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.The flow of light sputtered and then stopped.Gustav dropped his arms, panting.“You son of a bitch,” Danny muttered.“You were just using me all this time? You’re just like every other adult in my life.”Gustav did not reply.His expression was grim.Bedrik stood up slowly and brushed the dirt from his pants.“Is that the best you have, old man? You’ve breached my circle, destroyed my shades, but I’m still standing.”“Not for long.”Bedrik laughed.“Oh, Gustav, come on.You’ve no power left.You’ve drained both yourself and the boy.You can’t possibly win.Stand down.”Gustav wiped sweat from his brow.“Danny was not just a battery.He is also an anchor.”Bedrik’s smile vanished.“Edward,” he hollered.“Kill the bitch!”“No!” Danny struggled against his invisible bonds.The man standing next to his mother picked up an onyx knife and lowered it to her throat.“You are too late, Bedrik,” Gustav warned.“This is your end.”Behind Gustav, the night surged forward, a massive, obsidian sheet that blocked out the tombstones, the trees, even the sky.The darkness had a human face—Martin Bedrik’s.Danny felt a familiar fear.This was what he’d encountered the night he’d left Gustav’s, and at his home.He heard the sounds again, coming from everywhere and nowhere at once.This time, they were much louder, and when the darkness spoke, it was like thunder.MICHAEL…“Oh shit.” Bedrik scrambled backward.“You wanted family reunion, yes?” Gustav stood unmoving as the darkness flowed around him and raced towards the other magician.“Your brother found Danny.He has been anchored to him ever since.Following him around like a lost puppy.Not always able to breach the gulf, but tonight, I give him help.Get enough power from the boy to bring your brother through.”MICHAEL…YOU LEFT ME THERE…SO COLD…WHY…“Martin,” Bedrik stammered, “you have to understand.You have to—”YOU ARE THE BAD TWIN, MICHAEL…Without another word, Bedrik turned and ran.The darkness raced after him, enveloping him like a shroud.Bedrik shrieked.His face reddened as the black energies wrapped around him.He staggered backwards, trying to pull it off, but the shade seethed and swarmed, coalescing into a maelstrom of shadow intent on only one thing—revenge.Danny watched in horror, and realized that Gustav was laughing.Michael Bedrik screamed again as the darkness smothered him.A mouth formed of shadow and lashed out, biting deep into his body and ripping away the flesh.It bit down again and again, devouring him with an insatiable lust, a gluttonous spirit incapable of mercy and vengeful to the last.Bedrik looked at Danny, his eyes begging for help.A moment later, the blackness feasted on his eyes, too.Danny closed his own eyes, trying to block the images.He couldn’t stop the chewing sounds.When he opened them again, there was nothing left of Mr.Bedrik, not even his clothes.The swirling black mass shifted again and again, finished with its feast.Danny felt its rage, a cold and bitter furnace of energies.Gustav stepped forward.“Now you go back to where you came from.”THE PRISON…“Nyet.Death is not a prison.You are free.Go to the next place and return here no more.”Gustav banished Martin Bedrik’s spirit and the shadow vanished.Silence returned to the cemetery.The lightning bugs fell to the ground, dead.Darkness, normal darkness, closed in on them again.Danny took a hesitant step and found that he could move.He ran to his mother and untied her.She was unconscious.“Will she be okay?”“Da.She will wake up soon.You should get her home.”Danny glanced around the battleground.The man with the knife lay at the foot of the crypt.“Gustav, what just happened here? What was that thing?”“Martin Bedrik’s spirit has been following you,” Gustav said.“You found each other, yes? It latched on to you.Tried to use your power to come back and get revenge.But it did not know how and neither did you.I helped it tonight.I knew we would need him to help defeat his brother.”“You used him,” Danny muttered, “just like you used me.”“Danny—”“Don’t say another fucking word.I heard what you told Mr.Bedrik.I thought you were my friend.I believed in you.You lied to me.Gave me those presents.Told me I was magic.But I’m not, am I? All this time, all you wanted was my power.You used me.Wanted what I could give you.You’re just like everyone else.Just like Mom stealing my money.I hate you.”Gustav nodded sadly.“I wish I’d never met you.Wish I’d never found that stupid body.Wish none of this had ever happened.”Gustav spoke softly.“You wish to forget?”“What do you think, you commie asshole? Of course I do.Matt.My Dad…”Before Danny could react, Gustav reached out and touched his forehead.“Sleep.”Danny slumped over, as unconscious as his mother.Gustav caught him as he fell.“You will fall again, Danny, and the next time, I will not be able to catch you.” His voice choked with emotion.“I wish that I could, but I cannot.Even I am not that powerful, yes? If I could, I would fix it.I would move Hook Mountain for you.You are like son to me.But this will not happen.”He loaded the boy and his mother into the police car and drove them home.They did not wake as he tucked them into their beds.He collected the presents he’d given to Danny from the boy’s room, and sobbed when he flipped through Danny’s Book of Shadows [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]