Anna Dressed in Blood / Page 51

Page 51



She sighs. “Just that we seem to be the only ones. I thought, after it happened, that I’d be surrounded by a herd of people asking a million questions. But not even Nat and Katie ask anymore. They’re more interested in how things are going with you, whether we’re a hot item and when I’m going to bring you around to parties.” She looks at the passing crowd. A lot of girls smile and some call out to her and wave, but none of them comes over. It’s like I’m wearing people repellent.

“I think they’re getting sort of pissed off,” she goes on. “Because I haven’t wanted to hang out lately. It’s shitty I guess. They’re my friends. But … everything I want to talk about I can’t say to them. It feels so separate, like I’ve touched something that’s taken the color out of me. Or maybe I’m in color now and they’re black and white.” She turns to me. “We’re in on the secret, aren’t we, Cas? And it’s taking us out of the world.”

“That’s usually the way it works,” I say softly.

* * *

At the shop after school, Thomas bounces around behind the counter—not the one where Morfran rings up sales of hurricane lamps and porcelain washbasins, but the one in the back, stocked with jars of things floating in murky water, crystals covered in dust cloth, candles, and bundles of herbs. Upon closer inspection, I notice that a few of the candles are my mother’s handiwork. How crafty of her. She didn’t even tell me they’d met.

“Here,” Thomas says, and pushes something up to my face that looks like a bundle of twigs. Then I realize they’re dried chicken feet. “They just came in this afternoon.” He shows them to Carmel, who tries to make an expression that is more impressed and less disgusted. Then he bounces off behind the counter again and disappears, rummaging around.

Carmel chuckles. “How long are you staying in Thunder Bay after all this is over, Cas?”

I glance at her. I hope she hasn’t fallen into her own lie to Nat and Katie—that she’s not caught up in some damsel fantasy where I’m the big bad ghost slayer and she’ll constantly need rescuing.

But no. I’m stupid to think so. She isn’t even looking at me. She’s watching Thomas.

“I’m not sure. Maybe a little while.”

“Good,” she says, smiling. “In case you didn’t notice, Thomas is going to miss you when you go.”

“Maybe he’ll have someone else to keep him company,” I say, and we look at each other. There’s a current in the air for a second, a certain understanding, and then the door jingles behind us and I know that Will’s here. Hopefully without Chase.

I turn around and wishes are horses. He’s alone. And three sheets of pissed off, from the looks of it. He stalks in with his hands stuffed into his pockets, glaring at the antiques.

“So what’s the deal with this spell?” he asks, and I can tell he feels awkward using the word “spell.” That word doesn’t belong in the mouths of people like him, rooted in logic and so in tune to the waking and working world.

“We need four people to cast a binding circle,” I explain. Thomas and Carmel gather around. “Originally it was just going to be Thomas casting a circle of protection in the house, but since Anna would shred him a new face, we came up with Plan B.”

Will nods. “So what do we do?”

“Now we practice.”

“Practice?”

“Do you want to mess up inside that house?” I ask, and Will shuts up.

Thomas stares at me blankly until I give him the nudging eyes. This is his show now. I gave him a copy of the spell to review. He knows what needs to be done.

He shakes himself awake and grabs the written copy of the spell off the counter. Then he walks around each of us, taking us by the shoulders and positioning us where we need to be.

“Cas stands in the west, where things end. Also because then he’ll be the first one in the house in case this doesn’t work.” He places me in the west. “Carmel, you’re north,” he says, and gingerly takes her by the shoulders. “I’m in the east, where things begin. Will, you’ll be the south.” He takes his place and reads over the paper for probably the hundredth time. “We’ll cast the circle in the driveway, lay a formation of thirteen stones, and take our positions. We’ll have Cas’s mom’s herb potion in bags around our necks. It’s a basic mixture of protective herbs. The candles get lit from the east, counterclockwise. And we’ll chant this.” He hands the paper over to Carmel, who reads it, makes a face, and passes it to Will.


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