Return Fire by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Return Fire by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Author:Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Published: 2016-12-15T05:00:00+00:00

Via dei Tribunali turned out to be a narrow pedestrian street with shops on either side, and there were enough people walking around that we blended into the crowds. The stone buildings seemed to get older with each passing block, and when we reached a series of arches in front of a building with crumbling columns, I stopped to check the map once more.

“Cassie, look … that skull.”


Simone pointed to a sign hanging from scaffolding across the street. A small church was being restored, and there, on the banner over the front door, was a picture of a skull with angel wings on either side.

“Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Anime del Purgatorio ad Arco,” Simone read out loud. “That picture has what looks like an angel’s skull on it, and the church has the words Souls of Purgatory in the title … Isn’t that kinda what your dad wrote about? Lost souls and stuff?”

“Yeah,” I said. She was right, but I didn’t have the energy to get excited about anything other than the spear. I just wanted to get to the port. “We can come back later. After we get the spear.”

“But we’re already here.” Simone tugged on my hand and pulled me closer to the church entrance. “I have a hunch. We should at least take a look. See what’s inside.”

“Simone …” But my protests fell on deaf ears. Simone was already passing a small stone pillar with a brass skull on it and going into the church. I followed her inside, noticing a small sign by the main door stating that tours were given every hour on the hour. I made a mental note that we were not going to stick around for any tour, no matter how much Simone begged. We’d be here for five minutes … tops.

As Simone wandered around the nearly empty church, I stayed close to the entrance. From my vantage point, the space looked like so many other beautiful but small Italian churches. It was ornate with marble and gold leaf decorating the walls and painted archways highlighting statues. There were pews lined up toward the front of the church, where a large Renaissance-style painting loomed large above a small altar. A painted cupola allowed natural light into the building. It was full of grandeur and opulence, not what one expected to see among the small shops and apartments that lined the street outside.

“Psst.” Simone motioned for me to join her as a young woman wearing a blue blazer and khaki pants handed her a flyer and walked away.

I hurried over, hoping that Simone had gotten her fill of the place so we could go.

“So, did you find it?” I asked, looking around for the picture of the angel’s skull that we’d seen outside, but not seeing it. “Can we get going?”

“Look behind the altar, underneath the painting.”

My eyes shifted over and there it was: the stucco of the skull with wings. Still, it didn’t shed any light on how we would discover the special fire that was described in the Guardian’s Journal.


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