Tidal / Page 73

Page 73


“I don’t know.” Gemma shook her head. “I don’t know when the sirens are coming back, and if they find us both there, they will probably be awfully pissed.”

“Then maybe I could be a lookout or something,” Marcy suggested. “You don’t know when they’re coming back, so I could warn you.” Gemma bit her lip, debating, so Marcy pushed on.

“Come on, Gemma. Harper will kill me if I let something happen to you. You can at least let me watch the door. That’s what Fred and Thelma always leave Shaggy and Scooby to do, and if it’s good enough for Shaggy, it’s good enough for me. That’s my life’s motto.”

Gemma smirked at that. “Okay. But if you see a siren, stay out of the way, especially if it’s Penn or Lexi.”

“Agreed,” Marcy said. “My mama didn’t raise any fools and she didn’t raise any heroes.”

Marcy and Gemma got out of the car and snuck through the densely wooded area that separated the overlook from the sirens’ house. The wind was blowing through the trees, stirring up pine needles and making a howling sound through the branches.

The house was centered in the middle of a small clearing right at the edge of the cliff. The driveway was empty, so presumably the sirens had already left for the day. Just to be on the safe side, when Gemma went up to the door, she knocked and rang the doorbell. When nobody answered, she decided the coast was clear.

The door was unlocked, but Gemma hadn’t expected any different. Penn didn’t think anybody would dare to steal from her, and even if they did, she didn’t care that much since none of the stuff was really hers anyway. She could replace it all with little or no effort.

Gemma left Marcy waiting outside with instructions that if any of the sirens showed up, she was supposed to ring the doorbell and then take off into the trees. Gemma would hear the doorbell, then sneak out the back door. That was the plan, anyway.

After doing a quick once-over on the main floor, Gemma went upstairs to the loft, which was where she’d thought they’d hide it anyway. Assuming they even had it hidden here.

The second level was one massive room, having been designed as the master suite, but Penn, Lexi, and Thea all appeared to share the space. Two king beds fit easily in the room, with a twin bed shoved off to the side. Based on the small pile of hot pink panties sitting on the smaller bed, Gemma guessed that one was Lexi’s.

Skylights in the ceiling let Gemma see the dark clouds swirling above. They were nearly black now, and she flicked on the closet light. She didn’t want to turn on the main bedroom light in case the sirens came home. They’d be able to see that from the driveway.

The walk-in closet was large and overflowing with clothes. On hangers, in drawers, in piles on the floor. It had been customized with plenty of drawers and storage, which meant that Gemma had a lot to sort through.

The sirens had an endless supply of shoes. Stilettos, wedges, boots, flats in every style and color. She started taking out shoes and rifling through drawers, hoping to find a false bottom or some kind of hidden compartment.

Thunder rolled overhead, and the closet went black. Gemma froze, afraid that someone had turned off the lights, but then she realized that the wind had just knocked the power out.

It was too dark to search properly in the closet, so she went into the bedroom. She moved over to the bedside table and began rooting around the drawer, hoping for a sign of the scroll, but she would’ve settled for a flashlight at that point.

A loud crash against the skylights startled Gemma so much she nearly screamed. She looked up to the windows and saw that the rain had finally started, coming down in torrential sheets. It pounded against the glass and roof, the sound echoing through the room.

She was about to recommence her search when she heard a clatter downstairs. She stayed where she was, listening carefully, but it was hard to hear clearly over the rain. Then she heard a bang, and this time she was certain that it hadn’t been the storm.

The doorbell hadn’t rung, but Gemma realized belatedly that the power was out. If it was a wired doorbell, that meant there would be no sound. Walking quietly and slowly, Gemma went toward the railing at the edge of the loft.

It wasn’t until she’d made it all the way to the edge and looked straight down that she saw what had made the noise.

Lexi stood staring up at Gemma. Her long blond hair was dripping water in a small puddle at her feet, and she wore a bikini. She was completely in human form, save for one finger on her right hand. Her aqua eyes sparkled in the dim light, and her smile was happy and playful, without a hint of malice, which made it all the more creepy.

Her left hand was gripping hard on Marcy’s ponytail, yanking her head back sharply. Marcy’s glasses were smashed on the floor, next to the pool of water from Lexi’s hair. A cut ran across her eyebrow, with blood trickling down her temple, and Marcy’s eyes were wide with fear.

She didn’t move or scream, and Gemma instantly saw why. Lexi’s otherwise humanoid hand had one longer finger with a razor-sharp talon at the end, poking right into Marcy’s jugular. If she moved or even yelled, it would slice right through her neck.

“Hello, Gemma,” Lexi said sweetly in her singsong voice. “I know you were playing hide-and-seek, but I have a better game. Why don’t you come down, and I’ll show you how to play?”

THIRTY-SIX

Trepidation

Liv had shown Harper where all her classes were, as per Harper’s class schedule. Liv was from a neighboring town in Delaware, but she’d moved into the dorm a week ago. The extra time, as well as orientation, had really given Liv a good idea of where everything was and how the college worked.

While Liv was incredibly helpful and nice, there was something almost too nice about her. If Harper told a joke, no matter how lame it was, Liv laughed really hard at it. She also told Harper she was pretty and smart about a hundred times.

The other weird part was that Liv kept making vague references to these “super adorbs” new friends she’d made. It was like she was trying to impress Harper, but whenever Harper tried to ask more questions about them, Liv completely shut down and changed the subject.

Still, Liv had been good for distracting her, and Harper had managed to avoid calling Gemma or Daniel a million times. Though she did text them a few times to make sure everything was okay, and they both claimed it was.

Even though Liv had taken the time to point out every one of her classrooms, Harper was so preoccupied that she forgot everything Liv had shown her. She was late for her first two classes, and the only reason she was on time for her third one was because it was with Liv, and she physically led her to the classroom.


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