“No!” she grabbed my sleeve as I opened the kitchen door. “The threshold—“
“Will not save us.” I pointed to the smudge of darkness that looked like the lazy heatlines above a road under the summer sun. “It will grow and devour until it finds you. Blood always wins.”
“But I didn’t mean to!”
I grabbed her shoulders and shook her once so she attended to me. “Your intentions do not matter! Only your actions and their consequences. Now move!”
And I pulled her out of the house with me. She stumbled, but didn’t fall. That was good. Her dying by falling on her sword before we even made it to the Other Side would have been an ignoble way to go, even for a failing apprentice.
When we reached the splinters of the gate, the darkness had grown large enough to swallow a horse.
“Where does it go?”
“To the Other Side.”
I shook my head. “Nothing that nice.” I turned and looked in Sami’s still clear eyes. There was too much to say and too little time. Wasn’t there always? “Trust me, trust yourself, trust Silas, trust no one else. They whisper lies. Do not accept anything and remember your lessons. Then we might get out alive.”
She said nothing, but blanched in return.
“Good.” Fear, not panic, was healthy and could be worked with. “Time to go.”
I have been to the Other Side twice to bring back something that was lost. Once I succeeded and once I failed. I placed no bets on the outcome this time. Only amateurs and fools did that.
I took one last breath of the country air, filling my lungs with its freedom, then stepped through the portal dragging Sami beside me.