My Soul to Steal Page 89

I swallowed, fighting through horror and revulsion just to be able to speak. “You’re psychotic.”

“We don’t utilize that term in the Nether. The very concept is considered both obvious and redundant. Now, if you don’t cross over this instant, I swear I will take the reins of your boyfriend’s subconscious the next time he succumbs to slumber, and we’ll see how well you like him when I’m in control.”

“Don’t listen to him, Kaylee,” Nash insisted. “I’ll never let that happen.”

Avari laughed, and the cold, sterile joy sounded foreign and harsh coming from Alec’s throat. “We all know you can’t stop me.”

“But I can.”

I heard Tod before he appeared, and he appeared just a fraction of a second before he swung a big aluminum toaster in a two-handed grip—at the back of Alec’s head.

Alec’s eyes fluttered, then closed, and he collapsed to the ground, unconscious but still breathing, and at least temporarily free from the Netherworld body snatcher.

“One down,” Tod said, grinning over the still form on the grass. “Let’s go evict the other one.”


TOD STARED AT ME over Alec’s unmoving form on the grass, still holding the toaster, the flat left side of which was now massively dented. “Kaylee? You okay?”

“Not even kind of.” I shoved hair back from my face and glanced from Tod to Nash, then back. “But having known you both for several months now, I’m starting to see ‘okay’ as a relative term.”

Nash gave me a grim, confident smile, and Tod actually chuckled without letting go of the toaster.

“Okay. I need you to check Sabine’s house, and if you find her, call us,” I said, and Tod nodded. I didn’t think she’d left campus, since her car was still in the lot, but with Sabine, I’d learned to expect the unexpected. And the impulsive. And the vindictive. And the just plain crazy.

“If she’s not at her house, try mine,” Nash added, just before his brother blinked out of sight. “I’ve already checked everywhere she hangs out when she skips class,” he said, as we headed toward the cafeteria entrance.

I shrugged. “So we’ll check again. And if we don’t find her here, we’re gonna have to cross over.”

Nash nodded reluctantly, obviously much more willing to put us both in danger to save Sabine than he’d been for Addison.

He pulled open the door and held it for me, and I stepped past him into the lunchroom—where I could only stare. The cafeteria was trashed.

“What happened?” My gaze wandered the food-smeared walls, then snagged on a huge plastic jug of nacho cheese that lay busted open on the floor, oozing smooth orange processed cheese product a couple of feet from my shoes.

“Giant food fight.I’m not sure who started it, but a couple dozen people trashed the place before Goody could get it under control. She suspended thirty-eight kids. The cafeteria staff got pissed when she told them to clean it up, so they walked out, and now all those suspended kids have to spend tomorrow scrubbing the walls. Which is why they sold pizza for lunch in the hall. You didn’t see any of that?”

I shook my head, still stunned. “I was busy falsely accusing Sabine during lunch.” Then I’d sat in my car to cool off until the bell rang for fourth period. Somehow I’d missed the entire spectacular disaster.

Normally, I would have assumed that food fights were a little juvenile for high school, but based on the number of dented pots and busted food containers, I’d say this one was really more of a riot than anything. “This isn’t going to smell any better tomorrow…” I said, stepping over the busted cheese container, on my way to the main entrance. “Let’s go.”

But I’d only taken a few steps when Nash’s hand landed on my arm. “Wait. Did you hear that?”

I’d only heard the sticky squeak of my shoes on the filthy floor, so I stopped and listened. And I heard it, too. A voice, soft and smooth, and feminine, in spite of the low pitch.

My chest seemed to constrict around my heart. I knew that voice, though I’d only heard it once. “Invidia,” I whispered. “She’s already here.” And Sabine would be with her.

Suddenly I wished I hadn’t divided our resources by sending Tod to look for her.

Nash held one finger to his lips and I nodded as I followed him toward the kitchen, carefully sidestepping most of the mess. We followed the empty serving lane past the glass-topped ice cream freezer and into the heart of the Eastlake cafeteria, a maze of commercial-size stoves, dishwashers, and deep stainless-steel sinks. And there at the back, between one of the sinks and a tall metal shelf filled with commercial-size cans, stood Sabine.

And Emma.

“Em?” I asked

She smiled at me slowly with a foreign tilt of her head, and that’s when I understood. Emma had fallen asleep in history during the video, and Invidia had made her move. My best friend was the second host.

Emma’s body stood half-behind Sabine, pressed against the mara’s right side, her mouth inches from Sabine’s ear. She watched me closely, a predatory gleam in her normally bright brown eyes, lips half-parted, like I’d interrupted her in midsentence.

“Is this the sweet little bean sidhe?” Invidia’s voice asked, while Emma’s hand stroked Sabine’s bare arm. “See how she taunts you? How she flaunts the boy in front of you? She knows how you feel. She knows how he feels, and she doesn’t need him, yet she clings to him, just to keep him from you.”

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