I was still thinking about the curse placed on Jacob when we arrived at the Clerkenwell school. It hadn't taken long by carriage but there was only so much silence three people in close confines can endure before time starts to stretch painfully. George had tried to instigate a conversation with me but I wasn't in the right mood for chatter so he spent the remainder of the journey loading the pistol. Before we climbed out of the carriage, he placed his coat strategically over his arm and hand to hide the weapon.
The school's maid showed us into the drawing room where we waited for Blunt. The giant figure of the schoolmaster soon filled the doorway. "Ah, Mr. Culvert, Miss Chambers, you've returned." His wary gaze flicked around the room. "But where is your sister, Miss Chambers? I'd hoped you had come to organize the séance." He bent down to my level and that's when I noticed the puffy, sagging skin beneath his reddened eyes. "The ghost still haunts me," he whispered.
I raised an eyebrow at Jacob. He gave me a smug smile. "We're not here about the ghost," I said to Blunt. "Mr. Culvert and I have some very serious questions to ask you."
"Yes," said George. He squared up to the much larger man and I wanted to cheer his bravery but then I remembered he held a loaded pistol. A weapon can make a person twice as courageous but sometimes twice as stupid too. I wasn't sure which camp George fell into. "Do you recall on our last visit we mentioned a book on demonology had been stolen from my library?"
"I do," Blunt hedged.
"We think you used the information within it to summon a shape-shifting demon from the Otherworld."
Oh dear, George had about as much tact as Jacob. Perhaps it was a male thing. His accusation certainly had an affect on Blunt. The schoolmaster bristled and his beard took on a life of its own as he spluttered an objection.
"How dare you accuse me of such a thing! Get out. Get out of my school." He stabbed a finger at the open door.
"Not until we have answers," George said.
Blunt stepped closer to him so that they were chest to chest, or would have been if the height difference weren't so pronounced. George only came up to the other man's armpit. He swallowed and a bead of sweat popped out on his pale brow.
Blunt chuckled, a nasty sound that gurgled up from his throat. "Stupid boy. What did you possibly hope to achieve by coming here?"
"The truth," George said without blinking.
Jacob sidled over to them. "You'd better say something before he gets himself clubbed by one of Blunt's paws. Use your charm," he added when I gave him a questioning look.
We were in trouble if we were relying on my charm. "Er, Mr. Blunt," I began, "we've just come from Leviticus Price's house and he claimed you were asking some rather specific questions about demonology."
"Did he?" He turned eyes the color of a stagnant pond on me and I recoiled at the viciousness in them. He wasn't trying to hide it now. "And what makes you think you can believe him, Miss Chambers? Did a ghost just happen to whisper it into your ear?"
"Yes. Just like he's now telling me you are the one who summoned the demon." Blunt clearly believed in spirits, demons and the Otherworld so why not use that belief to frighten him?
"What?" he bellowed, his bravado rapidly fading behind his facial hair.
"Spirits know everything, Mr. Blunt. They know what you had for breakfast today, what you do in your office when the door's closed and what you do at night in the girl's dormitory."
The big man rocked back on his heels and his face turned the same sickly color as his eyes.
"So tell us, where is the demon now?"
YOU ARE READING
Seventeen year-old spirit medium Emily Chambers has a problem. Actually, she has several. As if seeing dead people isn't a big enough social disadvantage, she also has to contend with an escaped demon and a handsome ghost with a secret past. And the...