Read Adversity Online

Authors: Claire Farrell

Tags: #Paranormal, #Young Adult, #Ireland, #werewolf, #werewolves, #teen romance

Adversity (6 page)


I have respect for the board and respect for the other side.
Protect this house, and let me speak to the one I need. Mémère?
I
really
need you
right now.”

The cup
moved under my hands, hesitantly at first, then faster. Almost too
fast, but I heard the words in my head and didn’t have to work them
out as the cup raced from one letter to another.

The time is coming.


Mémère?” I bit my bottom lip to stop a squeal.

Watch carefully.


Watch out for what? What time is coming? My time? The
curse?”

No. Her death.


Whose death?” But I already knew, and a sinking feeling made
me want to vomit.

Too soon. Unless.


Unless what? What can I do? How can I help her,
Mémère?”

My voice
rose in desperation, but it was too late. Feeling cold again, I
felt the spirit leave me. I tried to call Mémère back a couple more
times, but there was nothing there. Blowing out the candles, I
mused on how unfamiliar the spirit had felt to me, and how her
words confused me. But it had to be Mémère. Who else would want to
speak to me?

Then I
remembered the message and the point of the whole spirit
conversation. Perdita’s death was coming much faster than it should
have been.

And I was
the only one who could stop it.

 

***

Kali

 

Heading
home alone from the village, her pouch full of shah, Kali didn’t
notice the gang of teenage boys crossing the fields until the
whistling and jeering started in the distance. She lowered her head
and hurried on, hoping to make it back to camp before the boys
worked up the courage to approach her. Their feet were almost
silent on the dirt path, and when the shouts seemed to come from
right behind her, she knew it was time to run.


It’s the fortune teller!”


What else do you sell?”


Is this the witch?”

Hitching
her skirts above her ankles, she ran as fast as she could, hoping
nobody from camp would see her shame. She hoped she wouldn’t fall
and that they would leave her alone. Her people wouldn’t fight back
openly if any damage was done. They might even banish her if they
thought she’d brought trouble onto herself. Her father’s reputation
brought a harsher reaction to her deeds.

But as a
novice chovihani and daughter to her father’s reputation, she might
be expected to protect herself and dole out punishment by cursing
the boys for their stupidity and ensuring they never harmed her
again. As much as she wanted to scratch out the eyes of such
ignorant fools, she knew she wouldn’t want the darkness of a curse
on her conscience.

She heard
the rasp of a breath and spun around to face one of the boys,
forcing him to look her in the eye. She wasn’t small or dainty, and
from experience, she knew that sometimes these kinds of boys lost
their courage when face to face with their adversary. This boy
chose to leer at her defiance.


I bet she’s a wildcat, this one,” he said with a smirk,
reaching for her. Horror left her unable to stop him. The chill of
his dark, uncertain future swept over her, sickening her. He would
regret his touch, she thought with a pang. She would have no
choice.

Neither
of them noticed the man approach until he lifted the boy off his
feet and threw him to the ground like a ragdoll.


Go home and learn some manners,” Marusya’s husband
rumbled.

“’
Twas your woman who told us she’s keen,” the boy insisted but
then scrambled to his feet as the man took one step toward him. All
the boys, although they outnumbered him, ran off, and resumed their
shouting but from a good distance away.

She
glanced at him again, watched his face tighten as he stared after
them. He was beautiful, she realised. Truly beautiful. He was one
of the few who were as good on the inside as they were on the
outside. She felt the purity surrounding him and desperately wanted
to touch it, absorb it, and take it for herself.


Are you hurt?” he asked, catching her openly
staring.

She shook
her head.

He stood
in front of her, but avoided her eyes, and twisted his cap in his
hands. “Well, you better get on, then.”

She
nodded, still in shock, not at the action of the boys, but at his
assistance and her reaction to him. She jerkily turned to leave,
and heard his footsteps behind her. She gazed back at him in
surprise. He was following her.


I’ll make sure they don’t come back. I… I know your people,
that your women aren’t allowed to get… close, so I’ll walk behind.
If that’s all right by you.”

She
nodded, biting her lip as his beautiful, earnest eyes met hers
fully for the first time and burned straight through
her.

Married
eyes, she warned herself. Outsider eyes.

She walked home slowly, fully aware of him the entire time.
Some people had a presence that drew others in, and he was
definitely that kind. She felt his eyes on her back and wondered
why she couldn’t walk in a straight line, knowing he was there. He
had helped her, even though his wife hated her and
his
people thought her
less than nothing.

At the
camp, Drina’s husband approached suspiciously and bypassed Kali to
move directly to the man. They spoke for a number of minutes, and
Kali couldn’t help watching the man’s facial expressions which
seemed so different when he talked to a man, rather than a woman.
Chewing her thumb, she waited for Drina’s husband to return. He
only nodded at her as he passed, and she wondered what they had
been talking about.

Most of
all, she wondered why this married outsider had more of an effect
on her with one look, than any of her own people had had on her in
her entire life.

 

Chapter
Five

 

Amelia

 

Sitting
alone with Perdita, while the rest of my family wasn’t there,
brought back memories. I shifted uncomfortably, afraid Perdita
might actually talk about what happened, for once, on the day the
werewolves had come for me.

Again,
Perdita had been left to watch over me, which was testament to how
little faith my uncle had in me. Nathan and Byron had gone hunting,
a nice bonding experience that didn’t involve me. At least it meant
I didn’t have to sit next to them and still feel completely alone,
and I really did need to speak to Perdita. This time I wanted to
talk about the dreams. I wasn’t even sure how to bring up the
subject. Every single night without fail, I was another person. I
saw her life through her eyes. I felt everything she felt, and none
of it felt like a dream at all.

I’d been racking my brain, trying to understand why I was
suddenly carrying the burden of realistic dreams that made no sense
in relation to my current situation. Kali knew about werewolves,
too, and that seemed to be the only real connection. So what was up
with the
ü
ber
dreams?

A cushion
hit me full in the face, startling me out of my
thoughts.


I hate when you do that,” Perdita said. “Spit it out,
already.”

Where to
start was the problem. The dreams didn’t feel dream-like. I lost
myself to them. How could I explain how sick I was feeling and the
headaches that made me feel as though I might be dying? How did I
explain that a spirit had warned me of Perdita’s death coming
sooner than expected? Yeah, where to start was definitely the
problem.


This is going to sound stupid,” I said at last, still
stalling.

She gave
me a “here we go” look, but when I began describing the dreams, she
suddenly acted interested.


Soul mate?” she asked breathlessly.

I wished. “
No. Well. Not mine, anyway.
It’s as if I’m in somebody else’s body, as if I’m living their
life, and it feels so real, but then I wake up, and I’m me
again
.”

That’s
where I lost her. She didn’t believe me, as per usual. Perdita, the
freaking sceptic. I knew the dreams weren’t normal, and even as I
tried to explain the last one to her, she didn’t get it. Nobody
would understand.


Maybe you’ve been thinking about the curse a lot,” she
said.


Why?”


Gypsies?”

I
realised I was forgetting what I had been born to do.


Maybe this has to do with breaking the curse,” I
said.

She gave
me a careless shrug in response, but I was sure of it now. My brain
was forcing me to think about gypsies and gypsy magic, to think
about the important things. Like Perdita’s face when I mentioned
the curse-breaking, as though she wasn’t happy about it.

That made no sense at all. The curse was
her
death sentence. I had to figure
out some way of ending it. She knew quite well that had always been
the plan, once the danger of an attack from other werewolves was
over, except the danger was creeping closer to Perdita. The spirit
board had convinced me I was running out of time.

I didn’t
want to remind Perdita of what being with Nathan would mean to her,
so I saved it all up for him, instead.


I think they’re back,” I said, hearing a soft click marking a
door closing.

Perdita
stood, but I held up my hands. “Trust me, you’ll want him to shower
first.”

She
grimaced, and I couldn’t help laughing. There were a few good
things about being the only one in my family who didn’t turn into a
furry hunter.


So what exactly happens in these dreams?” she asked after a
few minutes, but I could see her tensing as she waited for
Nathan.


Lots of things. Boring things, mostly. But this girl is
powerful. She’s like some kind of… witch… or maybe a shaman. She’s
been learning about natural medicines and things like that for
years, and she has this power under the surface. In the dream I can
feel it. I mean really feel it. It’s kind of addictive. Waking up
is a bit of a let-down.”

Her eyes
narrowed. “Don’t ever say that, Amelia.”

Shrugging, I looked away. “I’m just telling the
truth.”


I know, but I’m counting on you to keep waking up.”

She
laughed then, and I tried to shake myself out of the melancholy I’d
developed. Another headache was setting in, which made it harder
for me to act normal.


So, has she cast any curses, then?” she asked, still in that
joking sort of voice.


She doesn’t do that,” I said haughtily, feeling irrationally
insulted.


Oh, come on! She isn’t real.”


She feels real. And I’m sure she’s mentioned something about
werewolves, but I can’t remember exactly…”

Nathan
barrelled into the room, and lifted Perdita into the air. I felt
instantly forgotten.


Ugh. Get a room,” I snapped as Perdita squealed with
delight.

I stalked
off to my room, my anger simmering over. They took care of each
other in ways I could never understand. They automatically knew
when they needed each other. So what was left for me?

So, yeah,
I was jealous because I didn’t have anyone for me. I shared
Perdita’s friendship with Nathan.

Perdita
knocked softly on my bedroom door, perhaps wanting to say good
night.


I’m in bed. Another migraine,” I lied, although the thudding
was definitely growing stronger.


Oh.” She paused. “Well, I’ll talk to you at the memorial
then.”

I waited
for her footsteps to move away from my room. I knew Nathan would
walk her home, and again, I was irrationally irritated by their
closeness. I had been left out of everything my whole life—kept in
the dark—and the rage that had been boiling in my ears for weeks
had burned into my veins, making me ready for a fight.

Byron
called Nathan to his office as soon as he came back, closing the
door after them. More secrets. More exclusion.

I wanted
to scream my outrage. Tension flickered in my hands as though an
electrical current sparked my fingertips, and only the whimper of a
wolfhound next to me forced me to calm down and gulp down my anger.
When Nathan ran up the stairs, flooding my senses with his bad
temper, I worked myself up into a rage all over again. I threw open
my bedroom door and walked out to block him.


We need to talk about Perdita,” I told him, leaning on the
banisters.


Not now,” he said gruffly, but I got in his way.


I’m serious. We still need to figure out a way to end the
curse, remember?”

He looked
stricken, and I knew, for sure, that things were getting out of
hand.


There has to be someone out there who knows what to do. It
needs to end, Nathan.”


Not yet,” he said.

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