Part 21

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Rose sat perfectly still on our sofa. She didn't move. Didn't look up from the ground. Didn't speak.

I was beginning to wonder how badly we'd scared her when she finally looked up. Not to me. But to Bronte behind her. "Bearing witness?"

"It's what we're calling it," she said, her voice painfully empty. "When I go into that...that trance...thing."

It had been a few days since we'd purified Nathan Elgin. Each night, I heard her wake up screaming. Heard Oliver try and comfort her, saying words everyone knew she'd never hear. While Cyril sat with me, listening in the dark. She'd spent most of her free time with Rose, at her apartment. And when she did come home, she just slid wordlessly into her bedroom.

When Rose had finally demanded to know what had happened, Bronte and I had decided to tell her.

Everything.

Well, minus the part about her boyfriend leaving us. Or trying to purify our perfectly pleasant phantom roommates.

I glanced over at him, sitting on the sofa beside Rose. Their hands were intertwined in her lap. And as I watched, she squeezed his hand comfortingly.

I looked away.

"And you see...?"

"Everything," Bronte whispered with a shiver. She wrapped her arms around herself. "It was like a movie played on high speed. His birth, his life, his death. All of it. Witnessing everything."

I hadn't asked her for details about what she'd seen. Neither, to my knowledge, had Cyril or Oliver. We all knew better than to have her relive what she'd witnessed in the life of a serial killer.

I felt a chill at my shoulder. Noah was looking at Rose but I could see that Bronte's eyes had slid to Cyril, hovering just behind me. I wasn't sure where Oliver was—probably near Bronte. He was always near Bronte whenever she was at the apartment these days.

Rose looked up at Noah. "And you too?"

His eyes slid to meet mine. If he was looking for support, I wasn't about to be the one to give it to him. I kept my face blank and he looked back to Rose. "Yes. Me too."

She pointed at him. "Defensive warding." Then to me. "Name invocation." She turned to point at Bronte behind her. "And bearing witness. Right?"

We all nodded.

"And there are two ghosts in the apartment? Cyril and Oliver?"

Again, we nodded.

She nodded too, her eyes sliding back to the ground. I could see her brow furrow.

All things considered, our grand unveiling hadn't been too bad. She hadn't disbelieved us straight off, hadn't insisted we were all delusional. She'd listened, calmly and silently, only asking occasional questions for clarification.

Her head snapped up and I could see the fire I'd been expecting starting to smolder. "Wait just a minute. You mean to tell me that you, all of you, have psychic powers and I'm jilted?"

Noah's lips quirked up in soft amusement. And I hated that mine did too.

She jumped up from the couch. "That is totally unfair! I want to see the ghosts. I want to have superpowers!"

"No," I heard Oliver's voice float through the room, "she really doesn't."

I looked over at Bronte. Her head still down. Curled into herself.

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