Sisters of Salt and Iron (The Sisters of Blood and Spirit, #2)

Written By: Kady Cross

Sisters of Salt and Iron (The Sisters of Blood and Spirit, #2)

Kady Cross




LARK


Ghosts are such douche bags.

My sister, Wren, was the exception to this rule, but other than her I’d never met a ghost that wasn’t a colossal pain in the ass. And this one was starting to seriously piss me off.

I hit the wall of the girls’ locker room hard, my head cracking the plaster. Fortunately, I had a hard head, and a high tolerance for wraith-inflicted pain. I dropped to the floor on my feet, and came at her swinging as the DJ in the gym played a bass-thumping dance song that shook my joints. My fist connected with her face hard enough to knock her off her feet—which was funny, because it wasn’t as though her boots actually touched the floor.

Truth be told, I wasn’t much for school dances, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Halloween, given that it was the one time of the year that the worlds of the dead and living merged. The veil weakened in the spring as well, but human celebrations and lore had given All Hallows’ Eve even more strength. Still, I would rather be dancing with my friends than getting the snot beat out of me by an angry grunge girl who had been dead longer than I’d been alive.

I was covered in salt dust, ghost-juice and plaster, and bleeding from a cut above my eye where she’d rammed me headfirst into a locker. I was dressed like Harley Quinn from Batman, so it only added to the costume.

“Listen, Courtney Love, you can’t be here. Why don’t you just move on? Whatever’s waiting for you has to be better than this.”

Really, who haunted a high school Halloween dance? No, wait—who haunted a high school at all? Seriously, you had to have lived a pretty lame life if the place that held the most pull for your spirit was Samuel Clemens High.

The ghost—her name was Daria Wilson, and she’d died when she crashed her car into a tree after the Halloween dance in ’91—rose up. “Says who?” she demanded. “You?”

I smiled, trying to ignore that I could see her brain glistening through the crater in her skull. Her hair was almost as white as mine beneath the blood and gore, but mine was natural. “That’s right.”

She glared at me, her eyes nothing but bottomless black pits. She opened her mouth, unhinging her jaw a good twelve inches. In the dank, yawning cavern of her mouth, her teeth were jagged razors, and her tongue rippled and writhed like a worm. She roared.

The scream of a vengeful spirit was like having your eardrums punctured while being tossed around in a tornado of rot. Her rancid breath burned my skin, and I could feel something warm and wet trickle from my left ear. My nose, too. I staggered forward as my left knee began to buckle.

She was not going to take me down.

The scream stopped abruptly. I almost fell down anyway from the release of it. I grabbed at the wall to steady myself.

“You can’t make me go, bitch,” she snarled, moving toward me. “If you could, you would have already.”

I lifted my gaze, swiping my hand under my nose to wipe the blood away. “I’m working on it, skank.”

Where the hell was my sister? Wren and our friends had gone off in search of the item that was so important it kept Daria here rather than where she was supposed to be.

Don’t ask me where we go when we’re dead. I’d only died once, and I didn’t get any farther than the halfway mark between this world and the next before getting pulled back. But I knew how to banish ghosts from this plane, and that was good enough for me.

Daria grabbed me by the throat, her fingers like steel clamps. I wheezed for air as my toes left the chipped tile floor. She lifted me like she wanted to hold me up to the light and get a better look.

I seized her wrist with my left hand, holding myself up to ease the strain on my neck. Then, I shoved my right hand into the hole in her head. Wet tissue and sharp bone filled my palm as I closed my fingers into a fist.

Daria cried out.

I fell to the floor, this time landing on my knees. Hard. I was too busy sucking in air to cry or even swear.

My hand burned, ectoplasm sizzling as it met the salt residue on my skin. Ghosts didn’t like salt.

My phone made a noise—like a groan. I took it out of my boot and risked taking a look while Daria was keening in the corner. The text screen came up. It was from Wren—we’d been working on her communicating through electronics since we couldn’t actually project words at each other.

On my weight. I hoped that was a typo. I shoved the phone back into my boot.

If my knees had been capable of sound, they would have sobbed as I pushed myself to my feet. I limped to the sink and turned on the faucet, shoving my hand into the cold water. The pain rinsed away with the salt—thank God.

Something grabbed at the back of my neck. I looked up into the mirror and saw Daria behind me. I twisted, just in time to avoid having my head smashed into the glass, and threw a wide punch into the side of her head—the gooey side again.

She stumbled back, giving me room to come at her again. This time, I hit her as hard and fast as I could before drawing back and landing a solid kick to her chest that sent her crashing into the same wall she’d knocked me into just minutes before.

She recovered quickly, shaking it off. When she stared at me, her blacked-out eyes sparked with rage. She looked murderous.

And scared. I got that a lot from ghosts. Ones that had been around for a while usually figured out how to mess with humans in one way or another, but they were always surprised to meet one who could mess back. I didn’t know why I could do these things, no more than I understood why I could interact with my dead twin. It didn’t matter—I could.

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