Shay was on her back when she opened her eyes, though she couldn’t remember how she’d ended up there.
She coughed, sitting up, and touched a hand to her throbbing head. She tasted blood on her lips and realized her nose was still bleeding. Her throat was sore where Anna had tried to strangle her, and she was sure she was missing several handfuls of hair. She smelled smoke and glanced down at her clothes, realizing they were singed. She’d never liked them much anyway.
Shay raised her head, expecting to find Kendall, but instead, there were just inky splotches on the wall and floor, as if someone had painted permanent shadows with grayish-black paint. Shay swore she could make out the silhouette of a girl amongst the swirls.
Aubree crouched in front of Shay, her short hair sticking up wildly around her head. She was also covered in scrapes and bruises, though not nearly as many as Shay, and she was grinning.
“You idiot,” Shay said, her voice dry and harsh. She coughed violently into her arm. “I thought I told you to stay with the car.”
“But then I would have been caught,” Aubree said. She extended a hand to Shay and helped her to her feet. She glanced back over her shoulder at the shadows on the wall, and then looked at Shay with narrowed eyes. “What were those voices saying about having a right to kill?”
“When you get involved with black magic, you have to give an offering,” Shay said. “Kendall offered them blood. My guess is that it was mine, in particular, she promised.”
Aubree’s eyebrows furrowed and her lips turned down at the corners.
“Where are Ivory and Isobel?” Shay asked. She reached up and wiped the back of her hand across her lip, wincing as it came away smeared with blood.
“Here,” a voice chirped, and then Isobel limped out from around the corner, supporting her sister, whose leg was twisted at an unnatural angle and whose face was peppered with blue and black.
“What happened?” Shay asked, rushing over to examine Ivory’s leg, though she was in much worse shape. She was still waiting for the rest of the pain to hit; she’d been able to block most of it out because of the adrenaline.
Ivory lifted her head, giving Shay a bloody smile. “You should see the other guy,” she whispered.
“Oh, shut up,” Isobel snapped.
Aubree glanced at the unconscious figure of Rowan on the floor, and then at the scorched hallway. The tangle of icy vines had begun to shrivel and crumble away like ashes. “So, what now?”
“Should we contact the others?” Isobel asked. “Tell them it’s over?”
Juniper slunk over to where they stood, twining herself around Shay’s legs. Shay bent and scooped her up in her arms. She thought of what Isobel had said, and then remembered the other voices that had joined in when Shay had spoken the words I am a Daughter of Hecate. She scratched Juniper behind the ears and looked up at Isobel. “Something tells me they already know,” she replied.
*Author’s Note: I’m already working on the next chapter, and I’ll try to have it up sometime tomorrow.