Afterlife Page 47

“We’re not going to try it again,” I admitted.

Some of the sadness I felt must have showed, because Balthazar became gentler again. “How does your leg feel?”

“Not great, but not terrible.” I pointed to show him I could move it. Whenever I became solid or nearly so, I could still sense the tight, prickly line against my calf, but the pain Wasn’t as bad any longer. Other, pettier fears crept into my heart, and I blurted, “Do you think Mrs. Bethany knows how to get Charity out of his dreams?”

“I doubt it.” He cocked his head. “Why did that make you look .. . relieved?”

“It’s weird to feel like she can help him more than I can,” I admitted.

“That’s what we came to Evernight Academy for, though, right? To call on the experience of everyone here, give Lucas a safe place to adjust? Mrs. Bethany is a large part of what keeps this school safe.”

“I don’t trust her.”

“I don’t exactly trust her either. But I trust her dedication to this school and the vampires who come here.”

“As long as she’s hunting the wraiths, she’s our enemy.”

Balthazar paused. “We don’t know that. There’s too much we don’t know.”

“Well, at least we agree there.”

He smiled, and despite my other uncertainties, it felt so good to know our friendship was mended.

After Balthazar left to get ready for his afternoon classes, I went incorporeal and drifted through the school, deep in thought. For a while I watched my dad teaching physics, scribbling out formulas on the board with so much energy that anybody who didn’t know him well would miss the sadness in his eyes.

When I couldn’t take that anymore, I escaped to Mr. Yee’s modern technology class, where he was explaining to a group of older, out — of — touch vampires how to operate a washing machine. As he lectured about the spin cycle, I curled in a vacant corner and mulled over everything we’d learned — and everything we hadn·t.

We needed to know how to keep Charity out of Lucas’s dreams, and whether I as a wraith could be hurt there, or perhaps help Lucas through it.

We needed to know how many traps were in Evernight Academy, and their locations, so I could stay safe.

Most important, we needed to know what Mrs. Bethany’s plans were, not only for the sake of the wraiths, but also to be sure whether or not she could be trusted.

None of the vampires I knew and trusted had that information or could! get it. That meant that if I wanted those answers — I was going to have to confront my fears.

I would have to go to the wraiths.

Determined, I straightened from my corner — to see half the class staring at me.

Oh, crap, am I visible?! realized that I wasn’t, but that in my deep concentration on my new plan, I’d allowed a deep lacing of frost to cover the wall and the windows. To anybody in the know, that was as good as a huge blinking neon sign that said WRAITH FOUND HERE.

“Mr. Yee!” someone yelped.

“Everyone remain calm,” Mr. Yee said, though his normally unshakable mood was slipping into a full — on freakout. “We’ll summon Mrs. Bethany right away.”

Get out of here! I started thinking of the different places I felt connected to, all the “subway stations” that I was capable of traveling to in an instant. Something far away would be ideal right around now — and just as fast, I realized there was a way to get out of here and pursue my latest idea.

Philadelphia. Vic’s house, where Lucas and I lived together. The attic room — Instantly, Evernight Academy disappeared around me, swirling around like so much fog. The vapor took new shape quickly and outlined the attic of Vic’s home, with its comfortable clutter.

And Vic’s mom, who was holding a couple bags of old clothes and staring right at me.

“Jerry!” she screamed, dropping the bags and scurrying for the stairs. “It’s the ghost again! We have to call those people on cable TV!”

As the attic door shut, a voice behind me said, “Great, thanks. Now I’m going to have camera crews running around up here, and a bunch of nerds pretending they know how I died.”

“Hi, Maxie,” I said, turning to smile at her. She didn’t look thrilled to see me, at least not until I said what I’d come for. “I’m ready to meet Christopher.”

Her entire face lit up. “You’re really doing it,” Maxie said. “You’re joining the wraiths.”

Chapter Thirteen

“EVERYTHING WILL BE DIFFERENT, NOWTHATYou’re one of us.” Maxie was aglow — literally — in a golden haze of joy. “Wait and see.”

“I’ve been one of you ever since I died.”

“Not for reaL Not while you were hanging — out with the vampires. This is going to be so much better.”

I didn’t tell Maxie that I had no intention of abandoning Lucas or anybody else. It felt uncomfortably like lying, and I was beyond tired of lies. But I wasn’t ready to fully trust the wraiths just yet.

“So,” I began. “How do we do this? Finding Christopher, I mean.” I glanced around. “I don’t guess he hangs out in this attic with you.”

“Of course not,” she scoffed. “Like Christopher spends any time on the mortal plane.” Then she paused. “I take that back, actually. He comes here every once in a while.”

“To the attic?”

Prev Next
Free Novels Read Online | Read Wuxia Novel | Read Xianxia Novel