Home > Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3)

Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3)
Barry Lyga

Part One

Up the Cliff

CHAPTER 1

Jazz opened his eyes.

Connie opened her eyes.

Howie opened his eyes.

CHAPTER 2

Jazz realized he had been floating. Floating in dreams. But the dreams weren’t really dreams—not entirely. They were memories, filtered through a dream haze.

He’d seen himself in the Hideout again, with Connie. Telling her how happy it would make him to know that his mom had escaped Billy, rather than been killed.

He’d seen himself at his mother’s grave, weeping for her at Connie’s side.

And she wasn’t dead, Jazz knew, both in and out of the dream. She wasn’t dead; she was alive, and he’d said that would make him happy, but now he was hurt and he was angry and he was also—damn it!—happy at the same time because she was alive and that was great, but why didn’t she, why, why, why didn’t she take him—

Which is when he’d jerked awake, still in the dark, still locked in unit 83F. Cramped and stagnant, the place still reeked of formaldehyde and bleach, with a growing note of blood and meat. Nothing had changed.

Nothing except…

He opened Dog’s ancient cell phone again, burning precious battery life. The storage unit lit up with the image of his mother.

That part wasn’t a dream. She’s alive. She’s really still alive.

For now.

He shivered. It was cold in the storage unit, but that wasn’t the cause of his sudden chill.

Who did you come to New York to find? he had asked Billy, and Billy had answered with the photo.

She could be dead by now. Or tortured. Or anything, really.

“LET ME OUT OF HERE!”

The scream nearly ripped his throat to shreds; in the close echo chamber of unit 83F, it battered his eardrums. His heart skipped at the sound of his own voice, so raw and desperate. He hadn’t even known he was going to scream until the words were out of his mouth.

Don’t lose it, Jazz. Don’t lose it. Stay in control.

But he couldn’t stop himself. His leg had settled into a dull, forceful throb of pain, and he found he could maneuver well enough to get to the door of the storage unit, where he proceeded to howl and scream and pound at the door until the corrugated metal made his fists slick with his own blood.

He slumped down in the darkness. His hands were numb, but that—he knew—wouldn’t last. The pain would find him.

The pain always found him.

Pain means you’re alive. Pain is good. Pain is life.

It wouldn’t matter soon. Soon enough, he would be dead. His makeshift bandage wouldn’t keep the blood stanched forever. And if he didn’t bleed out, he would die of infection. Or thirst.

According to the clock on the screen of Dog’s phone, it had been less than fifteen minutes since he’d first seen the photo. Fifteen minutes to pass into a fugue state, to wake up again. Time was losing all meaning.

His mother stared back at him, caught unawares by Billy’s prying, prospecting camera.

“Mom,” he said, but it sounded wrong. After a moment, he realized why. She’d gone away when he was so young. And yes, he’d sometimes called her Mom, but most often he’d called her…

“Mommy,” he said, the word wrenched from him as though stuck fast.

“Mommy,” he said again, and wept.

CHAPTER 3

It wasn’t a dream. It really was Billy Dent standing in front of her.

Connie shook her head to clear it, but the action only made a smallish pulse at the base of her skull become a throbbing headache that she couldn’t ignore. She gasped with the pain of it, and Billy smiled.

“Just breathe in and out,” he advised. “Only gave you a small dose. You should be clearin’ up in no time.”

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