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Excerpt from Wicked Dreams

“What have you heard about Kristie?” I asked. “I really can’t believe she did it.”

Mrs. Teller wove a few more strands before she answered me. “She did —and she didn’t.”

“What do you mean?”

Mrs. Teller never looked up from her weaving. “I mean that Kristie did the deed, but she wasn’t herself when it happened.”

“Mental illness?” I asked, wondering how I had missed the signs, how Kristie had managed to keep something so serious hidden.

Mrs. Teller shook her head. “That’s what they’ll call it,” she said quietly. “But I think there’s something ‘Other’ afoot.”

‘Other’ as in magic, or something supernatural. Mrs. Teller doesn’t know about the Alliance —as far as I’m aware —but she does know about my gift, and she’s been mentoring Teag with his. She’s got some powerful magic of her own, and she’s saved my bacon on more than one occasion. I trust her instincts.

“I never picked up any hint that Kristie had the power,” I said, keeping my voice low so others wouldn’t hear.

“She didn’t,” Mrs. Teller replied. “I’d have known. All the same, I think something influenced her,” she added, and then she looked up and met my gaze. “There’s something out there that made that poor girl kill her roommate. Someone needs to do so something about that.”

It was pretty clear who Mrs. Teller thought ‘someone’ should be, and it included Teag and me. “Even if I could prove that,” I said very quietly, “the police would never believe me.”

“No, but Kristie might,” Niella said. “I went down to visit her this morning, see if she needed anything, if there was anyone she needed me to call, since she doesn’t have family around here. That poor girl is just sick about what happened, and she’s afraid she’s going crazy.”

“Is she?” I asked. “I mean, do you think she just…I don’t know, snapped?”

Niella shook her head. “No, I don’t. You didn’t see how broken up she was about it. They’ve got her on suicide watch. She’s telling anyone who will listen —and even those who won’t —that ‘something came over her’ and made her do it.”

“Wow,” I said. “Did she say anything else?”

“She sure did. Told me that something had been sending her wicked dreams, and that when the murder happened, she thought she was in one of those dreams, then she woke up covered with blood.”

My heart went out to Kristie. As much as I grieved for Becca, if there was something supernatural involved that had used Kristie to commit a crime, then she was a victim as well.

“There’ll be more killing,” Mrs. Teller said without altering the rhythm of her weaving. “Mark my words. There’s something bad out there, and it won’t stop now that it’s started.” She looked up at me. “Unless someone puts a stop to it.”