THERE was no face within the wig of silver ringlets. There was nothing. Only darkness and a smile of shiny, metal teeth.
Finn scrambled back.
The girl of nothing and night leaped for her.
Someone knocked Finn aside.
Finn, dazed, lifted her head to see her sister slashing a wooden knife at the shadow girl. "Lily?"
Lily slipped in the blood and glass and went down, the knife spinning across the floor. The shadow girl glided over her and slahsed her nails across Lily's corset.
Finn felt a calm, cool ferocity as she reached for the wooden knife. She gripped the hilt. She pushed to her feet. She flung herself at the monster.
The shadow girl twisted. Finn felt the blade plunge into the girl's chest as if through black ice. A chill bled over Finn's hand, numbing it. Flowers spilled in tendrils from the wound and Finn couldn't look away as the shadow girl writhed on the floor.
"Finn." As Lily dragged her up, Finn reached out and snatched up the old-fashioned camera the shadow girl had used against her.
As she and Lily fled, Finn felt the black-ice chill follow them, a mass of breathing darkness that had once worn the shape of a girl.
Finn ripped her hand from Lily's. She spun, raising the camera. She pressed the flash button again and again and the series of blinding flares caused the dark thing to retreat back into the hallway.
Finn backed away with Lily.
As they stumbled out the door, the darkness surged forward, whispering, "May she sleep when she loses one she loves! A sleep only broken by a dead man's kiss--"
A young man in black slid past them as the darkness surged over the threshold. He cut out with two flashing daggers, drove the darkness back, and kicked the door shut.
As Finn began to fall, their rescuer turned. She met his blue and gray gaze and whispered, "You . . ."
Darkness took her.