“I would have thought dropping off your belongings, taking your car, and cancelling your cell phone would have been a glaringly obvious hint that I never wanted to see you again, Libby,” my mother says as she glides gracefully down the grand staircase. Her burgundy chiffon dress swirls around her knees. The sound of her high heels clicking on the steps sends a jolt of fury through me with every snap. I can’t even force myself to respond to her, my jaw is locked so tight with anger.
I feel Milo approach before he actually touches my shoulder. Carefully controlled anger rolls off of him. He’s not even scared. He should be.
“Who’s this, Libby, your bodyguard?” Her trifling laugh has an interesting effect on Milo. His anger is suddenly interrupted by laughter. I realize why and smile as well.
“No, Mom. Actually, I’m his. Milo’s just here to remind me not to kill you.”
I can feel nothing of my mother’s emotions, but the quick twitch of her head gives away her worry. Yes, she knows who I am. Best for her if she doesn’t forget it.
“What are you doing here, Libby?” she demands.
“We need to talk.”
“I have nothing to say to you, now get out,” she says, turning her back on me as if we’re done.
If she actually expects me to listen to her she’s sadly mistaken. I reach the bottom step before she whips around and snarls at me. “I said get out.”
The only time I ever listened to my mother was when my dad told me to. Her nasty, vile demeanor weakened my respect for her pretty early on. Like around three years old. The only reason we survived living together after my dad died was an unspoken pact of simply ignoring each other as much as possible. My dear mother has clearly not forgotten her lack of power over me. She turns so quickly the hem of her dress snaps as she stamps away from me. My next words shock her into statue-like stillness.
“I know you told Dad about the Serqet.”
Her pinky finger starts twitching like mad. “What?” she whispers.
“You told Dad how to perform a Serqet, didn’t you?”
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She won’t turn around and face me.
“Grandpa Martin is part of the Veil, and he’s as malicious about getting to the top as you are. He told you about stealing people’s talents. Anything to get ahead, right? Did you ever try it yourself?” I ask, my voice dripping with hostility.
“No, no, I never tried it.”
“Of course not,” I say, “or you’d already be dead.”
She doesn’t respond.
“But you knew about the Serqet. You weren’t strong enough to make any use of it, but you thought Dad was. You wouldn’t risk your own life, but you risked mine and his. You risked it, and you lost. Dad wasn’t strong enough. It’s your fault he’s dead.”
“No!” she screams as she spins to face me. “He was strong enough! He could have done it. I know he could have! Andrew was the most powerful Concealer I had ever met. My father despised Inquisitor Moore for snatching him up before he could. Andrew would have ruled the Veil if it wasn’t for you.”
“If he’d been strong enough, he wouldn’t be dead!” I scream at her. Five years of guilt and self-loathing pour into my voice. “It’s your fault I don’t have a father anymore!”
YOU ARE READING
For Libby Sparks, turning sixteen means only one thing…death. Guardian rule demands she attend the ritualistic Inquest that will unveil her talents and secure her place in society. But that isn’t all that will be revealed in Libby’s case. The more t...