I hadn't heard much after Jimmy's boss started talking about how much trouble I was in. That was definitely true. Wrecking an ambulance would land you in a desk job downtown at best. But then they started to let me up. The asshole in black glared at me as he and his two remaining thugs drove off. I flipped him off, although I was still shaken up, and sore, and Angel was gone, and the van was headed for Riverside Park, which is where the kids were supposed to be hiding. "It's over?" I said. "Just like that?"

"What the fuck's wrong with you, are you stupid?" Lennon said. "Of course it's not over."

It's Not Over

Jimmy was looking at me like I was a little crazy too. "Okay, okay." I said. "Is someone going to let me in on the fucking secret?"

Lennon was talking into his two way. "Unit one, do you have visual?" He moved away from us.

Jimmy said, "Look, Lennon is just being a dick. But the basic rule is, you say whatever you need to say to defuse the situation and rescue the hostage. The Bureau will be collecting all this shit as evidence."

Lennon came back. "The van's in the park. They don't seem to know what part to head to."

I blinked. "Joan of Arc. Angel said they'd meet at Joan of Arc." I said. "Come on!" I grabbed my pack.

The three of us climbed a rusted-out fire escape. Lennon was puffing when he got up to the top. "I'm an old man." he said.

"You just busted a bad guy's headlight and kicked his ass, literally, with a feather." Jimmy pointed out. I had my binoculars out. I searched, searched...there she was. Joan of Arc, with her sword lifted up in the early morning dawn. My breath caught.

"Oh my god." I said. I passed the binoculars to Jimmy. "Holy shit." he said. He passed the binoculars to Lennon. Lennon didn't say shit.

Through the binoculars I could see a half dozen of them. Angel was the youngest but there were eight year olds, ten year olds, boys, girls, all with huge, white feathered wings, beating at the morning air, heaving, wild, zooming upwards impossibly fast, arcing up over the island like a cannon shot, headed east into the dawn, over the ocean. Nobody would follow them in a van there, that was for certain.

Lennon leaned on the railing. "Okay. Listen. Howell. Rojos." he said. "Part of what I said to that asshole was true. We are going to bury a lot of this. We can't touch these Institute guys, not right away. We are going to have to get some wiretaps started. Trace some money. Follow some people. Dig up some dirt and roll up some snitches. Amass evidence. Build a case. They fucked with the Bureau and that can't be permitted. But we can't do anything right away. It goes too high."

"My apartment's wrecked." I said suddenly, I had no idea why.

"You can stay at my place." Jimmy said. I gave him a look that must have spooked him, he said, "You can sleep on the couch."

"I'll tell you where I'm going to sleep when I'm good and ready, Jimmy." I said.

"The evidence guys are already at your place. The Bureau will replace everything." Lennon said, studiously ignoring us. "Christ. Kids with wings. You want to tell me what the hell happened, Howell?"

Jimmy had his arm around my waist and I didn't much mind. We all three looked east as hard as we could, and didn't see anything. Jimmy said, "You want the long version or the short version?" he said.

"The short version." Lennon said. "I'm an old man, I don't have time for your long bullshit stories."

"Some men made some kids with wings, and they wanted to keep them as property. The kids got away and the men sent other things to chase them. Then, they all came to New York." Jimmy said.

Lennon looked over as if to say 'that's it?'

Jimmy said, "What? You think this could have happened in another city?"

None of us did.