Luke decided it was too dangerous to travel at night. We didn't want to risk running into anyone looking to cause us trouble or injury, so we settled upstairs and wrapped ourselves in blankets, waiting with trepidation for the bad guys to show up. In theory, we would sleep in shifts, ready to flee out the window and down the fire escape at the slightest sign of danger. But in reality, I couldn't sleep; I lay next to him and stared out into the dark, playing the events of the day over and over in my head.

When I saw Luke fall through the window, I was sure I'd never see him again. And then I made my way back to the magic shop, and our eyes locked. We both realized we were lucky to be alive and rushed into each other's arms. He held me tight, and in that moment I was so happy to see him. My mind had only been full of thoughts for Luke. I had forgotten entirely about Darla.

Is Darla still alive? I prayed she was.

The rituals... Will I...can I...survive them? And if I do, what will I become?

There had never been a healer turned death dealer before. My parents would have thought such a thing an abomination. But here I was, willingly walking down this path, turning myself into who-knows-what.

And once I become this mythic being—this abomination—will anyone accept me? The woman in the alley stabbed Luke just because his people communed with the dead. Once I became one of his kind, what would the superstitious populace try to do to me?

The thought made me shiver.

"Can't sleep?" Luke asked. It was his turn on watch.

I rolled over and looked up at him. "I just keep wondering what tomorrow will bring."

"I'm thankful we're both still alive, which is no small miracle." He reached down and his fingers brushed the hair back from my face. My skin flushed at the contact. "You need to sleep."

I pulled the blanket tighter around me. "I don't know if I can."

His fingers slid across my forehead and through my hair. "Whatever happens tomorrow, we'll face it together. Close your eyes."

I sighed out loud with pleasure and felt my body begin to relax.

"Just sleep," he whispered as his fingers stroked my hair.

* * *

The sun came up; we survived the night. We started gathering together what we could so we could hightail it out of there. Luke stuffed an old, green, army duffel bag full of clothes and whatever items he could find for his spells that weren't smashed into bits on the floor of the shop. His face looked like a dark storm about to break loose as he wandered around the torn-up store.

I grabbed some of Darla's clothes and packed them into a pink suitcase I found at the bottom of her closet.

Soon enough we headed out into the street and hailed a cab. When I slid into the seat next to him, I asked, "Where are we going?"

"My cousin Pagan's place. She's out of town, but she won't mind under the circumstances, and I know she'll have everything I need for the rituals."

I remembered we'd also taken a cab to the healer's place. "Don't you own a car?"

"One of my cousins borrowed my truck for the trip. They take a lot of tents and camping equipment and I'm the only one with a truck in the family. My uncle took his car, and Darla can't drive yet. Uncle says he's going to get her something old, reliable, and built like a tank for her sixteenth birthday." At the mention of his sister, his eyes filled with an incredible sadness. He looked at me and seemed to shake himself out of the moment, giving me a small smile. "So it's hoofin' it or cabs. Unless you want to take the bus?"

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