Authors: Michelle Madow
“You didn’t.” I gasped. “Did you?”
“Genevieve gave me a vial of red liquid to drink,” she said. “But I know what blood looks like, and it wasn’t close to thick enough. It was the consistency of water.”
“All you would have needed was a drop,” I told her what Alistair had told Drew and me earlier that week. “And Alistair warned me about Genevieve. She’s the witch who’s mad at him because of something that happened in their past lives. He suspected she was behind this.”
“I can’t believe I drank someone’s blood.” Chelsea held her hands up to her throat, her eyes wide in revulsion. “That’s so gross.”
“It is,” I agreed. “But it explains why you could do the spell.”
“I need water,” she said. She got up, hurried to the second floor bathroom, and turned on the faucet. A minute later, she returned with a cup of water. She took a few sips, and some color returned to her cheeks.
“Now that we know you’re responsible for the death omens, you should come with me and Drew when we see Alistair,” I said. I understood she was having issues with the drinking blood realization, but we had bigger problems to deal with. “I’m right in assuming you want to help us fix this, right?”
“Yes.” She placed the now finished cup of water on her nightstand. “I’ll definitely help. I honestly didn’t think …” She looked straight at me, her eyes glassy, like she might cry. “Please believe me that I didn’t think what I did would kill you. I thought that because Drew and I were together in the past it meant something went wrong in the present, and that what I was doing was setting things back on track. If I’d known it meant you would die, I never would have done it. I wouldn’t have
“I believe you,” I said. “But we have to focus. Drew and I are going to the mall tomorrow to talk to Alistair. Will you come with us?”
“You realize the mall’s going to be a zoo tomorrow, right?” Chelsea asked. “Since it’s Black Friday?” She shuddered, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Chelsea and I always boycotted Black Friday—I didn’t like crowds, and she didn’t think the deals were worth the annoyance of waiting in long lines.
“We don’t have loads of time here,” I pointed out. “Only until the next full moon. Are you coming or not?”
“If it means saving you from an untimely death that I accidentally caused?” Chelsea asked, raising a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “Count me in.”
I wasn’t sure if we were back to being friends, but this was definitely a start.
When I told Drew what Chelsea had done, he was furious. Then I clarified the situation, letting him know that Chelsea had no idea I died in the past, so she didn’t know how extreme the results of her actions would be. After hearing that, he relaxed enough to listen to the rest of what I had to say.
I was most nervous about asking him if he married Catherine in the past after my death. That would be a big secret for him to keep, and I didn’t want another confrontation. Luckily he didn’t remember anything after my death, so he hadn’t been keeping it secret, but he said it was possible he ended up with Catherine. His family back then was pushy with wanting the noble title. Without me, he said he would have felt like he had nothing to live for, so he might have gone through with the marriage to please his family.
I wasn’t happy to hear that, but I did my best not to dwell on the past. What happened then was history. What mattered was fixing things in the present to make sure I would have a future.
* * *
After an awkward car ride with Drew and Chelsea, the three of us made it to the mall. The parking lot was packed. Luckily, a family was leaving when we got there, so we nabbed their spot near the front.
The mall was more crowded than I had ever seen it. Even Alistair’s shop, which was normally pretty empty, was teeming with people high on the Black Friday Shopping Craze. He had hired extra help, though, so when he spotted Drew, Chelsea, and me, he ushered us to the back room so we could talk in private.
The room was small, with a table in the middle and books lining the shelves. He told us to sit, and got down to business.
“Who have you brought with you today?” he asked, looking pointedly at Chelsea.
I introduced her, and she brought him up to speed on what she had told me last night.
“This is going to be tricky,” he said once she finished telling the story. “To help, I need to know exactly how you did the spell.”
“No problem,” Chelsea said. “Genevieve had me light the red candle she gave me and write on a piece of paper, ‘I wish that everything in this life between me, Drew, and Lizzie will end up the same way it did in our past lives.’ Then I said it out loud and burned the paper.”
“You did this after drinking her blood?” Alistair asked.
Chelsea paled at the mention of the blood-drinking. “Yes,” she said. “But I didn’t know it was blood. If I did, I never would have drank it. I thought it was water with red dye in it.”
“What you thought doesn’t matter,” Alistair said, his eyes hard. “What matters is what you did.”
“I didn’t realize it was going to make Lizzie die,” Chelsea pleaded, with tears in her eyes. “If I knew, there’s no way I would have gone through with it.”
“I believe you,” I said, and I did. She nodded in acceptance of my words. Then I turned to Alistair. “We can fix this. Right?”
He contemplated the question, and I feared he was going to say it would be impossible. “I think we can,” he said. “But it’s not going to be easy.”
Drew’s eyes flashed with determination. “Tell us what we have to do, and we’ll do it.”
“When Chelsea cast the spell, she made it so the three of you would get the same endings you did in your past lives. Therefore, what Lizzie did last weekend by making sure the present didn’t parallel the past doesn’t matter.” He took a breath, and continued, “The wording of the spell was specific: Your current lives will end the same way they did in the past. Since Lizzie died young in the past, she will be doomed to die young again.”
That was what I figured when Chelsea explained the spell, but hearing it said aloud made it terrifyingly real.
“I understand that,” Drew said. “But since spells can’t be reversed, how are we going to fix it?”
“You will have to make it so Lizzie doesn’t die young in the past,” Alistair said simply.
“Hold up a minute.” I couldn’t believe what he’d said. “Are you saying that we can affect what happened in the past? That we can change it?”
“If you can manage to get there—and that’s not going to be easy—then yes, you can change it.”
I took a moment to make sure he meant what I thought he did. “So you’re telling us we can … travel back in time?” I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. This was impossible. I could handle reincarnation, and I could wrap my mind around Chelsea drinking witch blood and casting a spell, but
That happened in science-fiction stories, not real life.
“This is nuts,” Chelsea said what I was thinking.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “If time travel were possible, wouldn’t people from the future travel back in time to let us know?”
“It is possible,” Alistair said. “Extremely difficult, but possible. And to answer your question, the reason we don’t have visitors from the future is because if the three of you manage to travel back in time, you will experience that time from the bodies of your past selves. So when you are there, you must tell no one the truth, because if you do, they will think you have lost your minds.”
This was out there, and I didn’t believe it was possible, but I decided to put aside my skepticism and ask questions.
“How would we get there?” I asked. “I have a feeling it’s going to be more complicated than clicking my heels together and wishing I was in 1815 England.”
“Your feeling is correct,” Alistair said.
“So how do we do it?” Drew asked.
“Come on.” Chelsea shook her hair out and laughed. “You don’t believe all this, do you?”
Drew glared at her. “If it gives us a chance to change what you did to Lizzie, then I’m willing to give it a shot.”
Chelsea shrunk back at the reminder of what she’d done.
“You will need an object,” Alistair started.
“What kind of ‘object?’” Drew asked.
Alistair raised his eyebrows. “Are you going to let me continue or not?”
Drew nodded and leaned back in his seat.
“This object has to be powerful enough to transport you into the bodies of your past selves,” Alistair said. “Therefore, it must have existed back then, so it knows the time period. It also must be something that’s important to you in both the past and the present if it’s going to make the link you need for the journey. It’s preferable that the object is something a person would wear, as that makes it easier to pick up a person’s aura. Any type of metal or gem works best. Can you think of anything that fits this description?”
“The ring,” Drew and I said in unison.
“What ring?” Chelsea asked.
“In the past, on the day I died, Drew proposed to me in secret,” I told her. “The ring had a gold band, and five garnets along the top.”
Chelsea frowned. I could tell that hearing about the secret engagement hurt her, but keeping her feelings in tact wasn’t my primary concern at the moment.
“Are you in possession of this ring?” Alistair asked.
“Well, no,” I admitted. Then I looked at Drew, and said, “Unless you have it and were waiting for the right time to tell me.”
“I wish I had it,” he said. “So I could give it to you. But I have no idea where to start looking for it. You were wearing it when …” He choked up, and then continued, “You were wearing it when you died. I don’t remember anything from after then.”
“You have no idea where it could be?” Alistair asked.
“No.” Drew shook his head. “It could be anywhere.”
The one item that could get us to the past, and it could be anywhere.
This was not looking good.
Of course, this was assuming everything Alistair had said was possible. I trusted I had been reincarnated, because it was the only explanation that made the memories of my past life make sense. I knew Chelsea had cast the spell because of the omens, and because she had admitted it.
But there was no reason for me to believe we could travel back to 1815. It sounded crazy.
Then again, what other option did I have? If I didn’t take action, I would die by the next full moon. I wasn’t going to sit back and let that happen.
Alistair had been honest with me about everything so far. He wouldn’t get my hopes up for nothing. Making this up would be a waste of time for all four of us.
No matter how crazy this idea sounded, I had to give it a shot.
“We will have to do a tracking spell,” Alistair said.
“What’s a tracking spell?” I asked, even though I could guess from the name.
“It will track the location of the ring,” he replied.
“And this tracking spell will definitely work?”
“With Chelsea’s help, and if the ring is in tact, then yes, it will work.”
“Why do you need my help?” Chelsea asked.
“You drank the potion with Genevieve’s blood on Sunday night, correct?” Alistair asked.
Chelsea nodded, grimacing at the mention of the potion. I couldn’t blame her. It was gross that she drank that old woman’s blood.
“That means Genevieve’s power is still in your system,” Alistair said. “You will be able to do magic until the next full moon, and we need magic to make the tracking spell work.”
“She’ll help,” Drew said, looking at Alistair and not Chelsea. “After what she did, she owes us at least that much.”
I got a feeling from the tense way Drew was speaking that it was going to be a long time before he forgave Chelsea—if he ever did. I was having difficulty with that myself, although I was trying not to think about it too much. What Chelsea did was awful, but she didn’t intend to kill me. Still, that didn’t stop me from being angry at her for doing it so recklessly, without understanding the possible consequences.
But I would worry about my reaction to what she did after making sure I lived past Christmas. Doing whatever I could to make the curse not end in my death was my top priority. Friendship drama would have to wait until later.
“How do you know so much about magic?” I asked Alistair. “Since you aren’t a witch yourself.”
“It’s one of the many things I learned while training to be a Memory Guide,” he replied. “We need to be able to help the Reincarnees the best way we can, and sometimes magic is necessary to do that. Like it is right now.”
That made sense. Since I planned to become a Memory Guide once I passed on, I supposed that would be something I would learn in the future.
Hopefully the very
“We don’t have a lot of time,” Drew said. “Let’s get started. We can save the questions for after we know Lizzie’s safe.”
“Allow me to gather the needed materials,” Alistair said. “And then we can begin.”