Anna Dressed in Blood / Page 30

Page 30

Questions pop into my mind at this, but I stubbornly plant my feet. “I’m not leaving until you’re out of this house and back in the ground.”

“I was never in the ground,” she hisses through her teeth. Her pupils are growing darker, the blackness swirling outward until all the white is gone. Veins creep across her cheeks to find homes at her temples and throat. Blood bubbles up from her skin and spills down the length of her, a sweeping skirt dripping to the floor.

I thrust with my knife and feel something heavy connect with my arm before I’m tossed into the wall. Fuck. I didn’t even see her move. She’s still hovering in the middle of the room where I used to be. My shoulder hurts a lot where I connected with the wall. My arm hurts a lot where it connected with Anna. But I’m fairly hardheaded, so I scramble up and go for her again, going in low this time, not even trying for the kill but just for a slice of something. At this point, I’d settle for hair.

The next thing I know, I’m across the room again. I’ve skidded across it on my back. I think there are splinters in my pants. Anna continues to hover, regarding me with ever increasing resentment. The sound of her dress dripping onto the floorboards reminds me of a teacher I used to have who would slowly tap his temple when he was really annoyed with my lack of studying.

I get back on my feet, this time more slowly. I hope it looks more like I’m carefully planning my next move and less like I’m in large amounts of pain, which is the real reason. She’s not trying to kill me and it’s starting to piss me off. I’m being batted around like a cat toy. Tybalt would find this hilarious. I wonder if he can see from the car.

“Stop this,” she says in her cavernous voice.

I run at her, and she grabs me by the wrists. I struggle, but it’s like trying to wrestle concrete.

“Just let me kill you,” I mutter in frustration. Rage lights up her eyes. For a second I think what a mistake I’ve made, that I forgot what she really was, and I’m going to wind up just like Mike Andover. My body actually scrunches up, trying to keep from being torn in two.

“I’ll never let you kill me,” she spits, and shoves me back toward the door.

“Why? Don’t you think it would be peaceful?” I ask. I wonder for the millionth time why I can never seem to stop running my mouth.

She squints at me like I’m an idiot. “Peaceful? After what I’ve done? Peace, in a house of torn-apart boys and disemboweled strangers?” She pulls my face very close to hers. Her black eyes are wide. “I can’t let you kill me,” she says, and then she shouts, shouts loud enough to make my eardrums throb as she’s throwing me out through the front door, clear past the broken stairs and onto the overgrown gravel of the driveway.

“I never wanted to be dead!”

I hit the ground rolling and look up just in time to see the door slam. The house looks still and vacant, like nothing has happened there in a million years. I gingerly test my limbs and find that they’re all in working order. Then I push myself up to my knees.

None of them ever wanted to be dead. Not really. Not even the suicides; they changed their minds at the last minute. I wish I could tell her so, and tell her cleverly, so she wouldn’t feel so alone. Plus it’d make me feel like less of a moron after being tossed around like an anonymous henchman in a James Bond movie. Some professional ghost killer I am.

As I walk to my mom’s car, I try to get it back under control. Because I am going to get Anna, no matter what she thinks. Both because I’ve never failed before, and also because in the moment she told me she couldn’t let me kill her, she sounded like she sort of wished that she could. Her awareness makes her special in more ways than one. Unlike the others, Anna regrets. I rub the ache along my left arm and know I’ll be covered with bruises. Force isn’t going to work. I need a plan B.


My mom lets me sleep through most of the day, and when she finally wakes me up it’s to tell me she’s brewed a bath of tea leaves, lavender, and belladonna. The belladonna is in there to temper my rash behavior, but I don’t refuse. I hurt all over. That’s what getting thrown around a house all night by the goddess of death will do to you.

As I sink into the tub, very slowly, with a grimace on my face, I start to think of my next move. The fact of the matter is, I’m outmatched. It hasn’t happened very often, and never to this degree. But occasionally, I need to ask for help. I reach for my cell phone on the bathroom counter and dial an old friend. A friend for generations, actually. He knew my dad.

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