But Hyacinth was, as he’d often noted, an uncommon sort of female, which meant that—hopefully—an uncommon sort of gesture would work with her.
She peered down at the gash, forcing herself to look at it closely even though the blood made her stomach turn. "I don't think you'll need stitches."wDo you know much about wounds?"She shook her head. "Nothing. But it doesn't look too bad. Except for... ah, all the blood."wFeels worse than it looks," hejoked.
Her eyes flew to his face in horror.wAnother joke," he reassured her. "Well, not really. It does feel worse than it looks, but I assure you it's bearable."wI'm sorry," she said, increasing pressure on the wound to staunch the flow of blood. "This is all my fault."wThat I sliced open myhand?"wIf you hadn't beenso angry..."He just shook his head, closing his eyes briefly against the pain. "Don't be silly, Penelope. If I hadn't gotten angry with you, I would have gotten angry with someone else some other time."wAnd you'd of course have a letter opener by your side when that happened," she murmured, looking upat him through her lashes as she bent over his hand.
When his eyes met hers, they were filled with humor and maybe just a touch of admiration.And something else she'd never thought to see— vulnerability, hesitancy, and even insecurity. He didn't know how good his writing was, she realized with amazement. He had no idea, and he was actually embarrassed that she'd seen it.wColin," Penelope said, instinctively pressing harder on his wound as she leaned in, "I must tell you.
She broke off when she heard the sharp, even clatter of footsteps coming down the hall. "That will be Wickham," she said, glancing toward the door. "He insisted upon bringing me a small meal. Can you keep the pressure on this for now?"
Colin nodded. "I don't want him to know I've hurt myself. He'll only tell Mother, and then I'll never hear the end of it."wWell, here, then." She stood and tossed him his journal. "Pretend you're reading this."Wow. The extent of the deception was staggering. I wondered how they had initially planted the lie. I guessed that would have been the hardest part, because once the rumor started spreading, desperate ghosts would latch onto the hopeful fable… just like Chantel and Nolan. They were willing to suspend disbelief for any far-fetched story, simply because they’d been at the end of their tether and saw no other way out of their miserable half-existence.
And what about the other pools? There are loads in this place.I do not know if all of them were caught by fae, the elderly woman replied. Some could have been collected by the ghouls themselves—I suspect many of them were. At least those on this upper level.
The newest recruits are kept here on this level, the highest level, the woman explained. At least, while there’s still life in them. Gradually, as spirits lose their shine, they get shifted down, down, down… until eventually, when their souls have all but died, they get cast into the furthest depths of The Underworld. The Necropolis, some call it.A necropolis for ghosts?