Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)

Anna, my strong, terrifying Anna.

Anna's eyes soften, and the stubborn tears begin to recede. The way she stands, the way she breathes, I know she wants to come closer. New knowledge fills up the air between us and neither of us wants to breathe it in.

But hey, at least we’ll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream.

God, living people are irritating.

I can feel that photo of Anna staring at me from sixty years ago, and I can’t help myself from wanting to protect her, wanting to save her from becoming what she already is.

I come in all big and bad, and you use me for a game of handball.” I grin. “Makes a guy feel damn manly. She grins back. “It made me feel pretty manly.

I don’t have my knife,” I mumble.
“Don’t start that,” Anna says. She walks away from me sharply. “Arthur without Excalibur was still Arthur.

If people knew what I was up to, they'd probably try to stop me. The idiots would take Casper's side, and then I'd have to kill Casper and them after Casper bit their throats out. I'm no superhero.

If this is mytstical, what the heck is Advil going to do about it?

I hit him with a board; of course he’s got a concussion. Don’t be an idiot.

I jerk my head toward Thomas and immediately curse myself for trying to be a smartass. My head is not healthy enough for smartassery.

I’m not a superhero,” I say. It’s an awful tag. It’s egotistical, and it doesn’t fit. I don’t parade around in spandex.

I peek over the back of the couch and there she is, my goddess of death, her hair snaking out in a great black cloud, her teeth grinding hard enough to make living gums bleed.

I should've known Gideon would spill. He's like a surrogate parent. Not like a stepfather, exactly - more like a godfather, or a sea horse who wants to stuff me into his pouch.

It feels so separate, like I’ve touched something that’s taken the color out of me. Or maybe I’m in color now and they’re in black and white.

I think of her again. Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. I wonder what tricks she'll try. I wonder if she'll be clever. Will she float? Will she laugh or scream?
How will she try to kill me?

I’ve been Obeahed by an Obeahman? Is this like how the Smurfs say they smurfing smurfed all the time?

I’ve seen most of what
there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth,
the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the
light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget
are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination.
Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes
blurry. Eyes remember for much longer.

Land of the Dead? Is that what you dream about?” she asks. “Boy who kills ghosts for a living?”
“No. I dream about penguins doing bridge construction. Don’t ask why.

Move, hunt, kill. Like lather, rinse, and repeat.

Over the course of my life I've been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren't any less haunted than the others. They're just better liars.

She’s like Bruce Lee, the Hulk and Neo from The Matrix all rolled in to one.

She's my purpose and we're going to save each other. We're going to save everyone. And then I'm going to convince her that she's supposed to stay here. With me.

We’re not children, neither of us. We don’t believe in fairy tales. And if we did, who would we be? Not Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty. I slice murder victims’ heads off and Anna stretches skin until it rips, she snaps bones like green branches into smaller and smaller pieces. We’d be the fricking dragon and the wicked fairy. I know that. But I still have to tell her.

What luck. I chose the douche-y sounding one.

Why are you here? Did you come to try to kill me again?” “Oddly enough, no. I—I had a bad dream. I needed to talk to someone.

Would you rather be a Trojan or a tiger?”… “Now what’s this about condoms or tigers?

Yes. Smashing. You’ll be just like those four chaps in the movie. You know the one, with the oversized marshmallow.

You fuck - you ate my cat!

You make me want things I can't have.