The Lost Saint Page 45

I closed my eyes and concentrated. Tried to picture my wounds healing over like Daniel had taught me—tried to erase them with the power of my mind. But when I opened my eyes, my reflection appeared exactly the same. My ability to control my superhearing, speed, strength, and agility had increased tenfold since my breakthrough run on Sunday. But the healing power still eluded me. Yes, these wounds would probably heal on their own in a matter of hours—compared to weeks for a regular human—but I should be able to speed up the process even more. Make it take seconds rather than hours, if I concentrated enough.

I didn’t have hours to wait, so I closed my eyes and tried again. Healing had been the first power Daniel had developed as a kid—it was how he’d discovered that he had special abilities in the first place. But for some reason it was the hardest one for me. I opened my eyes and frowned at my unchanged appearance—then jumped at the sight of Talbot standing right behind me in the doorway. I gripped the counter to steady myself.

“I’m sorry,” Talbot said. “I knocked, but you didn’t answer. I was worried.…”

“I’m okay. I was just concentrating.”

“You better concentrate harder. We’ve got to get back to the bus, and you’re not healed up yet.”

“That’s because I don’t know how to do it.”

“Oh.” Talbot stepped into the tight room. Only two more steps and we’d be touching. I cursed my heart for beating faster. “I can help you,” he said.


Talbot took one more step. Closer now. I watched his reflection in the mirror as he reached his hands out and brushed my hair back behind my ears. He cupped both of his hands on my face, pressing his palms into the burns on my cheeks. I winced and tried to pull away from his touch.

“Easy,” he said softly. “Don’t think about the pain. Think about where the pain came from. Think about how you got these burns. What were you feeling when it happened?”

“Scared.” I pictured the sight of the Gelal, skewered right in front of me. Then the way he’d grabbed at the sword and cut his bare hands. “Horrified.”

“Close your eyes.”

I let my eyelids drop.

“Concentrate on what you were feeling,” he said close to my ear. “Hold those emotions inside of you until they burn.”

At first I didn’t know what he meant, and it seemed so opposite from what Daniel had told me that I didn’t think it would work. But I replayed that horrible scene in my head and let the fear of the moment engulf me. Felt the panic rise in my chest. And then I felt tingling warmth under Talbot’s touch. The heat swelled until it felt as hot as white coals, and just when I thought I might faint from the pain, it tingled away into nothing.

I opened my eyes. Talbot pulled his hands away from my face and placed them on my shoulders. The burns were gone.

“Good as new,” he said.

I met his gaze in the mirror for a second, then quickly turned my head away.

I didn’t know if I could look at Talbot the same way again. He’d changed so much for me in the last few hours. He wasn’t just a dimpled-cheeked farm boy who just happened to be another Urbat and reminded me of comforting things. Under that flannel shirt beat the heart of a powerful hunter—one strong enough to kill a demon with a single swing of his steel sword.

Talbot was dangerous.

I had no doubt about that.

But at the same time, I couldn’t help picturing him as a little boy, shrieking with fear as his parents died in front of him. It made me want to wrap my arms around him, hold him like Baby James, and tell him everything was going to be okay—that I could help him make the monsters go away.

I pulled out of his grasp and turned to leave. It wasn’t right to be this close to Talbot. I loved Daniel.


“Yes?” I glanced back at him.

He stood quiet for a moment. No happiness in his expression at all. “Take that towel and wipe down anything you think you might have touched.”


He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. “I was right. Somebody did live here. I need to call the police so they can take care of the body.”


Beasts of Gevaudan


“Whoa, what the heck happened to you?” April asked when I approached her and Claire in front of the rec center.

“Uh …” Did I really still look that bad?

“Ew. Seriously, what’s on your shirt?”

I looked down at my white polo. The Gelal acid had apparently eaten away little holes in my shirt, and traces of the black ooze lingered around the edges of each.

“Oh, guts,” I said.

Claire made a gagging face. “What did you guys have to do?”

“Oh, um. We were helping out at some old guy’s house, and it turns out it was all infested. We had to squash some bugs.”

“Sick!” April said. “Dude, I’m so sorry. All we had to do was help paint a fence behind an elementary school … and then we got cookies!” She pulled a cookie wrapped in a napkin out of her purse and handed it to me. “Seriously, I think you deserve it.”

“Oh, thanks,” I said.

But I didn’t know when, or if, I’d ever be able to eat again. Not after what Talbot found in the master bedroom of that run-down house. That old man had never stood a chance against those monsters. At least Talbot had called the police so the old man’s body would be found soon and be taken care of. The only thing keeping me from bursting into tears over a total stranger was knowing that I had at least—in a way—been a part of destroying the demons that had killed him.

Claire gave my clothes another once-over. “So what kind of bugs did you have to kill anyway?”

“Really big nasty ones,” I said. Then I mouthed the word demons to April.

Oh, she mouthed back. She grabbed Claire’s arm and pulled her toward the bus. “Let’s not make a big deal about Grace’s nasty assignment,” she said. “You don’t want to make people jealous or anything.” April laughed uncomfortably.

“But I want to know what …,” Claire said as April pushed her up the bus steps.

“Hey, did you know that Jeff Read said you look hot in that sweater?”

I followed them into the bus and sat a row behind them. I listened as they chattered on about what else Jeff Read had said recently about Claire. I smiled and nodded in all the right places, but I didn’t really feel like talking anymore.

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