Preston Norton’s “Blud and Magick” doesn’t hit the market until Jan. 8, 2013, but why wait until then to see what’s in store for you? Keep reading for a free preview.
Ash went rigid, and Cirrus lost whatever color was left in his face.
“Oh crap,” said Ash, and then followed this with a few words of a much more vulgar nature.
“Detention’s over,” Cirrus spoke loudly and with an imperative edge. He bolted up from his desk and motioned for the others to follow. “Everyone, we need to leave now!”
“What?” Darla protested. “Why? What’s going””?”
“It’s bad,” Ash assured her. He was already out of his desk and pulling her by the wrist.
“Come on, Lance, we gotta go!” Cirrus ordered.
Lance obediently followed, but his worried gaze was quickly distracted by a loud smack. Cirrus had been first to reach the open doorway, only to crash into a seemingly invisible barrier. With his glasses cocked sideways, his lanky frame staggered back as the air in front of him rippled and then became still.
“Not good,” Cirrus mumbled in a nasally voice as he clutched his nose.
“What was that?” Darla sputtered. She was certain her eyes were playing tricks on her now.
Ash raced past his brother and kicked the open doorway. Sure enough, his shoe connected with the same invisible force. “Really not good!”
“What is it?” Darla demanded. “Stop ignoring me!”
“Now is not the time,” Cirrus muttered, half-distracted. Behind his thin-framed glasses, his cool eyes scanned the vicinity for any other means of escape.
“What Cirrus means to say is shut your cakehole, Princess!” Ash seemed to be just as frantic scouring the opposite wall. “Whatever it was that mind-controlled Lance into beating the snot out of Gareth”¦I think the same thing just trapped us in here!”
Lance’s eyes went wide; he looked halfway nauseous, and the other half seemed like he just might faint. “No, no, no, no”¦” he murmured, pacing aimlessly back and forth. Overall, he seemed pretty much gone at this point.
“Thing?” Darla repeated. “Mind control? You two cannot be serious! And why would something want to trap us?”
“Well maybe it doesn’t care about Lance, but some of us”¦” Cirrus paused his search as he turned to face Darla, his pale expression peculiarly inquisitive. “Since secrecy really isn’t a problem anymore”¦do you mind if I ask what you are?”
Darla had never heard such a weird and vague question in her life. “Huh? What do you mean?”
Cirrus took a deep breath, dreading the response awaiting him. “Are you human?”
“Wha””?” Darla stammered. “Human?! Of course I’m””I mean”¦what the heck else would I be?”
“Something else,” he suggested in an overly casual manner. “Like us. I mean”¦you deflected Ash’s hex after all.”
Ash’s”¦hex? This was perhaps the most ridiculous conversation Darla had ever indulged herself in. Was she human?! And yet”¦she couldn’t refrain herself from asking the question. “And what are you?”
“We’re dead meat,” Ash gasped from the far corner of the classroom.
All eyes shifted to the wild-haired boy, including Lance, who seemed to have flown over the cuckoo’s nest with his wide-eyed pacing. Ash was standing in front of the lofty wooden supply closet with the door wide open, staring down at its obscured contents. Darla, Cirrus, and Lance all rushed over with a hint of dread in their eyes. Though the two boys were tall enough for a clear view from behind Ash, Darla forced her way around him. She immediately regretted doing so. Her skin crawled at the sight before her.