Guardian of the Dead

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Book: Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Healey
Tags: JUV000000, book, JUV037000
spoke quietly to him with her hand on his arm, the fog drifting around her stockinged legs like a caress. Didn’t she have any pride? I leaned against Theodore’s front passenger door, and sent Kevin glowering looks. Not that he noticed.
    â€˜Ellie,’ he said. ‘Reka needs a ride home.’
    I nodded.
    â€˜So you can walk,’ Reka said, without even looking at me.
    My jaw dropped at her rudeness and then I straightened. ‘Actually, I can’t.’
    Kevin was looking bemused, and Reka stepped closer to him. My skin prickled all the way down my spine. ‘You’ve walked home from the library by yourself plenty of times,’ he said slowly, as if he were talking out one of his trickier Calc problems.
    â€˜I promised Chappell,’ I said. ‘It’s nearly time, come on.’
    â€˜She can walk,’ Reka said, looking directly at him.
    He blinked twice, and then pulled away from her. ‘What? No. I promised I’d drive her.’
    Reka’s face was blank, but her fingers tightened in Kevin’s coat collar, twisting in the fabric. Then she let him go and stepped back. ‘Another time, then,’ she said, and smiled. ‘Sometime soon, I think.’
    The hairs rose on the back of my neck, but Kevin said goodnight as pleasantly as if she’d never said a thing out of place, and I couldn’t exactly bitch about his new friend without being truthfully accused of envy and spite.
    But though I replayed the highlights of the evening in my head, with first Blake and then Mark talking to me like someone they’d like to know better, I could not recover my previous good mood.

    I managed to spend only half an hour reading in the living room before I resolved that I really would honestly and for true write the damn Odyssey essay now.
    I went to my room, crammed my knees under the desk, and levered the laptop open.
    There was a scrap of paper lying across the keyboard.
    M ARK ! B IBLE ! D ON’T F ORGET !
    My head cleared as the memories jolted back into it.
    â€˜Shit,’ I whispered, and stared at the letters I’d inscribed, trying to think it through.
    Mark had done something to me, and I couldn’t come up with a logical explanation. So I went with the illogical one.
    Magic.
    Magic was real .
    Humiliation smothered me. All this time Mark had been talking to me like a normal person, like someone who liked me. But it had been an excuse, a way to make me stay in at night, or an opportunity to steal the Bible. Even tonight, at the theatre, he must have been checking to see if his enchantment had held, while I babbled about tae kwon do and eum-yang . And I’d thought it was a happy coincidence that he’d been passing by. I’d thought I was lucky.
    I’d told him about my mother.
    The rage tasted hot and sour in my mouth. I got up to stalk around the room.
    â€˜Stupid,’ I hissed, clenching the note tight in one hand and pressing the cool palm of the other to my burning cheeks. ‘Ellie, you are so – God .’
    We had Classics the next day, which would provide ample opportunities for saying ludicrous things like, ‘So, are you a wizard, you unbelievable dick ?’ He’d bewitched me on a bus, which probably meant he wasn’t worried about witnesses, but it would make me feel a lot better to be surrounded by curious students before I confronted him. And La Gribaldi would be there. She could probably stop a charging bull with a level look and a raised eyebrow, much less Mark – magic or no magic.
    It seemed that if I was reading or touching the paper, I could remember what it said without Mark’s damn headaches. I cautiously slipped the scrap into my back pocket and waited. The memories were still there.
    It turned out that I could stop procrastinating on essay writing if I was using the essay to avoid thinking about something even more huge and intimidating. I worked steadily, touching the note in my

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