Anna Dressed in Blood / Page 48

Page 48

“I don’t know if it’ll matter. I was going to call you later. There’s a problem.”

“What sort?”

“The sort that no one can get into the house but me, and I’m no witch.” I tell him a little more about what’s happened, for some reason leaving out the fact that I’ve been having long talks with Anna at night. On the other end I hear him cluck his tongue. I’m sure he’s rubbing his chin and cleaning his glasses too.

“You’ve been completely unable to subdue her?” he asks finally.

“Completely. She’s Bruce Lee, the Hulk, and Neo from The Matrix all rolled into one.”

“Yes. Thank you for the entirely incomprehensible pop-culture references.”

I smile. He knows perfectly well who Bruce Lee is, at least.

“But the fact remains that you must do the spell. Something about the way this girl died is imbuing her with terrible power. It’s just a matter of finding secrets. I remember a ghost that gave your father some trouble in 1985. For some reason it was able to kill without ever being corporeal. It was only after three séances and a trip to a Satanic church in Italy that we discovered that the only thing allowing it to remain on the earthly plane was a spell placed on a rather ordinary stone chalice. Your father broke it and just like that, no more ghost. It will be the same for you.”

My father told me that story once, and I remember it being much more complicated than that. But I let it go. He’s right anyway. Every ghost has its own methods, its own bag of tricks. They have different drives and different wants. And when I kill them, they each go their own way.

“What will this spell do exactly?” I ask.

“The consecrated stones form a protective circle. After it is cast, she’ll have no power over those within it. The witch performing the ritual can take whatever energies possess the house and reflect them into a scrying bowl. The scrying bowl will show you whatever you seek. Of course it’s not as simple as all that; there’s some chicken feet and an herbal blend which your mother can help with, then some chanting. I’ll get the text to you via e-mail.”

He makes it sound so easy. Does he think I’m exaggerating? Doesn’t he get how hard it is for me to admit that Anna can take me anytime she wants? Toss me like a rag doll, give me noogies and atomic wedgies, and then point and laugh?

“It isn’t going to work. I can’t cast the circle. I’ve never had the knack for witchcraft. Mom must’ve told you. I messed up her Beltane cookies every year until I was seven.”

I know what he’s going to tell me. He’s going to sigh and advise that I get myself back to the library, start talking to people who might know what happened. Try to figure out a murder that’s been cold for over fifty years. And that’s what I’ll have to do. Because I’m not putting Thomas or Carmel in danger.


“Hm, what?”

“Well, I’m just thinking over all the rituals I’ve done in my years of parapsychology and mysticism—”

I can actually hear his brain turning. He’s got something, and I start to get hopeful. I knew he was worth more than just bangers and mash.

“You say you have some adepts at your disposal?”

“Some what?”

“Some witches.”

“I’ve got one witch, actually. My friend Thomas.”

On Gideon’s end, there is an intake of breath followed by a pleased pause. I know what the old scone is thinking. He’s never heard me use the phrase “my friend” before. He’d better not be getting emotional.

“He’s not that advanced.”

“If you trust him, that’s all that matters. But you’ll need more than him. Yourself and two others. Each must represent a corner of the circle. You’ll cast the circle outside, you see, and move into the house ready to work.” He pauses to think some more. He’s very pleased with himself. “Trap your ghost in the center and you’ll be completely safe. Tapping her energy will also make the spell more potent and revealing. It might just weaken her enough for you to finish the job.”

I swallow hard and feel the weight of the knife in my back pocket. “Absolutely,” I say. I listen for another ten minutes as he goes over the particulars, thinking the whole time about Anna and what she’s going to show me. At the end of it I think I remember most of what I’m supposed to do, but still ask that he e-mail me a set of instructions.

“Now who will you get to complete the circle? Those with a connection to the ghost are best.”

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