Stargazer Page 44

“Yeah, the cold spot in the attic. Classic spectral activity—lowered temperature, weird sounds, and the way you just feel somebody watching you even though nobody else is there. Everybody in my family always knew about it. I had a sleepover every Halloween that was, if I say so myself, the coolest party of the year. Every year.” As I gaped at him, Vic started to laugh. “Lots of people here have seen the same thing.”

“The ghost in your house?”

“The ghosts in their houses. Or their schools, or you know that new girl Clementine? She swears her grandma had a haunted car. Like Chris-tine from Stephen King, right? I would love to try driving that thing.”

“How did you learn all this?”

Vic sighed. “See, while you spend all your time making out with Balthazar, and Raquel stays holed up with her art projects, and Ranulf’s off studying his Norse myths again, I do something else. Something crazy.

Something strange. I call it ‘talking to other people.’ Through this miraculous process, I am sometimes able to learn facts about two or three other human beings in a single day. Scientists plan to study my method.”

“Shut up.” I gave him a playful shove, and he laughed again, but inwardly I was trying to process all of this. Of course Vic would know more about the human students than anybody else here; he was the most outgoing guy at the whole school. Even some of the vampires who looked down their noses at Vic ended up talking to him once in a while.

“Did the ghosts ever, well, hurt anybody?”

“Not that I’ve heard of. I always kinda liked our attic ghost. When I was a kid, I used to go up there and read stories to it. Show it my new toys. It’s just an old spirit stuck between the worlds, right? What’s to be scared of?”

“Falling ice?”

“Nobody got hurt at the Autumn Ball. I figure the ghost was just freaking us out. Having fun watching us run around and scream.”


I might have been more reassured if I hadn’t heard Raquel’s story.

Most nights, before I went to sleep, I thought about Lucas—

sometimes remembering our times together, sometimes fantasizing about it, or sometimes simply wondering where he was and hoping he was happy and well. The night after our last final was different. Exhaustion overwhelmed me, as well as the depression of knowing that our next meeting was still a whole month away.

No, that night I didn’t want to think about Lucas. I didn’t want to think. I closed my eyes tightly and willed myself to fall asleep as soon as I could.

The storm raged outside the school, and the wind lashed tree branches against the sky. I stood at the broken window, careful of the shattered glass. Droplets of rain spattered against my skin.

“Don’t you want to stay inside?” Charity said. She held a torch in her hand, an old-fashioned one out of a horror film. The orange flame flickered close, but she didn’t flinch. She was the only vampire I’d ever seen who wasn’t afraid of fire. “Warm and dry in here. We can make it even warmer.”

“I can’t stay here.”

“Can’t you? Maybe you just don’t want to.”

I couldn’t tell if Charity was right or wrong. All I knew was that I had to get away from her and out of Evernight.

“Bianca!” That was Lucas’s voice. I strained for the sound of it, then realized that he was outside in the storm. “Bianca, don’t move!”

“I’m sorry, Bianca.” Charity’s doll-black eyes were as guileless as a child’s. She brought the torch closer, and I felt its heat searing my skin.

“But it has to burn.”

I jumped through the window. Shards of glass jutting from the window frame sliced my legs and arms, and I landed hard in the wet grass.

The rain came down so hard and fast that it felt as though I were being pelted with stones. But I started running as swiftly as I could, my bare feet cold in the wet grass. Where was Lucas?

Then the hedge changed, thickening and growing in a way I recognized—but when? When had I seen this happen? I didn’t know until I saw the strange, sharp-bladed red flowers begin darkening to black.

My dream—this is a dream—it’s not just a dream—


I sat upright in bed, breathing hard. Raquel was propped up on her elbows, and she blinked drowsily at me. “Did you say something?”

“I was dreaming.” My breath came in gasps. “That’s all.”

“You sure? Absolutely sure?”

“Yes. I am. I promise.” It took me another couple of seconds to collect myself enough to reassure her. “Probably I’m just stressing about how I did on my exams.”

She watched me with wide eyes, remembering old night terrors of her own.

I tried again. “It’s got nothing to do with whatever the ghost is. Really.”

“How can you know for sure?”

“You knew. Didn’t you?”

“I guess.” Raquel stepped out of bed, her bare feet padding across the hardwood floor. She brushed a few sweaty strands of hair from my face.

“Want me to get you some water?”

“That would be good, actually. Thanks.”

As soon as I was alone, I thought back on the dream and the flowers I’d seen before—the flowers I had dreamed of the night before I met Lucas for the first time. I’d thought it a coincidence when we found the brooch carved in the exact shape of those strange flowers.

Or so I had always believed. But for the first time, I wondered if maybe my dreams meant something more.

Christmas break was quieter this year than last. Then, several of the vampires had remained, lacking homes to return to. This year, almost all of them had fled the haunted school, and I wondered how many of them would return in the spring.

It was an unpleasant winter, too, without any pretty snow—just gray skies, sleet, and hard ice that made the roads impassable more days than not. Balthazar’s frequent solo journeys off campus in search of his sister had to stop for the time being. I could tell he resented not having left Evernight more when it was still possible, so I tried my best to brighten his mood. On Christmas Eve, we hung out in the Modern Technology room as I helped him get a jump start on January’s assignment.

“You’ve got to go faster than that,” I said.

“It takes time to figure out what the arrows mean,” Balthazar protested, moving stiffly through the steps on the beginner level of Dance Dance Revolution.

Prev Next