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.We'll never tellSavannah the truth.You're giving her one last momentwith her mother, Paige.I know you understand how muchthat means to her.""Oh, God." I rubbed my hands over my face."O — okay.Do it.Hurry, please."Cortez cast the spell.It seemed to take forever.Twice hefell into a coughing fit, and my heart seized.How badlywas he hurt? What if he — No, I couldn't think of that.Icouldn't.Finally, he finished.When I opened my eyes and lookeddown, I saw my own short fingers, my own silver rings."Did it — " I glanced up at him."Did it work?""If you need to ask, then you won't see it.The illusiondepends on the viewer's inclination to believe."I closed my eyes and forced myself past my own doubt.Ineeded this to work.I needed to become Eve.When I looked again, my fingers shimmered, thenlengthened, nails growing long and manicured, ringsdisappearing.I nodded and got to my feet, expectingdisorientation but finding none.My body moved as italways had.As Cortez said, the illusion was in the eye ofthe beholder.Since the front door was now inaccessible, I joggedaround to the side entrance.As I swung through, I sawCortez limping along, using the side of the house forsupport."Go on," he said."I'll meet you downstairs.""No," I said."You need to stay here.""I won't let Savannah see me, Paige.The illusion will becomplete.I'm only coming along as backup, in case of anemergency."I hurried to him and put my hand against his chest,halting his progress."Please.Stay out here.You're hurt.""I can still cast — ""No, please." I met his eyes."If something goes wrong,you'll never get away in time.I need to know you're okay.I'll be fine."The house creaked.Shingles slid off, one striking me onthe shoulder.Cortez nudged me toward the house.I didn'tneed a second hint.With one backward glance, I wasgone.I raced down to the basement.From inside the furnaceroom, Savannah continued her pleas, voice rising andfalling.I pressed my hands to my face and inhaled deeply,fighting to control my hammering heart.I had tobelieve.She had to believe.When I rounded the corner into the room, Savannahstopped.She went still, completely still, as if sensing methere but fearing to turn and face disappointment."Savannah?" I said.To my ears, my voice still sounded like my own and, asshe turned, I nearly broke and ran.Instead, I held mybreath and waited.Her eyes met mine.She blinked, thenrubbed her palms over her eyes."Mom?""I heard you calling," I said."Mom!" She leaped from her knees and ran to me, armsflinging around my chest.Burying her head against myshoulder, she started to sob."Oh, Mom, it's such a mess.I…I did everything wrong."Instinctively I reached to stroke her hair, forgetting who Iwas supposed to be and speaking as myself."You didn'tdo anything wrong.Nothing at all.""Yes, I did.I made Paige stay here with me, and nowshe's gone." Her voice broke in a sob."I—I think she'sdead, Mom.It's my fault.I made her stay and they killedher.""No," I said sharply, putting my hand under her chin."Paige is fine.You need to get out of this house,Savannah, before it collapses."As if to emphasize the point, the house began to shake.Splinters of wood popped from the beams overhead."I—I didn't mean to do this.I just kept casting andcasting and things kept coming, but they weren't you.Ionly wanted you.""I'm here now." I kissed her forehead, realizing as I didthat, for once, I had to bend to do it."But you have to go,Savannah.I love you very much, but I can't stay.Youknow that.""Oh, Mom.I miss you so much."My voice caught."I know.I miss you, too.So much."A beam broke over the furnace, then another.Chunks ofthe ceiling fell through."You have to go, Savannah," I said."Please."I hugged her tight, so tight her ribs crackled in protest.She gave a hiccuping laugh, then reached up to kiss mycheek."Can I see you again?" she asked.I shook my head."I'm sorry, sweetheart, but it onlyworks once.I'll be with you, though.Even if you can't seeme.You know that." I hugged her again and whispered inher ear, the words flowing unbidden, as if someone elsewas speaking."You were my whole world, Savannah.The best thing I ever did."She gave me a crushing hug, then stepped back.Theceiling above groaned."Go," I said."I'll be right here watching.Go on."She walked backward, eyes never leaving mine.Overhead, the beams began to pop like matchsticks."Hurry!" I called."Up the stairs now.Run!""I love you, Mom.""I love you too, baby."She threw me a kiss, then turned and ran.I waited,listening to her footsteps, needing to make sure she wasgone before I bolted.I heard Cortez shout.HeardSavannah answer.Then the ceiling caved in.Chapter 50The Eighth DayI'M STILL NOT QUITE SURE HOW I MADE IT OUT.SHEER luck, I suppose.Guess I was entitled to onemiracle.I managed to duck inside a crawlspace while thehouse collapsed around me.After that, well, after that is abit of a blur, but I made it out with only cuts and bruises.Savannah never realized I'd impersonated her mother.She assumed I'd been trapped in the house whilesearching for her.As Cortez said, we'll never tell her.Shedeserves that fantasy, one I envied her, a few last minuteswith the person who meant more to her than anyone in theworld.We still had to do Savannah's ceremony in a few daysbut, with Leah and Nast dead, no one would impede thatnow.So it was all over.All over.I should feel relief atthose words.Yet I couldn't, because it truly was over.Mylife as I'd always known it was over.I didn't get my happy ending [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]