I don't like this place."
I stopped abruptly in front of the dry wooden door, then stepped back, an even fiercer sign that made Gale close the door back with a sorrowful expression on his night-lit face at the end of the street.
"Come on, Joy," he said. You wanted to come to this party.
"But you don't want that, Gale." We both know that.
I put my arms around my chest, brushing my brown hair back. In the light of the lantern at the end of the street, Gale's green eyes shone brightly, and I sighed, seeing myself in front of the fact. Gale had struggled to get two invitations to the underground partyof the year, and I refused, just as another door was parting with my supposed eighteen-year-old gift. It was unpleasant to know that I was kicking the unexpected gift he had been trying to give me, but even so, the cold thrill that had passed through my interior when we got there, in front of the old Morgenstern mansion, had become even more unpleasant. I didn't know the party was going to be in the basement of that dilapidated house. I was expecting the abandoned tunnel at the Syracuse exit, the subway, or even Kelly's old club, the DJ who died in a car accident on the Nashville Highway last year. The mansion of the Morgenstern family, the founding family of Syracuse, was far too creepy even for me, a necromancer.2
"Okay," I finally agreed, and Gale opened the shaky door, which at first seemed to come loose. But we don't stay long or part.
I don't even know why I set those conditions, because I already knew that Gale would not keep his promises. We didn't even get along well with the teenagers who haunted the empty halls of the mansion, because the blond hair of the boy I had come with had disappeared from my line of sight. At first I panicked, because it seemed like a simple party was going to turn into a crime when rusty pieces of furniture and chandeliers began to disappear from the walls. With the shards cracking under my feet, I searched for Gale through the dark, empty, unwelcome rooms, feeling the cold sensation of death that had lain there over the years. I was a necromancer, which meant that for me, detecting the dead could be as common as feeling a gust of wind on a hot summer day. Something more advanced than a medium, but not as strong as a wizard; something definitelyabnormal . Gale was one of the few people who knew. He had learned the first thing, since high school, because I had full confidence in him, and at that time I didn't know very well how to hide my so-called gift anyway.
After long minutes of searching in vain, I stopped at the stairs leading to the next floor, in the huge living room of the mansion. The old furniture stretched over the peeling walls like ivy leaves, and the rotten floor was covered with dust, shards, and rustling pieces of nylon. Cold shivers ran down my spine and my heart pounded between my ribs, like the trigger of an explosion. There were two ways to explain what I was feeling: either a ghost was hiding in the mansion, or I had gone mad after the last paranormal experience, when I saw Emma Robinson's kidnapper take her life in the forest of Eden, at the other end of town, now better for a month.2
Izabella has always been a mystery to those who met her. Always cold, silent and alone. He quickly banished those who could not cope with his complicated personality ...
I shivered and chose the first option when I heard a faint murmur behind the eardrum. The hair on the back of my neck was electrified and I instinctively looked back, then up, at the rickety stairs. I was like a magnet for the dead, the ones still trapped in our world, in such a way that I seemed to be bound to each of them; I could feel their presence and see their spirits, hear them speak, perceive their movements, but that was all. It would have been impossible for me to touch them or for them to touch me, and sometimes that was a good thing.4
Bringing my arms to my chest, I refused to climb the stairs in the dark, although I received all the signs that someone or something wanted to do it. I turned on my heel, feeling the bass of the pieces in the basement make the floor and walls vibrate. With my shoulders tense, I stepped forward. Something to my right and one of the empty frames hanging from the wall sizzled through the air, dodging me a millimeter away and hitting the other wall. I took everything as a warning. I felt my stomach fill with a vacuum and I swallowed hard in the middle of my throat, struggling to breathe, my hands trembling next to my body.
The whisper in my mind had sounded melodious, but dangerous as an invitation to walk barefoot on the shards. I could hardly breathe in the air that seemed to stop in my pharynx and not go down to my lungs. The floor frame was still moving. The spirit was losing patience. I clenched my fists, grabbing the corner railing that ran in the same direction as the wooden stairs creaking under my weight. The cold in the air was getting heavier and heavier. Gale, what did you get me into?18
I looked around once I reached the upper hallway, which was divided into three corridors. Right, left or forward. I expected. When one of the chandeliers on the walls came on, I understood the message . Before. I followed him through the semi-darkness, approaching the last wide-open door to a deep darkness. At first I stopped in the doorway, my heart pounding in my neck, and the light of the chandelier flickered, upstairs the silence was complete, as if the mansion had emptied again, and inside I was the only one left and the spirit that now invites me into hiding. his.
-Who are you? I asked, as resolutely as I could, and I was glad that my words did not turn out as miserably as I had expected them to.
- Come in.1
The murmur was commanding, but as sweet as the first time. I could still feel a cold gust in the back of my neck, like a breath, and my temples were sweating with emotion and fear. I could barely breathe because of the alert, insane beats of my frightened heart.
- Come on, Joy, come in. I thought you were braver.
I shuddered when I heard my name in that mortuary silence, like the snort of a snake: mesmerizing and rhythmic, but far too dangerous to announce anything good. My knees were shaking and my head was shaking.
"First tell me who you are and what you want."
- It's safer there. Do you want someone to see you talking to yourself?
The voice sounded amused, and my cheeks warmed. And if I had run away with the fugitives, I still couldn't get out of there. The spirit was terribly strong, I could feel its dark aura through every nerve, so I took a step forward, refusing to blink in case something was going to happen. As soon as I made the second one, the door slammed shut behind me. I sighed. All that could be seen in the room was a faint veil of light coming from the dirty window facing the street, next to one of the bright nightlights. My toes and whole face were frozen, though I was sure it was as warm inside as it was outside.
-Who are you? I repeated, my teeth almost chattering in my mouth. If you want to talk, show yourself.
- Not yet, Joy.
"Otherwise I left here."
- I wouldn't say that. I would be very upset if you did, and it wouldn't work out in your favor.
"Then say what you want."
It was quiet for a moment. I could feel the icy gusts of wind coming from all sides, a sign that the spirit did not want to let me know its location. I was scared, terribly scared. He had managed to throw something solid at me, despite the fact that he did not physically exist in my world, and that could only mean that he was not an ordinary ghost. Grandma used to call them demigods . When he first told me about them, he gave me very clear advice before he began his story: whatever you do, don't get involved. They were masters of the art of control and could easily play with your fingers.2
" Your help, " the voice finally replied, and I shuddered.
"It's not in my nature to help strangers."2
The voice laughed like the ringing of Chinese bells. In front of me, a body seemed to form from the shadows. The empty space was filling with something dark, and I could feel its aura, which had hitherto floated through the air like dust, now merge into a human form. I took a step back when I was able to see it completely. He was tall, with fair skin and black hair like a cloudy sky on a frosty winter evening. He looked at me with pitch-black eyes, as cold as the aura he emanated. His lips grinned slyly, animating his expression and making him look both real and unreal. I took another step back and he seemed to approach, like an unspoken challenge. Maybe it would have been better if she hadn't shown it to me, I wanted to say to myself.
" We know each other now, Joy. " You don't look very happy, by the way. You've been tense since you arrived.
"It's none of your business," I murmured unhappily, turning my head to one side, and his smile widened. What do you want?
" Help me get my body back."
"Recover your body?" I repeated, frowning heartily, for it was the first time I had heard of such a thing from a spirit. First of all, what makes you think I'm going to help you? I know who you are and you don't trust me at all.
" That little bastard, " he scolded me, tilting his head to one side, Gale, as if. It's down, and if you know what it is, it means you know what I can do. Are you at risk?
I was out of breath. If she found Gale, she could own him, and then do anything to him without him being harmed in any way. He could have killed him, and my body tensed at the thought, and his spirit laughed dryly, as if he hadn't done it in a long time and had forgotten the procedure. I gritted my teeth, trying to breathe lightly through my lips as the air stopped in my lungs. I could barely breathe. I couldn't let him touch Gale. And how could I help a ghost regain its body? He was already dead.
"Don't tie yourself to him," I said, though I was completely helpless.
" If you do what I tell you, I swear I won't touch any of his hair."
He grinned greedily, and those two black pieces of coal gleamed like a hungry cat's. God, what was I up to?
" Or yours, " he concluded, and I watched his dizzying lips. So, beautiful Joy? What choice are you going to make?
I could see through it in the fog, as if it were a drawing on glass, and his chest did not rise in any way. It looked like a stone sheepfold, staring at me deeply, as if it could decompose my whole being and inspect every inch of my skin. I shuddered visibly, though I wasn't sure why, and he tilted his head to one side for the second time. Her hair fell over her forehead and with a movement she threw it back on her back. He looked silky and so black that I could hardly make out him. I was between the hammer and the anvil, and whatever choice I had to make, none of them could be considered completely good. But for Gale, I would have been able to do anything.
"I'm helping you," I whispered. But stay away from Gale.
- I swear.
" I thought so, too."
His tone was ironic and arrogant, and his eyes twinkled with greed and malice. It was bad, and I was going to do something worse for him. He had probably been following me and Gale since I arrived. He had gathered information and was now using it against me, and I had my hands tied behind my back, unable to do anything to stop or subdue him. In such circumstances, I could only gather information about him. He was a demigod, I knew how violent he could become and how dangerous he really was under that grin. I couldn't step on his tail just when Gale was on the ground floor, so vulnerable, and I stared at him, so exposed.
"Are you from the Morgenstern family?"
His grin diminished, but he remained as amused as the first time, and the next second he evaporated from my face, a blade of icy wind hitting my face. I shivered and didn't know if I was scared or cold.
- The first son, really.
I read his disgust in tone. If he was their first son, how long had he been haunting the mansion? How had he been locked up there for almost a century? I turned around, trying to find him. He chuckled. What had the Morgensterns actually been, once one of their sons had become a demigod?
-What's your name? Morgenstern and how?
" Let's say my father had a rich imagination when I was born."
Confused, I frowned deeply.
" Or maybe he managed to see into the future, " the voice continued, still hidden. Are you good at Greek mythology, beautiful Joy?1
"Stop telling me that." And answer once, I hate when I see you're wasting your time.
- My name is Hades. Hades Morgenstern.10
God of Hell, I thought the next moment, recognizing the names of Gale's books, those about mythology. He had developed a passion for the occult since learning about my true nature, and he never missed a chance to tell me about his discoveries, which often lifted my body hair. And yet, nothing had ever shaken me more than Hades did at the time.
- Come on, don't tell me it's not ironic. Hell meets joy. Movie script, don't you think?2
"Stop it," I said through gritted teeth, "because it all seemed like a joke to him."
- Don't taste the irony, Joy.
I took a step back, fed up with our conversation, and looked over my shoulder. My body was numb and something seemed to be staring at the floor. I could run. I had sworn I would help him, but I hadn't told him when. I could try to escape, however, each of the possibilities I had at the time were unpleasant, so I moved one step further back, looking for him, and when I thought he was gone, I rotated on the heel. But I saw him, and I was naive to think he was gone just because I didn't feel his presence. He was standing in front of me again, this time the light pounding completely on his face, and I could not overlook his beautiful features. But even Lucifer was one of the most beautiful angels, and he still managed to fall from Heaven. I swallowed hard in my throat, who knows how many times that night, and he bowed his head to me, his black eyes greedily piercing me, as if he had just bought a new toy; and that toy was me.
- Stop trying this, Joy. If I was going to hurt you, I'd be done. I don't like to waste time. I really hate him. I guess you've been guessing how long I've been here.
He seemed sincere, but there was a bit of a lie in his words. If he didn't need me, he'd just make fun of me, so he couldn't afford to hurt me in any way, because he needed my strength. I frowned and snorted. He grinned, as if he could read my thoughts; or maybe my expression said what I hadn't articulated.
- You're a smart girl.
"I want to go," I said firmly.
It hurt me to be there. I looked him straight in the eye when I said it, and he didn't even blink. At last he seemed to shrug and stepped aside by the door. It opened and the light grew brighter as the chandelier battled the darkness in the hallway. I couldn't hide my shock. Did he really just let me go like that? I took a deep breath, as if I had stopped doing it before. At first I thought he was going to trick me, but when I rushed to the door, nothing stopped me. I camped up the steep stairs and left Gale with the greatest despair, with the cold breath of Hades behind my ear.
I knew that once I swore I would help him, nothing would stop him until I fulfilled my oath and he did not achieve his goal, no matter if he let me go now as if nothing had happened. . He was just showing me that I couldn't defy him.
Show me that between the two of us, he was the one in power.
At least now.