"It is not real!" I say to Kaleigh and Sady, who are sitting next to me. Kaleigh is holding the latest issue of Malice. Don't ask me how she got it.

She opens it to a random page and studies it. "Of course it's real. Haven't you ever wondered what happened to all of those missing kids who never turn up?"

"I know what happened to them. They're in a lake somewhere, chopped into little pieces."

"Maybe." She says ominously.

Sady speaks up. "She's right, Megan. If you do the ritual, you will end up in Malice.

I raise an eyebrow at them. "And the two of you know this because..."

Kaleigh mirrors my facial expression. "We know it because it is true. If you don't think that it will happen, then why don't you do the ritual?"

I smile at her, but my heart is pounding. What if is real?

Tall Jake, take me away.

"Where would you get the items?" I ask her, hoping that Kaleigh wouldn't have them.

"I've had them in here for awhile. I gathered them a long time ago." She says, walking over to her closet.

Of course she had.

Tall Jake, take me away.

She brings out a small mixing bowl and sets it on the floor. Then she brings out a black feather, a twig, a knot of cat fur, and a small glass vial. And scissors. She sets them all on the ground.

"First, a black feather." she says, setting it in the bowl. "Then, a twig." she sets it on top of the feather.

"Cat fur." Sady says, placing it on the twig. "Then the tear." She grabbs the vial, and shakes the tear onto the cat fur.

"It doesn't have to be mine?" I say.

Kaleigh shakes her head silently and picks up the scissors. Then, she cuts off a piece of my hair. "The hair has to be yours, though."

Sady looks around. "Where is a match?" She says calmly to Kaleigh. I am struck by how odd that sentence could seem to someone who only heard Sady's question. I nearly laugh.

Kaleigh curses, though. "I forgot to get one! They're all downstairs, where my mom is."

I let out a breath. Maybe I wouldn't have to it after all. Then Kaleigh says, "I'll distract her while you get a match, Sady."

Tall Jake, take me away.

They get up and walk out of the room, leaving me alone with the bowl. I try to convince myself that it isn't real, that nothing will happen, but I can feel myself trembling.

Then they're back. It didn't feel like long, but I knew that my sense of time was messed up. All of me was messed up.

Kaleigh lights the match, and throws it into the bowl. The cat fur catches instantly. Kaleigh gestures for me to start.

"Tall Jake, take me away."

Six times, before the flame goes out.

But nothing happens.

At all.

I let out a breath that I didn't realize I had been holding. "See? Nothing happened."

Sady looks at the ceiling. "I heard that he comes when you're alone."

I wave her off. "You're just making that up. Because you know that I'm right."

She doesn't protest. Just keeps staring at the ceiling.

Tall Jake, take me away.

Sady and I leave a few hours later. Sady's mother picks her up, but I just walk home. My house isn't far.

My house is empty when I get home. I open the door gingerly, and it strikes me how dark the house is. I remember what Sady had said, about how he gets you when your alone.

Tall Jake, take me away.