave her was full of communication. I very much hated feeling I had been made a little kid again who needed to be protected.
“Parker was itching and had red patches on his neck. Those false military walked in with their paperwork and took custody of him before the doctor arrived to examine him.”
“False military?” Kurt said. “You’re sure?”
“I have contacts in all the branches. Those people who took the boy were not military, no matter how secretive.”
“So you’re safe,” I said. “Nobody will turn you in, reveal what you’re doing here.”
“We can only hope,” Hayward said with a slight nod and a weary, thin smile.
“I think you’re right.” Angela rested two fingers on the right side of my neck. “There’s something in Lanie’s neck, and the hives are an allergic reaction, resisting the invader.”
“They shot me with what … a tracker?” My neck burned where she touched me. Hopefully just psychosomatic.
“I’m thinking drugs. Reinforcing their mind control on the boys,” Hayward said. “The question is if they intentionally shot you, or you got in the way when they were shooting Parker.”
“Can you get it out?”