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Chapter 6: Invitation

Corrie was just devouring the last of the blueberry pancakes when the phone rang. “I’ll get it,” her mom called, but a moment later she had appeared in the kitchen where Corrie was still sitting, phone in hand. “It’s actually for you.”

Corrie jumped up and took the phone, wondering whether it was one of her friends from college. She would be happy to hear from them, of course, but it would be surprising this soon after coming home from school. “Hello?” she said, lifting the phone to her ear.

“Corrie? You are back from college! It’s Darlene.”

Chapter 5: Allergies

By the next morning, Dawn had, unfortunately, discovered that she had more in common with her aunt than a propensity to talk to faeries. She woke up with swollen eyelids and a dry mouth from being unable to breathe through her nose all night. She took a decongestant and a long, hot shower, but when she picked up the cat again afterward, her eyes immediately started to water. She put Princess down quickly and went to change her shirt and re-wash her face.

“I’m so sorry, Dawn,” her mom said when she explained the situation. “We never had a pet before, so I never thought to have you tested.”

Chapter 4: Synagogue

Edie’s mother woke her up way too early on Saturday morning. “I need some help with the laundry before we go to synagogue,” she informed her. “And your dad is making waffles.”

Chapter 3: Sleeping In

Corrie’s mom knocked on her door, then, without waiting for any response, opened it and stuck her head in. “You haven’t even started unpacking?” she asked Corrie.

Corrie sighed and shook her head without getting up from bed, so that the actual movement she made was rolling her head back and forth on the pillow. “Why bother? I’m only going back to school in a month.”

“You used to love unpacking and putting everything exactly in its place,” said her mom.

Chapter 2: Princess

Dawn stretched and flopped onto her bed the moment she’d brought her last box up from the car. Her dad, who’d been helping her, laughed. “Tired?”

“It’s been a long semester,” said Dawn, closing her eyes but opening them again immediately. “What with school, and work, and stuff with my friends…” She didn’t mention the faeries or the danger or any of that. Her parents knew about the hospital visit, of course, but all they knew was that she’d been injured by Corrie’s scary ex-boyfriend, and she wanted to keep it at that. It was scary enough that way.

Chapter 1: Pearls

Edie and her family finished the last prayer as they lit the candles on their menorahs. Then Leah threw up her hands. “Presents!”

Interlude: Winter Break

Epilogue: Fire

The snake-woman’s body burned. Dead—truly dead—she was, and dead Mardalan intended to keep her.

She burned the body in a place out of the way, a place no one would stumble upon it. In the brightness of the early morning, her people slept; her most faithful servant kept watch on the two traitors in their cage. Mardalan did not wish for any of her people to see this. If they knew for certain that she was destroying her old enemies, they might turn on her, and that was exactly what she wanted to avoid.

Chapter 139: Packing Up

Friday, December 19

Chapter 138: Solutions

Thankfully, Professor Lal was still in that evening; she had mentioned in class that she would be extending her office hours in this last week before final exams in case anyone wanted to get in more supervised practice or borrow any materials for practicing on their own. When they got there, they found Kira looking through the Tarot decks to pick one to take with her.

“Hey, guys,” said Kira when she saw them. “Do you want to borrow Tarot decks too? I think I’ve decided which one I want. They’re all yours.”

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