Read Luminosity (Gravity Series #3) (The Gravity Series) Online

Authors: Abigail Boyd

Tags: #ghosts, #Young Adult

Luminosity (Gravity Series #3) (The Gravity Series)

BOOK: Luminosity (Gravity Series #3) (The Gravity Series)
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THE GRAVITY SERIES

BOOK 3

~ LUMINOSITY ~

by Abigail Boyd

Copyright ©2012 Abigail Boyd

http://abigailboyd.blogspot.com/

http://www.boydbooks.com

Twitter:
@abigail_boyd

DISCLAIMER:

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

COPYRIGHT:

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the author, except for use in review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

THE PARTY HAD
already begun. The table stretched towards the horizon, as long as a winding road, but only three of the elegant, striped chairs were occupied. A line of candles glowed down the center, the wicks burning low. The other guests were late.

“Do you have any threes?” asked Ambrose Slaughter. The sight of him, even his actor-handsome face and immaculate features—which had made legions of girls swoon—shot fear into my blood. I cringed backwards in my chair. What was I doing here?

“Nope. Go fish.” Robert Warwick’s voice slashed me deeply, despite its bored tone. The last time I’d seen him, he had been planning on murdering me.

Both men were supposed to be dead. I had witnessed Warwick being shot, collapsing to the floor as useless blood spilled out, no longer belonging to him. Yet, here he was.

I have to be dreaming.
Nothing about it felt like a dream, however, and I’d never had one quite so surreal.

Ambrose had been ranked as the king of Hawthorne High’s bullies, until Warwick cut his throat. I saw no sign of blood on Ambrose’s tuxedo, the one he must have worn at the school dance where he lost his life. His golden hair still curled in perfect ringlets, pale blue eyes reflecting the cunning of a fox.

“You don’t have any good cards,” Ambrose complained.

“I have all the cards I need, sonny.” Warwick shuffled the order of his cards around. He didn’t look so good: twitching all over his seat, unable to stay still. Sagging skin hung on his skeleton like an ill-fitting suit.

I waited for one of them to notice me and pounce or reveal a weapon. The more I watched their benign game, however, the more I realized my fear was only a projection of what I thought I should feel.

“Bad hand,” Ambrose insisted.

Warwick laughed in a short burst. “My hand is better than yours.”

Ambrose thrust his hard chest upward, pride wounded. His voice changed to an imitation of another boy, one I held close to my heart. “I am my father’s son. Said so yourself.”

He and Warwick assessed each other without words, glaring daggers at each other like they were both going to attack. Tension split the already stifling air. Then they both erupted into ugly laughter like hyenas.

“He’s a nobody,” Warwick cackled, shoulders still twitching like a methadone patient. “Should have stayed at home.”

Henry Rhodes’ face flashed through my head like flickering lightning.

“Do you have any kings?” Warwick screamed, making me jump and clutch at my frightened heart.

“Go fish, old man. We’re all nobodies.” Ambrose’s shoulders tensed up. “But I would have made a better vessel. Why’d you have to kill me, Wick?” He began hitting his fist against the underside of the table rhythmically, shaking the candles on top. What did he mean by a vessel?

“Because you cheat on all your science tests,” Warwick informed him.

“You two have both completely lost your minds,” I muttered.

Warwick turned his head in my direction, slowly, mechanically, until his one gray eye fell on me. The empty socket where the other should have been was covered by a heart-shaped eye patch. He winked at me and I shuddered. My alarm briefly spiked before I reasoned that if they were going to kill me, I’d be—

“Am I dead?” I asked out loud. Ambrose looked up at me with little interest, still banging his fist hard enough to bruise.

“Philosophically speaking, we’re all a little dead,” Warwick proposed. Cards scattered out of his twitching fingers.

A red streak flew around the table. I jumped up out of my chair, squinting around in the claustrophobic dark that surrounded us.

“Where are we? What was that?” I asked.

“Questions, questions,” Ambrose said, still sounding bored.

“The wrong questions,” clarified Warwick. Both were staring idiot-faced at their cards.

An unexpected surge of heat slammed into my right side, stunning me. I saw a building burning in the distance, hazy behind its own smoke halo. I made out the hulking outline of the Dexter Orphanage, flames shooting off the top like the tail of a comet.

“Do you know what you’re afraid of?” Warwick’s purring tone made my stomach twist and my nerves go on high alert.

“I’m not sure. What should I be afraid of?”

No answer.

Another hot eruption almost knocked me down. I reached back for the chair but it had disappeared. The table was now only one of the cafeteria tables from Hawthorne High. The flames were growing more wicked and insistent, launching out of the roof at rapid speed.

I felt drawn to the burning building, as if an invisible hand were reaching out and grasping my chest. Despite any instinct of self-preservation, I had to go towards it.

My clothes trapped the heat against my skin. I tore my eyes away from the blaze to peer down, and a shocked laugh escaped my chest. A long, white dress draped my frame, the tiered skirt flowing from my waist. A ball gown. Not my style, nor anyone else my age. Where was my boring, gray rainbow of jeans and t-shirts? Instead, I was stuck in a dress belonging to a doomed gothic heroine.

Warwick and Ambrose were staring at me again, as if waiting, daring me to make a move. The table was gone altogether, and we were standing in a semicircle. They glared as if focusing with x-ray vision, seeing deep down, looking for my weak spots.

Warwick chuckled, a dry hiccup in the back of his throat. “Nothing is as it seems, is it?”

In the gray gloom surrounding us, red flashed again, much closer. We weren’t alone.

“Why don’t you go take care of it, if you’re so worried?” Ambrose crossed his hefty arms, challenging me.

The relentless flames reeled me in, crackling a melody, flashing like night lights. Sticky heat pressed against me, almost unbearable in the dress’ unyielding fabric.

I peeked over my shoulder. The dead men were gone. Now it was only the Dexter Orphanage and me.

Am I going to catch on fire?
It didn’t matter.

I just needed to reach it.

To meet what waited inside for me.

 

CHAPTER 1

NEEDLESS TO SAY
, I didn’t sleep much after my nightmare. I hadn’t had a lucid dream like that in a very long time, and it spelled trouble.

I ruminated over the details in French class while my teacher plodded through a particularly snore-inducing lesson on verb conjugation. When I’d had those dreams previously, I barely interacted with the ghosts. To have had a conversation—no matter how absurd—with two deceased murderers left me anxious. I didn’t think I was overreacting.

Ambrose had aided Warwick in kidnapping my best friend. Two other girls went missing later, and all three ended up murdered with ritualistic cuts on their bodies and signs of bloodletting. Then, after Warwick escaped jail and the police were closing in, he came back and silenced Ambrose permanently.

It wasn’t long before he attempted to grant me the same fate, luring me with a fake text from my boyfriend, Henry. In an old ballroom downtown that had been converted into an office, Warwick had menacingly advanced on me with a hunting knife. The sharp blade had still been stained with flecks of Ambrose’s blood.

If it hadn’t been for the bullet of an unlikely savior—Henry’s father—Warwick would have slashed me to ribbons.

My cell phone vibrated in my pocket. Trying to be discreet, I slid it out and concealed it beneath my desk.

Come see me.

Just three little words, yet my pulse sped up instantly. I kept the phone hidden so the teacher couldn’t watch me reply.

I’m in the middle of class. Shouldn’t u be too?

It’s nothing you don’t know. Make an excuse.

What makes you so sure that I want to?

I was ready to jump out of my seat and race out of the room, but Henry couldn’t sense that.

Give me some credit, I know you well enough by now.
Or maybe he could.
Don’t leave me waiting, dear.

I sighed internally, fighting back a grin at the same time. He was right. It was a request I couldn’t ignore.

The teacher finished speaking and assigned book work. I traipsed up to her desk, knowing she was pretty strict about allowing people to leave unless they had already wet their pants or lost several liters of blood.

A hasty plan formed in my mind, but anticipation made me flub my request. She raised her eyebrows suspiciously, probably instantly assuming I was planning on getting high in the bathroom.

“You can’t wait twenty minutes for the bell?”

I shook my head, praying she wouldn’t make me demonstrate with a potty dance. “I drank a huge bottle of water. Bad idea in hindsight.”

“Fine, go. Be back before class ends.”

I rushed out of the classroom on light feet. I lucked out. The halls were virtually empty as I made my way to the current meeting spot.

It was February, and Henry and I had been officially dating for almost two months now, but no one knew about it—neither our families nor my closest friend, Theo. I hated the dishonesty and the sneaking around even if it did add an air of foolish excitement. I’d experienced too much danger in the past few years. I was worried I was falling in love with peril.

Texts were mostly how we’d grown our budding relationship. A romance of words more than actions, sometimes misspelled but always meaningful. These were the bright spots in my week—when we could sneak minutes of time together.

Henry and I weren’t supposed to be dating. His father, Phillip Rhodes, was the leader of the influential—and shady—organization called the Thornhill Society. They had connections to what Warwick did and why he did it, we just didn’t know exactly what. The details were all loosely related like a misprinted connect-the-dots page. I had the theory that they were some kind of cult, but no proof.

Thornhill wore the mask of a social group, and most in town thought they were benign and good. Were all of the members of Thornhill involved or merely a few? What had the sacrificial rituals been for? Why had Phillip killed Warwick and saved me if he hated me?

Principal McPherson and his assistant appeared, and I ducked my head, anxiety rippling through me. McPherson would surely catch me and send me back to class. Instead, he was preoccupied in his evidently stressful conversation.

“They don’t know what they’re talking about,” he argued, agitated. “Misappropriation of funds? Every penny is accounted for. He can check it himself or have his accountant analyze the records.”

“Sir, I’m only repeating what I was told over the phone,” the assistant said. “Maybe he was being overly cautious.”

BOOK: Luminosity (Gravity Series #3) (The Gravity Series)
5.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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