Girl of Nightmares


Page 15


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Thomas clears his throat. "Tell him about Marie La Pointe."

"Who's Marie La Pointe?" I ask, while Morfran gives Thomas a glare that says he might be grounded later.

"She's…" Thomas hesitates under his grandfather's stare, but I win out this time. "She's a voodooienne in Jamaica. Morfran's been talking to her about … your situation."

"What about my situation?"

"About the Obeahman, mostly. The fact that he was an eater of flesh, that he could ingest power and essence even after death; I mean, flesh-eating in itself is rare. What the Obeahman became after he died, by eating your father, linking himself to the athame, feeding off it, that makes him almost a fricking unicorn."

"Thomas," Morfran snaps. "Will you shut your trap?" He shakes his head and mutters "unicorn" under his breath. "What that ghost did was take an ancient craft and twist it into something unnatural."

"I didn't mean-" Thomas starts, but I cut him off.

"What did your friend say?" I ask. "Marie La Pointe. Did you ask her about Anna?"

"No," he says. "I asked her about Obeah. I asked her if the tie between the Obeahman and the knife was severed, if it could be severed."

There are prickles on the back of my neck even though we've been over this before. "What did she say?"

"She said that it could. She said that it was. She said that it will be."

"Will be?" Carmel says loudly, her fork ringing off her plate. "What the hell does that mean?"

Morfran shrugs and feeds Stella a piece of bologna off his fork when she paws his knee.

"Did she say anything else?" I ask.

"Yeah," he replies. "She said what I've been trying to tell you for months. Stop poking your nose where you shouldn't be poking it. Before you make yourself an enemy that cuts your nose off."

"She threatened me?"

"It wasn't a threat. It was advice. There are some secrets in this world, kid, that people will kill to keep."

"What people?"

He turns, rinses his empty plate in the sink, and loads it into the dishwasher. "Wrong question. You should be asking what secrets. What power."

At the table, we make frustrated faces and Thomas mimes a scream and a motion that I guess is him shaking Morfran silly. Always with the cryptic . Always with the riddles. It drives us nuts.

"Something's happening with the athame," I say, hoping that if I'm direct often enough, it'll start to rub off. "I don't know what it is. I'm seeing Anna, and hearing her. Maybe because I'm looking, and the athame is seeking her out. Maybe because she's looking for me. Maybe both."

"Maybe more than that," Morfran says, turning around. He wipes his hands on the dish towel and eyeballs me in that way that makes it feel like I'm just a skeleton and a blade. "That thing in your pocket doesn't answer to the Obeahman anymore. But what does it answer to?"

"Me," I say. "It was made to answer to me. To my line."

"Maybe," he replies. "Or was your line made to answer to it? The longer I talk to you the more my head fills up with wind. There's more than one thing going on here; I can feel it, like a thunderstorm. And so should you." He nods his chin toward his grandson. "And you too, Thomas. I didn't raise you to be off the ball."

Beside me, Thomas straightens up and looks at me quickly like I'm a page he's been caught not reading.

"Can you not be creepy this early?" Carmel asks. "I don't like any of this. I mean, what should we do?"

"Melt that knife down to scrap and bury it," he says, clapping his palm against his knee for the black Lab to follow him back to his bedroom. "But you're never going to do that." On his way out of the kitchen he pauses and takes a deep breath. "Listen, kid," he says, looking at the floor. "The Obeahman was the most twisted, hungry thing I've ever had the misfortune to come across. Anna dragged him out of the world. Sometimes your purpose is fulfilled. You need to let her rest."

* * *

"Well that was a bust," Carmel says on the drive in to school. "What did Gideon say this morning?"

"He didn't answer. I left a message," I reply. Carmel goes on a bit behind the wheel, about how she doesn't like what Morfran said and something about having the willies, but I've only got half an ear on her. The other one's on Thomas, who I think is still trying to hone in on the vibe Morfran got off the athame. From the look of near constipation on his face, I don't think he's having much luck.

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