Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 61

“They tell me you can help protect my son against the evil spirits,” he said to Lark.

She nodded and shoved her hand into that huge bag of hers. She pulled out two of those iron rings that strange man Chuck had delivered to the coffee shop. She gave one to Mr. Moreno and slipped the other on Gage’s finger. I supposed the hospital staff had removed the one he’d been wearing when he’d come in. Then Lark took a small, polished piece of moss agate from the bag and slipped it beneath Gage’s pillow. Ben taped one of his grandmother’s pujok to the wall behind the bed.

“Tell the nurses not to move it,” Lark instructed. Then she gave the older man her cell phone number and told him to call her if he needed anything. She also told him to use any items from his faith that guarded against spirits, or to have a priest come in if he wanted. I was proud of her as she made Gage’s father feel better. It was so much easier for her when she could deal with people who believed in ghosts, regardless of their religion.

“It wasn’t your touch that hurt him,” I told her. “It was Bent.”

She nodded.

“You could always try to heal him again.” I knew it took a lot out of her, and I knew she couldn’t completely heal him, but maybe she could undo some of the damage that awful lunatic had done.

She set her hand on Gage’s left forearm. Poor thing was a mess. Why had Bent done that to his victims? Why flay and infect them? It seemed unnecessarily cruel. But then, Bent had been cruel in life, as well.

We left the hospital shortly after. In the parking lot everyone wanted to ask Kevin—and Lark—what had happened. That was when Kevin admitted why he had let Bent in.

“I thought I could get a sense of him,” he said. “He’s been in my head. I know him now.”

Lark shook her head. “You freaking idiot. He could have used you to kill somebody. Besides, Wren and I found out where his grave is. Sort of.”

He frowned. “You found out about the Japanese chestnut tree? How? She didn’t go to the cemetery, did she?”

Did he think I was stupid? The Japanese chestnut tree?

My sister scowled. “She’s not that stupid.” She didn’t explain that we hadn’t known the exact location, though. We did now, and that was all that mattered, I supposed. I really didn’t like that his dangerous experiment had managed to uncover what we couldn’t.

Mace nodded. “I know that tree—it’s the great big one in the lower corner.”

“Great.” Kevin licked at his cut lip and winced. “So, we’ll burn his remains tonight.”

“Whoa.” Lark held up her hand. “No. We need to plan this. We can’t just walk in there. That cemetery isn’t on consecrated ground.” When they all looked at her blankly, she sighed. “Bent and his army will tear us apart. We have to find a way to protect the grave and ourselves, and dig it up. A backhoe is too conspicuous, so we have to try to do it by hand.”

“Security doesn’t patrol there,” Mace said. “That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.”

“That’s a bit of a help,” Lark allowed. “Ben, can you get some more iron from your mom? Just some to borrow?”

He looked like he’d do anything my sister wanted. “Sure.”

“Great. We’ll do it Monday night.”

“Why Monday?” Kevin asked.

“I heard one of the officers at the chief’s office say Olgilvie was off duty Monday night. If we get caught, I don’t want it to be him that catches us.”

Mace nodded. “Agreed. No one would expect us to be there on a week night, either.”

“Bent surprised us last night,” Lark said, making eye contact with each of them. “I don’t want that to happen when we go for him. We have to be prepared and protected.”

Kevin didn’t like it, but he was outnumbered. I understood that he wanted immediate payback against Bent, but he was in no shape to go after him again. He looked exhausted, and the group needed him to be strong. If he went in there weak Bent might take him again. I’d tear the bastard apart if that happened.

“What about Gage?” Roxi asked. Her eyes were red but dry.

“He’s got protection now,” Lark said. “His father will do everything I told him. Plus, I don’t think Bent will come back so soon, if he can at all.”

“How do you know?”

Lark smiled at her. “Because he’s saving all his energy for me.”

“And me,” I whispered. My sister glanced at me, but she didn’t speak.

Finally, everyone went their separate ways. Ben drove Lark home and I followed after Kevin. I didn’t intend to stalk him, I just wanted to make sure he was all right, and that we hadn’t hurt him too badly.

He went to the graveyard. I followed him down a familiar path to my grave. A deep ache flared to life inside me as he knelt on the dry grass and began pulling weeds from around the stone. There was a wilted rose there that I knew he’d left days earlier. He put it with the pile of weeds before lying down, using his arm for a pillow.

He was lying on the spot where my tiny mortal remains were buried six feet below, in a tiny little box. I watched him as he closed his eyes. A tear trickled into his hair. “I’m sorry,” he said.

I didn’t say anything. I just left him there.


“Kevin looked pretty beat up,” Ben remarked casually as we drove back to Nan’s. “You do that?”

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