The Weird Girls Page 9

I guess I’ll find out.

I pulled into The Wild Willow, Meeks Bay’s resort and the sole camp rental facility in the area. The two-story clapboard building had closed down for the winter, but for the moment, it remained my only lead. I drove through the lot and over the wide snowy lawn, steering the Legacy behind a thick cluster of trees. I cut the engine and waited, not bothering to leave the heat on. It didn’t take long for the falling snow to cover my tracks, or my windshield. But I didn’t need to see, only hear. Hear for any sounds of voices, or steps, or breaths.

Muffled yells of my sisters jolted my already fragile nerves. And at one point I thought I felt Emme’s touch. I closed my eyes and allowed one more tear to fall before I reached for my predator’s hunger. My stomach growled. I needed to eat. I wondered briefly how Larissa would taste.

I didn’t know how Larissa had managed to take my sisters from me, but the longer I sat against the chilly leather seat, the more I realized how much I’d miss them. It had only been the four of us for so long. And while I knew their future spouses and families would eventually sever our close-knit bond, I hadn’t prepared myself to lose them so soon. I’d thought for sure we had a few good years left. Now, we didn’t have anything.

Blackness claimed the inside of the car. In the darkness, my sisters’ cries pleaded with me to return home. But all that awaited me were their corpses. I didn’t want to view their dead bodies again so soon.

Or ever.

I heard a set of tires crunch through the snow near the front of the building, followed quickly by another set. The voices were mere whispers and far from where I hid. Still I heard them.

Someone opened a car door. “Don’t worry. You can’t see our cars from the road.”

Doors slammed shut. “It’s freezing,” a different person said.

“Quit complaining,” another snapped. “And hurry up. We have to replace the other group before Larissa gets pissed.”


I waited until the footsteps all but faded from my sensitive ears before stepping out. Snow fell onto my hair and bare arms and my warm breath filled the night. I jerked, as if jolted, and scanned the area, searching for the witches. Nothing there. The group was getting further away. I needed to move. Now.

My tigress kept our steps light. I veered around the corner where three Jettas had parked in an old stable area serving as a carport. The witches were right; no way would their cars be visible from the road. But I wasn’t hunting Jettas. I was hunting their drivers.

I stayed low, following the fresh footsteps across the street. When I neared the trail leading to rented cottages, I slipped into the woods. I barely sensed the snow drifting into my shoes and soaking my tank top. I ignored the goose bumps spreading up my arms and the inadvertent shakes of my body. Instead, I focused on the aromas of mint, rosemary, saffron, and nutmeg the witches emitted like a spice rack. The four witches I followed had abandoned their Gap clothes and replaced them with red medieval capes. They resembled liquid fire as the wind fluttered their capes against the white wilderness.

None appeared to notice me. They kept their heads down against the increasing wind, and their conversation revolved around the miserable weather. I kept my distance, ducking low into the brush where the trees thinned out. They couldn’t sense my magic from this far away. At least, that’s what I counted on.

I’d taken several careful paces when I thought I heard Taran swearing from somewhere far behind me. I glanced back. Only the outstretched limbs of barren trees greeted me. Not the arms of my sisters. Of course not the arms of my sisters. My tigress chuffed, imploring me to concentrate on the task. I veered back and continued my chase.

After about fifteen minutes of trudging through and griping about the snow, the witches came upon an old mountain cabin shaped like a giant wooden triangle. There were three levels; the top had two windows and was swathed in complete darkness—likely a small loft. Only one lamp lit the second floor. Candles flickered on the first, but the drapes kept me from seeing more than a few figures pacing. They didn’t, however, keep me from hearing the muted chants of the coven.

“Find her,” one woman called.

“Find her,” the group repeated.

“Guide her.”

“Guide her.”

“Blind her.”

“Blind her.”

“See through only us. We implore you.”

“See through only us. We implore you.”

One of the witches knocked on the door. “Dearest of sisters, the coven of four seeks entrance.”

The spiky-haired witch who’d written the F-you scroll answered the door. “Good noon, sisters. Thank you for coming. Please hurry, our other sisters grow weary.”

They entered without looking back. That was their first mistake. I prowled toward the front only to smack face first into an invisible shield, several yards from the front steps.


I pressed against it. It felt as slick as glass, but as thick as the kind that separates tellers from would-be bank robbers. My hands slid to the bottom and my claws dug deep into the snow. Whatever defense they used seemed to extend into the ground. But how far down?

One way to find out.

I shifted as far deep as I could and then across. I didn’t know if the safeguard they used could slice me, dice me, burn me, or melt me. But I planned to die anyway, so it didn’t make much difference. I surfaced just in front of the warped wooden steps, trying to slow my gasps so they weren’t so audible. In the end, my efforts didn’t help.

“What was that?” someone new asked.

I leapt onto the steps, impatient with the need to act. I punched my fists through the door, yanked it off its hinges, and launched it into the force field with the strength of my grief. The oak door wedged into the shield. From the base, a long crack shot high into the sky like a reverse bolt of red lightning. Three women screamed and collapsed to the floor. I supposed their magic had fed the shield. They should have done a better job.

I jumped over them as I stalked my way inside.

Chapter Eleven

The stunned faces of ten witches greeted me. With the exception of a few chairs and a table, the large opened room sat bare. A pentacle had been carved into the wide planked floorboards. Five witches sat at each point with their staffs and talismans between them. In the center of the star lay four pictures of me and my three dead sisters. A kitchen knife crossed over Shayna’s photo, and a small bottle of what reeked of nightshade rested over Emme’s. Taran’s, of course, came complete with a noose made from ribbon. The eyes in my photo had been blacked out with a marker. Strands of my left-over hair bound each one.

They’d used the bloodline I shared with my sisters to reach them. That’s how they’d killed them. I’d been part of their weapon. The knowledge fueled my fury like a gasoline-powered inferno. They should have hidden that little tidbit from me. Now I knew. Now they’d pay.

The four witches I’d followed and the spiky-haired witch watched slack-jawed as I marched into the pentacle. The edges popped and sizzled when I stepped through. It seemed my physical presence broke their spell.

I bent and lifted each photo. The murder weapons slipped off as I raised the images to my face. It appeared they’d spent the days before the attacks following us, or hired a human to do it. Otherwise I would have sensed their magic.

Shayna’s picture showed her laughing. She’d always had the best smile and personality. Emme’s depicted her shyness, by showing her head slightly lowered. Taran scowled in her picture as she analyzed a box of cereal. I remembered that day. We’d gone to the market. She’d complained how expensive food was in the Tahoe region. The one of me had Emme’s head resting against my shoulder. I couldn’t see her face, but her light strands were unmistakable. She readily demonstrated affection that way. Would I ever feel her head against me again?


I held the pictures with great care, remembering the last days we’d spent together. But then the memories of our last few hours dug their way through the numbness and shot through like an eruption of lava. My eyes skimmed along the five making up the circle. “Run,” I growled. “Run for your lives.”

They stumbled to their feet, tripping over their long skirts in their haste. A few of them grabbed their now semi-conscious members and yanked them to their feet and out the door. The first one to escape screamed for Genevieve. That’s okay. I’d take her on next. But first . . .

The large oak table smashed to splinters in front of Spiky and the four witches I’d tracked. They’d tried to follow suit behind the rest of their coven. But they needed to stay. My tigress eyes met Spiky’s, forcing her already fair skin to whiten to chalk. “Uh, uh. Not you. Where’s Larissa?”

She lifted her chin in a show of force. Maybe it would have worked if she’d met my gaze, or if perspiration hadn’t formed across her brow, or if the aroma of her fear hadn’t riled the thirst of my beast. “You don’t know who you’re dealing with.”

The one whose staff I’d thrown into the street charged me. She lifted the long wooden stick with a banshee scream and pointed it directly at my heart. Light from her amber stone filled the room with yellow and drenched the air with nauseating magic. “Fue—”

I cut off her spell by snatching her staff from her hands, snapping it in two, and jamming the shard end into her thigh.

She crumpled against the floor, wailing.

Stupid bitch should have learned the first time. I separated the amber stone from the tip of the staff and tossed it into a fireplace made from river rocks. “Anyone else?” They exchanged glances, but didn’t speak. “Where’s Larissa?” I hissed again over the pained cries of their sister.

Their silence made me impatient. I kicked the howling woman at my feet into the two witches closest to me when they drew their magic. The three of them slammed into the wall, denting the sheetrock. Poor wall.

The witches fell forward in a mound of groaning bodies, except for the one with the piece of staff jutting from her thigh. She continued to scream. They half-crawled, half-staggered out the door, joining the others who beseeched Genevieve to appear. Two witches left. I only needed one to summon Larissa.

But then I didn’t even need one. The sound of sliding fabric had me veering toward the worn wooden steps. Larissa’s bare foot, the one with the amethyst toe rings, appeared at the landing. They sparkled with lavender light and heat as they paused before taking the next step. She knew I was here. And why I’d arrived. She took another step, followed by another, until her curvy figure presented itself. Her tight blond curls stuck to her face. She fluffed them with her fingers with casual grace.

She’d been sleeping. My sisters were dead and she’d been sleeping.

I thought back to the pentacle. The efforts of the challenges must have drained her. Hell, they’d drained me. Had she put her clan in charge of maintaining them? Was that even legal? Too bad I didn’t care enough to ask. The outcome remained the same. She was going to die—or I would, trying to kill her.

The edges of her long gray velvet dress dragged along the steps. She barely acknowledged me as she swept into the kitchen where a few bottles of wine and bottled water sat in a neat little row. She poured herself a glass of red. Although she kept her back to me, I wasn’t stupid enough to think she couldn’t see me attack. The newt incident had taught me that much.

Larissa took a sip. “Mmm. Good year.” She took another sip. Then she finally looked at me. “What’s wrong, Celia? Rough day?”

I didn’t feel my legs bend into a crouch or propel me forward, but suddenly I was airborne with my front claws extended toward Larissa’s throat. I’d grazed her jugular when I stopped moving, frozen in air. Rays of purple light from her toe rings flickered below me and sent a heat wave to warm my belly. Her magic had saved her. This time.

Larissa clutched her throat as a stream of red seeped through her fingers. She hadn’t expected me to move so fast. And neither had I.

The witches near the door gasped. Larissa ducked under my reach, not that it mattered. I could barely breathe, let alone move. She ripped a kitchen towel off a hook to pat her throat, then stared at the bloody cloth. Her scowl met my furious glare. “You were supposed to cry misericordia long before this.” Her tone made me think my lack of dying bothered her.

Sucked to be her.

Her head whirled toward the spiky-haired witch. “Did the others maintain my spell?”

Spiky nodded. “Yes, Sister Larissa. All day.” She glanced my way. “Just like you demanded of us. But maintaining the intensity of the velum drained their strength.” She motioned to me with a nod. “They lost Celia and couldn’t find her.”

“That’s because she came to find you. You’re all weak!” Larissa wiped her neck in rapid strokes. A heavy lavender mist formed around her throat. When she removed her hand, my claw mark had vanished.

The other witch stepped forward. Her straight auburn hair angled in a bob along her narrow chin. “If it doesn’t offend, Sister Larissa, why did you insist the others maintain your spell, especially if you consider them so weak?” She glanced my way, careful to avoid my stare. “This was your challenge alone to bear.”

Larissa dropped her bloody rag on the floor and slowly snaked her way to the witch who spoke. Her bare feet slapped against the old wood with purpose and rage. She wanted to draw blood, possibly from one of her clan. I could sense the menace boiling to the surface in the way her rings painted the hem of her skirt a deep purple. The auburn-haired witch surprised me by not bowing when Larissa circled her. She wasn’t fearful of Larissa. If anything, she appeared disgusted.

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