Spirit Page 42

“They’re sleeping.” The boy climbed up on the couch next to him as if he’d known Hunter all his life. Then he clicked on the television.

Hunter sat there for a full minute and wondered what to do.

Unfortunately his brain kept replaying the previous night.




The music from the cartoons was like water torture. Hunter rubbed at his eyes again, suddenly worried he was going to be sick.

He needed to find out what had happened, whether they were still in danger.

He stumbled off the couch, leaving the boy there. The front door was locked, but he threw the bolt and stepped onto the porch.

Rain coursed down from the dark gray sky, slapping against the siding and running in rivers down the driveway. It had to be very early, because he didn’t sense motion from any of the houses on the street.

Wait—maybe he still had his phone.

No, his pockets were empty. But blood stained the waistband of his jeans and streaked down one leg.

Hunter stepped onto the front walk, letting the rain hit him. He put a hand out. No power in the drops; just a normal storm.

“I thought the only person crazy enough to stand out in the rain was Chris.”

Hunter turned. Gabriel stood in the doorway, wearing sweatpants and an old T-shirt. His hair was rumpled from sleep. He didn’t look panicked, but he looked tired.

About thirty questions came to mind, but Hunter said, “Who’s the little kid?”

“James. Hannah’s son.”

That meant nothing to Hunter. “Who’s Hannah?”

“Mike’s girlfriend. You’ve seen her; she was one of the firefighters at the police station last week. She stayed at the carnival to help, so Mike brought him here.” Gabriel paused. “You want to come in out of the rain or what?”

Hunter realized he’d just been standing there, feeling rain trail through his hair and run in rivulets down his chest.

But the rain felt good on his shoulder, so he didn’t move. “What happened? How did I get here?”

“Do you remember the carnival?”


“Do you remember the fires?”

Was Gabriel kidding? They were permanently etched on the insides of Hunter’s eyelids. “I remember the generators. I had to climb down from the Ferris wheel.”

Gabriel glanced back in the house, then pulled the door shut. “That kid hears everything.” He leaned back against the doorjamb. “Do you remember getting shot?”

Hunter froze. “I got shot?”

“Yeah. In the shoulder.” Gabriel looked out at the gray sky. “And no offense, dude, but you weigh a f**king ton.”

That left Hunter with more questions than answers. His shoulder hurt, but he sure hadn’t missed a bullet hole.

That meant one of them had used power to heal him.

“Go clean up,” said Gabriel. “I’ll make coffee. School’s closed for the day, so . . .”

“Are we in danger?”

Gabriel snorted. “When are we not in danger?” He paused. “I have no idea. Nothing has happened since the fires.”

Hunter snuck into Nick’s room to find clean jeans from his bag, trying to be as silent as possible. He probably didn’t need to bother. Nick was practically unconscious, an arm hanging down over the side of the bed. The entire second floor felt thick with sleep. A quick glance at the clock revealed it wasn’t even six in the morning.

The shower felt even better than the rain had, but questions were burning the inside of his brain, so he rushed.

James was eating Cookie Crisp straight from the box when Hunter walked past the family room. He’d wrapped himself in the comforter.

Hunter wondered what it would be like to feel so comfortable in his surroundings. He couldn’t remember ever feeling that way, even around his own family.

He heard hushed voices from the kitchen, and that didn’t mean anything until Michael’s words registered.

“This is the first time I’ve considered leaving town.”

Leaving town. Hunter hesitated in the hallway.

Gabriel said something in response, but Hunter couldn’t catch the words.

Then Michael said, “I don’t know. What do you think?”

Hunter could feel Gabriel’s surprise from here. Hunter strained to hear him. “I think this is the first time we all have a reason to stay.” He paused. “You’re dating a girl who left her kid with you, Michael.”

“Exactly. I’m putting them at risk.”

“There’s no pentagram on the door.”


Gabriel paused. “You sound like you’ve been thinking about this for a while.”

“Only all night.” A tapping sound that Hunter couldn’t make sense of. Then a heavy sigh. “Money would be tight for a while, but we could make it work.”


“A week if we had to.”

A week! Hunter held his breath.

“Do you know where we’d go?”

Michael’s voice was muffled, as if he was moving away. Hunter only picked out random phrases. “. . . go to the bank. We need . . . quiet so he doesn’t hear us.”

So he doesn’t hear us.

Exclamation points flared in Hunter’s head. He eased forward to hear the rest.

The floor creaked.

The conversation in the kitchen came to an abrupt stop.

But he wasn’t stupid. That vise grip had closed on his chest again. He’d never been welcome here, not really. Expecting anything else was downright lunacy.

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