I should probably ask what he knows. But I don’t. I don’t want to talk to him anymore. He already knows too much about me.

Fucking Daisy Bristol. I’m going to tear him a new one, sending me here where there’s a telepathic tagalong lying in wait, and he didn’t even warn me.

Looking at Thomas Sabin now, there’s a cocky little smirk on his pale face. He pushes his glasses up on his nose in a gesture so quick and easy I can tell he does it often. There’s so much confidence in those shifty blue eyes; he could never be convinced that his psychic intuition was wrong. And who knows how much he’s been able to read out of my mind.

Impulsively, I pluck a deep-fried circle of fish off of the platter and pop it into my mouth. There’s some kind of sweet and savory sauce on it. It’s surprisingly good, heavy and chewy. But I’m still not touching the fish eggs. I’ve had enough of this. If I can’t make him believe I’m not who he says I am, I at least have to throw him off his cocky horse and send him packing.

I knit my brows in an expression of puzzlement.

“Anna who?” I say.

He blinks, and when he starts to sputter I lean forward on my elbows. “I want you to listen to me very carefully, Thomas,” I say. “I appreciate the tip. But there is no cavalry, and I am not recruiting. Do you understand?” And then, before he can protest, I think hard, I think of every grisly thing I’ve ever done, the myriad of ways I’ve seen things bleed and burn and twist apart. I send him Peter Carver’s eyes exploding in their sockets. I send him the County 12 Hiker, bleeding black ooze, the skin pulling dry and tight to his bones.

It’s like I’ve hit him in the face. His head actually rocks back and sweat immediately begins to bead on his forehead and upper lip. He swallows, the lump of his Adam’s apple bouncing up and down. I think the poor kid might actually lose his sushi.

He doesn’t protest when I call for the bill.

CHAPTER SIX

I let Thomas drive me home. After I was less defensive, he didn’t get on my nerves as much. On my way up the porch steps I hear him roll down his window and ask awkwardly if I’m going to be at the Edge of the World party. I don’t say anything. Seeing those deaths shook him up pretty good. More and more he seems to me just a lonely kid, and I don’t want to tell him again to stay away from me. Besides, if he’s so psychic then he shouldn’t have to ask.

When I get inside I set my bag down on the kitchen table. My mom is there, chopping herbs for what might be dinner or might be one of her wide variety of magic spells. I see strawberry leaves and cinnamon. That’s either a love spell or the beginnings of a tart. My stomach rolls over and taps my shoulder, so I head to the refrigerator to make a sandwich.

“Hey. Dinner’s going to be ready in an hour.”

“I know, but I’m hungry now. Growing boy.” I put out mayonnaise, Colby jack, and deli bologna. As my hands move for the bread I’m thinking of everything I need to do for tonight. The athame is clean, but that doesn’t really matter. I don’t anticipate seeing anything dead, no matter what the school rumors say. I’ve never heard of any ghost attacking a group of more than ten. That stuff only happens in slasher movies.

Tonight is about breaking in. I want to hear Anna’s story. I want to know the people who can lead me to her. For all that Daisy could tell me—her last name, her age—he couldn’t tell me where she haunted. All he knew was that it was her family home. I could, of course, go to the local library and trace the Korlovs’ residence. Something like Anna’s murder had to make the papers. But what fun would that be? This is my favorite part of the hunt. Getting to know them. Hearing their legends. I want them to be as large in my mind as they can possibly be, and when I see them I don’t want to be disappointed.

“How was your day, Mom?”

“Fine,” she says, bent over her chopping block. “I’ve got to call an exterminator. I was storing a box of Tupperware in the attic and saw a rat tail disappear behind one of the wall boards.” She shudders and makes yuck noises with her tongue.

“Why don’t you just let Tybalt up there? That’s what cats are for, you know. Catching mice and rats.”

Her face becomes a horrified squint. “Yish. I don’t want him to get worms chewing on some nasty rat. I’ll just call an exterminator. Or you can go up and set some traps.”

“Sure thing,” I say. “But not tonight. Tonight I’ve got a date.”

“A date? With who?”

“Carmel Jones.” I smile and shake my head. “It’s for the job. There’s a party at some kind of waterfall park tonight and I should be able to get some decent information.”

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