Amy closed her eyes, said a few words and poked her arm. As she pulled the pin out, her face visibly paled–even in the light of a streetlight.
Haley frowned. “Are you okay?”
Amy nodded slowly. “It’s not a difficult spell, but I don’t have as much power to work with without transforming. Could all of you hold out your arms?”
Camille extended her arm halfway to Amy, asking, “What are you–”
Amy grabbed Camille’s forearm, and poked her with the pin. “This.”
“Hey,” Camille said, and then her eyes widened. She looked around the park as if seeing it for the first time.
Amy guided her down to the ground. “Sit for now. If you see something, tell me before you do anything.”
Haley had watched Camille’s reaction just like the rest of us had. She stepped in front of Amy, asking, “What did you do?”
Amy’s left hand, the one without the pin, jerked toward her necklace before she stopped it. “I’m temporarily sharing my resistance to magic with you. We’ll have to work up something better when we get back.”
She held out her hand, inviting Haley to extend her arm. Haley did, and Amy pulled out her pin.
Within a minute or two, she’d finished with almost everyone–piercing Daniel’s, Izzy’s and Vaughn’s skin without a problem.
I went second to last and as the pin bit me, I understood why Camille had stared.
The world looked different. The gem on Amy’s necklace didn’t appear to be in any way unusual before the pin pricked me. Afterward, it glowed, illuminating everything around us with a low, reddish light.
Weirder, things appeared to move–not much, but a little, and only out of the corner of my eye. What exactly was I seeing? Did Amy look at the world this way all the time?
I was about to ask her when I realized that she was talking to Jaclyn, or vice versa.
Jaclyn’s lips curled as she looked at the the needle. “That’s completely unsanitary, and it won’t get through my skin.”
Amy held out the pin. “Then lick it.”
At Jaclyn’s frown, she said, “We can’t have you fall under their sway. Think about what it would mean if someone controlled you.”
Jaclyn took the pin, gave it a lick, and made a face. “That is simply disgusting.”
Amy took the pin.
The drive home probably felt like an acid trip. I say probably because I have no idea what an acid trip would be like. Fortunately, we had Vaughn along.
“It’s a lot like LSD,” he told Amy. “Not exactly like LSD because everything mostly still makes sense, but close.”
We had too many people in the van for everyone to have seats, so Izzy, Jaclyn and Cassie voluntarily sat on the floor, putting Vaughn and Amy in the second row. Haley and I were in the front. Daniel and Camille sat in the far back.
If the difference between this and LSD was that it made sense, I didn’t want to find out what drugs were actually like.
I kept seeing faces in the road.
One of them smiled at me, and dissolved into the pavement. I made a noise somewhere between a grunt and a squeak, and Haley turned toward me.
Not daring to do anything else, I gripped the steering wheel, and muttered, “Yes.”
From behind us, Amy asked, “Are you okay? I can drive.”
“I’m fine. Do you see this stuff all the time?”
“Yes.” Amy leaned forward. “Look, don’t worry about what you see unless it’s actually on the road. If it’s in the road or anything else, it’s a spirit. They’re everywhere.”
“Okay.” I took a breath, telling myself that all these creatures were here normally.
That sparked a memory. I’d briefly been possessed by a spirit of chaos. This felt a little like that. I’d been able to see spirits then too.
I settled into driving, feeling a little better after that.
Counting myself lucky that we’d taken so long to leave, I found the highway between Denver and Castle Rock to be almost entirely empty.
Despite seeing a ghostly buffalo head floating off to the side of the road, I did manage to get the van safely back to the Castle Rock compound without hitting anything.
A coyote watched us as we took the side entrance into the compound. I felt fairly sure it was an actual coyote instead of the Native American trickster god.
On the other hand, given the night so far, I knew better than to make assumptions.
I parked in the parking garage, and we all got out, preparing to head to our rooms. Amy stopped us as we stood in front of the elevator. “We need to meet in my lab tomorrow. I’ll work up a charm or something.”
We split up to go to our rooms. Well that was the plan anyway. I went to my lab. As I’d said, I needed to get into the Heroes League server and find out where Vaughn’s email had gone.
I’d barely gotten any steps down the hall when Haley took my arm.
“Are you going to your lab?” She walked next to me with a quick, purposeful stride.
“Just for a little while.”
“I’m going to go with you.” She took my hand, but from the way she concentrated and glanced behind us, it didn’t seem like a romantic gesture.
I opened my mouth to argue, but realized that she wasn’t going to listen to me.
When push came to shove, I couldn’t say I wasn’t grateful. As familiar as the rock corridors had become after the last few weeks, I didn’t feel comfortable that night.
The windowless halls felt too small, and too dark even with Amy’s sight.
It didn’t take long to get to the labs. Contrary to what I expected though, we weren’t the only ones there. We walked into the common room to hear the unmistakable buzz of a printer.
Light shone from the second lab down to the right of entrance. A tall, blond man stood kissing a woman–Gordon, Gifford’s older brother and his girlfriend Stephanie.
I wondered what they were printing.