“I’ll never be one of you.” Gemma shook her head. “I will sooner die than kill anyone.”
“I’ll be more than happy to arrange that for you.”
“Then do it.” Gemma raised her chin defiantly. “You said if I don’t go with you, then I’ll die. And I’m not going with you.”
Penn’s jaw clenched, and Gemma could see something happening underneath her skin. Almost like a current running over her face. Penn’s eyes even changed color, shifting from dark brown to a yellow-green.
Then all at once the shifting stopped, and her eyes went back to their usual soulless black. When she opened her mouth to speak, her teeth were visibly sharper.
“You’ve given me no choice. I’m going to have to show you exactly who you are.” Penn looked back over at Thea and Lexi. “Call for him.”
“Who?” Lexi asked.
“Whoever answers,” Penn replied.
Lexi glanced uncertainly at Gemma, then back at Thea. Thea sighed but began singing first. Her voice was beautiful in its own husky way, but it wasn’t until Lexi joined in that Gemma felt the full enchanting power of their music.
They were singing the song that Gemma had heard before, the one she herself had sung in the shower. As soon as they opened their mouths, Gemma knew all the words, and she wanted to join in. She actually had to bite her tongue to stop herself.
Thea and Lexi turned and walked out of the cabin, standing on the porch to sing their siren song, calling for someone to come join them on the island.
“Harper!” Alex shouted, and she snuggled deeper into her bed. “Harper!”
“What?” Harper muttered into her pillow, but by then she was awake enough that she heard the panic in his voice. She sat up, looking around her dark bedroom in confusion. “Alex?”
“I’m outside!” Alex yelled, and Harper looked out her window to see him standing there, shouting up at her.
“What are you doing?” Harper asked. “What’s going on?”
“Gemma ran away. I tried to stop her…” He trailed off for a moment, then continued. “I think she went down to the bay, but I don’t know for sure.”
Harper lunged out of bed, scrambling around in the dark to put on her clothes. Alex kept talking outside, but she hadn’t really heard much of anything after he said that Gemma was gone. She was pulling on her sweater as she ran out the front door, and Alex was still standing below her now-empty bedroom, talking up to it.
“Alex, come on!” Harper ran around to the side of the house to flag him, then hurried over to her Sable parked in the driveway and got in. As soon as Alex hopped in the car, she asked, “You’re sure she went to the bay?”
“No,” he admitted. “She wouldn’t tell me where she was going. But knowing Gemma, where else would she go?”
Harper put the car in reverse and floored it, making it squeal out of the driveway. Alex didn’t say anything, but he put on his seat belt.
“What did she say to you? Are you sure she’s running away? Maybe she just went for a swim.”
“No, I tried to go with her because the killer’s on the loose.” He pressed his arm against the window glass, steadying himself as Harper flew around a corner. “But she wouldn’t let me go with her.”
“Dammit.” Harper hit the steering wheel. “I knew she was acting weird today. I knew it, and I didn’t…” She shook her head, remembering all the things Gemma had told her. “She was saying good-bye.”
“But why?” Alex asked, pulling her from her thoughts. “Why is she doing this?”
“I don’t know. It’s not like Gemma. She never runs from a fight. Whatever she’s running from has to be pretty terrible.”
Harper got to the bay in record time. She didn’t stop soon enough and actually skidded out onto the dock, making the wooden planks quake under the car. As soon as the car came to a complete halt, she leaped out and started yelling for Daniel.
“Who’s Daniel?” Alex asked, chasing after Harper.
“He has a boat,” she explained quickly.
The docks were dimly lit, and when she couldn’t see his boat, she had this horrible moment of panic, realizing he might be gone. It was a boat. He could leave at any time.
Then the lights flicked on inside the cabin of The Dirty Gull, and she ran toward it. He still wasn’t on the deck when she reached it, so she slapped her hands against the side of the hull, trying to hurry him.
“Daniel!” Harper yelled.
“First your car wakes me up, now you’re hitting my boat.” Daniel finally emerged from the cabin, rubbing his eyes. He’d managed to put his jeans on, but they were still unbuttoned. “What’s the emergency?”
“Gemma’s gone.” She leaned over the dock as far as she could, hanging on to the railing of the boat to keep from falling in the water. “She ran away, we think she’s out in the bay. I need your help.”
“She ran away?” Daniel ran a hand through his hair and shook his head, trying to shake off the sleep. “Why?”
“We don’t know, but something’s really wrong.” She looked up at Daniel, her eyes pleading with him. “Please, Daniel. I need you.”
Without missing a beat, he asked, “How can I help?”
“The bay is the only place she really loves. She couldn’t have gotten far yet, and with your boat, we could find her.”
“The Gull isn’t as fast as it used to be, but I’ll do what I can.” He reached over the side of the boat and grabbed Harper to pull her up. “Who’s that?”
“What?” Harper asked when Daniel put her down. She glanced back to see Daniel pointing to Alex. “Oh, that’s Alex. He’s Gemma’s boyfriend.”
“Oh.” Daniel extended his hand to Alex. “Nice to meet you.”
“Uh, likewise.” He took Daniel’s hand uncertainly, and Daniel helped pull him up on the boat. He didn’t quite embrace him the way he’d lifted Harper, but he got Alex onto the deck.
“Can you help me unhook the boat?” Daniel asked Alex, gesturing to the ropes that tied it to the dock.
“Yeah, sure.” Alex hurried to help Daniel.
Harper went around to the front of the boat. A cold wind whipped over the water, and she wrapped her arms around herself, trying to stay warm against it. She stared out at the bay, hoping against hope that her sister was safe.