Kendall was making them all stay up to wait for the girl with the short hair to return, and Cleo just wanted to go to bed already.
“If she’s not back in the next ten minutes . . .” Kendall threatened, drumming her dark fingernails against the top of the kitchen table.
Cleo didn’t want to know what Kendall would do. The short-haired girl had been a replacement for another girl named Maybelle, who’d ran away a few nights ago. Kendall had used a tracking spell to get her back, and then . . . Well, Cleo didn’t know what had happened exactly. Kendall had a thing for voodoo dolls, and Cleo had left after she’d punctured it several times with toothpicks.
Cleo glanced across the table at Kendall, who sat in between Doll Face and the blonde-haired boy. The girl sitting beside Cleo had her head on the table and she had been staring at the wall without blinking for the past hour. She had pretty skin the color of creamed coffee and black clustered curls.
The other two boys were missing.
Kendall had come home one day, announcing for them to pack their bags because they were going on a trip. She’d handed them a map of the U.S. and Canada with a spot marked off near Montreal, several pictures, and the keys to a car Cleo didn’t know they had.
Cleo didn’t know what Kendall was planning. The only ones who knew were Kendall herself, Doll Face, and the blonde-haired boy. Cleo only found things out the moment they were happening. Like that day when Kendall and the blonde-haired boy had returned with a young girl who was bound with ropes on her hands and feet and dumped her on the floor. Cleo and the others had been specifically told that she wasn’t for biting.
Kendall was malicious. Cleo didn’t need to be a psychic to know that.
Cleo only stayed with her because, aside from the obvious reason of having no wish to become a human porcupine, Kendall had saved her life.
Of course, Cleo couldn’t remember it herself so she had to go off of what Kendall told her had happened. Sometimes if she concentrated hard enough, she could remember bits and pieces that seemed to match up to Kendall’s story.
Cleo had been in the car with two other girls. One of them had been driving when suddenly a deer had ran out in front of the car. There hadn’t been time to break or swerve, and they hit it head on.
Cleo was thrown forward against the seatbelt . . . It caught her in the neck and stomach, jerking her back . . . Glass and metal crunched . . .
Kendall had said another car had hit them then. She’d been coming from the opposite direction and had seen it all. They’d been on a back road somewhere and no one else had been around to see the crash.
Lights filled the back window . . . Cleo was thrown forward again . . . Her head smashed against the side window . . . Spots danced before her eyes . . .
Kendall said that she’d stopped her own car and jumped out to go help. The two girls in the car with Cleo had been dead. Maybelle and the creamed-coffee skinned girl had been in the other car.
Cleo lifted her head . . . Blood ran in a hot, steady stream down her face . . . She could see two girls with brown hair in the front seats, their bodies motionless and stained with blood . . . A spider web pattern of cracks decorated the front windshield . . .
Cleo had been on the brink of death when Kendall and the blonde-haired boy had pried her out of the car. The only way to save her was to turn her, and so they did.
The front door to the apartment slammed open, and Cleo started.
She blinked and looked over, seeing the short-haired girl standing in the doorway brandishing her satchel like it was some sort of trophy.
“Anna, there you are!” Kendall said. The chair scraped back as she stood, and she snatched the satchel out of Anna’s hands. “You got what I asked for?”
“The blueprints and individual biographies are all there,” Anna told her.
Kendall leafed through the papers in a manila envelope, and then nodded in approval. “Good work.”
“And I met the girl. Shay. She seems much stupider than you made her out to be.”
The young girl was sobbing around the gag in her mouth, but Kendall ignored her, as if the noise was merely the trivial buzzing of a house fly.
“But she’s powerful. Do not underestimate her.”
“Of course not, Kendall.”
“You are all doing so well,” Kendall said. “Why don’t we go out and find you each someone to eat? My treat.”
“You mean no sharing?” Cleo asked enthusiastically. She could sacrifice a few measly hours of sleep for a nice warm meal.
“No sharing. You’ll need to be well fed and strong for what’s coming in the next few days,” Kendall assured her. A pitiless smile twisted her lips. “Shay and I have been apart for much too long. I’m sure she misses me dearly.”
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