If destruction was off the table, then she had to figure out how to read it. Until Lydia came back with the official translation, Gemma was doing her best to interpret it herself by searching the Internet for documents with similar writing.
Brian was trying to help out with the few clues Bernie had given him, but so far, none of them seemed all that helpful. The information Bernie had passed on to him sounded mostly like random superstition.
“Nothing new yet?” Brian asked.
Gemma pulled her knees up to her chest. “Not yet, no.”
“It’s only been a few days, though. Give it some time. When is that girl supposed to come back with the translation?”
“Lydia? I don’t know for sure.” Gemma shook her head. “She’s hoping sometime this week.”
“Once you get that, we’ll be able to figure this all out,” Brian assured her.
“Yeah, I know.” Gemma forced a smile. “I’ll be okay. You don’t need to worry.”
“I know you’ll be okay, but it’s my job to worry. I’m your dad.”
They talked a little bit longer before Brian went back to bed. Gemma went to her room, but she knew that she’d be unable to sleep for the rest of night.
It was still so strange talking to her dad openly about everything. It was nice, since keeping everything a secret had been a huge weight on her chest. Sometimes, she felt bad about telling her dad the truth, though. She didn’t want him to worry about her, not when he had so much to deal with.
That’s why she still kept parts to herself. Like how Liv’s turning into a siren was probably a very bad thing. It freed Penn up to look for a new replacement, which meant that Gemma’s clock was once again counting down.
But more than that, a new siren was another monster to stand in her way. Penn wanted to kill her, Lexi had actually tried to kill her, and with her luck, Liv would probably feel the same as Penn and Lexi.
Liv was just another siren Gemma would have to get out of the way before she could finally be free of this curse.
Once Harper had calmed down after Liv attacked her yesterday, her first thought had been, This girl’s a siren.
She’d almost immediately dismissed it though, assuming she just had sirens on the brain. But there were some signs to back up the claim, besides Liv’s irrational rage and superstrength. Her dirty blond hair had taken on a more golden shine, and her brown eyes had a richness to them.
But Harper eventually decided that she couldn’t be sure. She hadn’t been paying close attention, and Liv could also be on drugs or have a serious mental disorder, which would explain the dramatic mood swings and violent strength.
After Liv had stormed out, Harper took a few minutes to catch her breath, then she gathered her things and went to her classes. When she came back later that afternoon, the dorm room was completely trashed—or at least Liv’s side of it was, with some of the mess spilling onto Harper’s half. The bed was dismantled and broken, her posters were torn off the wall, and random junk was strewn all over.
Harper had considered sleeping out in the commons area that night, but most of Liv’s stuff appeared to be gone, so she decided to risk it. She’d been safe because Liv didn’t come back at all, and Harper hoped she never would.
When her afternoon psych class was canceled because the teacher was absent, she went out to the campus lawn instead of going back to her dorm. It was a class she had with Liv, so it didn’t give her a chance to find out if Liv was really gone, but it was still a good opportunity to do some homework.
Besides, the weather was gorgeous, especially after the previous week’s oppressive heat. There was almost a chill to the air, and that was a nice change. She pulled out her textbook, planning to brush up on her medical terminology, and she didn’t realize how much time had passed until her phone rang.
When she grabbed her phone and saw the time, she cursed under her breath. Even though she was in a hurry to make an appointment, she had to answer it. It was her dad calling from his lunch break, and he would worry if she didn’t pick up.
“Hey, Dad,” Harper said, struggling to shove her books into her backpack with one hand while she held the phone with the other.
“Is something wrong?” Brian asked, already tense with worry.
“No, everything’s great,” Harper lied as she slung her bag over her shoulder. She hadn’t told anyone back in Capri about Liv attacking her. Enough things were happening that they didn’t need to worry about her roommate problems.
“You sound out of breath,” he persisted.
“I’m just running late,” she said as she walked briskly across the campus lawn. “I have a meeting in a little bit with Professor Pine.”
“Who’s that?” Brian asked.
“Remember? I told you about him before,” Harper said. “He’s the history teacher who used to be an archaeologist.”
“Oh, yeah, Indiana Jones,” Brian said.
Harper laughed. “Yeah, him.”
Brian seemed to hesitate before asking, “It’s about Gemma, right?”
“Yeah.” Harper nodded and lowered her eyes, as if the other students hanging out on the lawn would read her expression and know what she was talking about.
“Well, if you’re busy, I won’t hold you up.”
“Sorry. I don’t mean to brush you off,” Harper apologized, and she paused when she reached the doors outside the faculty building. “But I’ll see you when I come home this weekend for Gemma’s play.”
Once she got off the phone with her dad, Harper headed inside to find Professor Pine’s office. She didn’t have him as a teacher, but she’d talked to her advisor, who’d referred her to him because of his archaeology experience.
When Harper had given him a call the day before to set up the appointment, she’d had to fabricate the backstory for how she’d found the scroll. He probably would’ve sent her to a psychologist if she started talking about monsters and curses. So she’d told him simply that her sister had found an old scroll in Bernie McAllister’s house when she was cleaning it out after he’d died, and they had a few questions about it.
Pine had been kind enough to set up a time to meet her in his office, although he sounded dubious about being able to help that much. Still, Harper was willing to follow any lead to find out more about the scroll.
Harper was getting a handle on the campus quicker than she’d expected and managed to find his office with five minutes to spare. The frosted glass on the door read PROFESSOR KIPLING PINE. She thought about waiting outside, but his door was partially ajar, so she gave a slight knock.