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   Chapter 27 27

The Line Between: Cassie Wilson Book 3 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 12221

Updated: 2019-06-11 15:32

Chapter 27

The rest of her day was surprisingly calm. Cassie finished her exams and made it through with no sign of Ms. Jensen, Mr. Babbin or anyone else popping in the check in on her. 'I kind of wonder where Enki and Skadi got to but I'm grateful enough not to have them here that I really don't care, ' she decided.

Cassie put her books in her locker and took out the list of assignments she would need to complete over the winter break. The majority of them were reading assignments for English class and Cassie added the books to her bag before closing her locker and heading out to the Plaza district. The car was cold, but she didn't want to linger long enough for it to warm up. Cassie was more than ready to get away from the school.

As she pulled out of the parking lot, Cassie saw Mr. Babbin standing by the school building. He was watching her. There was a look of puzzlement on his face as though she managed to confuse him somehow. She decided to worry about it after the break and backed out of her parking space before driving to the exit.

Once at the district, Cassie parked and found Abraham waiting for her in the lot. He walked over and smiled at her, looking more like her grandfather than he had the day before.

"How are you holding up?" he asked.

"Not too bad, " Cassie told him. "Still a little freaked out by ghosts and trees that eat people." 'Especially the trees, ' she mentally added.

"I should have known about that, " Abraham said shaking his head. "I'm sorry."

"You were trying to avoid being seen with them so you could keep me safe, " she told him. "It's not really your fault."

"You don't blame me?"

"No, " Cassie said, shaking her head. As she said it, she realized it wasn't true. Freaky stuff was happening, but she didn't think it was his fault. He looked relieved.

"Good. Can you open the trunk?"

"Sure, " Cassie said. She moved to the trunk, opened it and he took out both bags. "I packed mostly jeans and t-shirts. I figured clothes that could get dirty were better than dressy clothes."

"A good guess, " he said approvingly. "How were your exams?"

"Not bad but something strange happened. Ms. Jensen, um Nike, that is, sniffed me and then congratulated me on my victory in battle."

"It is the combat, " he told her. "It changes your scent. Most of us have fought in some battle or another so there would be little change. If you do scent someone who has never fought before you will notice they smell slightly different than the rest of us. You are just young enough that the change is noticeable. And I doubt anyone suspected you to be battle tested."

"Mr. Babbin did look shocked, " Cassie said.

Abraham laughed. "I bet he did."

"So could they smell that I won?" She asked.

"Not really, " he told her. "But most things that would fight us, fight to kill. You fought and are alive, therefore you won."

"Oh, " Cassie said. "That's…" she realized she didn't have an end to the sentence and let it trail off.

"That is what it is, " Abraham said. "Why don't you go on to the bakery? There will be plenty of time to talk later."

"I'll need to stop and talk to Oliver before I leave since I missed class yesterday, " Cassie reminded him.

Abraham nodded. "I will meet you after."

"Okay, " Cassie said. She looked away for a moment and then turned around to ask him if she should go into his store. When she turned she found both he and her bags were gone.

"I wonder if they will teach me that trick, " Cassie asked as she walked into the district. "That would be kind of neat. Disappear as soon as you've decided the conversation

s is what it feels like to be completely invisible, ' she thought. 'Not really much different than usual, I suppose.'

They reached the plaza and Cassie could see the rest of the pantheon waiting. They too went unnoticed and Cassie guessed they were invisible too. All of them moved so they stood just in front of where the gate would open. Cassie could hear the hum vibrating just under her skin. She clamped her teeth shut, finding the urge to hum along hard to resist.

Jacob took her free hand and she saw all of them joined hands becoming a long connected string of bodies. Cassie blinked as a haze started to fill in around the people. No one else noticed it. The strange mist grew thicker and soon, Cassie couldn't even see the bird headed man sitting on the bench nearest her. He faded into the white haze. Only those she was linked with and the hum remained. Even the concession stand located right behind where the gate opened disappeared into the haze.

When there was nothing left of the world but them and the hum, Abraham matched the hum with one of his own. The hum changed pitch and he followed along. It changed back and so did he. The gate opened, spilling light and heat into the nothingness of the mist shrouded world. The others began moving forward, stepping into the gate, their hands still linked. Cassie was pulled along, her hands still gripped by Abraham and Jacob. She stepped through the gate, feeling dirt beneath her shoes rather than concrete.

Abraham was the last to be pulled through. As he stepped into the gate, he stopped humming. Cassie looked through the gate as her hands were dropped. Outside the gate the white misty haze was gone and the world was a frozen picture. People were caught in mid-step as they moved through the district on their shopping excursions and the watchers on the benches saw nothing. Cassie turned away from the frozen world. Her hands automatically moved to her scarf loosening its grip on her throat in the tropical heat.

"The world will wait, " Abraham said. Cassie turned to him and he smiled. "We have as much time as we need." The others waited expectantly. "Now, it is time for your training to begin." He turned away from the gate and he and the others began walking down the path leading into the forest. Cassie looked back once to the world she left behind. Then, she turned and followed the others down the path and into the forest.

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