The little girl twitched suddenly.

I stepped back.

"She's in pain—constant, excruciating pain." Luke pointed toward one of the IV bottles. "The doctors can give her morphine, but it's not enough. It doesn't dull the pain. The dose they would need to get rid of it would kill her." He looked at the closed door. "Her family wants to help her move on. She could stay like this for weeks, maybe a month, but there's no hope. With our help, she'll move directly into the light. We can help her spirit pass through this life and into the next."

She was a child. He was asking me to take the life of a child. I stumbled back, my head shaking violently back and forth. "No, no, I can't do this!"

"If you close your eyes and concentrate, Colina, you can see that her spirit is on the brink." His voice was low and soothing. "You're not killing her. Her spirit is already almost to the other side. She just needs our help to get across."

"I can't..." My hands went to my face. "You want me to murder her." My cheeks were damp. I hadn't realized I was crying.

"It's not murder, it's compassion."

"But I'm doing this so I can gain power. I'm not doing this to help her. I'm doing this to avenge my family, to help you save Darla."

"Do your motives really matter? Her family has asked for our help. We're here. Does it really matter why? She needs to move on. By helping her, you're also helping yourself. Is that so wrong?"

Tears ran down my face. "I can't do this."

"Yes, you can. You're strong. Look at what you've survived. You lived when the rest of your family died. You're still here, and so is Darla. But for how long?" Anger blazed from his eyes. "How long until those men kill my sister? They killed Sarah, they murdered your mother, your father, and your brother." He unclenched his hands. The anger left his face, and he reached out to me. "We're the only ones who can help this girl and her family. They asked for our help. If we walk away, she'll continue to suffer. Her family can only sit and watch. Do you really want that?"

I didn't move.

He lowered his hands and said in a gentle voice, "Sit down." He gestured to a chair in the corner. I'll get everything ready for the spell. You just sit down and keep breathing. Okay?"

He was talking to me as though he thought I was going to bolt out of the room at any minute. And he wasn't wrong. Every cell in my body shouted at me to get out. To walk away. But instead I sat in the chair.

I watched him move around the room. He placed five black candles at the foot of the bed.

I looked at the girl—Anna. Her name was Anna. I wondered if I'd ever be able to forgive myself for doing this. Killing, even in mercy, went against everything I believed in, against the very essence of the person I was.

Used to be, a voice whispered in the corner of my mind. But I was no longer a healer. I had slowly morphed into a death dealer, and now I was about to become a killer.

Luke took a small volume bound in black leather from one of the bags and gestured for me to join him.

I didn't think I could get out of the chair. My hands were trembling so hard, I had to clench them together in front of me. It took every ounce of willpower I had to force myself to my feet. I have no choice; I have to do this. I took one step after another until I stood by Luke's side.

"The protection pouch. You need to take it off."

I hesitantly took off the pouch and handed it to him.

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