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Updated: Nov 29, 2021

Chapter Forty-One


I’ll see you soon, doll.

My heart lurches with an irregular beat as I recall the the shadow walker who wanted my skin that first week of school. Though there’s no hint of that particular foe, his words still crawl over me ominously. “There’s another one up there,” I hiss, nodding in the direction we’re meandering toward.

Two?” Sab whisper-shrieks. “I thought you said you hadn’t seen any!”

“Time keeps moving forward, Sab. Things change.”

“Why are they back?!”

“If I knew, I would tell you. I don’t think they see us, though.”

The shadow walker I don’t recognize has malice written across his expression as he scrutinizes the passing faces like he’s looking for someone. Tuesday’s emerald head bobs ahead, and his gaze passes over her as she walks side by side with Reenie. Tomorrow trudges along behind them. I bolt through the crowd, dragging Sabbath through the flurry of classmates.

As soon as I’m sure we’re out of the vicinity of both students and invisible shadow minions, I make my move. Tomorrow’s trademark bubblegum pops with a snap as I yank her into an empty corridor.

“What do you want, Spooky Sue?” she asks, giving me a once-over.

“I’m ghosting out again.”

“Oh, I can tell. What’s that got to do with me?”

“I need your help.”

Tomorrow frowns, clearly suspicious. Her jaw works as she slowly starts chewing her gum again, considering me.

“Do you have a knife on you?” I ask.

“Was there a scenario you imagined in which I didn’t?”

I remind myself that the dry judgment in Tomorrow Jones’ piercing eyes is just part of her face.

The face of my savior, if I’m lucky.

“Awesome,” I nod.

“Specter-cular,” she agrees slowly, sounding the joke out.

Shoving my sleeve up my arm, I point down at my pale skin. “I need you to carve a rune into real human flesh.” This is the moment she’s been waiting for, I’m sure of it.

Tomorrow Jones shocks me. “I can’t, in good conscience, carve a rune into you that I don’t understand the power of,” she frowns.

My stomach sinks. “Since when do you do anything in good conscience?”

“Since never. Goes to show how much I’ve got your back, Carrow.”

Plan A and a half it is.

“Well,” I ask, looking over at Sabbath for moral support, “will you draw it on me, then? He did that for a while and it worked as a short term solution.”

I don’t need to say Soren’s name for her to know who I mean. Unfortunately, Tomorrow just shakes her head. “No can do. Still too much of a risk.”

I’m at a loss. “But you put runes in people’s coffee, Tomorrow,” I argue. “You’ve practically twisted off the balls of half the guys at Spellfall!”

“Yeah, and it’s an art form I take seriously, Mika. Do you know how much I had to practice before I started executing that kind of magic on the regular?”

I cringe to think who her earliest subjects were.

“Okay,” I say with a resigned sigh, folding my arms together. My limbs—when physically present—ache with the tension of holding back the perpetual chill. It’s cold, here in the land of the half-living. “Could I draw it for you, at least—”

“Sure. Draw it.”

Ripping a scrap of paper from one of my notebooks, I hurriedly sketch a rudimentary outline of what I remember of the rune. I can feel the shapes against my skin, but Tomorrow’s right. There are nuances—proportions and angles—that always remained invisible to my eyes, forgettable to my untrained senses.

When I finish, I hold the paper to her with less confidence than I wish. Snatching it, Tomorrow examines it for a beat. “Yeah, I don’t know what any of this”—her fingertip rotates toward a mess of lines that, frankly, I’d made up—“is. I’ll take it to the Rune Dragoons and see what they think. Our meeting is next Wednesday.”

“That’s too late,” Sabbath pleads.

Tomorrow’s gaze maneuvers apathetically between us. “Look, I have already walked through the utter despair of not being proper Runes Brood, so I know the depths of devastation you’re feeling right now at my inability. Though it pains me to say, there is only one person who can—”

“Are you seriously recommending I go to Soren, Tomorrow?” I snap.

“No. I’m seriously recommending you evaluate your priorities. While death is a beautiful, somber tomb... no offense, Mika, I don’t think you’re prepared for it.” She shakes the paper. “I’ll see what I can do, but frankly it won’t be much. Not in time.”

Giving me one last pitiful look, Tomorrow wanders off.

“Ughhhh,” I groan at the ceiling. My mind spins through any other game plan it can summon. As tempting as it is to just draw the seerforsaken thing myself, I don’t think I’ve got the conjuring power to make it stick—not without unbinding myself.

Sab pats my back sympathetically and then freezes. “Wait.” Dropping her bag clumsily to the ground, she slides out a folder and rifles through the papers. “Maybe there’s something... yes!”

She exhales triumphantly as she whips out a graded paper and taps her finger on one of the questions with a big red slash through it. “Communion with Corpses quiz a week ago! I only remembered because I got this one wrong. When someone has been resurrected too many times and their body starts shedding away from their spirit—”


“There’s a weed you can chew that helps with tangibility. It’s not a cure, and you can’t use it all the time or it’ll turn your skin green and aura chartreuse, but it’s an option. It might buy you enough time to remember your pride isn’t more important than your life.”

I choose to ignore this last remark. “What’s it called?” I ask, peering down at Sab’s quiz where the professor has circled the right answer.

“Banshee’s breath,” she answers as I read the words aloud at the same time.

“Promising name,” I note, looking up at her. “So do you think we can snatch some from one of your classes?”

Sab shakes her head. “No, but I can think of someone who would probably have it.”

“Great,” I nod enthusiastically. “Who?”

After a dramatic pause, Sabbath grimaces. “Enzo.”

* * *

I’m leaning up against the stone wall, trying to look like a casual drug user when Enzo peels back the door to his dorm room. “So what does it cost me to get hooked up with banshee’s breath?” I ask.

Enzo’s eyes crinkle up in the corners as he laughs disbelievingly. Shaking his head, he lifts a brow in question.

“It’s medicinal,” I insist.

Medicinal?” He blinks a few times. “Banshee’s breath isn’t approved for healing use, little liar.”

“Well I know that, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have medicinal purposes.”

With a forced sigh, Enzo motions me into his room with the tilt of his head. His eyes sparkle, latched on me as I tuck myself up against one of the posts of his bed. I watch him close the door with a surreptitious glance into the hallway. “Were you followed?” he asks.

Folding one arm over the other, I snort. “No, I wasn’t followed. No one cares, Enzo.”

“But doesn’t it feel good to be bad, just for a moment?”

He’s playing with me. I’ll bite.

Giving him a feisty look, I play out the familiarity we’ve shared for years. “Look, it’s important, Enz. Like, really important.” I don’t want to sound desperate, but frankly I am. “Can you please just hook me up?”

“I’m rather busy, Mika.”

“You let me in.”

His room smells of pickled pumpkin and the dulled aroma of an herb garden. He has three different cauldrons going. If Enzo weren’t such a prolific little potions maker, I’d have happily assumed he was making a romantic three-course dinner.

“Just give me what I need, and I’ll leave. I have money. I’ll give you whatever you want.”

He sizes me up with those beautiful brown eyes. His lips twitch. “What are your symptoms?”

“Currently? Hunger, annoyance, and an oncoming cough if these fumes keep getting to me. Come on, Enzo. You owe me after all those times you asked Amandine for help with your love potions.” My eyes widen imploringly.

“I would have used you, but you didn’t ‘approve’,” he notes, using air quotes around the last word.

I shrug. “Well there’s your problem, Enz. I don’t want to be used, by you or anyone else. Just asked.” I frown. “Also, that’s an improper use of air quotes.”

Reaching deep into his pocket, Enzo withdraws a small vial and bounces it between his fingers as he nears me. I eye the thing, wondering if it contains what I’ve come here for—essence of banshee’s breath or distilled banshee’s elixir or whatever.

“Why do you need it so badly, Mika?” Enzo asks, voice slipping into a whisper.

Snapping out of my little game, I clear my throat irritably. “None of your business.”

Enzo eyes me, not ready to stop wielding the power of our past. His gaze narrows in on my eyes, and then my lips. He knows he has me cornered, and an impish smile plays on his face. It’s a smile that’s gotten me into trouble with him one too many times before. But for all of Enzo’s faults, he isn’t intentionally cruel. There is no real threat here, only strategy. “Come to the party, Mika,” he says.

I sigh. “Don’t make this weird.”

“That’s my price. Come, and I’ll give you banshee’s breath then and there, free of charge. I just want you to have some fun. You’ve seemed so miserable.”

I can’t disagree there.

Staring Enzo down, I search his eyes for ill intention and find none. He genuinely seems concerned, though he also doesn’t seem inclined to budge on the terms of his proposition.

I wonder how I’m going to maintain these types of deals for the rest of my life, just so I can actually belong to the land of the living like a proper resurrected soul.

“Alright,” I say slowly, already regretting it. “I’ll come, but only if you can get my friends in, too.”


“Fine,” I relent. “I’ll stop by. For a minute.”

“That’s all I ask,” Enzo says, a strange sort of relief rippling over his face. “And hey, I’ll try to convince the Potions Master to make a virgin potion for you and Sab so you can at least pretend to enjoy my concoctions.”


Enzo smirks. “It’s what the enchantless call something without any devious substances in it while they pretend to be devious. Sounded fitting.”

“So a vestal potion,” I clarify, quirking up my brows in suspicion of whatever surely uncomfortable thing Enzo is insinuating.

“Virgin just has a nice ring to it.” Enzo shrugs, amusing himself with a chuckle. “I also said it because I knew you’d do that with your face.”

“What? What’d I do?”

A series of outrageous expressions cross Enzo’s face in quick succession. He looks totally ridiculous.

“I definitely did not do that.”

“You did. You always do. One of the things I miss.”

Enz has that glimmer in his eye that I miss, and I shoot him a warning look. “I’ll be at your party, Enzo. But only for the banshee’s breath. See ya.”

Shrugging lazily, he leads me to the door and gives me one last unreserved smirk. Oh, Enzo. Crushingly handsome. Crushingly wrong for me. My chest pangs lamely, longing for the innocent comfort of our relationship, when I was just a silly fifteen-year-old with a willful infatuation and disbelieving heart.

I can say this for Enzo: at least he never murdered me.

Someone else’s face appears inexplicably in my mind, and I banish the thought of both warlocks from my head. With a quick wave, I turn on my heel and walk determinedly back to my own room.

All I have to do is get through this party without making a scene, and I just might have a chance at surviving.

I love this scene with Enzo and Mika. I think they were really good for each other for a season, and seasons change. It doesn't necessarily diminish the power or value of what you share with someone. This part always makes me want to write a prequel with Mika and Enzo together! (But don't tell Soren that, LOL.)

xx Jessa


Copyright © 2019 Jessa Lucas

All rights reserved. This work or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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