Chapter Twelve

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"Don't take this the wrong way

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"Don't take this the wrong way... but you smell like a pickled egg."

I snort and hunt around in my pockets till I find a handful of dead insects that my clothing seemed to have collected in the dead downpour and throw them at Henry. He shrieks and leaps away from me as I giggle.

"Yeah, and if you had to hide in a puddle of stewed rat juice, you'd be stinking, too."

He smiles and runs back to me, nudging me playfully. We're walking back to Jensen's after our exploits at the museum. I'm aching, and exhausted, but strangely alert and upbeat. Maybe it's the adrenalin, or just the fact we were successful, but I feel more hopeful than I have in days. Even Henry's mood seems lighter.

"I can't believe we just did that."

"Which part? Running from the police or breaking into a museum or me making a skeleton talk?"

"Any of it. All of it." Henry laughs, shaking his head incredulously. The streetlights beat down at us from overhead. The houses, tall monuments to the city's wealth, each a replica of Jensen's own grand house, are dark and silent, with only the occasional window lit by the flashing of a TV screen.

"Remind me again why we couldn't have asked that invisible singer to do it?"

"Sophie was adamant. Something about her not wanting Lola to know about your powers, about what you can do. The timing's bad... I didn't push anymore."

I walk up the darkened path leading to Jensen's house. The porch light bursts on. The sudden exposure freezes me to the spot. Henry put a gentle hand on my back, the warmth of his touch seems to melt through my clothes.

"It's just the... porch light."

"Yeah... I... I know." If the moment suddenly feels awkward, if my cheeks are glowing, or if Henry's hand lingers a touch too long before he slams them into his pockets, neither of us utters anything else. He leads the way as he walks around the house, up the garden and towards the kitchen door.

Henry tries to unlock the door, his hands shaky, and he smiles at me awkwardly.

"Sorry..."

The crash drags us from our sleepy daze, and our eyes meet in fear. Henry scrambles to unlock the door and we launch ourselves forward. A high-pitched scream shatters the silence. We reach the hallway and Henry stops so suddenly I slam into his back. He glances at me and then back at the door, which is now open wide, gaping like a mouth mid-scream.

The furniture that we'd used to barricade the door has been shunted to the side. Slowly, Henry steps towards the door, his arm in the air beckoning me to follow. We tip-toe forward, the note of terror hanging in the air, but everything has fallen silent. No screaming, no crashing.

We peer into the garage. The place is a wreck. Jensen had ripped it apart, shelves were torn down, paint cans crunched, paint splattered across the floor, and tools snapped in two. There was no logic to the chaos. Jensen hadn't tried to break out. He'd simply tried to destroy everything in his desperation to escape.

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