Ramus stared blankly at the prostitute’s beckoning hand. The girl flexed her fingers, as though trying to conjure money from his pockets.
“I’ll do anything you ask if the price is right.”
Valkyrie reached across Ramus and pushed the girl’s hand away, saying, “He’s not interested, thank you.”
The girl narrowed her eyes. “I think he can answer for himself, honey.”
“And his answer is no, sweetie.”
Indignant, the girl turned her attention back to Ramus. “Listen, if you want to hire me you have to leave these three out of it.” She gestured to Valkyrie, Remiel, and me, her nose wrinkled. “There’s a place down on Furnace Street we can use for the night. Real cheap—I know the owner.”
Ramus wasn’t listening—his eyes were fixed on the rearview mirror. A gunshot ripped through the air. Remiel squealed and grabbed my arm again.
Ramus turned the key, and the cab sputtered back to life. “Time to go!”
“What was that?!” the prostitute shrieked.
Valkyrie reached over Ramus, grabbed the girl by the arms, and yanked her through the open window. She was just thin enough to fit, and she landed unceremoniously on Ramus’s lap. Her knee crashed into his groin, and he let out a pained yelp. Valkyrie pulled her again so she was sprawled on his lap instead.
“What are you doing!?” she howled as Ramus jammed his foot on the gas.
“It’s called saving your life, and you’re welcome!” Valkyrie snapped.
The girl let loose a series of vulgar curses as Valkyrie shoved her into the backseat between Remiel and me. The sickening scent of flowery perfume and smoke assaulted my nose. “Let me out of here!” she yelled.
“So you can get shot? No chance!” Valkyrie fired back, though he added in a low, irritated growl, “But it’s very tempting…”
“It was probably just a car backfire!” She reached over me, groping for the door handle. I was too stunned to stop her, even though I would be the one in danger of falling out of the cab if she succeeded.
Another gunshot rang out somewhere behind us. The girl screamed and jerked back into her seat.
“Drive faster!” she ordered.
We rocketed off into the murky evening. The girl dug her fingernails into my arm—much sharper than Remiel’s—but I was too scared to ask her to release me.