Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 22

An hour later, my eyelids starting to droop after reading crap account after crap account of “spirit activity” at Haven Crest, I bolted upright. “I found something.”

Wren looked up from her own reading. She liked to read my textbooks and was already deep into the play we had to read in English class. “What?”

“It’s from a diary of a girl named Maybelline Scout who was born in 1900. ‘May 2, 1918—Recently I visited my friend Anne at Haven Crest hospital. She’s been in a steady decline since the death of her fiancé, Russell, fighting the Germans.’” I glanced up. “Anne would have been sixteen or seventeen at that time. Can you imagine being engaged at that age?”

Wren shrugged. “Iloana was fourteen when she married her first husband.”

Iloana was an old woman Wren sometimes talked to. She’d had several husbands apparently. I often wondered if Iloana hadn’t helped all of her misters into their graves.

“Keep reading,” my sister commanded.

“‘My sister Honoria, who was always sensitive to spirits, was with me, which resulted in being a horrible mistake. A few unpleasant spirits haunting the hospital found Honoria and began to make sport of her—and poor Anne, whose mental state was already frail. I had never seen a ghost before that day, but I saw that one as clear as glass—a man with a straight razor...’” I stopped. Swallowed. My tongue was suddenly dry as sand. “‘...hurt my sister badly, and provoked her to the point that she attacked both Anne and myself with a sort of violence uncharacteristic of my dear sister even at her worst. I struck the spirit with a poker from the fireplace, which banished it, but not before it left me with a vicious wound for my trouble. As for Honoria, it took two days for her to return to herself. Anne, I’m afraid, never recovered, her sanity quite undone by the experience.”

Silence hung between us, thick and tense.

“That doesn’t mean it will happen to me,” Wren protested.

“No?” I looked her right in the eye. “Wren, if the ghost did that to someone who was alive but sensitive, what will it do to you?”

She scowled. “Nothing worse than what it might do to you,” she shot back. “That girl was obviously unprepared for the sort of energy that saturates places like Haven Crest. After Bell Hill, I know to take precautions.”

“Do you?” I asked. “I don’t mean to be a bitch, but neither of us have gone up against anything like this before. Bell Hill was a relatively new facility, with modern treatments. We’re going to be walking into a place that lobotomized people with a spike through the eye, chained them up like beasts and performed experiments on their patients like they were little more than lab rats. There’s going to be a lot of pain and suffering.”

My sister looked me dead in the eye with a gaze that told me not to bother arguing. “We don’t have a choice, Lark.”

“Sure we do. We don’t go.”

Wren’s eyes widened. “We can’t do that!”

“Yeah,” I said with a humorless laugh, “we can.”

“We promised them we’d help them!”

“No promise is worth putting you in danger—putting both of us in danger. It’s stupid.”

“It could kill them.”

“Only if it gets really bad.” Even as I spoke I cringed. I sounded like such a cow.

“We can stop it. We’re the only people who can.”

I looked at her. “Why do you care? It’s not like Kevin was with them. He’ll be fine.”

“The rest of them won’t be.”

“It’s their own fault.”

She bristled. My bed trembled. “I can’t believe you’d be so cruel.”

“You going to freak out?” I goaded. “This is what I’m worried about, Wren. You can’t even keep your shit together with me. How are you going to stand up against dozens of angry ghosts? We’re not going in.”

Wren went still—statue still. No human could be so motionless. “Even at my worst I’ll still stand up better against any number of ghosts than they will alone. And you will, too. We’re doing this, Lark. We’re not going to lose the first friends we’ve had in a long time.”

And that was how she won the argument, because she was right. “We’ll need to make sure we take extra precautions—and teach them how to protect themselves, too. Maybe your boyfriend knows something helpful.”

She brightened at the mention of him. Silently, I gagged. I was self-aware enough to know I was jealous. Come on, there had to be something wrong if your dead sister got more play than you did.

“I’m going to bed,” I announced. “It’s late.” I wasn’t really tired, but I didn’t want to talk anymore—argue anymore.

My sister looked disappointed. After sixteen years I’d think she’d be used to me having to sleep. “I guess I’ll keep reading.” She’d loved books ever since she realized that all she had to do to read them was phase into them. I wasn’t sure how it worked, and I didn’t care so long as it kept her entertained.

I shrugged. “Whatevs.”

“Maybe I’ll go see Iloana.”

Another shrug. “I’ll see you in the morning. You can catch me up.” I set my laptop on the table beside the bed and pulled the blankets up around me. I turned off the light. Wren didn’t need it anyway—ghosts had their own natural luminescence.

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