I try to warm some sense into her again, begging her now to return to herself, to hurry back to her mind, to the present moment.
“I know shit is crazy right now, but I need you to snap out of this, J. Wake up. Get out of your head. We have to get out of here.”
She doesn’t blink.
“Princess, please,” I say, shaking her a little. “We have to go—now—”
And when she still doesn’t move, I figure I have no choice but to move her myself. I start hauling her backward. Her limp body is heavier than I expect, and she makes a small, wheezing sound that’s almost like a sob. Fear sparks in my nerves. I nod at Castle and the others to go, to move on without me, but when I glance around, looking for Warner, I realize I can’t find him anywhere.
What happens next knocks the wind from my lungs.
The room tilts. My vision blackens, clears, and then darkens only at the edges in a dizzying moment that lasts hardly a second. I feel off-center. I stumble.
And then, all at once—
Juliette is gone.
Not figuratively. She’s literally gone. Disappeared. One second she’s in my arms, and the next, I’m grasping at air. I blink fast, convinced I’m losing my mind, but when I look around the room I see the audience members begin to stir. Their shirts are torn and their faces are scratched, but no one appears to be dead. Instead, they begin to stand, confused, and as soon as they start shuffling around, someone shoves me, hard. I look up to see Ian swearing at me, telling me to get moving while we still have a chance, and I try to push back, try to tell him that we lost Juliette—that I haven’t seen Warner—and he doesn’t hear me, he just forces me forward, offstage, and when I hear the murmur of the crowd grow into a roar, I know I have no choice.
I have to go.