Five: Out of the Dark

Five: Out of the Dark by Holli Anderson Read Free Book Online

Book: Five: Out of the Dark by Holli Anderson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Holli Anderson
said, without looking up, “He has no idea what he’s saying.” I touched his face again. “He’s burning up.”
    “Whatever. His fever’s just like a truth serum,” Alec teased. “
John and Paige sittin’ in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g …”
the childish brat chanted.
    I
really
wanted to be mad at him, but it was hard when it was all I could do not to smile. “Shut up,
Alice
.” The new nickname didn’t seem to bother him one bit. “Johnathan is really sick. We need to figure out what that thing was and what we need to do to make him better. That was no normal changeling.”
    I let Johnathan’s hand soak for a good thirty minutes before I put antibiotic ointment on it and wrapped it in clean bandages with supplies we’d found in our last batch of food from Joe’s
garbage
. I had Seth and Alec help me move Johnathan over to his sleeping bag, then I sat next to him.
    I moved my gaze down to look at the pentacle drawn on the floor.
    I shivered as the vision of the changeling biting Johnathan came to my mind. I gently touched his face and remembered his scream. I cursed myself for not questioning the Faerie before we sent her back to the Netherworld.
    I stayed awake all night just to make sure Johnathan continued to breathe.

    When he awoke the next afternoon, Johnathan seemed mostly normal except for a slightly swollen hand and a lingering low-grade fever. Either he didn’t remember what he’d said to me in the throes of agony and brain-frying high temperature, or he was
pretending
like he didn’t remember in order to save face. Either way, I was glad he didn’t mention it because I had no idea what I’d say if he did. I’d loved him almost since day one, but I wasn’t ready to reveal that to him. I’d already threatened to turn Alec into a toad if he said a word about Johnathan’s sick-bed ramblings. There are some advantages to being magical.
    We decided to forego our routine patrols until we were sure Johnathan was okay.

ot a lot occurred during the week after the changeling incident. We patrolled as usual once we were sure Johnathan was okay. We did save a young girl, maybe eight years old, from a Troll that wouldn’t let her cross a bridge. Yes, Trolls did sometimes live under bridges, just like in fairy tales. Most fairy tales
were
based on true events. And, even though most humans were unaware of the dark and evil things out there, they were there, lurking just beyond their awareness—the chill that ran down one’s back, even in a warm room or on a hot summer day; the sudden feeling of fear after turning out the light that caused a person to run across the room and dive for the bed, for the safety of the covers; that strong sense of uneasiness that quickened one’s step when walking home after dark. In those times, when that feeling of being watched just wouldn’t go away—even in the safe confines of one’s own home, darkness and evil lurked close by.
    We’d begun perusing the local papers for anything that seemed out of sorts. Seth perked up, then waved a hand in the air as if signaling a teacher.
    “I’ve got something, you guys. Listen to this.” Seth cleared his throat. “’Suicide Rate at Edwards High School Skyrockets,’” he began. “’The Seattle School District reported today that there has been a sharp rise in suicides among adolescents attending Edwards High School. Edwards has a student body of just over 1,800 and is known for its strong academic focus and stellar sports programs. But, over the last three weeks, seven of its students, five boys and two girls, have killed themselves in violent manners, including gunshots to the head, jumping from an overpass, jumping in front of a train, and a wrist-slashing that was so deep it was almost an amputation of the hand.’”
    “Oh, wow,” Halli whispered.
    Seth grimaced, then continued. “’Principal Brand Jorgenson is clueless as to what could have brought this horror to his school. He said in a comment to the press:

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