“Maybe Ricky was out with one of his vigilante friends,” Mud said. “Who’s that creepy guy, the one with the crosses?”
“Cross,” David said.
“Huh,” Mud said. “I shoulda been able to remember that.”
“He knew the party was happening tonight?” Anne asked.
Mud laughed, shaking her head. “Unless he forgot his own fucking birthday, yeah. I think he knew it was happening tonight.”
Of course it was an easy question. That was part of the trick: ask an easy question, so that their defenses are down when you start looking for real information.
“Not like you can have the cellphone ringing during a mission,” Anne said, trying to look casual while she watched David and Mud’s reactions.
Mud snorted. “I oughtta pound you into the ground. Fishing for information like that, in this house? You’re not finding out how we communicate with each other. Not now and not ever.”
Anne shrugged her shoulders. There wasn’t really a good response to that.
“David, could ya try contacting Ricky again?” Mud asked.
David paused for a second. Then, he walked through the hallway and into another room.
“Sit down,” Mud said, indicating the sofa that sat next to her armchair.
Anne didn’t move.
“Sit,” Mud repeated, glaring at her.
Mud muted the TV. She meant business.
Anne slinked towards the sofa and sat down.
“David told me about you. About what happened in high school, and how your mom was killed by that superhero…” She stopped for a second, looking for the right word. “Accident. And I want you to know I’m sorry about that. People like us need to be more careful.”
“Yeah.” Anne couldn’t take her eyes off Mud’s legs. They were like thick tree stumps, and she imagined her head getting caught between them. Looked like those legs could crush a head, a whole skull, turning it into nothing more than a bloody pulp.
And that wasn’t even her superpower.
“Still,” Mud said. “You have to take responsibility for yourself at a certain point. So David had us all agree to try and be nice to you. You play your cards right, something good might come of all this. But if you don’t?” She shrugged. “I’ll take you down so that you don’t get back up.”