Girl of Nightmares


Page 14


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Above the rim of my mug, the expression that ripples through the room is plain. They think I'm hallucinating. They pity me. "Poor Cas" is written all over their faces, hanging on their cheeks like ten-pound weights.

"The athame sees her too," I add, and that gets their attention.

"Maybe we should call Gideon in the morning," my mom suggests. I nod. But he'll probably think the same thing. Still, he is the closest thing I have to an athame expert.

The table falls quiet. They're skeptical and I don't blame them. After all, this is what I've wanted, since Anna's been gone.

How many times have I imagined her, sitting beside me? Her voice has rung around in my head a million times, some lame attempt to have the conversations we missed out on. Sometimes I pretend that we found another way to defeat the Obeahman; one that didn't mess everything up.

"Do you think it's possible?" Thomas asks. "I mean, is it even possible?"

"Things don't cross over," I reply. "Gideon says things don't cross over. They can't. But it feels-like she's calling to me. I just can't hear what she wants."

"This is so messed up," Carmel whispers. "What are you going to do?" She looks at me, then at Thomas and my mom. "What are we going to do?"

"I have to find out if it's real," I say. "Or if I'm officially nuts. And if it's real, I have to find out what she wants. What she needs. We all owe her that."

"Don't do anything yet," my mom says. "Not until we talk to Gideon. Not until we have more time to figure it out. I don't like this."

"I don't like it either," Carmel says.

I look at Thomas.

"I don't know whether to like it or not like it." He shrugs. "I mean, Anna was our friend, sort of. I can't believe that she'd want to hurt us, or even scare us. It's the athame that bothers me. That the athame responds. We should probably talk to Morfran too."

They all stare at me. "Okay," I say. "Okay, we'll wait." But not for too long.

CHAPTER FIVE

After a night of crappy sleep, I'm sitting at Thomas's kitchen table with Carmel, watching Thomas and Morfran cook breakfast. They move smoothly through their domestic routine, shuffling between the table and stove, still only half-awake . Morfran's wearing a plaid, flannel bathrobe and he looks ridiculous. You'd never guess that underneath that bathrobe is one of the strongest voodoo men in North America. He's sort of like his grandson that way.

There's a sizzle as meat hits a hot skillet. Morfran has this habit of making ring bologna for breakfast. It's sort of weird, yet actually pretty good. This morning I've got no appetite, but Thomas slides a big pile of ring bologna and scrambled eggs in front of me, so I cut it up and push it around to make it look like I ate. Across the table, Carmel is doing pretty much the same thing.

After Morfran dishes up his own plate, he slides a section of bologna into Stella's dog bowl. The black Lab mix comes barreling into the kitchen like she hasn't eaten in years. Morfran pats her fat rump and leans against the counter with his plate, watching us from behind his specs.

"Mighty early for a junior Ghostbuster meeting," he says. "Must be dire."

"It's not dire," Thomas mutters. Morfran snorts through his eggs.

"You didn't just wake up and come over for the sausage," he says, and that's another thing. He calls the ring bologna "sausage."

"The orange juice is delicious." Carmel smiles.

"I buy pulp-free. Now spit it out. I've got to get to the shop." He's looking right at me when he says it.

I had this whole line of questioning worked out in my head. Instead I blurt, "We need to find out what happened to Anna." It must be the tenth time I've told him so, and he's as sick of hearing it as I am of saying it. But it has to get through. We need his help, and he hasn't offered any since the night that we fought the Obeahman, when he worked countercurses to keep me alive after I'd been Obeahed and helped Thomas with the protection spells at Anna's house.

"How's the sausage?" he asks.

"Fine. I'm not hungry. And I'm not going to stop asking."

His eyes drift to my backpack. I never take the athame out when Morfran's around. The way that he looks at it when I do tells me it's unwelcome.

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