The Weird Girls Page 6

This time, I needed to make sure he was dead. I bashed in his skull until my face dripped with red death and I couldn’t see, only feel. Feel the bones crunch like wet marbles, feel the warm blood turn cold against my heated flesh, feel my muscles scream with stress and tension.

“Miss Celia, what are you do-eeng?”

I jumped and dropped the handlebars. My hands slapped at my saturated face, trying to see through the glop. Eduardo, one of the day-shift custodians, stood by the double doors with a mini version of the trash bins on wheels. I gaped at my bloody hands, then at the blood pooling from my chin onto the floor. My eyes searched the confines of the room. No other blood but mine in sight. The cracked cinderblock had repaired itself, the pizza boxes, cups, and other garbage had returned to the heap. And the broken chairs lay piled neatly in the corner. Absolutely no other evidence of a high-noon magical showdown . . . with the exception of a very small, very dead, very mutilated newt the size of my palm near my feet. This was more of the ending to round one I’d expected, minus Eduardo.

“Um. Hi, Eduardo.” I pointed to the newt. “I was killing that lizard thingy,” I responded with total sincerity.

Eduardo didn’t bother to take in the newt. Just me. Go figure. “But why are you bleed-eeng . . . and nay-ked?”

My hands gripped my girl parts. Oh, God.

I ripped one of the giant red medical waste bags off a hook and wrapped it around me like a towel. “It’s a long story.” Well. Not really. “Can I borrow your phone, Eduardo?” My face matched the color of the bag perfectly. Good heavens, how many more men could see me na**d?

Eduardo’s head jerked from the phone at his hip, right back to me. He shook his head, quite hysterically I might add. “No. No. Dees ees no good, Miss Celia. Dees is berry, berry bad.” Eduardo abandoned his bin and backed away like I carried a grenade and asked him if he wouldn’t mind holding the pin.

“Eduardo, wait—”

He didn’t. And for the second time in a week, I found myself on top of a male, na**d. Eduardo was pretty damn slippery for a human, or maybe my sweat-soaked and bloody skin had something to do with it. I held him down while I phoned Shayna. I guessed she called Emme and someone reached out to Taran. They skidded into the bowels of the hospital within minutes to find me dripping with newt juice, na**d, and riding a custodian like Sea Biscuit.

Taran took my reptilian romp, well, just as I’d expected.

“Son of bitch. You wrestled a lizard!”

“Newt,” I muttered while Emme healed me. The gash across my face was wide open. No wonder Eduardo kept screaming. Or perhaps he had a fear of newts.

Shayna borrowed the mop Eduardo carried in his bin to wash clean the footprints. “I don’t like this, dude. You could have been killed. And this was only round one.”

“But I wasn’t.”

Taran’s breath increased like she’d run a marathon. “That stupid bitch.” Tears streaked down her face. “You should have let me handle this, Celia. If you’d hadn’t invoked that God damn Ninth Law—”

“Then we would all be fighting for our lives,” I finished for her. My skin tightened as Emme’s pale yellow light fused my flesh to seal my wound. With her power, there wouldn’t even be a scar. That didn’t mean healing didn’t hurt like a mofo. I gritted my teeth as the burning sensation receded. “I think they came to slap us around, with the hopes that maybe they could find an excuse to kill us. But you using magic from the earth was their excuse to issue a death challenge.” I squeezed her hand. “We’ve discussed this, Taran. This is the only way to get what we want.”

Taran scowled. “What if you don’t make it? The newt’s poisoned skin is proof she wouldn’t lose sleep if you died.”

Shayna swept up the remains of my rival and tossed the little critter in a small trash can. Her thin brows frowned with worry and fear. A single tear fell, streaking a line down her pixie face.

Emme kept her head down. Her timid soul allowed her tears to fall in tandem, never one to hold back her emotions, but always slightly embarrassed she couldn’t bury them as deeply as I could. I envied her in a way. I wished I could cry then, or scream from the wickedness of it all. But I couldn’t. I never could. I recognized my sisters were no longer the frightened children I had once shielded. They were grown, independent women, capable of living on their own and surviving. Yet despite their self-rule and strength, they still fed from my courage. So I didn’t weep, didn’t scream, didn’t tear the room apart. Even though I very much wanted do.

I placed my hand on her shoulder. “Look. If it comes down to me dying, I’ll plead misericordia, I promise.”

Emme’s soft green eyes glistened. “Wh-what if she doesn’t honor your surrender?”

I didn’t know how to answer her. Lying fell under my Things I Didn’t Do list. “Well, let’s just hope that she does.” My words did little to comfort my sisters and disturbed Eduardo even more. He wriggled beneath me frantically. I hauled him to his feet and held him in front of Taran as Emme’s light receded. “Make sure he forgets everything he saw.” I glimpsed at my na**d and blood-caked form. “Everything.”

Chapter Six

Another night passed without me sleeping. Dueling with witches was for the birds—birds who apparently didn’t require an ounce of shut-eye. Exhausted as my tigress claimed we felt, I welcomed the day when the rising sun peeked beneath my shades. “Let’s get this over with, Larissa,” I muttered and stumbled out of bed.

I padded along the dark hardwood floors into the half-tiled bathroom in a tank top and panties—my dress of choice for bed. The architect had designed two master suites. Taran had the other one. Emme and Shayna seemed excited just to have their own rooms for once. I adjusted the spaghetti strap that had fallen from my shoulder after I finished washing my face. I reached for my toothbrush and got down to business. Crap, my mouth seemed so dry.

My reflection showed me I looked just as bad as I felt. Dark circles swirled around my green eyes, the muscles of my shoulders and arms strained with tension, and my big hair had reached Monsters of Rock proportions. If men hadn’t found me scary before, they sure as hell would have now.

I rinsed my mouth and reached for my towel. I wiped my lips, frowning when my white towel somehow appeared pink in the mirror. My eyes scanned the bathroom, searching for something that might be affecting the color. I turned back and jumped when my reflection greeted me with a smile that wasn’t mine and two big middle fingers. Omigod. My mirror image threw back her head and laughed. I didn’t. I also didn’t blow myself a kiss.

My knees buckled under me and I staggered back, slamming into the double doors as I watched my reflection leap over the tiled counter and land in a crouch on the floor. She rose slowly, her messy hair falling around her face and shoulders, watching me with hungry and sinister eyes. Her tongue slid across her upper lip. She tasted my fear.

And she liked it.

To fuel my terror she turned her head to the side and kept going. The crunching and snapping of her neck made me cringe. Echoes of her laughter filled the suite until the back of her long tresses hung over her br**sts—my br**sts. Oh, God. Her head whipped back and she smiled with glee, pleased by my horror.

Self. I had to fight my . . . self.

I continued to gape until her shoulders collided into my stomach and jetted me into my bedroom. The back of my skull became one with the footboard of my sleigh bed. And that’s when my tigress snapped to it. I dug my fingers into her hair and wrenched it back. It felt just . . . like . . . my . . . hair—further wigging me out. She screamed with my voice as I wrenched her off me. We rolled on the floor punching and clawing each other. Her blows and scratches were as hard as mine, but mine were more strategic. I raked my claws across her chest, missing her throat by less than an inch. Her eyes widened with fear. She knew I was going to kill her. She knew she needed reinforcements. And she knew where to find them.

Frantic pounding and yelling ensued outside my door. “Celia? Dude, are you okay?” Shayna wiggled the knob. “It’s locked.”

That’s when Bad Celia got dirty. “Help me! Shayna, please help me!”

“Move!” Shayna yelled. A machete cut through the crease in the door and yanked to the side. With a grunt, Shayna splintered the door open.

“Holy shit!” Taran screamed when she found me kicking my own ass.

Larissa’s other-me and I rolled into Emme, knocking her into Shayna. She screamed. “Which one is Celia?”

“Celia!” Taran yelled. “Tell us something only you would know.”

“Like what?” the other me asked in my same raspy voice.

Screw that. I nailed her in the mouth so she couldn’t speak, which earned me a jolt of lightning from Taran. My teeth chattered and my hair smoked. “That’s her!” Taran yelled, motioning toward me.

“Dude! Are you sure?” Shayna asked, her machete pointed dangerously in my direction.

“Of course I am! That bitch is trying to keep her from telling us the stuff only Celia knows.”

I kicked Bad Celia off me and launched a discarded screwdriver into her stomach. Unfortunately, her speed mimicked mine. She dove out of the way and into the bathroom. It would have nailed Emme had she not blocked it with her force. The screwdriver fell with a loud clang. Emme glanced from it to me, appearing crushed I could do such a thing, further reinforcing that I was the imposter.

Taran scowled hard enough to burn. Her irises went white as she gathered the full gamut of her power while the other Celia draped against the doorframe pretending to be hurt. She winked at me once just as Taran screamed, “Get her!”

I skidded back on my butt, just missing the machete Shayna pitched between my legs. My eyes crossed as I watched it bat back and forth in front of my nose. Never had I been more grateful to be female.

I swallowed hard, but didn’t hesitate. Every hair on my body stuck out from the energy Taran built into her lightning. I flung my body through my bedroom window. Glass scraped across my fur like red hot tuning forks. I landed on four paws as a giant bolt of blue and white exploded onto the lawn. The force of the blast threw me along the deep snow face-first. I bolted to the greenbelt behind our house, half-blind, barely out of reach of the next strike.

My paws dug into the thick snow, kicking it up behind me as I raced up the hill. I ground to a halt about a half mile away. I needed to get far enough away to form a plan, but not so far that I’d leave my sisters alone with Larissa’s creation. They trusted her, and while the challenge was only supposed to include me, their trust could end up placing them in danger.

My claws scratched at the ground restlessly. It killed me to leave them, but if I stayed I’d have to fight them. All of them. Someone would get hurt. And I’d rather die than hurt my family.

I crouched behind a tree, my fur already saturated from the snow. But it beat changing to stand na**d once more. I growled, cursing Larissa, her mother, and her damn pets if she owned any. The freak probably kept a rabid canary for kicks and giggles.

Okay. Now what?

Thunder roared above me. A thick black cloud inched its way across the sky until it covered the weak winter sun, dropping the temperature about ten more degrees. Sleet mixed with snow, and wind almost immediately followed. Okay. This didn’t suck or anything. Larissa’s power likely also included manipulating the weather. Icy rain pierced my skin like nails and a gust of wind slapped a mound of snow into my face.


I panted hard, both with fear and anger. Larissa played a cruel game, but to turn my sisters against me told me she also played damn smart. I supposed it was too much to hope a Walmart greeter could have been crowned head witch. Now, there was a friendly soul.

I waited and waited and waited some more. My tigress ears strained to hear any screams or cries over the howling wind and falling sleet. After about an hour of waiting, I made my way down to the house, keeping low to the thick brush surrounding the perimeter of our property. Everything seemed quiet. Too quiet. The lights were on in the kitchen and in the large open family room. The first level sat higher above ground. I couldn’t see over the deck railing.

I searched around for the fir with the thickest trunk and climbed. FYI, tigers weren’t meant to scale evergreens. My big body swayed back and forth like a set of windshield wipers. Pine needles found their way up my nose. Icicles pelted me in the head, and branches slapped more snow in my face. Finally, I climbed enough to see . . . my sisters and the evil Celia gathered around the fireplace sipping steaming mugs of tea and playing Yahtzee.

I just about fell out the tree. What the hell? Whose side were they on, anyway?

I scrambled down with all the grace of a rhino, landing hard on my wet rump. Enough was enough. Bad Celia was going down. Insult knew no injury like this. My paws dug into the snow, crunching through the icy surface and into the soft white stuff I now officially hated. My eyes focused on the warm glow of the family room lights as I crept, my claws itching to cut. No longer could I see them, but I could sense them. I needed to get my double away from my family and outside to me.

My roar signaled my arrival, long, strong, clear. Shayna bolted onto the deck first. Her movements so quick, I thought she merely pointed in my direction. The tip of her knife sliced into my tail. I hissed. My tigress had barely dove us out of the way before Shayna could strike a vital organ. I roared again, challenging Larissa’s Celia to come down. She inched her way to the edge of the deck and narrowed her eyes.

Crap. I guess I was pretty damn scary. My sisters backed away from her all at once. Shayna lifted another dagger, and Taran’s hands fired with white and blue. Bad Celia glanced back at them, appearing genuinely confused. “What?” she asked.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies