“Are you saying I should breathe fire all over Zoe?”

Aunt Addi is gonna be pissed about Eli skipping class, but he figures she can deal. This is an emergency.

It’s an emergency that sees Eli ringing the buzzer of the mansion atop Rosemont Heights, hoping desperately Widow Adeline doesn’t have bridge club or Power Yoga or whatever else it is old women get up to during the day.

He gets buzzed in, which is a good sign, and Adeline greets him at the top of the driveway. She’s wearing knee-length yoga pants and some sort of crop-top/loose-shrug ensemble that really shouldn’t look so good on someone so old.

Widow Adeline, as it turns out, is kinda ripped.

Eli is sweaty and panting from running all the way from the school, but Adeline looks about the same. “By the stars, boy,” she says. “Whatever’s the matter?”

“I think my friend’s been possessed,” Eli blurts, because it’s the nearest explanation he has for the oil-smoke and malevolent presence he’d felt on Zoe.

Widow Adeline regards him for a moment, head tilted. Her hands and feet are taped up and she has sweat stains on her top, and Eli suddenly wonders if he’s interrupted kickboxing practice. Is the old lady at the top of Rosemont Heights secretly some kind of martial arts master as well?

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