“Are you fricken serious?”
I don’t argue. The chant does seem stupid. I know magic works, I know it’s real, but I don’t know why it has to be so damn fruity sometimes.
“We chant it continuously as we go into the house. The consecrated circle should come with us, even though we leave the stones behind. I’ll be carrying the scrying bowl. When we get inside, I’ll fill the bowl and we’ll get started.”
Carmel looks down at the scrying bowl, which is a shining silver dish.
“What are you going to fill it with?” she asks. “Holy water or something?”
“Probably Dasani,” Thomas replies.
“You forgot the hard part,” I say, and everyone looks at me. “You know, the part where we have to get Anna inside the circle and throw chicken feet at her.”
“Are you serious?” Will groans again.
“We don’t throw the chicken feet.” Thomas rolls his eyes at us. “We set them nearby. Chicken feet have a calming effect on spirits.”
“Well, that won’t be the hard part,” Will says. “The hard part’ll be getting her inside our human circle.”
“Once she’s inside, we’ll be safe. I’ll be able to reach in and use the scrying bowl without even being afraid. But we can’t break the circle. Not until the spell is finished and she’s weak. And even then we should probably get the heck out of there.”
“Great,” Will says. “We can practice everything but the thing that might get us killed.”
“It’s the best we can do,” I say. “So let’s get chanting.” I try not to think about what rank amateurs we are and how silly this is.
Morfran whistles as he walks through his shop, ignoring us completely. The only thing that betrays that he knows what we’re up to is the fact that he flips the sign on the door of the shop from “Open” to “Closed.”
“Wait a minute,” Will says. Thomas was just about to start chanting, and the interruption really takes the wind out of his sails. “Why are we going to get out of there after the spell? She’ll be weak, right? Why don’t we kill her then?”
“That’s the plan,” Carmel replies. “Isn’t it, Cas?”
“Yeah,” I say. “Depending on how things go. We don’t know if it’ll even work.” I’m not being terribly convincing. I think I said most of that while staring at my shoes. As luck would have it, Will is the one who notices. He takes a step back from the circle.
“Hey! You can’t do that during the spell,” Thomas yelps.
“Shut up, freak,” Will says dismissively, and my hackles rise. He looks at me. “Why should it be you? Why does it have to be you who does it? Mike was my best friend.”
“It has to be me,” I say flatly.
“Because I’m the one who can use the knife.”
“What’s so hard about it? Slash and stab, right? Any idiot could do it.”
“It wouldn’t work for you,” I say. “For you it would be just a knife. And just a knife isn’t going to kill Anna.”
“I don’t believe it,” he says, and plants his feet.
This sucks. I need Will in on this, not only because he completes the circle, but because part of me does feel like I owe him, like he should be involved. Of the people I know, Anna has cost him the most. So what am I going to do?
“We’ll take your car,” I say. “Everyone. Let’s go. Right now.”
* * *
Will drives suspiciously with me in the passenger seat. Carmel and Thomas are in the back, and I don’t have time to ponder just how sweaty Thomas’s palms are getting. I need to prove to them—all of them—that I am what I say I am. That this is my calling, my mission. And maybe, after getting soundly beaten by Anna (whether I’m subconsciously allowing it or not), I need to once again prove it to myself.
“Where are we going?” Will asks.
“You tell me. I’m no Thunder Bay expert. Take me where the ghosts are.”
Will digests this information. He licks at his lips tensely and glances at Carmel in the rearview mirror. Even though he seems nervous, I can tell he already has a good idea of where to go. We all grab on to something as he does an unexpected U-turn.
“The cop,” he says.
“The cop?” Carmel asks. “You’re not serious. That’s not real.”
“Until a few weeks ago, none of this was real,” Will replies.