Grave Visions (Alex Craft, #4)(8)

By the time Jenson ran out of questions and turned away with a discouraged sneer, I was trembling so hard I nearly fell over my feet standing still. I reached out with my mind to put the shade back, but then paused.

“Emma said you were anxious and distracted before the snakes appeared. Why?”

Despite the fact I hadn’t yet pulled back my magic, it was starting to wear thin and the shade had faded further, so I had to strain to hear him over my chattering teeth.

“I took Glitter.”

“Glitter?” Like the sparkly craft supply? That didn’t make sense. I glanced at Jenson, who turned back toward me, an equally confused look on his face. “What is glitter?”

Jenson just shrugged, but Jeremy answered me. “A drug. A guy gave it to me at the club Art Barn. He said it would up my creativity and focus.”

I repeated this for Jenson, whose frown only deepened. My expression matched his. “You said they ran a tox screen?”

He glanced at the file in his hand, scanning pages before nodding. “Yeah, none of the usual suspects popped in his blood work.” He closed the file. “I’ll have them rerun it—to look for both more exotic venoms and this . . . Glitter.”

I nodded. It sounded like a plan to me. I was just turning back to the shade when outside the morgue and down the hall the elevator dinged to announce it had arrived in the basement.

Jenson’s face drained of color, a hint of panic making his eyes a little too wide.

“Shut it down,” he said, stepping forward, but my circle stopped him, denying him access to the gurneys.

I shuddered as he collided with the edge of my barrier and sent magical shock waves through me. Withdrawing my magic, I released Jeremy, but I couldn’t help feeling we should have gotten more information from him. We would never get another chance. As flimsy as his shade was this time, I doubted I’d be able to raise him again, regardless of how much magic I summoned.

As the depleted shade sank back into the body, my living heat followed the well-worn path back through my psyche into my very being. For a single moment it filled me with warmth, and then it seemed to freeze, falling like an icy rock into my center. I cringed, knowing what was coming. Focusing on my shields, I let the vines grow closed around my psyche again. As the gaps closed, the world went black, my vision fading and then winking out altogether. I fumbled blindly for my charm bracelet and my extra shields. With my shields in place, I dropped the circle, and then hesitated. I hated having to rely on my other senses as my eyes were useless, but with as much magic as I’d expended, I wouldn’t be seeing anything for several hours—not with my natural eyes, at least.

I heard Jenson approach and push one of the gurneys out of the circle, one wheel squeaking as it rolled. Outside, in the hall, high-pitched voices spoke animatedly, drawing closer.

“You want to glamour yourself invisible until you’re out of here?” Jenson asked, his voice a hissed whisper.

“Uh . . .” I started and then stopped. Jenson knew I was fae. He’d realized it before I had. Hell, he’d sensed the change as soon as the spell my father had bound me in had first started breaking down. He could tell I was Sleagh Maith—the ruling line in Faerie—but I had no idea how much more he knew. From his comments over the last few months, it was clear he thought I’d intentionally been hiding my nature. But the truth was, despite Sleagh Maith’s reputation for being great at glamour, I had no clue how to do anything with my fae heritage.

When I didn’t answer—or, presumably, disappear from sight—Jenson growled under his breath. “Well, then, help me with that gurney so we can get out of here.”

I frowned in the general direction I assumed the remaining gurney sat. While my friends were aware of the consequences my grave magic imposed on my eyes, I didn’t exactly advertise, and complete blindness meant I’d really pushed myself. Still, I had my pride, and the main room of the morgue was far from cluttered. It was a straight shot from the circle to the cold room. Jenson had a head start on me, so if I moved carefully, he’d be back out to take the gurney before I ran into the doors . . . Hopefully.

With that thought in mind, I reached out, groping for the push bar of the gurney.

The steel was cold against my palms. And then scorchingly hot.

Then the world fell out from under me.

Chapter 3

“Craft.” A voice said, piercing the darkness. “Craft, can you hear me?”

A stinging pain flared along my cheek. I flinched, or tried to, but my eyes were already closed and something cold and hard was behind my head. No, not just my head. All of me.

Another sting—someone slapping my cheek.

I pried open my eyes, but couldn’t see anything beyond the contorting mix of colorful energy swirling in front of my face. To make matters worse, grave essence clawed at me from all sides, threatening to overwhelm me as the chill searched for a place under my skin.

Squeezing my eyes closed against the chaos, I focused on my shields. Whatever had just happened, it had blown through my outermost shield. Not good. Concentrating hard, I imagined my barrier growing to an impenetrable wall once again. As the gaps closed, the cold wind tearing around me died, the grave moving farther away. When I opened my eyes again, the room was eerily black, but then it had been before I . . . what? Fainted?

“What the hell just happened, Craft?” Jenson asked at the same time a woman asked, “Are you okay?”

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