Anna Dressed in Blood / Page 19

Page 19

“Because of how the cops covered it up. They never made any arrests. They barely even investigated. They just sealed off the house and pretended nothing had happened. It was easier than they thought. People are actually pretty willing to forget a thing like that.”

I nod. That’s true.

“That and there were words, written in blood all over the walls. Anna taloni. Anna’s house.”

Mike grins. “Plus, there’s no way somebody could have torn a body up like that. The fisherman was a two-hundred-fifty-pound dude. She tore his arms and head off. You’d have to be built like The Rock, be high on meth, and take a shot of adrenaline to the heart to be able to twist a two-hundred-fifty-pound dude’s head clean off.”

I snort through my nose, and the Trojan Army laughs.

“He doesn’t believe us,” Chase moans.

“He’s just scared,” Mike says.

“Shut up,” Carmel snaps, and takes me by the arm. “Don’t pay any attention to them. They’ve wanted to mess with you from the minute they saw we might be friends. It’s ridiculous. This is grade-school bullshit, like saying ‘Bloody Mary’ in front of a mirror at slumber parties.”

I’d like to tell her that this is nothing at all like that, but I don’t. Instead I squeeze her hand reassuringly and turn back to them.

“So where’s the house?”

And of course, they glance at each other like that was exactly what they wanted to hear.


We leave the falls and drive back toward Thunder Bay, coasting beneath amber streetlights and going too fast through blurred traffic signals. Chase and Mike are laughing with their windows rolled down, talking of Anna, making her legend grow larger. The blood in my ears sings so strongly that I’m forgetting to look for street signs, forgetting to map my way.

It took a bit of finesse for them to leave the party behind, to convince the others to keep on drinking and enjoying the edge of the world. Carmel actually had to pull a move that was essentially “Hey, what’s that over there?” on Natalie and Katie before diving into Will’s SUV. But now we’re just streaking through the summer air.

“Long drive,” Will says to me, and I remember that he was the designated driver last year at the Trowbridge Falls party too. He makes me curious; his DD status makes it seem like he’s hanging out with these knobs just to fit in, but he’s too smart, and something in his demeanor makes him seem like he’s the one moving the pieces without the others knowing. “She’s out a ways. To the north.”

“What’re we going to do when we get there?” I ask, and everyone laughs.

Will shrugs. “Drink some beers, throw some bottles at the house. I don’t know. Does it matter?”

It doesn’t. I won’t kill Anna tonight, not in front of all these people. I just want to be there. I want to feel her behind a window, watching, staring out at me, or maybe retreating deeper inside. If I’m honest with myself, I know that Anna Korlov has gotten into my mind like few ghosts have before her. I don’t know why. There is only one ghost aside from her that has occupied my thoughts like this, that has brought up such a stirring of feeling, and that is the ghost who killed my father.

We’re driving close to the lake now, and I can hear Superior whisper to me in waves about all of the dead things she hides beneath her surface, staring through the depths with murky eyes and fish-bitten cheeks. They can wait.

Will takes a right onto a dirt road and the tires of the SUV grumble and lurch us back and forth. As I look up, I can see the house, abandoned for years and beginning to tilt, just a crouching black shape in the dark. He stops at what used to be the end of the driveway and I get out. The headlights flash on the base of the house, illuminating peeling gray paint and flat, rotten boards, a porch overtaken by grasses and weeds. The old driveway was long; I’m at least a hundred feet from the front door.

“You sure this is it?” I hear Chase whisper, but I know that it is. I can tell by the way the breeze moves my hair and clothes but doesn’t disturb anything else. The house is tensely controlled, watching us. I take a step forward. After a few seconds, their hesitant footsteps crunch behind me.

On the drive up they told me that Anna kills anyone who enters her home. They told me about drifters who stumbled in looking for a place to sleep, only to be eviscerated when they lay down. They couldn’t have possibly known this, of course, though it’s probably true.

There’s a sharp sound behind me followed by fast footfalls.

“This is stupid,” Carmel snaps. The night has gotten colder and she’s put on a gray cardigan over her tank top. Her hands are stuffed into the pockets of her khaki skirt and she has her shoulders hunched. “We should have just stayed at the party.”

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