Pure Blood | Chapter 37 of 40 - Part: 1 of 5

Author: Caitlin Kittredge | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2226 Views | Add a Review

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CHAPTER 29

Soft light beamed from the cottage windows, and I could hear classical music burbling inside. It was only eight-thirty, ninety minutes since I’d entered O’Halloran Tower. Ninety minutes can seem like a long damn time when you’re carting around a priceless artifact, I’ll tell you.

I knocked on the door hard, not caring if I roused the neighbors. Nothing like standing alone on the dead-end beach road with nothing except the moon to illuminate the surroundings to make you paranoid. I swore I could feel eyes behind every bush and telephone pole, just waiting to leap and fall on me.

Sunny opened the door. She was in sweatpants and a stained Pretenders T-shirt. Come to think of it, I’d lost that same shirt a few months before I ran away.

“Sunny, you have got to stop stealing my clothes.”

She cocked her head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. What are you doing here?”

I stepped inside and shut the door. “Is Rhoda asleep?”

“No, she is not,” said my grandmother from the doorway. I rolled my eyes heavenward before turning to face her. Freaking fantastic.

“Nice to see you again, Grandma.”

“It’s late,” she said sharply. “We’re busy.” Grandma Rhoda looks like those old wrinkled pictures you find in junk shops of someone’s pioneer ancestor—a squat body and a stubborn outthrust jaw, topped by humorless Puritan eyes. You got the feeling that she’d be totally at home shooting buffalo or building a sod house, and if anyone complained, she’d take a strap to their rear end. She’s about as far from the stereotype of the wise old witch-woman as you can find.

“Well, don’t trouble yourself,” I said sweetly. “I’m just here to see Sunny.”

“Come back later,” said Rhoda, taking a step to open the door. “Or better yet, don’t come back at all. Sunflower has enough to do without your burdens.”

“Grandma!” Sunny stamped her foot. “We just talked about this! I’m not six years old, okay? I make my own decisions.”

But I had locked eyes with my grandmother, and we were engaged in another round of our perpetual wrestling match to see who was more ornery and stubborn. “That’s fine,” I said. “The gods know, I didn’t mean to disturb your oh-so-important workings, Grandma. I just thought you might like to see this.” I jerked the canvas bag off the knobby shape of the Skull and held it in my palm. With no small measure of satisfaction, I watched color drain out of Rhoda’s face. She braced herself on the doorjamb like I’d slapped her.

“Mathias…”she breathed.

“Holy shit!” Sunny exclaimed, then slapped a hand over her mouth.

“So I’ll just be going and not coming back, then,” I said, starting to put the skull back in the bag.

“Come here,” Rhoda commanded in that glass-cutting tone she’d perfected over the years of raising me. I did as I was told, extending the Skull toward her. She took an imperceptible step backward, like a hiker would if faced with a particularly pissed-off rattlesnake.

“It’s the real thing,” I said, fighting the urge to wipe my hand on my jeans. The oily energy the Skull extruded was making my vision distorted, my head pounding like I’d just woken up from a lost weekend.

“I believe that,” said Rhoda crisply, hiding how much I’d freaked her out under contempt. “What I don’t believe is that someone handed this … thing … willingly to the likes of you.”

“Believe whatever you want,” I said, matching her, bitchy tone for bitchy tone. “I need to stay here for the night and I’d like a pad and pen, please.” I looked at Sunny. “I have something I need to do.”

What would happen to the Skull, I didn’t know, but somewhere on its browned and scarred surface was the spell that would reverse Dmitri’s daemon poison.

“Okay. Sure.” Sunny nodded, eyes approaching half-dollar size.

“You can’t stay here,” my grandmother offered halfheartedly. “I won’t have that thing under my roof.”

“Grandma,” I said, “in the last week I’ve had to deal with dead bodies, poisonings, car bombs, and being beaten almost to death. Tonight, I broke into a building and then climbed down the outside to get this thing. Do you really want to argue with me right now?”

Rhoda is a lot of uncomplimentary things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Her eyes went glassy and hard, and she turned on her heel and strode back into the kitchen. Great, yet another entanglement she’d never forgive me for.

“Got you a pad and pen,” Sunny said, appearing from the sitting room. “You can, er, do what you need to do in here.” She never took her eyes off the Skull, as if it might come to life and latch onto her fingers.

“Thanks,” I said, favoring her with my first smile in what felt like decades. Sunny bit her lip.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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