Carrie Vaughn: Kitty's Greatest Hits

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Carrie Vaughn Kitty's Greatest Hits
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Kitty's Greatest Hits: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The first-ever story collection from the bestselling author, including two all-new works! Kitty Norville, star of a bestselling series, is everybody's favorite werewolf DJ and out-of-the-closet supernatural creature. Over the course of eight books she's fought evil vampires, were-creatures, and some serious black magic. She's done it all with a sharp wit and the help of a memorable cast of werewolf hunters, psychics, and if-notgood-then-neutral vampires by her side. not only gives readers some of Kitty's further adventures, it offers longtime fans a window into the origins of some of their favorite characters. In 'Conquistador de la Noche,' we learn the origin story of Denver's Master vampire, Rick; with 'Wild Ride,' we find out how Kitty's friend T.J. became a werewolf; and in 'Life is the Teacher,' we revisit Emma, the human-turned-unwilling-vampire who serves the aloof vampire Master of Washington, D.C. This entertaining collection includes two brand-new works: 'You're On the Air,' about one of Kitty's callers after he hangs up the phone; and the eagerly awaited 'Long Time Waiting,' the novella that finally reveals just what happened to Cormac in prison, something every Kitty fan wants to know.

Carrie Vaughn: другие книги автора

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Kitty's Greatest Hits

(A book in the Kitty Norville series)

A collection of stories by Carrie Vaughn

To all the editors who opened doors, especially George Scithers, Darrell Schweitzer, Patrick Swenson, and Shawna McCarthy


Hugging himself, shivering, David curled up under the reaching bows of a pine tree. A moonlit drift of snow glowed silver just a few feet away, outside his shelter. More snow was falling, and he was naked. If he simply relaxed, he wouldn’t be that cold. But he was afraid. More afraid every time this happened.

He didn’t know where he was, but that didn’t bother him so much anymore. And how strange it was, that something like that didn’t bother him. That was what bothered him. Not knowing, not remembering, had become normal. He didn’t know where he was, but he knew exactly how he got here. It was getting harder to claw his way out of this space, to keep this from happening. He was losing himself.

The fire had taken him again. Blood rose and changed him. In a helpless surge, another body of fur and teeth, claw and sinew overcame him. The hunter, the wolf. He couldn’t stop the Change. He could flee, stumbling into a wild place where no one would see him, where he wouldn’t hurt anyone. Better that he stay here, because the pull was getting harder to resist. Easy to say that this was where he belonged, now.

Sometime in the last year, since this curse had landed on him, his thinking had switched. He wasn’t a human who turned into a wolf. Instead, he was a wolf trapped in human skin. The wolf wanted to run away forever. Might be easier, if he just never returned to human. But he did.

At some point, he drifted back to sleep and woke to bright sunlight gleaming off the snow. Blinding, almost. It would be a beautiful day, with a searing blue Colorado sky, crisp snow, chilled air. And he couldn’t really sit here under a tree, bare-ass naked, confused and depressed, all day.

Ultimately, that was what drew him back to civilization. He was still human, and the human grew bored. He’d walk, find a road, a town, steal some clothes. Figure out the date and how long he’d been out of it this time. Wander in the company of people, until the fire took him again.

* * *

Just because Kitty couldn’t go home for Christmas didn’t mean she had to be alone.

At least, that was the reasoning behind forcing herself to spend part of the day at a Waffle House off the interstate. It was the holidays, you were supposed to spend them with family, with voices raised in celebration, toasting each other and eating too much food.

Not that any of that was happening here. It was her, a couple of truckers, the waitress, the cook, a glass of middling nonalcoholic eggnog, and Bing Crosby on the radio. All in all this was one of the most depressing scenes she’d ever witnessed.

She was reading Dickens while sipping her eggnog. Not the obvious one, which hadn’t lasted long, but Bleak House. The title seemed appropriate, and at three inches thick would last her a good long while.

Just a couple more hours, she thought. Long enough to have supper in the company of other people—no matter that no one had said a word to each other in half an hour. Then she’d go to her rented room, call her family to wish them happy holidays, and go to bed.

The music cut off, and Kitty looked up, ready to complain. The Christmas carols had been the only thing making this place bearable. How pathetic was that, clinging to old-school carols piped through the speakers of a cut-rate stereo? Behind the counter, the waitress pulled over a footstool and used it to reach the TV, sitting on a shelf high on the wall. She popped a VHS tape into the built-in slot.

As if she felt Kitty watching her, she—Jane, according to her name tag—looked over her shoulder and smiled.

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jane said. “I play it every year.”

Oh, this was going to make Kitty cry.

The fact that Jane had spent enough years here to make it a tradition, not to mention she had the movie on videotape rather than DVD, somehow added to the depressing state of the situation. That could have been a lot of Christmases. Jane wasn’t young: wrinkles had formed around her eyes and lips, and her curling hair was dyed a gray-masking brown. Waitressing at Waffle House didn’t seem like much of a career. A stopgap maybe, a pay-the-bills kind of job on the way to somewhere else. It wasn’t supposed to become your life. No one should have to work at Waffle House on Christmas every damn year.

Kitty set her book aside and leaned back in the booth to get a better view. There were worse ways to kill time. She’d watch the movie, then blow this Popsicle stand.

* * *

Amazing what people left on their clotheslines in the dead of winter. It was a small-town characteristic he’d come to depend on. Blue flannel shirt, worn white tee, wool socks. He wasn’t desperate enough to steal underwear and went without. He found baling twine in a trash can and turned it into a belt to hold up a pair of oversized jeans. The work boots he found abandoned behind a gas station were a size too small. He didn’t look great. He looked homeless, with shaggy brown hair and a five-o’clock shadow—five o’clock the next day. He was homeless. He only bothered because he felt he ought to. Walk through town and remind himself what it was like to be human. He wanted to be human. Wearing clothes reminded him. He’d loved his job—raft guide in the summer, ski instructor in the winter. Stereotypical Colorado outdoor jock. He and some of the guys wanted to start their own rafting company. He was going to go back to school, get a degree in business—

Not anymore.

David cleaned up as well as he could at the gas station restroom. The nice thing about stealing clothes off a clothesline—at least they were clean. He scrubbed his face, his hands, slicked back his hair, guessed that he didn’t smell too awful. Squared his shoulders and tried to stand up straight. Tried to look human.

He regarded himself in a cracked mirror and sighed. He wasn’t a bad-looking guy. He was young. He should have had his whole life ahead of him. But he looked at himself now and saw only shadows. His eyes gave off a shine of helplessness. Hopelessness. Their brown seemed more amber, and something else looked out of them. He was trapped in his own body. He washed his face again, trying to get rid of that expression.

He could usually find an evening’s work somewhere, washing dishes or sweeping up, if someone felt sorry enough for him. Enough to pay for a meal—a cooked, human meal. He hadn’t yet resorted to panhandling. He’d rather run wild in the woods and never come back.

Near the interstate, the minimalist main street of this small town seemed quiet for an early evening. No cars drove by, only a couple were parked on the street. The only place open, with its sign lit up, was the Waffle House at the edge of town.

The smell of the town seemed strange after his days in the forest. His nostrils flared with the scent of oil, metal, and people. An inner voice told him this wasn’t his place anymore. He ought to flee. But no—he was here, he’d make a go of it. Trying to soften the tension in his shoulders, willing himself to stay calm, he headed to the restaurant.

* * *

The bell hanging on the door rang as a man walked in. What do you know, another angel gets his wings.

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