At first, Dylan said nothing. But when Jorge drew the shadowy mist tightly together in the shape of his arm and willed it solid, his friend finally said, “Holy shit, Jorge. We all know about elemental magic, but since when do superhero-type powers exist?”
He resisted a sigh and ignored his question. “Now that I’ve proven the reason I was kicked out, you’re going to tell me everything you know about Watkins’s upcoming target, and then get the fuck out of Mexico.”
Dylan kept staring at his arm. At this rate, he wouldn’t get any information. “Dylan, look at me.” At first, his former friend didn’t do anything. But after giving his old friend a shake, Dylan met his eyes and Jorge continued. “Tell me about the target.”
“Well, the rumor is that Watkins is targeting an elementary school.”
“I need more than a rumor.”
“I do the science stuff, and help with making the bombs. Watkins doesn’t tell me anything except how powerful he wants the explosive. I have to rely on rumors for what else is going on.”
In the past, everyone who had worked on an assignment had known all the details. Things must have changed in the last nine months. “How confident are you of this rumor?”
Dylan shrugged a shoulder. “Pretty confident. The two people who let it slip have worked in the planning stages in the past with Watkins. I see no reason for them to lie to me.”
Despite Dylan’s stupidity in staying with the Fed League, he was a lousy liar. That was the reason he’d been assigned the task of bomb maker. Jorge decided he was telling the truth. “So, when is this all supposed to happen?”
“The current target date is five days from now. The bomb should go off in the mid-morning.”
“And you didn’t think twice about this?”
Dylan’s face became serious. “You used to work with the Fed League too, Jorge. You know that if you don’t do what they ask, they find a way to make you do it. Making a bomb for some faceless kids is better than seeing my friends tortured in front of me.”
Usually the Fed League tortured family, but Dylan didn’t have any; his friends meant everything to him.
Jorge had forgotten about that, and he had a split second feeling of guilt for abandoning one of his closest friends. But then he remembered the debt he still owed Aislinn and Neena—the two co-leaders of DEFEND—and he focused. “Which is why heeding my warning and getting the hell away from here is all the better. Maybe you can convince some of your friends to go back to the States with you.”
“And what about you, Jorge? What’re you going to do?”
“I’m going to stop Watkins, no matter the cost.”
Dylan eyed him. “Well, if you make it out alive, you can find me in Houston under the alias Dylan Riker. If you buy me a few beers, maybe I’ll forgive you for leaving me.”
After his time with the Collector, Jorge had forgotten about friendship. He wanted to say he’d look his old friend up, but he wasn’t about to give him false hope. “If I somehow make it out of this alive, I’ll consider it. But I won’t make any promises.”
Dylan studied his face. “You may have ditched me without a word, but if you’re in serious trouble, then just ask for my help, and you’ve got it.”
Jorge released his friend and shook his head. “No. The best way you can help me is to give me the address of the next target and then get your ass out of here.”
As Dylan stared at him, Jorge started to feel uncomfortable. But just as he was about to repeat his request, Dylan spoke up. “All right. But if I hear that you finish this alive and don’t come see me, I’ll kick your ass.
The corner of Jorge’s mouth ticked up. “I would say that you don’t stand a chance, but somehow I don’t think that would make a difference.”
Dylan grinned. “Good thing you realize that. Now, do you have something to write with or a phone to take notes? Here’s the address.”
As Jorge punched the address into his phone, it was almost as if the last nine months hadn’t happened.
Sabrina double-checked the dimensions of the school grounds’ back wall and decided that she had all the information she needed to file her first report. Knowing Watkins as she did, he would probably have her return later tonight to sneak inside the school and scout a location to stash the bomb, but she wasn’t going to do anything without his say-so. Disobedience would get her kicked off this case, and that was something she couldn’t afford.
As she made her way back into the flow of people on the sidewalk, she checked the time on her cell phone. She had two hours before she had to file her report. Perfect. That gave her enough time to visit her local contact and set things in motion.
Her contact, Yolanda, worked in a local restaurant and was the only person outside of the Feiru Liaison office in Mexico City who knew of Sabrina’s true purpose here in Merida. She had made it a habit to eat at the restaurant from her first days on this assignment. Watkins tended to keep an eye on his people, but there was nothing suspicious about going to her favorite restaurant for a late lunch.