Hello darling readers! (Tried a new opening sentence… How is it?)
I, Laurena, have a new chapter of Skulduggery Pleasant! I run all of the chapters posted since Karabelle seems to enjoy emailing me and not Ally or Melia… Although, I do not mind… And Ally would forget and Melia would do it however it allows me to stop doing my English Essay… Which is due in around half an hour… (I am a great procrastinator!)
So, without further ado, chapter 7! Soon followed by 8!
Catching the bus was not something she liked to do. Everyone stared at her, all with big, wistful eyes that she had seen a million times before, eyes that said: “I wish I was her’s”.
Skulduggery had told her to meet him at a small bar on the other side of town. He assured her that it was quite small and the only way you found out about it was through word of mouth, so it wouldn’t be crowded. After complaining that he could just come and pick her up and they could get straight back to the sanctuary, she hung up on him. China had sighed and asked the next person to walk past where the nearest bus stop was.
She guessed he didn’t have to pick her up. He could have made her get back to her library on her own. He could have made her walk through the streets all alone. Well, he was doing that anyway.
Trying as best she could to ignore everyone else on the bus, China looked out the window and watched as this sad little town, old and tired, raced by. She saw glimpses of crumbling walls and graffiti covering entire buildings like a spider’s web. She turned back, facing the front again and caught the bus driver staring at her through the mirror. She saw a girl about to cross the road in front of the bus. She didn’t see them coming.
“Keep your eyes on the road!” She shouted at the bus driver. In the corner of her eye, she saw just about everyone on the bus do the same. The bus came to a screeching stop. The girl, who hadn’t flinched at the presence of the bus less than a metre away from hitting her, turned slowly and looked directly at China. Fighting the urge to look away, China studied the girl who glowed.
She had fiery red hair that shone like the sun. Her skin was pale, but that shimmered as well. She glowed like there was a fire inside her. The fire ran through her blood and her bones. China could feel the intensity of her stare. Her eyes. They were a deep, blood red, but they shone as though they were the sun themselves. They were flickering like a flame. It mesmerised China until she finally forced herself to look away. Her eyes reminded her of someone. Their eyes had the same deep feeling surrounding them. The same pit of despair that had no end. Of course, if he actually had eyes, that’s what China imagined them to be.
Why had the girl not worried about the bus that had come so close to hitting her and possibly killing her? Perhaps she was a mage. Probably an elemental. Though she must have been pretty powerful to withstand China’s beauty. Even a glance at her would make her fall in love, So why didn’t she show any sign of affection to me? China thought as she watched the girl walk across the road and walk down the other side of the street. The bus started moving again and she could still feel the heat of the girl’s stare in the back of her head. That was when she noticed the bus driver staring at her again.
“I told you to keep your eyes on the road!” China roared, “Do you want to get us both killed?”
He mumbled an apology and return his eyes to the street in front of him. She sighed deeply and closed her eyes until they reached her stop. She decided to think. She thought about a lot of things. She thought about what Cassidy had said. About this mysterious Lividia Shanks. About the Book of Souls…
China was relieved as she finally stepped off the bus. When she had stood up, about half of the people on the bus did as well. She wasn’t happy about the bar. There would be people there, people who would not be “immune” to her beauty. They would crowd her, wanting to have her.
China took in a deep breath before she pushed open the double doors to the “Lucky Charms” bar. It was dark and crowded. The cream paint was basically shedding off the walls. All of the furniture was made of brittle wood that looked so old it might have snapped under the weight of a paperclip. A hush fell over the crowd of people almost immediately. The majority of them were big burly men that you wouldn’t want to meet in a back alley. Only two people in the bar didn’t turn around. One of which, of course, was Skulduggery.
He was wearing a navy pinstripe suit and a matching hat. He wasn’t wearing a scarf, so China suspected that his facade was up. The other person, however, was a woman. She was sitting on the old bar stool next to Skulduggery, and they were talking. She had long grey hair, which was loose. And her outfit was completely black. She wore boots, jeans, and a leather jacket; all black. China didn’t like to wear black, she felt it was too depressing and brought the mood down. Looking at her, she felt something pull deep inside her, something that hurt only on the inside.
She heard someone moving behind her and she spun around.
“Ah um, miss,” the man said. He was quite pathetic; short and stubby, his skin shining with oil even in this low light. She could see his friends chuckling back at their table.
“What it is?” China snapped.
“Will you marry me?”
China sighed. Why did she have this effect on people? Why couldn’t she just be a normal mage? Being this beautiful did have its advantages, though. She could easily make the person she loved fall in love with her. Unless they were “immune”. Or they hated her for something she did to them a very long time ago…
China turned her back on the man and strode towards Skulduggery. He had finally noticed her, and so had the woman. She was staring at China, probably mesmerised like the rest of the men here. But when the woman looked away she nearly faltered in her stride. Everyone who meets her for the first time has trouble taking their eyes off her, no matter how powerful they were. Unless they had already met her before, perhaps she had visited China’s library.
The woman stood and started walking towards the exit. As they passed each other, the woman looked at China again. They brushed shoulders, maintaining eye-contact the whole time. The woman didn’t flinch or falter. Who is she? China wondered.
“China,” Skulduggery nodded in greeting.
“Skulduggery,” She nodded back, “Who’s your new friend?”
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“She didn’t ask for my name, and I didn’t ask for hers.”
“Okay, then…” There was a heavy silence which China broke, “Can we please not stay long, everyone is staring at me, it makes me uncomfortable,” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw some of the many people staring at her look down at their drinks.
“Fine, let’s go,” Skulduggery pushed himself up and made for the doorway. China followed him, keeping her head high.
Together they walked around the corner to where Skulduggery had parked the Bentley. They got in the car and Skulduggery sped off, after checking that everything was in order. This time, China let the silence stretch out, it gave her some time to think over what had happened today. She thought about Lividia, about Cassidy. She wondered where she would go for a massage now. She thought about the glowing girl. And she thought about Skulduggery…
When she had walked into the bar. When she had seen Skulduggery with that other woman. She had felt something she hadn’t felt for a very long time. It used to gnaw at her insides, and now it was back, but it wasn’t as bad. He would probably never see that woman again. But it still ached. It ached in her heart.
She was jealous.
She was in love.
Oooooh! And the plot gets better… And more interesting… Who’s up for chapter 8?
The silence was making Skulduggery uncomfortable. He kept glancing at China to see if she would start talking, but to his dismay, she remained silent. She was staring out the window, thinking. She took in a deep breath, then sighed. Skulduggery sighed too. She was beautiful, not just in the way that everybody else saw her. You had to see her through eyes that had experienced heartbreak to see her real beauty. He studied her carefully, taking in every detail. The way her hair shone in the sunlight. How the rhythm of her shoulders rising up and down, had him locked in a trance that he could not pull himself out of. Then she spoke:
“Do you ever get the feeling that someone is watching you?” China said, still staring out the window. Skulduggery immediately tore his eyes away from China. If he had flesh, his cheeks would have been flushed a deep shade of red. He had been watching her ever since they stopped at the traffic lights. How long had that been? It felt like eons.
“Skulduggery, I’m talking to you,” China said, annoyed.
“Yes, sometimes I get the feeling that someone is watching me,” he said, turning back to look out China’s window. He sighed and look at the road in front of him. How long had it taken these traffic lights to change? Longer than usual, that was for sure. And there didn’t seem to be any other cars around.
It was probably just an issue with the system, Skulduggery assured himself. He looked at the surrounding houses and gently nudged China.
“China,” he said as calmly as he could, “I don’t mean to alarm you but there is a man with a machine gun pointing at your head.”
“Where?” said China, whirling around.
“Just over there, the second house down, with all the gnomes in the garden, hiding behind that wall. I’m afraid that one of his friends has hacked into the traffic lights and that’s the reason that we’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes.”
“So why hasn’t he shot us yet?”
“What do you mean me?”
“Oh…” China paused before adding, “So what are we going to do?”
“I am going to speed down the road and just hope that there aren’t any more of them.”
China frowned, “They would have to be pretty good to do any serious damage if we’re going that fast.”
“Yes, but they might get the car.” Skulduggery said seriously.
“Oh…” China repeated.
“Okay, you might want to hold on,” he said as he slammed on the gas. The Bentley shot forward through the red light, tires screaming. Out of the corner of his eye, Skulduggery saw the gunman recoil with shock, a stupid look on his face. He felt China grip his thigh bone tightly and he saw her face grow pale. He started to slow down after a kilometer. The Bentley swung around a corner and came to a halt in a quiet side street.
Skulduggery looked at China and saw the blood gradually return to her face. She slowly released her grip on his leg and unclenched her other hand. There were four bloodied crescent shapes in her palm. He could hear her breathing heavily. Leaving her to calm down, he got out of the car and searched for any bullet holes. Luckily, there were none, so he got back into the Bentley.
“Who was it?” he asked.
“I’m pretty sure that this mysterious Lividia Shanks hired him to do it…” China replied vaguely.
“And what do we know about her?”
“Only that we’ve apparently had some history and she’s trying to get back at me by stealing a rare and very powerful book called the Book of Souls. And now we’re going after it too.”
“How are we going to get it?”
“Well, Cassidy, my kidnapper, told me that Lividia has probably already found the book and has taken it by now.”
“She wasn’t very smart then.”
“No, she told me almost everything that we need to know,” China thought for a moment before adding, “Except what that Book of Souls actually does and where we can find it.”
“But I remembered something.”
“What do you mean you remembered something?”
“When Lividia and I were battling over the Book of Souls the first time, she decided to wipe my memory. But Cassidy was too soft and she only took my memories of them and the Book of Souls. I had a few flashbacks to the night when they stole the book and my memories, the book they stole was actually a fake, and I hid the other real one. According to my vague memories, I think I hid the book in a small library in Australia. But if Lividia has already taken it, then our main priority is tracking her down.”
“So what are we waiting for?” said Skulduggery asked impatiently.
“So let’s go!” As a side note he added, “We’ll have to stop past Gordon’s estate to pick up Valkyrie, she was helping Tanith find a picnic spot for her and Ghastly to have lunch.”
“Why don’t we bring them all along then!” China muttered sarcastically.
“What a good idea!”
Oh dear! That is a good end. Ish… Little cliffhangery… See you in an undetermined number of days for the next chapter! (Probably soon since it is the second last day of school! [About time!])