The Calling Page 13

“If you’re saying I’m one of these benandanti—”

“Um, yeah. That’s my point.”

He shook his head. “No. It’s…”


“I know something happened on that helicopter,” Daniel said. “And it happened earlier today, in the forest with Maya. Whatever it was, it wasn’t normal. So if you tell me I have some kind of psychic power that throws people when I get mad, I might believe you. But witches and werewolves and demon-hunters? I don’t know where you got all that stuff from but—”

“I’m a benandanti, too,” Sam said. “Only my parents didn’t hide it from me like yours did.”

“You’re…?” I couldn’t finish.

“Couldn’t you tell from my awesome charisma?” Sam gave a twisted smile, almost sad. “My parents said it would develop, along with my other powers, but I kinda think I’m missing that part of the equation. Missing the control part, too, as you may have noticed. I got the fighting bug, and it bites whether I want it to or not. I could sense that Mina was a half-demon, but I missed it with the pilot until he grabbed Hayley. I don’t have the repelling part yet, either.”

“So that’s why you thought Mina was investigating you?” I said.

Daniel looked at me sharply, as if to say, You’re buying this?

Before I could speak, a figure burst from the trees, breathing so hard she doubled over. It was Hayley. “They came,” she panted.

I crawled out of the cave and stood. “Rescuers?”

She shook her head. “At first, that’s what we thought. They pulled up to the island in a boat and they sent a diver into the water. Corey said we had to be careful, just sit tight and watch, but Nicole wouldn’t listen. She went down to the shore, waving her arms and yelling, and they saw her and they started coming toward her on the boat. When they got about halfway, she turned and started running back to us, and they … they shot her.”

She fell against me, shaking, and I put my arms around her.

“What?” Sam said, scrambling up. “Who shot Nicole?”

When Hayley didn’t answer, Sam tried to wrench her from me, but I shook my head and motioned for her to wait.

When she quieted a little, I asked, “Could you tell if she was okay?”

“Sh-she wasn’t. Oh God.” Hayley hiccupped a sob. “They shot her in the back, and she fell. She fell and she didn’t get up. Corey wanted to go after her, but I wouldn’t let him. I know that sounds awful, but there was no way we could get to her without getting shot ourselves. All we could do was watch. They came on shore and they picked her up and carried her to the boat and put her in, and she never moved, and we knew she was…”

Hayley caught on the word, tried again, choked, shook her head. “Gone. We knew she was gone. Then they started shining lights at the forest and we heard them say that we all must be in there. I wanted to run, but Corey couldn’t, so he told me to come find you. I didn’t want to leave him, but I made sure he was hidden under some bushes, then I snuck away.”

We quickly decided Sam should stay behind with Hayley.

Daniel and I had just left when Sam came running after us.

“How much do you guys trust Hayley?” she said.

Hayley and I were not friends. I’d been doped at my sixteenth birthday party—hard to believe it had only been a few days ago—and everyone was sure it had been Hayley.

“Since when do you trust her?” Sam continued. “You know she doesn’t like you. Think about it. Shooting Nic? Does that make any sense? Not unless you want a story that’ll make us come running back … straight into a trap. What if these people grabbed Nicole, Corey, and Hayley? They’d want one of them to lure us out of hiding. Who would do it?”

I looked at Daniel. He rubbed his mouth, thinking. Then he said, “Hayley seemed really upset. I don’t think she’s that good an actor. If it played out the way you said, Hayley would have used the opportunity to escape. She’d tell us Nicole and Corey were both dead so we could all run.”

As usual, Daniel’s argument worked for Sam, and she agreed to go back and wait with Hayley. If he did have some magical power of persuasion, he didn’t need to use it with her.

Had she always sensed what he was? Is that why she liked him?

Were they really both benandanti? Was it a coincidence I’d ended up in the same town as another supposedly extinct supernatural? That Sam ended up in the same town as both of us?

When Rafe had said we were part of an experiment, I’d wondered if it was connected to Salmon Creek—a medical research town. But they did drug research, not genetic work. Besides, I’d been adopted at birth and my parents had moved to Salmon Creek for a job. That had seemed to rule out the possibility of a connection.

But now…

I glanced at Daniel. Since Sam left he’d been walking in silence, following me on autopilot.

I should tell him what I was, let him know there might be a connection.

“How are you doing?” I said.


“I—” I began.

“I don’t know what to think,” he interrupted. “What happened in the forest, when I yelled at that guy… I thought I’d hit him without realizing it. I was mad enough, seeing him pointing that gun at you. But when it happened again on the helicopter, with the pilot, I knew I’d done something. I just didn’t know what.”

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