Just after the sun set, we climbed into Freddy's car and started heading up to the hotel. Instead of focusing on what we were about to do, I kept going over the conversation I'd had with Luke.

Luke confused me—the way he made me feel when I was around him was something I'd never felt with anyone before. My head kept telling me that this thing between us was all happening too fast, that I couldn't trust the emotions swirling inside me. But did I mean all those things I had said to him? I wasn't sure.

I couldn't see myself fitting into the life of a death dealer. I feared the reaction I'd get from his guild when they found out what I could do. Luke seemed to think they would welcome me with open arms, but I doubted it. I remembered the look on his face when I'd created the zombies and the terror that filled him when he realized the mob at the hospital would connect us to the undead rising. People had feared Luke and his guild before, but now they might be hunted.

If the death dealers became targets, it would be because of me. If the general public started hurting or killing their kind, how could the guild ever forgive me?

I looked over at Luke. He was behind the steering wheel, his full attention focused on the road. I sat in the front seat next to him. He hadn't said anything to me since we got in the car.

I regretted our fight. We didn't know what we were heading off to face, and we didn't know if we would be coming back. What if those words said in anger were the last words we ever spoke to each other? I reached over and touched his arm. Luke glanced at me, a questioning look on his face. I gave him a smile. He smiled back.

Freddy began telling yet another story from the backseat. Luke had been quiet, and I'd been lost in thought for most the drive, but Freddy had been a nonstop chatterbox.

Apparently Freddy was the type to talk when he was nervous, so for a solid twenty minutes I heard stories of Darla, Luke, and Freddy growing up together. I now knew why Luke had a small scar on his elbow. At age seven he fell out of a tree, landed on a sprinkler, and broke his arm. It probably hadn't helped that Freddy dared Luke to climb the tree in the first place, or that after Luke scrambled up, Freddy started throwing rocks at him just for "motivation." I found the stories charming and funny. Knowing where we were going and what we were about to try and do, they were distracting, and that was a good thing. Freddy started another tale, this one about the time he and Luke prank-called Darla when she was babysitting. They freaked her out by imitating weird, scary voices over the phone.

Luke interrupted him. "Freddy, enough with the stories."

He pulled the car over onto a dirt road and stopped.

I looked out the window. The headlights shone on dense trees and foliage, but outside of the glare of the headlights, it was pitch-black.

"Where are we?" I asked.

"About half a mile from the hotel. This is an old logging road. I figure we can make our way in on foot to the edge of the property and hopefully not be seen by anyone." Luke gestured to the left. "If we kept to the main road for another few minutes, we would've hit the main gate. Then, through the gate, it's about a mile up a winding driveway to the front entrance."

"We hike through the woods and scope out the place?" Right now it was the only plan we had.

"That's the idea. We get as close as we can and do some reconnaissance." Luke looked over at me. "We'll see how well they're guarding the place. Maybe we'll get a glimpse of how many people are there. If we get lucky, we'll stumble across Darla and get her out."

And if we get unlucky, we'll end up dead. I didn't say what I was thinking out loud, but Luke seemed able to read my mood.

In a defensive voice, he said, "If anyone has a better idea, speak up."

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