Tuesday, March 5, 2019
The Hunters: Phantom Chapter 30
Stefan cloud interchangecapable a maniac al the way brook to the boardinghouse. I cant believe I forgot to tel him that his name had been cal ed, he verbalize for what felt worry the hundredth eon. I cant believe we left him al ane(a).Slow down, Meredith told him, demonstrateing to incur mo nononics sleeping body steady in the backseat as Stefan whipped around a corner, tires squealing. Youre going way too fast.Were in a hurry, Stefan growled, yanking on the bicycle to make a touchy undecomposed. Alaric kneaded around in the passenger seat and gave Meredith a panicky facial gesture as Stefan narrowly baffled a garbage truck. She sighed. She knew he was trying to make up for his mistake, for non tel ing them immediately that Matts name had appeared in the herb shop, further kil ing them al in a race to fixate home wasnt exactly the solution. Besides, although they probably would make up done things differently if theyd hold outn, it capability not incur changed the step upcome for Matt. It wasnt as if their precautions had saved either Bonnie or Elena.At least youve got vampire reflexes, she verbalise, much to reassure Alaric than out of any particular confidence in Stefans driving abilities.Shed insisted on being the one sitting in the back with Matt, and now she turned her attention to him. She put a restraining hand on his chest so he wouldnt go tumbling to the floor as the car jerked and swerved.He was so stil . None of the twitching and eye movements that prevalent y went with sleep, bonnie the steady shal ow rise and fal of his breathing. He wasnt even snoring. And she knew from dwell trips as far back as sixth grade that Matt snored like a buzz saw. Always. Meredith never cried. Not even when the whisk happened. And she wasnt going to start now, not when her friends privationed her calm and focused to try to figure out how to save them. that if she had been the kind of girl who cried, instead of the kind of girl who strat egized, she would have been sobbing. And even now, the breath caught in her throat a little painful y, until she schooled herself into impassive calm once again.She was the solely one left. Of the four old friends whod gone through school and summers and adolescence and al the horrors the phantasmal world could throw at them, she was the whole one the phantom hadnt captured. Yet. Meredith seize her teeth and held Matt steady. Stefan pul ed up and parked in introduce up of theboardinghouse, having somehow avoided causing any damage to other cars or pedestrians on the way. Alaric and Meredith started to inch Matt careful y out of the car, looping his armor around their necks and slowly shifting him forward into a half-standing position. But Stefan apparently grabbed Matt extraneous from them and threw him everyplace his shoulder.Lets go, he said, and stalked off toward the boardinghouse, intimately balancing Matts unconscious body with one hand, not side of meat back.Hes aim kind of a strange guy, Alaric commented, watching Stefan alertly. The sunshine caught the stubble on Alarics unshaven chin and it glinted with a touch of gold. He turned toward Meredith and gave her a rueful, disarming grin. Once more into the breach he said. Meredith took his hand, warm and loyal in her own.Come on, she said.Once they were in the boardinghouse, Stefan clomped now upstairs to perplex Matt with the other bodies the other sleepers, Meredith reminded herself fiercely. Meredith and Alaric, hand in hand, turned toward the kitchen. As she pushed the door open, Meredith heard Mrs. Flowerss character.Very useful indeed, my dear, she was saying, a warm strike off of approval in her voice. Youve done very wel . Im so grateful.Meredith gaped. At the kitchen turn off with Mrs. Flowers, cool and calm and pretty in a blue linen dress, sit Dr. Celia Conner, sipping tea.Hel o, Alaric. Hel o, Meredith, said Celia. Her dark eyeball bored cool y into Merediths. Youl nev er believe what Ive found.What? said Alaric eagerly, letting go of Merediths hand. Her heart sank.Celia reached into a tote bag sitting by her chair and pul ed out a thick check bound in ragged browned leather. She smiled triumphantly and announced, Its a book on phantoms. Dr. Beltram ended up move me to Dalcrest Col ege, which actual y has a very comprehensive opening ection of texts on the paranormal.I suggest we adjourn to the den, Mrs. Flowers said,where we can be more comfortable, and examine its contents together.They moved to the den, but Stefan, when he joined them, did not seem any more comfortable.Different types of phantoms, he said, taking the book from Celia and flipping rapidly through the pages. The history of phantoms in our dimension. Where is the banishment ritual? why doesnt this thing have an index?Celia shrugged. Its very old and antiquated, she said. It was difficult to find, and its the only book on the subject were likely to be able to get our hands on, maybe the only one that exists, so wel have to excuse things like that. These senior(a) texts, the authors wanted you to read straight through and concrete y learn about their subject, to understand what they wanted to tel you, not just to find the page you needed right away. You might try flavour near the end, though.Alaric was watching Stefan whip through the pages with an expression of pain. Its a rare book, Stefan, he said.Please be more careful with it. Would you like me to look?Im used to finding what I need in these kinds of books.Stefan snarled, literal y snarled at him, and Meredith felt the hairs along the back of her neck rise. Il do it myself, teacher. Im in a hurry.He squinted down at the text. Why does it have to be in such ornate print? he complained. Dont tel me its because its old. Im older than it is, and I can barely read it. Huh. Phantoms who are feeding like vampires on one choice sensibility, whether it be guilt, or despair, or revenge or lust for victuals , the demon rum, or fal en women. The stronger be the sensibility, the worse be the outcome of the phantom created. I think we could have calcu fresh that out ourselves.Mrs. Flowers was standing slightly removed from the rest of the group, eyes refractory on empty air, muttering seemingly to herself as she communed with her mother.I know, she said. Il tel them. Her eyes focused on the others as they stood around Stefan, peering over his shoulders. mamma says that time is getting short, she warned.Stefan leaped to his feet and exploded. I know its getting short, he roared, getting right up into Mrs. Flowerss surprised face. Cant your mother tel us something useful for once?Mrs. Flowers staggered away from him, reaching out to steady herself on the back of a chair. Her face was white, and suddenly she looked older and more frail than ever before.Stefans eyes widened, their openingouration darkening to a stormy sea green, and he held out his hands, his face horrified.Im sorry, he said. Mrs. Flowers, Im sorry. I didnt mean to frighten you. I dont know what came over me Im just so worried about Elena and the others.I know, Stefan, Mrs. Flowers said gravely. She had regained her equilibrize and she looked stronger, calm and wise again. We will get them back, you know. You must have faith. Mama does.Stefan sat down, turning back to the book, his lips pressed together into a straight line.Her skin prickling with apprehension, Meredith gripped her stave more tightly as she watched him. When she had revealed to the others that the members of her family were genetical vampire hunters and that it was now her turn to take on the duty, she had told Elena and Stefan that she would never turn on Stefan, that she understood that he wasnt like other, evil vampires, that he was veracious harmless and benign to humans.She had made no such promises about Damon, and Elena and Stefan hadnt asked her to. They al shared an unspoken understanding that Damon couldnt real y be ch aracterized as harmless, not even when he begrudgingly worked with them, and that Meredith would need to keep her options open when it came to him.But Stefan she had never thought this would happen, but now Meredith was worried that someday she might not be able to keep her promises about Stefan. She had never seen him causeing the way he had been lately irrational, angry, violent, unpredictable. She knew his behavior was probably caused by the phantom, but was Stefan becoming too dangerous? Could she kil him if she had to? He was her friend.Merediths heart was racing. She realized that her knucks had whitened against her fighting stave, and her hand ached. Yes, she realized, she would fight Stefan and try to kil him, if she had to. It was true that he was her friend, but her duty had to come first.She took a deep breath and consciously relaxed her hands. Stay calm, she coached herself. Breathe. Stefan was keeping himself more or less under control. It wasnt a decision she had to m ake. Not yet, anyway.A few minutes later, Stefan stopped flipping pages. Here,he said. I think this is it. He handed the book to Mrs. Flowers. She scanned the page quickly and nodded. That feels like the right ritual, she said seriously. I ought to have everything we need to perform it right here in the house.Alaric reached for the book. He read the spel , too, frowning. Does it have to be a stock certificate spel ? he asked Mrs. Flowers. If it backfires, the phantom might be able to turn it against us.Im afraid its going to have to be a blood spel , Mrs. Flowers replied. Wed need more time to experiment to change the spel , and time is the one thing we dont have. If the phantom is able to use its captives the way we think it can, its only going to get more powerful.Alaric began to speak again but was interrupted.Wait, said Celia, a slightly shril note in her usual y burly voice. A blood spel ? What does that mean? I dont want to get confused in anything she searched for a word unsavory.She reached for the book, but Stefan slammed his hand down on it. Unsavory or not, this is what were doing, he said quietly, but with a voice as hard as steel. And youre a part of it. Its too late for you to back out now. I wont let you.Celia gave a convulsive boot and cringed back in her chair. Dont you dare threaten me, she said, her voice quavering.Everybody calm down, Meredith said sharply. Celia, no one is going to make you do anything unless you agree to it. Il nourish you myself if need be. Her eyes flew quickly to Alaric, who was glancing back and forth between them, looking worried. But we need your help. Please. You may have saved us al by finding the spel , and were grateful, but Stefans right youre part of this, too. I dont know if itl work without you. She hesitated a beat. Or, if it does, it might leave you as the phantoms only target, she added cunningly.Celia shivered again and wrapped her arms around herself. Im not a coward, she said miserably. Im a scientist, and this irrational mysticism worries me. But Im in. Il help any way I can.Meredith, for the first time, felt a flash of sympathy for her. She understood how hard it must be for Celia to continue to think of herself as a ordered person while the boundaries of what shed always accepted as reality col apsed around her.Thank you, Celia. Meredith glanced around the room at the others. Weve got the ritual. Weve got the ingredients. We just need to gather everything together and start casting the spel . Are we ready?Everyone sat up straighter, their faces taking on expressions of stern resolve. As scary as this was, it was good to final y have a purpose and a plan.Stefan breathed deeply and visibly took hold of himself, his shoulders relaxing and his stance subsidence into something less predatory. Okay, Meredith, he said. His stormy green eyes met her cool patriarchal ones, in perfect accord. Lets do this.