"No offense, Andrew, but your however many greats grandma was crazy."
Andrew nodded. "I can kind of see why no one else in the family is willing to talk about her."
Selena took the book from Andrew and flipped through the pages, the aged paper crackling as the pages hit her skin. "There's pictures back here," she said softly.
"Pictures of what?"
"Her 'companions,' I think," Selena replied as she turned the book toward Andrew.
He reached over and turned on the lamp by his bed to see the pictures better. There were small pictures of all the skeletons on one page, and pictures of what they looked like during life. Andrew turned the page and Selena gasped. There was one large picture of Charlotte on one page, and on the other was a picture of Shadoe Rose. She was tall and slender, with long, ice-blonde hair that fell in loose curls down to her waist. Icy blue eyes stared out from the picture, Shadoe’s proud gaze and full, soft blood-red lips standing out against her pale skin. She wore a strapless dress the same color as her eyes with a layered skirt. The bodice was partially unlaced at the top, revealing part of her chest. There were tall, thin triangles missing, one from each side of her bodice, showing pale skin. Shadoe held a dagger in one hand, pressed against her skirt, the other gesturing toward the stone slab behind her. Candlelight made the hollows beneath her eyes and cheekbones seem darker and deeper.
“You have her face, and her eyes,” Selena said softly as she reached out to trace the picture.
Andrew shook his head and looked down at the signature at the bottom of the page. “Can you read what that says?”
Selena leaned closer. “Does it say ‘Charlotte?’”
Andrew nodded. “That’s what I thought it said.”
“So Shadoe’s skeleton friend painted a picture of her?” Selena asked as she pulled her hand back quickly from the picture as if it would burn her skin.
Andrew shrugged. “If that’s who did it, then I think I might be getting a better understanding of what caused Shadoe’s family to disown her.”
“What’s your theory?”
Andrew closed the book and set it next to the candle. “I think she was a witch.”
There was a triumphant laugh rolling through the room on an icy wind, and the lights went out. Selena screamed as the lamp exploded and it rained glass. Andrew grabbed his lighter from beside the candle to try and relight it, but the lighter flew out of his hand and across the room. In blazing letters against the opposite wall was a message:
I am Shadoe Rose.