Heartweed: Chapter 22

This is the beta version of my novel. If you are a new reader – welcome. You can read from the start here.

New sections are released every Tuesday and Friday. Please let me know your opinion in the comments section. Thank you for reading.

 

Chapter 22

Sam found her there a few minutes or an eternity later. She peeled Artie’s hand a finger at a time from around the knife handle and passed it to James. She muttered to him to call Artie’s parents. He slipped back into the house, past the clutch of curious in the doorway.
Sam was murmuring soothing words and stroking Artie’s upper arms, trying to catch Artie’s eye. Artie sat, aware of it all, but at the same time outside of herself. Her rage and terror had been spent, leaving her numb from the outside in.
I will see you again. Soon. March would come back. Who would he take from her next time? Her mum? Her dad? Sam? Rob? James? And all in the name of a game. Just for fun.
Artie felt the anger inside begin to kindle again. She remembered the glee in March’s eyes as Alex stepped under the speeding car. He had liked Alex, or at least found him useful. His wife’s favourite. But that hadn’t held him back from an act of deliberate cruelty.
James came back out in to the garden. He crouched down beside Sam.
“Her parents are on the way,” he murmured. “Let’s get her inside.”
Artie let them guide her to her feet and marshal her past the muttering group at the door. Chloe’s face stood out among the others – eager and greedy for scandal. Her eyes roved over Artie’s arms. It would have made a better story if she’d come out here to slit her wrists. Thought she doubted that lack of evidence would stop Chloe spreading the most outrageous version of events.
Sam stored her in the dining room, away from the party, until her dad arrived. There were murmured words at the door and concerned glances. Then she was helped to the car. Her dad drove her home in silence.

Artie closed her bedroom door. It cut down, but didn’t cut out the sound of her parent’s voices. She knew they were talking about her. Everyone was worried. Everyone was speaking in low voices around her.
Artie stripped for bed. She was surprised to find herself without a bra. It was probably still on the floor of Sam’s bedroom. Her mind flashed over what had happened with Rob, but she couldn’t really bring herself to care.
The alcohol-induced numbness had washed out of her, leaving a core of brittle and bright fury. For the first time since Alex’s death she felt clear and unconfused. The fury was clearer than grief, purer than plain anger, and it burned towards a since purpose: March’s death.
She sat with her laptop. Gorth had replied to her email.

I think I can give you something for vengeance.

A magic that will make you powerful enough to travel between the worlds and kill March yourself. There’s a price though. It will change you and there will be no going back.

Artie hammered her response in:

Whatever it takes.

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