“Well, Gem, ready to go home?”
The tiny bird nodded once then flew outside through the cracked window. When I opened the door, the stench of rotten fish smacked me in the face. I shaded my hand against the strong sun and saw, on the sidewalk in front of the humans’ beach cottage, people with blue bubble masks lining the street. They faced a building—SUNSET SHELTER—in the direction Rick had headed.
Cautiously, I approached the convertible, but passed him up, ignored him. Out of the corner of my eye, though, I found a male with dark hair curled past the collar of a sleeveless leather coat. He was rolling a cigarette. Stubble shaded his pale, angular face. When I passed, he did a double take and straightened. I looked away but sensed his stare as he drew a lighter from black jeans.
He’s attracted to you, Trinidad.
Saba shrugged. “If you wish. I’ll handle the dog. Attack, steal, disappear.”
My stomach clenched at those words, for in my weakness for a Day, this Lander forced me to steal. He steered me forward toward the shore. When the man caught sight of Saba, he called his family and sicced his dog. The Doberman raced toward me, teeth bared in attack mode. I froze, but Saba flashed around me, and within a matter of seconds caught the dog’s throat and flung him aside, like tossing away a wad of paper. Whimpering, the paralyzed dog hit the ground. The children cried. Resisting his wife’s tugs, the father shouted, “What do you want?”