Whale Song - Page 16

I couldn't see her face, but the way Diana said, “I don't understood,” made me feel like more of a monster than . . . well . . . the monster.

If it makes you feel any worse, Gore, it said around dark laughter, if your idea works, I'll still be here for you long after she's given up on you in disgust for your clumsy attempt at lying to her.

The truly horrible thing was I knew it meant that.

“Hey,” Diana said softly, sounding concerned. “Talk to me.” Even with a man-eating, world-ending monster on the loose, she could still manage to be empathetic with me.

Enjoy it while it lasts, Gore, because my money is on that not lasting long after you tell her what's on your mind. Inspired plan, by the way. I approve.

“I . . . know a way to stop this thing,” I told her stiffly. “A way to put it back to sleep, save the world and possibly your sister in the bargain.” Though the gods alone only knew what sort of state she'd be in even if I managed to pull that off, but Diana was going to hate what I was going to say next enough without me pointing out that little tidbit. “But to do that I need it to be reasonably stationary for a bit, sedate even, you might say."

"'Sedate,'” she repeated, sounding first skeptical, then suspicious. “Sedate . . . or sated?”

"'Sated' might be the better word,” I admitted.

The silence which followed felt like the caress of a blade over my heart, but the blade didn't plunge and twist until Diana spoke. “They're only 'idiots,' after all. Good for monster bait, but not much else, is that it?” Her words were cold, inflectionless.

“I hate losing anyone!” I retorted in an angry and defensive snarl. “But when I have to pick and choose, and I have to do that a lot, I do prefer choosing to lose the ones the world can most easily go on without, yes!”

“A lot of those 'idiots' brought their kids with them. Pretty stupid, huh?”

The posturing and the anger flowed out of me. “It's already on its way and surely almost there by now,” I said, my words defeated and empty. “I've kept you talking long enough to ensure that because I knew you'd react this way. The only thing I can do is make the most of their sacrifice.”

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