Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 68

I waited until the others were a little over halfway to the tree before setting out to follow them. The moment I swung my leg over the dilapidated fence and let my foot hit asylum ground I felt a jolt up my leg. This place had gotten a taste of me the other night, and this second taste was only going to increase its appetite.

The ground wasn’t consecrated. How could they not consecrate a freaking cemetery? Consecration wasn’t a guarantee that ghosts couldn’t get in, but it made it really difficult for them. The fact that this land hadn’t been blessed meant that it was just another part of the asylum—and Bent had free domain.

I had two shovels over my shoulder as I broke into a jog. I wanted to yell at them to find the grave, but I didn’t dare make that much noise. Up ahead I could see the flashlights come on, beams moving across the ground. I thought I heard Ben call out that he’d found it. A few seconds later they all gathered around one spot, and Ben began placing iron on the ground.

I ran faster. When I reached them, I dropped the shovels and immediately went to work on the iron rods. “Start digging!” I ordered.

No one argued. Shovels struck the grass—clumps went flying.

And a buzzing like a thousand bees grew louder in my head. They were coming, and we didn’t have iron around three quarters of the grave yet. We were laying the rods length-wise on the ground, end to end around the perimeter, leaving enough room for the diggers inside. I tossed Kevin a can of salt.

“Pour it inside the iron,” I instructed. The air went still—too still. My heart hammered in my chest, slamming my ribs. So many of them coming. I could feel them in my head, under my skin. They whispered to me in incoherent dark-tongues, trying to heighten my fear with their voices.

I drew a deep breath. I was not afraid. Okay, I was very afraid, but I would not allow my fear to rule me. I grabbed for the little flags I’d put in the supply box and began shoving their pointed ends into the ground inside the iron rectangle. On them, Ben had drawn pujok like the one in Gage’s hospital room.

A screech pierced my mind. I glanced up and saw what looked like a giant bat flying toward me. Only it wasn’t a bat. It was ghosts. And they were manifesting.

Shit. I hoped no one else looked up. Frantically, I kept slapping rods onto the grass, shoving flags in every few feet. There was just one corner left to cover. The others had a couple of feet dug down already—there hadn’t been any rain in a while and the ground was dry and light. But they still had a lot of grave to uncover.

The bat broke up, bits of black dropping to the ground. They were maybe five or ten feet away. At least ten of them—the rest circled above. Reinforcements. If just one of them attacked right now we’d be screwed.

I shoved the remaining flags into the ground and stood up. I took the iron bar Ben had given me out of the box. It was cool against my hot, damp palms.

“Lark?” Ben asked. I could hear a little tremor in his deep voice. “What are you doing?”

I glanced over at my shoulder at him. “Get that perimeter down.”

And then I stepped out to confront the ghosts. I smiled as I looked at their decrepit faces. “Which one of you bitches wants to go first?”


Roxi and Gage were nervous, I could tell. If I could communicate with them I could calm their minds. Bent wasn’t going to come for either one of them.

Bent was going to come for me.

I wasn’t sure if Lark knew it, though some part of her must. It was the only reason she’d have allowed me to be somewhere other than her side. My sister was overly protective, and paranoid, but she wasn’t stupid. Not usually. With me somewhere else, it forced Bent to chase me. That meant he couldn’t attack them.

That was the theory. I’d never met a ghost who could be in more than one place at once. Of course, there was always the chance that Bent would completely destroy me and then my sister, or start with Lark and then come for me. I tried not to think about that. Instead, I reminded myself that Bent thought himself incredibly powerful—and he was. But so was I. I might not know how to best use my power, but I was well aware of possessing it.

So, I lurked as Roxi and Gage watched some awful reality show on the hospital television, and waited. I’d have left here altogether if I hadn’t been worried there was some small chance that Bent would attack the two of them just for fun. He didn’t seem to have an agenda beyond increasing his forces.

“You’re here again” came a voice from the door of Gage’s room.

I turned—it was the man with the bloody legs and hospital gown. “Hello.”

“If you’re here, does that mean he’ll be here, as well?”

“I think so.”

He frowned. “Why would you do that?”

“Because I want to stop him, but I need to protect my friends.”

He peered past me at Gage and Roxi. “They don’t even know you’re here.”

“That doesn’t matter. I’m still going to protect them.”

“Who’s going to protect us?”

He had been a grown man when he’d died—at least in his early forties. I assumed he’d been a fully functional mortal. “You are.”

Johnny Shirt shook his head. “He’s too strong.”

“There’s one of him, and a whole bunch of you just wandering these halls. If you stand against him he can’t hurt you. That’s just simple math.”

“That’s easy for you to say, you’re Dead Born.”

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