The summoning, p.34
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       The Summoning, p.34

         Part #1 of Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong
 
Page 34

 

  From what Simon said, that's the way it was supposed to work. You told your kids and you trained them how to use and hide their powers before they lost control.

  What was Lyle House?

  I remembered what Simon said about his dad.

  He worked for this research company, supernatural doctors and scientists trying to make things easier for other supernaturals.

  Then I heard the ghost of the witch buried in the basement.

  Sam Lyle promised us an easier life. That's what we all want, isn't it? Power without price… You see, little girl, all scientific advancement requires experimentation, and experimentation requires subjects, and that's what Michael and I were. Lab rats sacrificed to the vision of a madman.

  I leaped up, heart thudding so hard I couldn't breathe.

  Aunt Lauren said we were special. All of us. Rae and Simon and Tori and me.

  But not Derek.

  I expect that brute to be handled the way he should have been handled years ago. Put down like a rabid dog.

  I had to find Derek before they did.

  I turned around, seeing my surroundings. A double bed with big pillows and a thick comforter. Carpet on the floor. A desk. An armchair. A private bathroom through a half-?open door. Like a fancy hotel room.

  Across the room was a door, painted white. It looked like any interior door, but when I walked over and put my hands against it, it was cold steel. A thick steel door with no window, not even a peephole.

  And no doorknob.

  Wherever I was, it wasn't a fake group home where I had the run of the house and yard, had chores, classes, and field trips. I was in this room, and I wasn't getting out.

  I backed up to the bed.

  I was trapped. I'd never escape, never—

  Oh, that's great. You've been awake five minutes, taken a quick look around, and given up. Why don't you just lie back and wait for them to come and strap you to a table? What did that witch say? Something about being prodded with electrical wires until she bit off her tongue?

  I let out a whimper.

  And what about Derek? He got you out of Lyle House and now you aren't even going to try to warn him? Just let them catch him? Kill him?

  Derek wouldn't get caught. He was too smart for that. He got out of Lyle House—

  He got you out of Lyle House? He didn't plan to go. That was a total fluke. Remember when Dr. Davidoff tried to call him back? He almost went. What happens if they do that again? Maybe he'll have had second thoughts, decide he really is better off locked away.

  Not as long as he has to protect Simon.

  Ah, Simon. Derek will never turn in Simon. But what about distracting them so Simon can escape, like he did for you and Rae? If he thinks turning himself in will let Simon escape, he'll do it. You know he will.

  I had to warn him. But to warn him, I had to get out of here. This time, I couldn't just sit back and let someone else make the plans. I had to do it myself.

  Maybe I was locked in here for now, but I'd be let out eventually. I wasn't exactly a high-?risk prisoner. They'd take me out—for exercise, to eat, to experiment on me…

  I tried not to think about the last.

  Point was, I'd get out, and when I did, I needed to be ready to escape. First, though, I had to get a good look around and plan. But how was I going to do that locked in this room? Pray for a convenient blueprint stuffed under the mattress? Astral-?project out the door and look around?

  I stopped and slowly looked down at the sweater I wore. Liz's green hoodie.

  If she was dead, maybe I could summon her, get her to scout the building and—

  If she's dead? So you're hoping she's dead now?

  I clenched the comforter and took a deep breath. For days now, I'd refused to believe Liz had died. No matter how much proof I had, I couldn't believe it because the very idea was insane.

  But now, sitting here, locked in this room, betrayed by my aunt, waiting for them to track down and kill Derek like some kind of animal…

  Liz was dead.

  They'd killed her.

  She'd been a supernatural of some kind, and her powers were out of control, so they executed her. They must have or they would have included her in that list. And what about Peter? Had his parents pretended to pick him up only to let these people kill him? Or maybe because he got better, he got out. Liz didn't get better . . . so she didn't get out.

  Some tiny part of me still clung to the hope that I was wrong about Liz. But I knew I wasn't.

  I pulled off the hoodie. I saw my arm, rebandaged. Stitched up, while I'd been unconscious. If they were fixing me, at least that meant they didn't plan to kill me yet.

  I stared at the hoodie, thinking of Liz and of dying. Of what it would be like to be dead at sixteen, the rest of your life gone—?

  I squeezed my eyes shut. No time for that.

  I searched my room for cameras. I didn't find any, but that didn't mean there wasn't one. If they saw me talking to myself, they'd figure out what I was doing, maybe decide my powers were out of control, like Liz's.

  Either I did this or I didn't. My choice.

  I sat cross-?legged on the bed, holding Liz's hoodie, and called her as I'd done the other ghosts. I didn't need to worry about overdoing it and raising the dead. There were no corpses here. Or so I hoped. But I had no idea what was outside my door, maybe a laboratory, maybe the bodies of other failures, like Liz—

  No time for that.

  The ghost necromancer had said Lyle House was protected by a spell blocking ghosts. That meant this place probably was, too, which meant I needed all that extra power he said I had.

  I concentrated so hard my temples hurt, but nothing happened.

  I closed my eyes to visualize better, but I kept peeking and breaking my focus. Finally I shut them and kept them shut, putting everything I had into imagining myself pulling Liz out of the ether and—

  “Whoa. Where am I?”

  I opened my eyes and there she was, still wearing her Minnie Mouse nightshirt and giraffe socks.

  Liz.

  No, Liz's ghost.

  “Hello?” She waved a hand in front of my eyes. “What's wrong, Chloe? There's nothing to be scared of. I know, Lyle House isn't exactly Disneyland but—” She looked around, brow furrowing. “This isn't Lyle House, is it? Where—? Oh my God. We're in the hospital. They put you in here, too. When?”

  She blinked hard, shaking her head. “They have some funky meds here. I keep sleeping and having these dreams, and when I wake up, I'm totally confused. Did they give you those, too?"

  So where had Liz been all this time? Stuck in limbo? One thing was for sure. She didn't know she was dead. And now I had to tell her.

  Tell her? No way. She was happy. If she didn't know, that was better.

  And how long do you think it'll be before she figures it out? Shouldn't you be the one to tell her?

  I didn't want to. I really, really didn't want to. But I needed her to help me escape and rescue Rae and warn Simon and Derek. It was all on me this time, and to help them, I needed to do something awful.

  Fingers trembling, I clutched her hoodie and took a deep breath.

  “Liz? There's something I need to tell you. ”

 
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