Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 11

I tried to smile. It didn’t work. “Yes.”

“Her name’s Wren,” Kevin said, stepping into the circle. He shot me a glance. I gave him the finger. He’d flapped his lips about my sister enough already.

“Ghosts don’t haunt cemeteries,” I informed them. “Cemeteries are sanctuaries. There’s nothing there but bones and peace. Ghosts need something to hold on to—a person, place or thing. When ghosts need to feed they go back to a place they knew in life where they might find the living. Your ghost is from somewhere else. Where else have you been that’s close to there?”

They all looked around, shaking their heads.

“At least one of you has been somewhere else. Maybe you walked across property near the graveyard? Trespassed somewhere?”

That shared glance was all the answer I needed. “Where?” I demanded.

“Haven Crest,” Gage said, voice hoarse and face white. “The We cut across the grounds one night.”

I made a face at his choice of term, which I knew had been for my benefit. Haven Crest had been an asylum in the most horror-movie sense of the word. Every kid in town knew about it by the time he or she was ten. Some even dared to brave its rusted gates. I knew better. I saw what was there. Those memories kicked my heart into overdrive and brought back other memories, of pills being forced down my throat as the ghosts of Bell Hill looked on, some of them eager for a chance to “play” when my senses were dulled and I couldn’t fight back.

“You’re on your own,” I told them and pivoted on my heel. “Good luck.”

“Wait!” Roxi cried. “You’re not going to help us?”

“I can’t,” I told her. “I’m sorry.” And I really was.

“Lark, we have to help them,” Wren insisted, but I turned away.

Someone grabbed my arm, but it wasn’t Wren. It was Mace, and he looked angry. And afraid. Of all the people to grab me, to make me look them in the eye, why did it have to be the one who had saved my sorry life? Yes, they’d locked me up after he did it, but I was here because of him. I owed him.

“You can’t tell us we need your help and then walk away,” he said.

I shook my head as though he’d been the one to remind me of that fact. “I won’t do it. You can’t make me go there. Do you know what that place is? Do you know what it’s like to be surrounded by ghosts that don’t have any sense of right and wrong? To be strapped to a bed and unable to fight when creatures who get off on pain come to play?” Tears filled my eyes and I refused to be ashamed of them. “You don’t know, and I can’t do that again.”

“You’re right,” he said. “I just know this.” And then he shoved my hand under his shirt, flat against the smooth, muscled wall of his chest. I gasped at the heat there—the burning ridges that scorched my palm. He had the scratches, too.

Heat raced up my arm. No, it was like my arm was on fire. I cried out. Wren reached for me... My head snapped back—eyes, too.

Pain. Blood. Suffering. Terrible images filled my brain, each moving too fast to be sure of what I was seeing. I heard screams and laughter, tasted blood and tears. And I burned.

Then I saw them—Mace, Roxi, Gage, Sarah, Ben and Kevin—all of them. They were dead—ripped apart by something with huge claws. Their blood covered the floor of what looked like an old medical ward. Rats scurried along the edge of the growing crimson pool.

Mace’s face—what was left of it—turned toward me. Something had ripped out his eyes, but I knew he could see me. “You,” he rasped.

And there was Wren, clacking like a vulture, squatting among all the gore. Black clots of blood matted her hair, stained the skin around her mouth. I watched in horror as she lifted unnaturally long, bloody hands. Each finger had become a wicked razor-sharp claw, and from those claws dangled a cluster of eyeballs—like an upside down bunch of small, macabre balloons. I saw Roxi’s eyes and Mace’s eyes, and Sarah’s. They all turned to stare at me accusingly.

My sister grinned at me before popping one of them into her mouth.

I screamed.


Lark slumped against Mason at exactly the same moment a police officer got out of his car on the other side of the parking lot.

“Crap,” Ben muttered. “Is that Olgilvie?”

Someone else swore.

I barely glanced at the tall, heavyset man in uniform walking toward us. I was more concerned about my sister. What had happened when she’d touched Mason’s wounds? “Lark?”

Mason held her up. He couldn’t see me, however. To his friends he said, “Stay calm. Let me do the talking.”

Sarah looked panicked. “How are we going to explain her?” She gestured at Lark. “She looks drunk.”

It was obvious that everyone thought we were in trouble, so I did the only thing I could think of. I stepped into my sister and took over her body for the time being. People called it possession, but I didn’t like to use that term in regards to Lark. Thankfully, she was just asleep. I opened my eyes—Lark’s eyes.

Mason looked down at me. He frowned. “You’re not her,” he whispered.

I managed a small smile, impressed that he could tell the difference between us—most people couldn’t. “You can let, go now. Thanks.”

He dropped his arms like I was on fire. I stumbled, but managed to catch myself. Wearing Lark was fairly comfortable, but I wasn’t used to having substance in this realm. Limbs were heavy, clumsy. I braced my hand against the roof of Nan’s car.

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