Hex Hall

Page 33

"It means that you will always be incredibly powerful, Sophia," she’d answered. "It means that, like your father, you will be expected to use this power in service to the Council."

"So I have a destiny," I said. "Crap."

Mrs. Casnoff smiled and patted my hand. "It’s a glorious destiny, Sophia. Most witches would kill to have your power. Some have."

I’d just nodded because I couldn’t tell her how I really felt: I didn’t want to be Sophia, the Great and Terrible. That sort of thing should belong to girls like Elodie, girls who were beautiful and ambitious. I was just me: funny, sure, and smart, but not a leader.

Sitting there that night with Mrs. Casnoff, Call still holding my hand even though all of the magic was out of him, I’d asked the one question that had been buzzing in my brain.

"Am I dangerous? Like Alice?"

Mrs. Casnoff had met my eyes and said, "Yes, Sophia, you are. You always will be. Some demon hybrids, like your father, are able to go years without any incident, although he is accompanied by a member of the Council at all times just to be cautious. Others, like your grandmother Lucy, are not so lucky."

"What happened?"

She looked away and said, very quietly, "ll’Occhio di Dio did kill your grandmother, Sophie, but with good reason. Despite living thirty years without ever harming a living soul, something . . . something happened to her one night, and she reverted to her true nature."

She took a deep breath and said, "She killed your grandfather."

There was no sound for a long time until I asked, "So that could happen to me? I could just snap one day and demon-out on whoever is with me?"

And when I said that, all I’d been able to see was my mom lying bloody and broken at my feet. My stomach rolled and I’d tasted bile.

"It’s a possibility," Mrs. Casnoff answered.

And then I asked Mrs. Casnoff if there was a way I could ever stop being a demon–if I could ever return to normal.

She had studied me for a long time, before saying, "There’s the Removal. But it would almost assuredly kill you."

Her answer was still sitting like a stone in my chest. The Removal might kill me.

It probably would kill me.

But if I lived the rest of my life as part demon, I might kill someone.

Someone I loved.

The door opened, but it wasn’t Mrs. Casnoff standing there. It was my mom.

"Mom!" I cried, leaping out of my bed and throwing my arms around her. I could feel her tears as she buried her face in my hair, so I hugged her even tighter and breathed in her familiar perfume.

When we broke apart, Mom tried to smile at me, and reached down to take my hands. I couldn’t hold back a soft cry of pain, and she looked down.

I thought Mom would cry again when she saw my hand, but she just raised it to her lips and kissed the palm, like I was three and had a skinned knee.

"Sophie," Mom said, smoothing my hair away from my face, "I’ve come to take you home, okay, sweetie?"

I looked back over my shoulder at Jenna, who was trying really hard to ignore us, but I saw the hurt look flash across her face. If I left, Jenna would have no one. So much for being freaks together.

I took a deep breath and turned back to my mom. I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to look in her eyes and tell her what I had to say, what I’d known I had to do as soon as Mrs. Casnoff had given me her answer.

Then, before I could say anything, I saw Elodie walk by my doorway.

Rushing out, my heart in my throat, I wondered if Call had saved her after all. Maybe she’d been recovering in the school this whole time, and they just hadn’t told me.

The hall was empty except for her, and she had her back to me.

"Elodie!" I cried, running up to her. But she didn’t look at me, and I realized I was looking through her.

She walked on, pausing in doorways like she was looking for someone–just another Hecate ghost stuck here forever. I knew she deserved it, in a way. She and her friends had summoned a demon and paid the price.

I watched her for a long time, until she finally faded into the late afternoon sunlight. We’d never really been friends, but she had given me the last little magic she’d had inside her so that I could defeat Alice, and I would never forget that.

And in the end, it was seeing Elodie that gave me the strength to turn to my mom and say, "I’m not going home. I’m going to London, and I’m going through the Removal."

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