“You can’t think that I’m-”

Cacey held up her hand and interrupted us. “Wait, wait, wait. There’s no need for any of this. It still doesn’t change the fact that we can’t do it. It’s Vincent and Monty’s job, remember?” she said.

“But Monty wants to try. Doesn’t that mean anything?” I asked.

Kame leaned over and said something to Sophie. She shook her head, then replied, “I don’t know. The chain has been interrupted. We can’t be sure-”

The sound of hoofbeats came thundering up from behind us, and we all turned to look. Nikolas was sitting on top of a dark gray horse, with Katy behind him.

“We have searched the other side,” he said, “and still no sign of-” As soon as they saw me, they came to a stop.

“Abbey!” Katy said, sliding down from the horse. “We were so worried! We have been looking everywhere for you.”

She came toward me, and I gave her a big hug. “I was with Vincent, but I’m okay.”

“What did he do to you?” She turned my face and looked at my jaw. “You poor thing.”

“I’m okay,” I whispered. “Everything’s going to be fine now.”

“Abbey?” Someone else called my name. From behind me. The voice was high pitched, but it sounded like …


She stepped forward hesitantly, and I could see that Vincent was holding her with one hand across her throat. Something glinted, and I knew it was a knife.

Immediately Caspian moved next to me and Nikolas edged his horse closer.

“Did you start without me?” Vincent called. “You know I couldn’t stay away. But I have my insurance policy here.” He pushed Cyn forward roughly, and she stumbled.

“What are you doing?” Cacey asked. “Are you crazy?”

Vincent glared at her.

“Okay, okay, don’t answer that,” she muttered.

“Let the girl come to us,” Kame instructed Vincent, his tone soothing. “We can discuss this.”

“There’s nothing to discuss.” He jerked her head back. The wicked edge of a blade shone against her pale throat. “I’m not being replaced.”

“Hey, schizo,” Cyn said to Vincent, “want to loosen up on the grip? I won’t struggle.”

Vincent ignored her.

“Why don’t you let Cyn go?” I said. “She doesn’t have anything to do with me and Caspian being completed.”

“Can’t,” he replied. “See, what I need is for you to make the decision not to complete him. And the only way I see that happening now is for me to hold on to her so you don’t do anything stupid.”

“Why didn’t you just stay away?” I said suddenly. “If you didn’t want to do the job, why not just head off to some tropical paradise and stay as far away from me and Sleepy Hollow as possible?”

He sighed heavily. “Radar thing. It’s like a time clock on steroids. A real bitch.”

“What’s the radar thing?”

“A program that’s hardwired inside our brains to guarantee we show up and do our job.” He shifted the knife away from Cyn and gestured to his head. “See, when a Shade’s time is up, we get this little blip that starts beeping in the back of our heads. The more we ignore it? The louder it becomes, until it’s this crazy full-on blaring signal that drives you mad and all you can think about is finding your Shade. You have to get within ten feet of your charge to shut it down.”

He grimaced, and I could tell that he’d obviously experienced that a time or two.

“Anything else you want to know?” he said. He glanced at his watch. “We have some time to kill.”

I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, and realized it was Uri and Caspian edging closer.

Vincent saw it too.

“I will gut her like a fish right here and now if you don’t back the fuck up,” Vincent threatened, moving the knife to Cyn’s stomach. “I won’t kill her, but I’ll make her bleed.”

They halted.

“This is getting old,” Cyn called out. “One of you want to tell me what his damage is?” She hissed in pain as Vincent dug the edge of the knife in deeper. “Okay, okay. Forget it.”

“No! Don’t!” I said. “You win, Vincent. End of story.”

“Actually …” He cocked his head. “That’s not the end of the story. Did they tell you the other part? The best part? Probably not. Because they’re cowards.”

“Like you’re anything better?” Caspian said.

“I’m lots of things, but I’m no coward,” Vincent replied. “I have balls of solid rock.” Then he turned his attention to me. “You know that friend of yours? The dead one? It was supposed to be you.”

I tried to keep my face blank. “You already told me that. You thought she was Caspian’s other half and wanted to get her out of the way so they could never find each other.”

He shook his head, but grinned gleefully. “It was only a mistake on my part to get involved with her. If I’d been more patient, I could have avoided that. When she died”-he looked over at the Crane River-“right over there, I believe, you were supposed to be here. It was your death day. Not hers. Before I interfered, you would have met Caspian, and then who knows where we’d all be? I just got tired of having a loose end, so I decided to take care of it on my own. Now you’re unwritten and none of us know when it’s gonna happen.”

Shock hit me. I glanced over at Uri. “Is that true?” I asked. “Tell me. Is that true?”

Nikolas got down from his horse. “Abbey,” he said, “you have been given a chance-”

“Been given a chance!” I said hysterically. “I haven’t been given a chance! My life was spared because my best friend’s was taken in its place.”

Vincent grinned. “I was hoping that she’d bring you along with her. Then I would have had a two-for- one.”

Suddenly Cyn started whispering something. I thought I caught the word “veil,” but she was talking faster and faster and I couldn’t hear what she was saying. Her eyes closed and her head slumped forward.

She jerked once, then stood upright. When her eyes opened again, they had changed.

“Abbey,” she said, “it’s okay.”

Blinking rapidly, I tried to clear my vision. Cyn was doing whatever she’d done at the seance. Her smile, her eyes, her expression … Except for the longer hair, everything about her was Kristen. She’s really here.

“Kristen?” I said in a whisper.

Vincent must have been seeing it too, because he looked just as stunned.

Cyn put her hand on my arm. “I’ve missed you so much.” She put her other hand on my face. “I’m sorry I lied to you. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about him. For almost a whole year I kept his secret because I was so ashamed. I didn’t want you to think any less of me. I just wanted to get him out of my life without you ever finding out. That’s why I didn’t ask you to go with me. To the bridge.”

My vision blurred again. Stupid tears. “I could never think less of you, Kris,” I said. “I miss you so much. There’s so much I want to tell you.”

She smiled. “I know about everything now. I know when you come to visit me in the cemetery. I knew when your boy was keeping watch for you, and tending my grave.” She glanced back at Caspian. “He’s good for you. Very good for you. Do you love him?”

“Yes,” I whispered. “More than anything.”

Vincent interrupted us. “I don’t know what’s going on, but this-”

“You know what you need to do.” The voice that interrupted came from behind Vincent. Monty was standing

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