Read Madly Online

Authors: M. Leighton

Tags: #fairy tales mermaids love paranormal romance young adult action adventure folklore fantasy

Madly (8 page)

BOOK: Madly
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I was lost in thought all the way back to school, so I was a bit surprised when Jackson left me standing at the door to my next class. Without a word, he simply turned around and walked away.

I felt like sticking my tongue out at his back, his moodiness only further souring my already tart disposition.

As I stood at the doorway to the Economics classroom, I couldn’t help but feel the urgency of the situation. Ulrich Wolfhardt could be awakening his descendant this very moment. And me? Rather than doing anything to find him, I would be learning about the economic principle of
Division of Labor.

Spontaneously, I decided that it was high time I take my bracelet and my powers for a spin. Better to master them before I was actually in need of them, right?

Right,
I told myself as I stepped to the side of the door, out of sight.

Slowly, I peeked around to look inside. I could see both Aidan and Jersey from my vantage point, both looking bored out of their skulls. That was often the case for Mer in human schools.

By the time we came to dry land for our internship in Slumber, we had already mastered everything humans learned through grade twelve and the following four years of college. Attending school here simply afforded us an opportunity to interact with the descendants we would spend the rest of our existence protecting.

Jersey yawned and stretched just then, glancing toward the door. When her eyes met mine and widened, I impulsively motioned her to come out. Automatically, she got Aidan’s attention and I signaled him as well.

I walked down the hall and around the corner, where I could watch for them, but not be easily discovered by any teachers.

Jersey was the first to exit, looking left and right until she caught sight of me leaning around the corner. She hurried to me, her face already alight with the joy of impending mischief.


What are we doing?” she whispered, scurrying around the corner to peek out from behind my shoulder.

If there was any kind of monkey business to engage in, Jersey was the first to sign up.


Waiting for Aidan.”


Why? Where are we going?”


To break into the Records Room of the student library.”


Sounds like fun, but why would we want to do that?”


Recon.”

As we waited in silence for Aidan, Jersey started smacking her gum in my left ear where she leaned around me.


Jersey! Gum!”

Her chewing stilled as she let out a heartfelt, put-upon sigh.


That’s it,” she whispered. “I’m getting you earplugs.”


Why? Nothing short of ear removal could block out that racket.”


Ha. Ha. Ha,” she said sarcastically, resuming her loud chomping.

Without looking back, I held out my hand, palm up and waited. I felt Jersey straighten. When nothing happened after a few seconds, I wiggled my fingers. Finally I heard another deep sigh and then Jersey pushed a warm lump into the center of my hand.

Just then, Aidan exited the Economics room and I raised my hand to wave him over. When he turned to head in our direction, I thoughtlessly grabbed the shoulder strap of my bag to heft it up in preparation for our sneaky getaway.

When something squished against my palm, I stopped, looking back at Jersey in frustration.


Jersey!”

She looked at me wide-eyed. “What?”

I looked down at my splayed my fingers and pulled my hand away from the strap. Thick strands of pink stretched out between my skin and the fabric.

When her eyes fell to my hand, Jersey burst into quiet laughter, bending over at the waist and pointing to my mess.

From behind me, I heard Aidan approach and start chuckling immediately. I turned to glare at him, but he was already smiling, shaking his head.


Jersey, Jersey, Jersey,” he said softly. “You are in trou-ble.”

With a curl of my upper lip, I reached out and snatched a sheet of paper from one of Aidan’s notebooks. I used it to remove as much sticky goo from my hand as possible.

When my palm was relatively gum-free, I picked up my bag and tipped my head toward the end of the hall.


Come on, let’s go.”

I turned and rushed toward the stairwell doorway, opening it quickly to slip through. Jersey and Aidan followed.

Once the door closed behind Aidan, he asked, “Where are we going?”

His voice bounced off the concrete walls, echoing loudly.


Shh,” I urged. “Boiler room.”

With that, I moved to descend the stairs until there were no more stairs to descend. Just off the landing at the bottom of the steps was another door. It was marked BOILER ROOM. NOT AN EXIT.

I opened the door and the three of us weaved our way through the maze of piping and loud machinery to a catwalk that led to another set of stairs and a door at the bottom. When we reached it, I pushed through it, narrowing my eyes against the bright sunshine that greeted our hasty escape.

Aidan came to stand on one side of me, Jersey on the other.


So, how much trouble are we going to get into?”

It was Aidan who asked this, as it was Aidan who often functioned as the logic and conscience of the group. He was fun-loving, but not nearly as impulsive and risky as Jersey and I.


Depends.”


On what?”


On whether or not we get caught.”


Can we not get caught then?”


Will an ‘I’ll try’ work well enough here?” I asked, squinting up at him.

I saw him roll his eyes.


What are we doing?”

Whether or not it went against his better judgment, Aidan was always on board.


Breaking into the Records Room of the student library to look at medical forms.”


Oh. Is that all?” he asked facetiously.

I shrugged. “If that doesn’t ring your bell, I’m sure I could think of something else.”


No, I think that will be sufficient. Might I ask why we’re planning a felony on such a beautiful day?”


Jessup gave me a list of the eight spirits that have escaped, at least the ones they know about so far. The first one was Ulrich Wolfhardt, only I can’t think of one good way to find his descendant.”


Is he the one from the tale of Little Red—”


That’s the one,” I interrupted. “But here’s the thing: in the real history of Wolfhardt and his obsession with the red-hatted Straus maiden, she developed an allergy to the flowers that he left for her in the woods. Daisies to be precise. If we can find the student who has an allergy to daisies then maybe we can figure out who the Straus descendant is. And, of course, if we can find her, maybe we can find him that much faster.”

Both Jersey and Aidan were staring at me like I’d lost my mind.


Are you serious? That’s all you’ve got to go on?” Jersey baulked.


Well, no. If we can find her record, it should also note any birthmarks she has. I’m hoping that the way she’s marked will be obvious and make some kind of sense to us.”


I take it back. This doesn’t sound like fun. Madly, it’ll take us hours to look through all those records and find her.”


Or maybe it won’t,” I said, grinning slyly.


And how do you figure that?”


W-ell…”

Jersey crossed her arms over her chest and cocked her head sassily to one side.


Alright, spill. What do you know that we don’t?”


Remember Lord Straus’s family crest? It was said to have been set against a red background because of his fondness for that color. It is told that he was so obsessed with the color that all the furniture in his house was upholstered in red. We know that the Straus Maiden favored that red hat, so maybe something like that travels in the genes, like a love for chocolate or cats or baseball.”


And that’s going to help us how?”


I’m going to try to use my bracelet to show us all the girls who are wearing red today.”

Neither of my partners in crime looked convinced that my plan had one iota of plausibility and zero chance of success.


Alright, so it’s a stretch, but at least we’d be doing something other than sitting around, waiting for disaster to strike. Besides, it will give me some practice using my bracelet.”


And where, exactly, did you plan to access that much water?”

Being sea born and deriving our power from the sea, water was the main catalyst for Mer magic. The small amount in my bracelet itself was only enough to keep me alive on dry land, just like the watery charm that all Mer wore kept them functioning here. I required a bigger water source to do any real magic.

I hiked my thumb up, pointing back in the direction from which we’d come.

Jersey and Aidan looked from the door to me, to each other, and back to me.

Jersey, as usual, was the first to agree.


Show us wha’cha got.”

With a thousand-watt smile, I turned and walked back to the boiler room door and disappeared inside, Jersey and Aidan hot on my heels.


Stay here,” I breathed quietly over my shoulder as I ascended the metal steps and walked to the center of the catwalk. I stopped at the point where I hovered over a series of huge pipes.

Looking down at Aidan, I pointed to his right and loud-whispered, “Open that valve.”

When Aidan had loosened the large wheel and turned it several revolutions, steam began to pour from the release spout and fill the air.

Within seconds, the room was thick with hot moisture. It beaded on my face and made my white uniform shirt stick wetly to my back.

BOOK: Madly
7.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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