Spirit Page 14

“My age.” She glared at him. “You’re not that much older than me. How did you get assigned to this?”

“I’m twenty-one. And I followed orders.”

“You followed orders.”

He didn’t say anything. Just looked at her.

She narrowed her eyes. “Well, that’s not too impressive.”

“Perhaps not.” He leaned in. “But I do it well.”

His voice was full of the promise of danger, lending more weight to the words than they’d carry on their own. She quickly took a sip of soda and glanced away.

Time to change the topic.

“I sat with Nick and Chris at lunch today. They were nice.”


It was the wrong thing to say. She could hear the judgment in his voice. What the hell had made her say that?

They were nice? The people they were here to kill?

Was she insane?

She quickly added, “They bought my story. I should be able to work an invite back to their house by the weekend.”

She’d thought Silver would be pleased, but his expression darkened. “I don’t like you going there alone.”


“It’s a risk.” A little part of her wondered at the thought of him worrying about her—but then he crushed it. “Surrounded by all of them, you may give yourself away. And if they kill off my decoy, I’ll have to start from square one.”

“Stop it. You’re getting me all hot and bothered.”

“You may be talented, but you aren’t strong enough to take all of them by yourself, Kathryn.”

Just like before, it was an insult and a compliment all rolled into one. She took another sip of her soda. “I can take care of myself.”

Silver regarded her silently for a moment. “Find another way to spend time around them. We’ll figure out a way I can monitor the situation.”

He was making her feel like she was about twelve years old. “What did you learn today?”

“I sat outside the school and read police reports on the recent arson cases.”

“You sat in the truck all day? Why?”

“I didn’t just sit in the truck.” He hadn’t touched his soda, but now he ran a finger around the rim of the glass. “And I wasn’t sure whether you’d need help.”

“They have laws against stalking high school students.”

“No one saw me.” He paused. “They arrested a boy for these arson attacks, and the fires have stopped. But from what I can see, this Ryan Stacey has no connection to Elementals. The police are chalking up the pentagram patterns at the arson locations to simple cult obsession.”

Kate snorted and took another sip of her soda. “Idiots.”

“According to the police reports, Gabriel Merrick was arrested and released. He was never charged with the crimes. In one article, it’s claimed that he and another boy—” Silver checked his phone. “—a Hunter Garrity, rescued students from the fire in the school library—”

Kate choked on her soda.

Silver raised his eyebrows. “Problems?”

“I met him. Today. Hunter Garrity. He’s the one who fought with Gabriel Merrick in the cafeteria.”

“The plot thickens.”

Kate wiped at her mouth with the napkin. “It does? Why?”

“One of the first Guides sent to take care of our friends the Merricks was named John Garrity. He never made it. While I believe in coincidence, that strikes a bit too close to home, does it not?”

Kate froze. She remembered the way the air went still around Hunter in the school office.

“Can you get close to him?” said Silver.

She nodded, thinking of those text messages.

“Find out what really happened to his father.”

“What else?”

“Find out whether he had something to do with it. It concerns me,” said Silver, leaning in, “that there may be more Elementals at play here than we realize.”

“More than you can handle?” said Kate.

“Never.” He laughed, low, under his breath. “I’m worried, my dear, that they’re more than you can handle.”

“I can do this,” she said, losing any trace of humor. “I can.”

“Good,” he said. “Then prove it.”

Hunter found his mother and his grandparents sitting in silence when he walked in.

Then he stopped short.

His gun was on the kitchen table between them. His two knives were laid out beside it. And the spare magazine, plus the box of bullets.

They’d searched his room.

Casper nosed at his hands, begging to be petted, but for the first time, Hunter couldn’t even acknowledge his dog. His emotions were wildly vacillating between fury and fear, and they couldn’t decide where to settle. His heart felt like it was beating a path out of his chest.

His mother looked like she’d been crying—but that seemed to be a daily occurrence, so Hunter didn’t read too much into it. His grandmother looked disappointed, as usual.

And his grandfather looked like he wanted to load the gun and use it.

Hunter was tempted to go for it first.

He cleared his throat, and his voice didn’t want to work. “What’s going on?”

His mother opened her mouth, but his grandmother put a hand over hers and squeezed—hard, it looked like.

His grandfather’s eyes were like steel, solid and unwavering. “You tell us,” he said.

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