Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier

By Justine Larbalestier

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I glanced at Esmeralda. She was smiling, encouraging me and Jay-Tee to join her. Her smile was as unguarded as my mother’s. I tried to imagine her killing anything and couldn’t. It was possible that Esmeralda hadn’t done any of those despicable things. Sarafina mightn’t have meant to lie to me, but she had lied to herself, told herself that magic wasn’t real. Maybe she’d told me so many terrible stories about Esmeralda that they’d started to grow, become worse than they really were. Or maybe it was her madness confusing her.

Her voice was loud, carrying around the room, her cheeks red and damp. She looked exactly the way I’d always imagined a crazy person would. Sarafina didn’t look up or smile when I squeezed in beside her on the couch; her expression stayed blank and distant. I’d half expected her to tell me that I’d changed. She said nothing. She looked so much like Esmeralda. But I could see no resemblance between her and Jason Blake. It was hard to believe he was her father, my grandfather. Why hadn’t she told me about him?

Tom held out his right hand. ” Reason peered at the tiny spots of blood, her nose still wrinkled at whatever she was smelling. ” “This thing. It came in through the door and ate Esmeralda’s coat,” Tom said. ” Reason asked, looking at the mess dripping from the kitchen table. Tom realised he still had the cloth in his hand. He dumped it on the table. “Where did the thing go? ” “Small,” Tom said. ” Jay-Tee nodded. “Don’t know where it went. ” She glanced at the back door. The skin on Tom’s scalp contracted.

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