WORD LISTS

"This Poison Heart" by Kalynn Bayron, Chapters 5–8

September 23, 2022
Following her aunt's death, Bri must learn to control her unique and deadly magical gift to conquer dark forces and protect her family.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–4, Chapters 5–8, Chapters 9–15, Chapters 16–22, Chapters 23–31
stifle
Mo stifled a laugh.
turret
They wound around its conical turret, laced themselves through the banister, traced the pointed arches over the windows and doors like picture frames.
ornate
“This is really beautiful.” I tried the ornately engraved handle.
obscure
Inside were three shelves, all lined with glass jars, painted black, obscuring their contents.
apothecary
“Look. There are labels, bags, twine, like we have at the shop. Were the people who lived here selling this stuff?”
“It’s an apothecary,” Mom said.
dispensary
Or some kind of old school natural medicine dispensary.
armoire
Huge dressers and armoires sat against the walls, and each bedroom had its own bathroom.
plume
I jumped onto the bed, sending a plume of dust into the air.
flue
The flue groaned as it opened, spilling a pile of rotted leaves and a dead bird into the hearth.
render
Paintings hung on the walls, but unlike the ones downstairs they all featured the same person—a woman, her skin rendered in the warmest golden brown, her hair and eyes dark.
abalone
Next to the dish sat a large green toad, an abalone shell, and a coiled red string.
rapt
The woman looked absolutely focused on whatever was in the dish, and the man next to her sat in rapt attention, his brown eyes wide, regarding her with some mix of fear and intrigue.
ruddy
It was all I could say before deep, ruddy splotches bloomed on Mom’s face and neck, her outstretched arms, her bare legs.
welt
The spots turned to raised welts and the area around her left eye began to swell.
dissipate
The cool sensation on my skin dissipated as images of the hemlock root splayed open on my desk flashed in my head.
alcove
A huge black contraption with a bunch of rectangular doors on the front was set into a tiled alcove in the rear wall.
impervious
I find it ironic that, even with these gifts, we are not impervious to suffering.
transpire
There are, I would imagine, things transpiring in your life that you have questions about—and you may find yourself set apart.
ottoman
There was a coffee table and an ottoman under the other cloths.
drawl
Her voice was a familiar song, her thick Southern drawl like honey.
salve
You know, your auntie Leti was always real good at puttin’ together salves and balms and such.
pungent
The dried calendula turned from brown to vibrant yellow and the pungent, earthy aroma of the petals wafted up.
ominous
A single bulb illuminated the cramped space now that the sun had set, and the portrait of the woman Circe called Medea hung on the wall, looking more ominous than she had in the daytime.
ensemble
Her ugly leather house shoes with the heel folded down were sliding off her feet as she shuffled around the entryway. Her droopy red bonnet topped off the terrifying ensemble.
buffer
“We’ve recently begun defunding the local police department. Several officers have proven themselves to be more of a problem than an asset to the residents here. As such, we’ve cut back the number of officers on the force and diverted funding to programs that better serve the community. My department acts as a buffer between what’s left of the police and the community to ensure everyone’s safety.”
stave off
For morning glory, place seeds under pillow to stave off nightmares; root can be a substitute for High John the Conqueror.
conjure
Maybe she’d conjured it from her own imagination.
scrawl
A single sentence was scrawled at the bottom.
mace
“This property’s big enough to get seriously lost, so don’t go too far. You got your phone? You wanna take Mom’s Taser?”
“Got my phone. And I don’t need the stun gun. I have mace though.”
tentative
I took a few tentative steps into the knee-high grass.
swath
It bent toward me as I waded through, cutting a swath of vibrant green into the brown.
serrated
Smaller leaves with razor-sharp serrated edges—stinging nettle—interlaced with them, forming an impenetrable curtain.
nettle
Testing my theory, I reached out to stroke the leaves of the stinging nettle, then braced myself for the pain.
foliage
The tangled curtain of ivy and nettle unwound before me. The layers of foliage parted, revealing the well-worn fourth path.
facade
The oak trees bent unnaturally, groaning loudly as they leaned away from the facade of an overgrown stone structure.
labored
His breaths rattled, tight and labored, like he was breathing through a straw.
shroud
I ran to the path leading away from the glade and looked back, only once, to see the man’s terrified face as a blanket of stinging nettles pulled itself over him like a shroud.
gurney
“What the hell happened to him?” Dr. Grant asked as the officers hoisted the man onto a gurney.
ebb
Her fear had ebbed, and I could see the anger taking over as she shifted back on her heel and crossed her arms over her chest.
sentient
My restless mind conjured images of sentient plants surrounding me as I stood in shadowy woods.

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