Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 27

I wished she could have spent more time in mine, but she’d have to have died for that to happen, and I wasn’t in a hurry to repeat that experience again. When Lark had tried to kill herself... No, she hadn’t tried. Lark had succeeded in killing herself, at least for a short time. When Lark had killed herself it had felt like someone ripped my soul out. It hurt so much. Maybe it hurt because it wasn’t her time. Regardless, it had pushed me into a state of manifestation that allowed me to reach out to Kevin—the first medium I’d found—and make him understand me. I was getting better at that now. I didn’t need to get so upset to communicate, but I still had a lot to learn.

I wished I had someone to teach me, instead of figuring it out on my own, but the Shadow Lands were a huge place—just like the living world. My corner of it wasn’t terribly populated, and those who were there weren’t actually social. Ghosts were a lot like the living that way.

Though, I always wondered—how had I managed as a baby in this place? I didn’t need to eat or drink, but surely I’d required some sort of care? It hadn’t been Iloana who’d cared for me because I remembered the moment we met. So, who had it been, and why had they abandoned me just when I started having questions? I had no memory of anyone being there, but I’d never felt alone. Maybe there was someone who watched over dead children. To be honest, I’d never really cared enough to find out. I’d had Lark, and that was all that mattered.

I walked down a fairly modern street and turned a corner onto a Victorian alley. Pavement gave way to damp cobblestones and gas streetlamps. I loved this section of town, though it could be dangerous. Some humans—creatures—carried on in death as they had in life. Contrary to how humans seemed to act, death didn’t make saints of them all. If you were unpleasant in life, you were probably unpleasant in death.

It wasn’t just that the Shadow Lands looked like another time and place—it was another time and place. All of time and space existed here in various incarnations. There was a strange part of town not far from here where the ghosts weren’t human. I didn’t know where they came from. There were creatures like that all over—and strange little neighborhoods where they carried out their afterlife. And everyone usually kept to themselves. I used to find that safe and comforting, but now I blamed it for my ignorance of this world and my place in it.

A horse and carriage rattled past—they did that sometimes. I walked to the end of the alley and turned another corner onto another cobblestone street. This one was lined with fancy buildings—the kinds lords and ladies would have lived in. It inclined slowly up a low hill, and at the top of that hill sat a large stone building with huge columns and wide steps leading to the door.

The library.

I walked up the steps and through the double doors. There were a few spirits around but the cavernous building was much bigger on the inside than the outside. I didn’t believe the laws of physics applied to the dead at all. There was a front desk, a few tables, and then rows of books that stretched on for miles and rose as high as a skyscraper. It went on for eternity.

Where did I even start to look?

“You look lost” came a voice from beside me.

I turned my head. A beautiful woman with long white hair like Lark’s stood beside me. Her eyes were like ice, glittering brightly. She smiled, and I felt compelled to smile back even though something about her scared me a little.

“I came here to do some research,” I admitted. “It’s a little...overwhelming.”

“Come with me.”

I followed her to the desk, careful not to step on the hem of her long, opalescent gown. Sitting there was what looked like a small ivory horn mounted on an ebony stand. “Say what you want into this, and it will be brought to you.”

I looked at her. “Really? That’s it?”

She nodded, still smiling that serene yet sharp smile. “That’s it.”

“But how does it know to bring me the right one? What if there are books written by different people with the same name?”

She shrugged. “The library knows.”

Lark would have called her a liar, but I didn’t quite have the nerve. Instead, I decided to trust her. I leaned toward the horn and said clearly, “Haven Crest.”

It was as though the building came to life—nothing quite so dramatic—but I could feel a vibration beneath my feet, like a giant creature far below had just woken up. In the distance I heard a whisper—was it something moving, or simply a sigh? It was coming from one of the stacks. I turned my head and watched as a small speck came toward me, growing ever larger. It was a spirit from some race I couldn’t identify—a wraithlike creature with several arms and no discernible face. In its fingers it held several leather-bound volumes, which it placed on a podium at the end of the aisle.

The woman gestured for me to collect the books. “Ask and you shall receive.”

“Weird,” I whispered.

Soft laughter followed. “Indeed. I am glad to see you availing yourself of this world, Wrenleigh Noble. I had begun to fear the living held more appeal for you.”

I went still. Slowly, I turned my head to look at her. She was watching me, still smiling. “How do you know my name?”

“I know all about you, Wren. I have ever since you first came here.”

What? How was that possible? I’d never met her before. Had I? Was she one of those I’d wondered about just a few minutes ago? Someone who cared for dead children? “Who are you?”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies