Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 70

“Because mortals aren’t here to provide you with a buffet.” It was how ghosts drew energy, though. “You used to be one, a long time ago.”

Bent’s face contorted into a twisted mask. “You think you’re superior to me because you never lived.”

That wasn’t what I’d meant at all, but I’d take it. “I’m superior to you because I don’t need to make others afraid to feel important.”

“Important.” He spat a gob of ectoplasm on the floor. Disgusting. “No one but your sister and that puny medium can even communicate with you.”

That struck a nerve. “Did killing all those girls when you were alive make you feel important, Josiah Bent? Could you only be a man when you had someone’s throat under your blade?”

Apparently that struck a nerve as well, because he charged me again. This time I was ready. I caught him up in my arms, engulfed him in my darkness—the power all ghosts have, that boils deep within us, black and tempting—and then threw him to the floor. He could either go through it, or take the blow. He took the fall, skidding across the tiled floor until he hit the wall.

Slowly, he rose to his feet. He hadn’t expected that from me. “I’ll feel like a man when I rip your sister apart,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy her.”

It was a cheap trick, but effective. Anger bloomed deep inside me and spread like a wildfire. I went at him like a freight train, only to be caught up in his energy—that swirling choking mass. He didn’t let me go right away, either, but held me tight.

“That’s it,” he crooned in my ear. “Get furious. I want you to lose control. Give in to your true nature and join me. No one will be able to stop the two of us together.”

He was right. We’d be so powerful, he and I. We’d take whatever we wanted. Even the ghosts watching our struggle were afraid. The fear of other ghosts was even more potent than the fear of humans. I felt it tickle my spine, fill me with anticipation. I wanted that fear. I wanted the power he promised me.

Bent released me. We were back in Gage’s room. He and Roxi were still on the bed. They watched their show, but their eyes darted about the room and they clung to each other like vines.

As if one was really any protection for the other. Foolish little mortals.

“Do it,” Bent whispered. “They’re yours for the taking. Don’t let a little piece of rock stop you. Imagine how afraid they’d be of you.”

I didn’t have to imagine—I knew. I could kill them so easily, slip my thumbs into their eye sockets... I would like it, and it would all be because of Josiah Bent.

I turned on him with a smile. He was smiling, too.

“You have really pretty eyes,” I said.


Three ghosts down, and I was exhausted. I wasn’t going to last much longer.

As I swung the iron bar through another ghost, I could feel Wren like a whisper inside my head. She was fighting Bent. I couldn’t stop long enough to be afraid for her.

“Lark!” Ben shouted. “Get back in here, now!”

I glanced over my shoulder. They’d finished placing the iron and flags. I started walking backward, keeping my attention on the ghosts closing in on me. It was like something out of a horror movie—a whole line of corpses pressing down upon me. Some looked good, as they had in life, while others looked like twisted, monstrous things. I believed that what a person was in life manifested when they were dead—it showed on them in ways they’d managed to hide when living.

My steps were careful. I glanced behind me again as I neared the iron bars. If I knocked them with my foot I could create an opening. A fraction of an inch would be enough to let a ghost in. I wanted to reach out my hand to Ben, let him pull me in, but that might mess up the line, as well. Sarah’s thick barrier of salt was only going to hold out as long as the breeze.

“How far are you?” I asked.

“I just hit something,” Mace answered. “They didn’t bury him six feet down.”

“Awesome.” And I meant it. It was about freaking time something worked in our favor. If all we could have was lazy grave diggers then I’d take it.

I was maybe a foot from the edge of the perimeter when a new ghost appeared before me. She was tall and sturdy—what they would have called “handsome” in her day. She had really strong, striking features. She was dressed in capri pants and a snug blouse—very rockabilly without the tattoos. I could feel power rolling off her.

And then I felt it in an entirely new way when she backhanded me.

I fell to the side, landing hard on my hip. Thankfully, I missed the bars.

Ben shouted my name.

“Keep digging!” I yelled back. “Get that son of a bitch uncovered!” It was the quickest way to end this and ensure my safety. As it was, I was a little skeptical on that last part at that moment. I reached for the bar I had dropped, but before my fingers could wrap around it, I was picked up, and held up in the air so that I looked down at the ghost. She smiled—like a shark—and then tossed me like a rag doll.

I flew through the air and came down hard on a grave marker. They were flat and not very large, but they were still stone. I felt one of my ribs crack under the force as all the air rushed from my lungs.

Oh, crap. Oh, hell. That hurt. Slowly, I struggled to get to my feet, holding my hand against my ribs. I’d barely made it to my knees when she grabbed me again. This time she hauled me to my feet and slammed her forehead into my face. Blood spurted from my nose. Had she broken it? Great. I liked my nose, and now it was going to be all messed up.

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