Dream Dark by Kami Garcia

  My dad calmly raised his glass of milk. “Well, my day was unbelievable. I woke up with an incredible idea, out of the blue. Must have come to me last night. During my office hours, I wrote up a proposal. I’m going to start a new book.”

  “Yeah? That’s great.” I picked up the salad bowl, concentrating on an oily-looking wedge of tomato.

  “It’s about the Civil War. I might even find a way to use some of your mom’s old research. I have to talk to Marian about it.”

  “What’s the book called, Dad?”

  “That’s the part that hit me out of nowhere. I woke up with the words in my head. The Eighteenth Moon. What do you think?”

  The bowl slipped out of my hands, hitting the table and shattering on the floor. Torn-up leaves mixed with jagged pieces of broken glass, sparkling across my sneakers and the floorboards.

  “Ethan Wate!” Before I could say another word, Amma was there, scooping up the soggy, slippery, dangerous mess. Like always. As I got down on my own hands and knees, I could hear her hissing at me under her breath.

  “Not another word.” She might as well have slapped an old piecrust right across my mouth.

  What do you think it means, L?

  I lay in bed, paralyzed, my face hidden in the pillow. Amma had shut herself up in her room after dinner, which I was pretty sure meant she didn’t know what was going on with my dad either.

  I don’t know.

  Lena’s Kelting came to me as clearly as if she was sitting next to me on the bed, as usual. And as usual, I wished she really was.

  How would he come up with that? Did we say something about the songs in front of him? Have we messed something up?

  Something else. That was the part I didn’t say and tried not to think. The answer came quickly.

  No, Ethan. We never said anything.

  So if he’s talking about the Eighteenth Moon…

  The truth hit us at the same time.

  It’s because someone wants him to.

  It made sense. Dark Casters had already killed my mom. My dad, just getting back on his feet, was an easy mark. And he had been targeted once already, the night of Lena’s Sixteenth Moon. There was no other explanation.

  My mother was gone, but she had found a way to guide me by sending the Shadowing Songs, Sixteen Moons and Seventeen Moons, which stayed stuck in my head until I finally started to listen. But this message wasn’t coming from my mom.

  L? You think it’s some kind of warning? From Abraham?

  Maybe. Or my wonderful mother.

  Sarafine. Lena almost never said her name, if she could avoid it. I didn’t blame her.

  It has to be one of them, right?

  Lena didn’t answer, and I lay there in my bed in the dark silence, hoping it was one of the two. One of the devils we knew, from somewhere in the known Caster world. Because the devils we didn’t know were too terrifying to think about—and the worlds we didn’t know, even worse.

  Are you still there, Ethan?

  I’m here.

  Will you read me something?

  I smiled to myself and reached under my bed, pulling out the first book I found. Robert Frost, one of Lena’s favorites. I opened to a random page. “We make ourselves a place apart / Behind light words that tease and flout, / But oh, the agitated heart / Till someone really find us out…”

  I didn’t stop reading. I felt the reassuring weight of Lena’s consciousness leaning against mine, as real as if her head was leaning against my shoulder. I wanted to keep her there as long as I could. She made me feel less alone.

  Every line felt like it was written about her, at least to me.

  As Lena drifted off, I listened to the hum of the crickets until I realized it wasn’t the crickets at all. It was the lubbers. The plague, or whatever Mrs. Lincoln wanted to call it. The longer I listened, the more it sounded like a million buzz saws in the distance, destroying my town and everything around it. Then the lubbers faded into something else—the low chords of a song I would recognize anywhere.

  I’d been hearing the songs since before I met Lena. Sixteen Moons had led me to her, the song only I could hear. I couldn’t escape them, any more than Lena could run from her destiny or I could hide from mine. They were warnings from my mom—the person I trusted most, in any world.

  Eighteen Moons, eighteen spheres,

  From the world beyond the years,

  One Unchosen, death or birth,

  A Broken Day awaits the Earth…

  I tried to make sense of the words, the way I always did. “The world beyond the years” ruled out the Mortal world. But what was coming from this other world—the Eighteenth Moon or the “One Unchosen”? And who could that be?

  The only person it ruled out was Lena. She’d made her choice. Which meant there was another choice to be made—by someone who had yet to make one.

  But the last line was the one that made me sick. “A Broken Day?” That pretty much covered every day now. How could things possibly get more broken than this?

  I wished I had more than a song and that my mom was here to tell me what it meant. More than anything, I wished I knew how to fix everything we had broken.

  Copyright © 2011 by Kami Garcia, LLC, and Margaret Stohl, Inc.

  Cover image © Trevor Payne / Trevillion Images

  Hand-lettering © 2011 by Si Scott

  All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

  Little, Brown and Company

  Hachette Book Group

  237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

  Visit our website at www.beautifulcreaturesnovels.com

  Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

  The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

  First eBook Edition: August 2011

  The characters and events portrayed in this work are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the authors. To the extent any real names of individuals, locations, or organizations are included in the book, they are used fictitiously and not intended to be taken otherwise.

  ISBN 978-0-316-19704-5



  Kami Garcia, Dream Dark

  (Series: Caster Chronicles # 2.50)




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