Chapter 18

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"Where do we go?" I asked Trey, terrified, barely even stopping at the stop sign at the end of the block before throwing the car into a hard left turn without signaling. My pulse was racing, I felt like I was sweating flakes of ice. My palms felt so slippery I feared I might not be able to control the car.

"We have to destroy this thing," Trey muttered, picking the locket up to examine it. "How do we destroy a gold locket?"

At the next corner I turned right and merged into traffic, heading toward the rural highway that was our best bet for getting out of town limits quickly. Almost immediately after I felt the warm rush of relief from mixing in with other cars driving at normal speeds, I heard sirens behind us. The sirens could only mean one thing on a Saturday afternoon: someone at the high school had called the police, and they were coming after us.

"Oh god!" I exclaimed. "Do you think I should pull over?"

"Um, you just assaulted a fellow student, I just punched a teacher, and you just drove away from the scene of an accident. I really don't think you should pull over right now," Trey advised me.

"Right," I agreed, impulsively switching lanes and cutting off someone to my left who honked angrily at me. I wanted to put as many cars as possible in between us and that police car behind us in traffic.

Using his miniscule, chewed-down fingernails, Trey managed to pry the locket open and made a sound that was a mix of oops and whoah. I took my eyes off the road for a split second to see that there was a small lock of golden hair, the color of honey, in the locket. It had uncurled the moment Trey had parted the two halves of the heart, and was stretched out, tickling his palm.

"I don't know if this is gross or cool," he muttered.

I thought instantly of the portrait in the Simmons' hallway, with Violet's grandmother, her blond hair perfectly coifed, smiling so gracefully. My memory of that patient smile suddenly seemed eerie. In the painting, Grandmother Simmons wasn't welcoming guests into her living room with that smile. She had been telling me, through the cracked paint, that her patience would outlast mine. She could wait a very, very long time for her revenge on those who had wronged her family.

We were greeted by two more police cars when I turned right onto the rural highway leading out of town. Upon seeing our car, they flipped on their sirens and the swirling red and blue lights on the tops of their vehicles filled the gray afternoon with color.

"I really don't like this," I told Trey, my voice shaking. I was already daring to wonder if anyone had called my mother to inform her that there was a wild police hunt for my capture in progress.

"Just keep driving." Trey scratched his head, thinking, and said, "The lakes. If we can make it as far as County Highway up past the airport, we can toss it over the side of the suspension bridge at White Ridge Lake."

That was far from where we were. The drive up to Shawano Lake and the smattering of smaller lakes around it in the densely forested area would take almost thirty minutes, driving fast. I wasn't sure my nerves and driving ability could hold out that long. The rural highway was only four lanes, two lanes eastbound, as we were, and two lanes westbound. If the police attempted to obstruct our passage, I wouldn't have the first idea of how to react. What was equally concerning was that we had less than a quarter tank of gas.

"Trey, I don't know if we're going to make it that far," I said, too scared to even cry.

"Think about Mischa," Trey encouraged me. "We have to at least try."

"But do you think throwing the locket into deep water is going to be enough to actually destroy it?" I asked. I would have felt a lot better if we had made the preparations to throw it into a vat of acid or an incinerator hot enough to melt precious metal.  But it was three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon in suburban Wisconsin; how the heck would we ever come across either of those options? "Gold doesn't rust."

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