Nightshade Page 12

Shay threw a pleading look at Mr. Selby. “Can we please talk about the war of all against all? I think it’s the most important idea I’ve come across in philosophy.”

The sweat on Mr. Selby’s forehead formed droplets that trickled down his temples.

“Well, I suppose . . .” He raised the marker to begin writing on the whiteboard. A spasm jerked through his fingers and the dry-erase pen dropped to the floor again.

“You need to work on your reflexes, Mr. Selby,” Ren teased. A nervous titter moved through the classroom.

Our teacher didn’t respond; the quaking of his fingers moved up his arm. His entire body convulsed. He bent backward, flailed, and collapsed to the floor twitching violently. White spittle collected at the corners of his mouth, spilling down his jawline.

“Oh my God, he’s having a seizure!” shrieked a human girl, who I thought was called Rachel. I’d never bothered to learn most of their names.

Dax bolted from his desk and crouched beside Mr. Selby’s tormented body. He shouted at the still-screeching human girl, “Shut up and go get help!”

She scampered from the classroom. Several human children had pulled out their phones.

“Phones away now!” Logan’s sharp command filled the room.

“Just get Nurse Flynn, Rachel,” he called to the girl in a loud but rather lazy voice. The golden-haired Keeper looked bored. I stared at him. Nurse Flynn was a Keeper who oversaw the small infirmary in the Mountain School, but I wasn’t sure she had any real medical training.

Dax, who had stilled our teacher’s convulsions through sheer brute strength, frowned. “He needs an ambulance.”

“No, he doesn’t. When Flynn arrives, our dear teacher will be fine.” Logan’s cold response was accompanied by a sweep of his eyes across the room. He raised his crystal-clear voice, addressing the class.

“In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re finished here. Go find someplace else to be.”

Most of the human students bolted from the room. A few stared for another minute at Dax, who still pinned Mr. Selby against the tile floor, then slunk off whispering to each other. The other Keeper children nodded at Logan and moved quietly out the door. The Guardians, and Shay, hesitated. Our eyes fixed on Logan, who gazed back at us with smug confidence. An ebony-haired woman, with a stunning figure marred by the large, misshapen hump on her back, appeared in the doorway. She was followed by two men who pushed a gurney.

“We’ll take it from here, Dax.”

Dax released Mr. Selby, who immediately began to flail again. Nurse Flynn withdrew a syringe from the pocket of her lab coat, knelt down, and plunged the needle into his neck. Mr. Selby’s spasms eased and he moaned once before dropping into unconsciousness. Nurse Flynn nodded to her two companions, who lifted Mr. Selby onto the gurney and wheeled him from the room.

She turned to Logan. “Thank you for sending Rachel to alert me, Mr. Bane.”

The golden-haired boy made a dismissive gesture with his hand.

“Your prompt attention to the matter is noted, Lana.”

Nurse Flynn dipped into a curtsy and left the classroom.

Logan sauntered over to Shay. “Let’s take a walk.”

Shay slowly rose to his feet. “What the hell just happened?”

“Mr. Selby is epileptic. It’s a shame, really. He’s a fine teacher,” Logan replied, the hand that he still held behind him jerking rapidly in odd flickers of his fingers.

Shay’s eyelids fluttered as Logan smiled, sliding his arm around the boy’s shoulders. He drew our new classmate, who stumbled forward in a near stupor, toward the door.

“I’ll give you a ride home. I’m sure Bosque is eager to hear about your first day at our school.”

The two boys walked away. Logan turned once and flashed a smile at the Guardians, who were now the sole occupants of the classroom.

Ren leapt to his feet and swore. “What was that?”

I thought about standing but decided against it. My limbs seemed to have transformed into Jell-O. Ren’s gaze moved over my face. He crouched beside my desk, folding my shaking hands in his own.

“Calla,” he said. “Are you all right?”

I pulled out of his grasp. “His uncle. Logan said Shay’s uncle is a Regent. That’s just not possible. God, Ren. Why would the Keepers have anything to do with a human boy? Who is Bosque?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never heard of them adopting a human. If that’s even the right word.” Ren shoved his hands in his pockets. “Efron hasn’t said anything about it. At least not to me.”

“And what happened to Mr. Selby?” Dax wandered over to Ren’s side. “I didn’t know he was epileptic.”

“When did you all become idiots?” Sabine’s voice was jagged as broken glass. “He isn’t epileptic. You know the phrase that stupid boy kept repeating is forbidden. He triggered one of the Keepers’ spells. Selby was being punished for discussing a censored subject. The Keepers don’t tolerate such behavior.”

Dax turned toward her. “So no ambulance?”

“A doctor couldn’t do anything for him,” she said. “Flynn’s obviously the spellwarder at our school. Don’t you know anything?”

She stood up and, with a final withering glare, flipped her long hair and strode from the classroom.


“YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS.” I PULLED THE corset from Bryn’s hands. The velvet slid enticingly over my fingers, but I cringed at the thought of wearing it in public.

“Brutal truth time.” She walked to my closet and began shuffling through clothes. “You own nothing that will work. Just pretend it’s Halloween.”

“Yeah, that makes me feel much better.” I turned toward the mirror and held the corset against my body. “And who knows what I’ll be wearing on that day.”

Bryn shut my closet door, cutting off all fashion escape routes. “Since it’s up to Naomi, probably something with puffed sleeves.”

“Ugh. I can’t think about the union now.” I handed the corset back to her.

“You’ll look amazing tonight at least,” she said. “Get out of that shirt so we can get you into this.”

I looked her up and down. She was striking in her formfitting black satin dress and brass-buckled combat boots.

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