But she did talk about it when they got back to the apartment.
Danny lied down on her stomach on the living room carpet while Jett sat at the computer and told her about his day.
“It was a little slow,” he said. “We had a test review in chemistry. Then, in lab, the students were looking at tissue slides all night. I pretty much sat around, writing notes. I’ve got the fifth chapter pretty much mapped out.”
“Cool,” mumbled Danny, her face smashed against her arms. She couldn’t remember what story he was working on now. Something that took place in Saliy’a, most likely. Jett used experiences from Danny’s second life as inspiration for his novels. Fair enough, she supposed — after all, he’d created the world that she now lived, went to school, and made love to Drev’o in.
There was a pause. Jett nudged her with his toe. “So,” he pressed. “What’s up? I’m not going to read the book until you tell me.”
Danny shrugged, made a face, and rolled onto her back. She met his gaze upside down and said, “It’s a city. A cyberpunk city in a world without magic, and it’s being taken over by a very powerful enchanted forest.”
Danny did not just have the gift to walk into books. She had a responsibility. Sometimes, elements of one bookworld seeped into another. An Iceman walked the streets of a Western dime novel. A magical storm blew through a modern crime-ridden city. Alien spaceships landed in Victorian England.
Danny called these misplaced elements “anomalies.” Usually, the local flora, fauna, and residents dispatched the anomaly, or else it withered on its own, unable to survive in a hostile new environment. But sometimes, it proved a threat to the natives. That’s when Danny showed up to set things right. It was her job to remove or destroy the anomaly so that the world returned to normal.
Danny’s grandfather hadn’t just passed on an amusing pastime. He’d passed on a mantel of power and responsibility. He’d passed on full-time, life-consuming job.
Now, she was faced with a pressing problem that she was unable to solve.
“The city tried killing it,” Danny continued. “Lasers, fire, and subwaves all make it angrier, and it assimilated the nanites and robots they sent against it. It’s larger than ever, and it’s taking over entire sections of the city. Hundreds of people died before they could evacuate.” She set her mouth in a firm line against her memories — real, and from the dream. She remembered choking smoke, squeezing vines, and skulls.
Jett frowned. “What have you tried?”
“An electromagnetic storm. A wildfire. A tree blight. A drought.” She shook her head. “Nothing kills it — only makes it stronger.”