Dead Is Just a Dream - [Dead Is - 08]

Dead Is Just a Dream - [Dead Is - 08] by Marlene Perez

Book: Dead Is Just a Dream - [Dead Is - 08] by Marlene Perez Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marlene Perez
ran over and snatched him up.
    Most of the crowd had already made it outside, but I spotted a scared ten-year-old from Grace’s class and grabbed her, too. I never found Sanja.
    Outside, things were much calmer. There was a squad car and an emergency vehicle already on site. A few people had bumps and bruises, but it didn’t look like anyone had been seriously hurt.
    I found Grace’s classmate’s dad and then went looking for the toddler’s mom. She was in tears, trying to go back into the tent. She practically strangled me with a hug when I handed over her little boy.
    My family was sitting at the picnic table. Sarah was texting furiously on her phone and Sydney had found a boy from her class to flirt with.
    Dominic was trying to keep Katie occupied, but I noticed she kept scanning the crowd. She broke into a huge smile when she saw me.
    “Jessica, there you are!” she said. “Wasn’t the circus fun?”
    Leave it to my sister to think that a rampaging Mara made for great entertainment.
    “Did you find Sanja?” Dominic asked.
    I shook my head. “I didn’t see her anywhere,” I said. “But she didn’t do this. I’m sure of it.”
    Anton Platsky overheard me. “Don’t be too sure of that,” he said. “You don’t know what my daughter is capable of.” Then he walked away.
    I stared after him. If his daughter was a Mara, could he be one too?
    “Let’s go home, gang,” Dad said. “I’ve had about as much circus as I can take.”

Chapter Seventeen
    I tried to take my mind off the circus disaster by staying up late doing homework on Saturday night. It was hard keeping my grades up with all the stuff that was happening in Nightshade.
    I must have dozed off, because my head was on my desk when a thumping sound woke me. The lights flickered and went out. I reached under my bed and grabbed one of the flashlights Mom had bought us right after our big disaster preparedness assembly at school.
    I listened, but there didn’t seem to be anyone else awake in my house. Everything was quiet, but my tattoo tingled.
    I tiptoed downstairs and stood on the bottom step listening. The sound that had woken me up didn’t come again, but something made me cross to the living room window and peer outside.
    Standing near the streetlight was the same clown I’d seen at Eva’s. The clown’s mouth was dripping blood and its eyes glowed red. My chest went tight and my heart felt like it had dropped to my toes. The clown saw me and laughed. The long screechy sound was familiar, like I’d heard it many times before, but I couldn’t place where.
    Was I dreaming? If so, I was going to take control. I slipped out the back door, determined to catch the maniacal clown by surprise.
    The grass was wet with dew and cold on my bare feet as I walked through the side yard to the front of our house. I kept to the shadows so the clown wouldn’t see me. I was about fifty feet away when the clown realized I was there and started to run.
    I followed. Dream or reality, I wasn’t going to let this creep intimidate me.
    Virago training was paying off. I had almost caught up to the clown. When I was about a foot away, I reached out and caught hold of its oversize polka-dot shirt. I tugged hard and the fabric ripped. Off-balance, I fell backwards and hit my head on the hard pavement, and then everything went black.

    There was a persistent ringing in my ears. It hurt to open my eyes, but I did it anyway. I was lying in my own bed and my alarm was blaring. I leaned over and slammed the off button.
    It had been just a dream. Or had it? I touched the back of my head. It was sore and there was a lump where I’d hit the pavement. I got out of bed and looked for clues. My room was just as I’d left it the night before, but grass clung to my pajama bottoms.
    So it
hadn’t
been a dream. Which meant there was a real clown stalking me. How had I gotten back into my room? I searched my memory, but it was blank.
    “Jessica, come down here, please,”

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