Knight's Curse

Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall Read Free Book Online

Book: Knight's Curse by Karen Duvall Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Duvall
away. I wouldn’t cry. Not in front of Gavin. I turned the letter over and noticed the flap was loose. It was too much to hope that my privacy might be respected for once. I glared up at him to let him know it wasn’t okay.
    He shrugged. “Just read what’s inside.”
    I pulled the page free and smoothed out the fold before holding it up to the light. A blank piece of paper.
    I gritted my teeth against the hope I’d been tricked into feeling. I’d actually believed this was a message from my mother. Her words written just for me and no one else. Longing swelled my heart as I remembered her voice warbling through the liquid cocoon of her womb. The saint’s hand had let me hear her and this note could have gifted me with more of her words.
    I made as if to crumple the letter in my fist, but Gavin lunged at me and grabbed my wrist. His fingers clamped down nearly as hard as Shui’s talons.
    He said one word. “Don’t.”
    “You’re messing with me again.” I tried to yank my arm free, but he held on. “First you torture my body, now my heart. You’re a sick man.”
    His thin smile grated on my nerves. “That may be, but I’m not messing with you now.” He narrowed his eyes. “You need to read that letter.”
    “I can’t. It’s blank.”
    “Is it?” He let go of my wrist and I stared hard at the clean white paper. “Take out your contact lenses.”
    Before touching my eyes, I held the letter to my nose and sniffed. A chemical smell. I withdrew one nose filter. The overpowering stench of rotted meat and sulfur coming from Shui almost erased all other scents in the room, and I had to focus extra hard on the paper in my hand. The odor was unmistakable. Bleach.
    “Now look at it.”
    I didn’t want to take my contacts out in Gavin’s basement. Nightmares lived here. I always saw too much and I feared it would drive me insane someday.
    “Block out the ghosts, Chalice. Just focus on the letter.” He sighed and returned to his chair, sitting slowly while studying me. As if he didn’t trust me. Smart man. “Use your discipline.”
    Oh, yes. My self-discipline was stellar. But when emotions were involved, my concentration pretty much sucked.
    I removed my contacts and made the mistake of letting my gaze wander to the shadows where Shui crouched, his wings folded close and taloned feet gripping his perch. But he didn’t sit alone. I squinted in the bright glare of Gavin’s forty-watt lamps and watched the fluorescent particles of energy swirl around the gargoyle, who was oblivious to them. The energy appeared like smoke in the form of people, fading and then coalescing again into the incorporeal twins of their dead selves.
    “Ignore them.” Gavin followed my stare to where the shades of Shui’s victims hovered. He couldn’t see them with his eyes, but he knew they were there. He possessed an extra sense that I didn’t, a sixth one that perceived the rarified energies on the planes beyond this one. Hocus-pocus crap, but real enough for anyone with the faith to believe. What I saw was real, too, but on a totally different level.
    I looked at the letter in my hands. How could I not have seen this? My lips stretched into a smile that hurt my face and I had to touch my mouth to prove to myself it was real. I’d had very few reasons to smile, but now I had a good one.
    “It’s from her!” I said, ignoring the fact that my audience were my two worst enemies. “She says—” I stopped and frowned, watching the pale gray letters on the page form words I should keep to myself. I lifted my head to find Gavin leaning so far forward that one flap of Shui’s wings would toss him off the chair. I refolded the letter and tucked it back inside its envelope.
    Color rose in Gavin’s cheeks to make him look less like a corpse and more like the furious sorcerer I’d grown to hate over the years. Much better. Angry Gavin I could deal with. Insane Gavin was too unpredictable, and therefore more dangerous. I felt

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