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Ten feet in front of me, Elizabeth stood with absolute hatred in her eyes. She looked at me like I was the devil incarnate. Like the knife in her hand was a dart and I was the bullseye. I hadn’t felt her get up. It was three in the morning. What the hell was she doing up? But then I remembered—3 a.m.—the time screaming and shuffling was to occur. Christ. I hadn’t meant to fall asleep. Forty seconds ago, I’d been dead to the world, Elizabeth safe in my arms. Now? I was battling the urge to sketch whatever was responsible for Josephine’s distress, while at the same time struggling to understand what the hell was happening to Elizabeth. Was she sleepwalking? This wasn’t normal. She’d never sleepwalked before.
I raised my hand, fingers trembling with the effort not to sketch, my skin undulating in protest when I ignored the snake now slithering down my arm. “Elizabeth,” I said calmly, “put the knife down.” She simply stared at me, murder in her eyes as she watched my every movement. My blood ran cold. I knew this look. My eyes flicked to the wall, to the painting of Josephine. Christ. This had happened before—on a pier at Wrightsville Beach when Elizabeth had thrown herself in the ocean and nearly drowned. Because of Josephine. Because she’d tried to drown herself on that very day, at that very second in 1905.
This wasn’t Elizabeth in front of me. It was Josephine.
“Elizabeth,” I tried again, paper crinkling under my feet as I took a step toward her, “if you can hear me, I need you to fight.” She watched me, stock-still. “You have to push through. You have to reach her.” Her arm was shaking, her hair matted against her pale cheeks. “That’s it,” I murmured, easing toward her. “Focus on my voice. I’m right here.” The blaze in her eyes dimmed, but she didn’t lower the knife. Frustration entered her features. She was in there somewhere, battling her way back to me. “You can do this, Elizabeth. You can stop her.”
Closing my hand around her wrist, I very gently, very slowly, removed the knife from her grip. “That’s my girl,” I whispered softly, cupping her feverish cheek. A flicker in those forest-green depths. “Elizabeth?” Pure revulsion overtook her gaze.
A split second later, her body jerked and she went flying across the room.
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