Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 19

I found her. Latched onto her.

My heart—and I do have one, just not in the mortal sense of the word—fluttered desperately inside me. My sister was afraid. Lark, who was always so foolishly brave, who defiantly stared down danger and dared it to come for her, had encountered something dark. Something that scared her despite the fact that she didn’t fear death.

And she’d done it for me, because I wanted to help these stupid kids. Because I wanted them—Kevin—to like me. Because I wanted friends. They just wanted out of the mess they’d blundered into. And they had no idea of what that mess was all about. And while my sister might not fear death, I very much wanted her to live. I wanted to witness every day of what ought to be a very long life.

I pulled back, returning to myself. I looked at the teenagers gathered in the kitchen. They looked worried. And bored. Why weren’t they talking about how to get themselves out of this mess? Why were they so ignorant of my kind and the damage we could inflict? From what I could tell, television was positively crammed with programs about so-called ghost hunters. Surely there had to be information available? And yet, here they sat, staring at one another, or the walls. Even Kevin seemed at a loss.

If Lark got hurt because of them...

“Do you feel that?” Sarah asked, lifting her head. She was a gorgeous girl, with all that blond hair and bright blue eyes. The wraith’s infection would make short work of her looks.

Ben glanced at her, his dark hair falling into his eyes. “It’s cold.”

Roxi shivered. “It’s really cold.”

“Wren?” Kevin was on his feet, coming to stand in the middle of the kitchen, not far from where I was. “Is that you?”

Oh, dear. It was me. My emotional state was making me manifest. Kevin’s breath came in visible puffs. Sarah rubbed her arms. The others looked at each other.

And then they looked at the cupboards as the doors flew open. Cutlery rattled as the drawer jerked out. The overhead light began to flicker.

They were worried now. Afraid now, but not for Lark. For themselves.

One of the lightbulbs above Kevin’s head cracked.

“Move!” I yelled at him.

He heard me, lunging out of the way just as glass exploded and rained down where he’d been standing.

“What the hell?” Gage half ducked, arms over his head. “What’s her problem?”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” This was so embarrassing.

“I know you are,” Kevin replied. The one benefit of a manifestation was that I was easier for mediums to hear and communicate with. He turned.

He looked at me. I mean, right at me. He saw me. I have to admit, my hand went to my hair. I had no idea what I looked like at that moment—I could have tentacles or rot-face, something horrible, meant to terrify.

Kevin smiled a little. Probably no rot-face, then. “I know you’re worried about Lark. We’re worried, too, but I need you to relax, okay?”

Roxi looked in my direction. “Yeah, Wren. We’re worried about her, too.” Then, to Kevin, “Anything we can do?”

“Ghostly shoulder rub?” Ben suggested. Kevin frowned at him.

I laughed. Maybe these people were my friends after all. At least they hadn’t run away screaming.

“It’s warming up again,” Sarah remarked.

Kevin took a small broom and dustpan from one of the lower cupboards I’d opened and started cleaning up the glass from the lightbulb. I closed what drawers and cupboards I could, but the more calm I became, the less strength I had. Gage came over and watched as I closed the cutlery drawer. I could feel the infection that was taking hold of him. It was like a hot, greasy smear over his soul.

“That is so cool,” he mused. “I wonder if she’d help me clean my room?”

“No,” Kevin and I chorused. I knew he heard me because he smiled, but his gaze didn’t quite reach me. I guess him seeing me once was all I got. I’d been lucky to get that.

Gage shrugged. “Whatever.”

That was when the door flew open and in walked Mace and Lark. I took one look at my sister and froze. I’d been too distracted to feel her near. Her hair was a mess, her clothes were dirty—she had a huge run in her tights—and her hands were bloody. But more concerning than even that was the look on her face. I’d seen that expression before. I’d seen it when she was in that awful place. It was a face that said things were bad, and that she was prepared to fight, quite possibly to the death.

I didn’t like that face—her ghost-fighting face. I wanted my sister to live a long and happy life, and I wanted to experience it with her every step of the way.

Sarah hugged Mace. He winced when she pressed against him. Ben clapped him on the shoulder. Out of all of them, I noticed the infection less in Ben. I didn’t know why, but some humans had a stronger resistance to spiritual wounds. It didn’t seem to have to do with religion, but with the strength of their soul.

“Oh, my God, your hands.” Roxi’s dark eyes were as big as saucers as she stared at Lark’s bloody fingers. “We’ve got to clean those. What happened?”

“It attacked you, didn’t it?” I asked, following my sister to the sink.

“Your ghost wanted a little taste of me, too.” Lark turned on the water and stuck her hands beneath the faucet. She hissed when the warm wet struck her skin. “It looks worse than it is.”

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