“It was a vampire, man,” Chase stutters.
Idiot. I ignore him completely. “Nothing was living in that house. Mike was killed by Anna Korlov.”
“No way, man, no way,” Chase says with increasing panic, but I don’t have time for his waves of denial. Luckily, neither does Will, who tells him to shut up.
“We tell the cops that we drove around for a while. Then Mike got mad about Carmel and Cas and got out of the truck. None of us could stop him. He said he was going to walk home, and since it wasn’t that far away, we didn’t think anything of it. When he didn’t show at school today, we figured that he was hungover.” Will’s jaw is set. He can think on his feet, even when he doesn’t want to. “We’ll have to put up with a few days or weeks of search parties. They’ll question us some. And then they’ll give up.”
Will’s looking at me. No matter how big a dick Mike was, he was Will’s friend, and now Will Rosenberg is trying to wish me out of existence. If there wasn’t anyone else watching, he might even try it—tap his heels together three times or something.
And maybe he’s right. Maybe it is my fault. I could have found another way to Anna. But to hell with that. Mike Andover hit me across the back of the head with a plank and threw me in an abandoned house, all because I talked to his ex-girlfriend. He didn’t deserve to be split down the middle, but he had a kick in the nuts coming to him at the very least.
Chase is holding his head in his hands, talking to himself about how messed up this is, what a nightmare it’s going to be to lie to the cops. It’s easier for him to focus on the non-supernatural aspect of the problem. It’s easier for most people. That’s what allows things like Anna to stay secret for so long.
Will pushes him in the shoulder. “What do we do about her?” Will asks. For a second I think he’s talking about Carmel.
“You can’t do anything about her,” Thomas says, speaking for the first time in what feels like decades, catching on before I do. “She’s out of your league.”
“She killed my best friend,” Will spits. “What am I supposed to do? Nothing?”
“Yeah,” Thomas says, and he’s got a shrug and a lopsided smirk to go with it that’s going to get him punched in the face.
“Well, we have to do something.”
I look at Carmel. Her eyes are wide and sad, her blond hair hanging across them in streaks. This is as emo as she has probably ever looked.
“If she’s real,” she continues, “then we probably should. We can’t just let her keep on killing people.”
“We won’t,” Thomas says to her comfortingly. I’d like to toss him down the bleachers. Didn’t he hear my “now’s not the time” speech?
“Look,” I say. “We’re not all going to jump in a green van and go take her out with the help of the Harlem Globetrotters. Anyone who goes back into that house is dead. And unless you want to end up torn down the middle and staring at a pile of your own guts on the floor, you’ll stay away.” I don’t want to be so harsh with them, but this is a disaster. Someone I’ve involved is dead, and now all these other newbs want to join him. I don’t know how I’ve managed to get myself in such a clusterfuck. I’ve messed things up so quickly.
“I’m going back,” Will says. “I’ve got to do something.”
“I’m going with you,” Carmel adds, and glares at me like she’s daring me to try to stop her. She’s obviously forgetting that I was staring into a dead face crisscrossed with dark veins less than twenty-four hours ago. I’m not impressed by her tough-cookie routine.
“Neither one of you is going anywhere,” I say, but then I surprise myself. “Not without being prepared.” I glance at Thomas, whose mouth is hanging slightly ajar. “Thomas has a grandfather. Some old spiritual guy. Morfran Starling. He knows about Anna. We need to talk to him first, if we’re going to do anything.” I cuff Thomas in the shoulder and he tries to piece a normal expression back on his face.
“How do you kill something like that anyway?” Chase asks. “Stake her through the heart?”
I’d like to mention again that Anna isn’t a vampire, but I’ll wait until he suggests silver bullets to shove him off the bleachers.
“Don’t be dumb,” Thomas scoffs. “She’s already dead. You can’t kill her. You’ve got to banish her or something. My grandfather’s done it once or twice. There’s this big spell, and candles and herbs and stuff.” Thomas and I share a look. The kid really does come in handy now and again. “I can take you to him. Tonight, if you want.”