Chapter 29

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Four humans and a ghost walked into Mazie's living room.

I couldn't come up with a punchline to that, though I had a feeling punches might become part of the set-up soon enough.

We stood for a moment until the awkward silence seemed worse than me blurting out something ill advised. "Sit down, everyone. Make yourselves at home. I'll make popcorn. Hey, who want to play a board game? How about Clue. Professor Plum in the conservatory with the lead pipe. I'm pretty good at figuring out who the murderer is." What a roll I was on. Why stop now? "Or maybe just who the guy is that accidentally shot his brother when he was aiming for someone else is."

"Mazie!" Blake and Jack's twin speak came at me in stereo. Ethan and Zeke gave each other dark looks. Zeke nodded at him, which I translated to mean, "she's about to go sleep with the fishes."

"I'm sure they know by now that I know. All I did was confirm it." I hissed at Blake and Jack. "Ethan, Zeke, how'd you know Blake was here?"

No one had taken a seat. Ethan and Zeke stood near the entryway, blocking out nearest exit.

"We just grabbed a slice." Ethan said, as though that would answer my question, which oddly enough, it did. Kayla must have been talking about these clowns in her last text.

"You should have listened to me." Ethan aimed his finger at my face. "I warned you Blake was dangerous. He attacked Zeke."

"And you tried to shoot me!" Blake leapt forward. I stepped in front of him, my arms out to separate them as much as possible. This was going to be an ugly repeat of the fall dance, only now, there were no parents or teachers or chaperones to break them apart, there was only me.

"There will be no violence in my house, do you hear me?" I turn my head from side to side, making eye contact with all three of them. Jack hovered near, mumbling about his knife, which in his panicked state, he'd been unable to grab. "No knives!"

"Who said anything about a knife?" Zeke asked. "And what is up with this place? I don't like it. You could stick a sign outside the last week of October and charge admission. It'd scare the shit out of kids."
"Sorry if our color palette isn't military fatigue chic." I lowered my hands. "All of you, chill, or remove yourselves from my house. My parents will be home anytime." That was a lie. They wouldn't be back until after Mazzeria closed late tonight.

"Kayla's coming over too," I said.

Ethan crossed his arms. "I don't want her here for this."

"Here for what?" Blake inched forward again.

"We need to have a conversation," Ethan said. "Be very careful about what you say and do, especially now that you've involved your girlfriend. Mazie, see what I mean about him being dangerous. He's dying to beat me unconscious."

"I'm not his girlfriend." I swallowed as a flash of metal caught the light. "And I'm guessing the dangerous one would be the guy holding the gun."

Ethan moved to the side. "Zeke, really? I told you not to bring that here."

"You don't get to tell me shit, Ethan." He swung the gun between Blake and me. My breathing became quick and shallow. I'd never seen a gun this close-up before. "You two need to listen to us, and this gun is going to make sure that you do."

"Zeke," Blake stepped in front of me. "This isn't cool. Wasn't it enough that you accidentally got shot? You almost died, and for what? You don't have to threaten us, especially Mazie. She didn't do anything."

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