Days drag on in this place. Nothing changes, except the people. I pass the time by practicing my gifts, learning everything I can from Markus. He may be old, stubborn, and incorporeal, but his knowledge is enviable. Cliff joins me at every opportunity and insists I learn to fight. I don’t know how much longer I can humor him. My patience runs thin, watching Andrei hopelessly lost under that snake’s charm. Rhoan convinced me not to step in; Andrei is already hostile toward me. Surely his friends will do something, he said. It’s been weeks.
I turn the knob of my bedroom door, situated down the hall from Kaitlyn and the others. This place is my sanctum. I forbid the spirits to bother me here, and yet… I hear a voice. Not a voice out loud, but an echo in my mind, coming from inside.
I don’t recognize it at first. The apathy in their tone is interesting. I keep my expression neutral as I enter the room, throwing my sweater on the chair in the corner, as I often do. I’m tired, sweaty, and annoyed. Now someone is hiding in my space? Unacceptable.
“So outdated… what time period are you from?” The voice groans. My eye twitches. What does that mean? I glance at the mirror. Girls still dress like this, it’s the lazy work-out look.
“She’s got to get thirsty sometime…”
It’s so hard to resist smiling. I rummage through my dresser for a moment, pulling out some short-shorts and an oversized long-sleeve shirt.
“God, I wish I could just erase her… but no… alive… unharmed.”
I can use this to my advantage. I have a feeling I know who it is now. I wander over to my dresser, where I left my water bottle earlier. I take my time twisting off the metallic cap, lifting it to my lips, relishing in the anger it seems to cause.
I lower the bottle, unable to mask the smug grin on my face as I let out a laugh. “Terribly sorry, I simply couldn’t do it with a straight face.”
I turn to the wood-slatted closet door, hand on my hip. “You can come out now. I was only toying with you.”
“Damn you…” The door swings open to reveal the face I expected, red lips shimmering in the light. “How’d you know?” she demands face blank of expression.
I don’t bother hiding my smirk. “You’re not as clever as you think, girl.”
“Girl? We’re practically the same age,” she scoffs.
“Aren’t we?” I raise an eyebrow. “Now, now. We both know that isn’t true.”
“Whatever. It doesn’t matter,” she rolls her eyes. “There are other ways to get you back.”
I narrow my eyes ever so slightly. “You’re even more naive than I thought if you think I would fall so easily to a child,” I chuckle. “And the longer you take… You won’t remain the favourite for long.”
“I won’t take long. Trust me. If an old man and a fool caught you the first time, surely I can catch you a second. You’re not an eel, just a human, with powers that aren’t worth your own time,” she crosses her arms, confident in her words.
I don’t flinch. “What do you know of power?” I pause, as she opens her mouth to speak. “You know what? I’ve changed my mind. I don’t care,” I thrust my palm forward. The girl’s back slams into the wall, feet dangling a foot off the floor.
Her pale grey eyes bulge in shock. “This is new…” “This was not in her file. The fool!”
I step closer, looking at the water bottle. “I’ll give you a little pro tip for surviving in this world,” I look up through my lashes, “Never trust what you read about a person,” I toss the bottle across the room. Its contents spill onto the carpet. I hold a finger up. “And for the record, I haven’t been human in a very long time.”
“Ah, human,” she laughs. “I was mistaken. It won’t happen again. In order to fight a monster, you have to become one.” She shrugs, struggling against my hold. “That reminds me. Your new friends like to read. The bookworm, Andrei, he’s not much longer for your little circle of friends. He’s about to crack soon. I’ll make sure of that. And if that happens, your sweet little fire pet won’t ever be coming back. You can be sure of that,” she croaks.
I mull over her words for a moment, before I cut off her air supply. “That’s the best you can do? Honestly, I’m disappointed.”
“A challenge, at last…”
“No, child,” I shake my head with pity. “You are not my equal. As for your plans, well…” I sense a buildup of energy in her arm. My gaze snaps to meet hers, and I plant the thought that all of her bones snap at once, overwhelming her nerve center. I wait for her screams to die down before I speak again. “Don’t you know it’s rude to interrupt your betters? As I was saying. You will fail.”
“I will not fail…. I never fail,” her eyes glow with purple energy.
I roll my eyes. “I will allow you to leave here with your life, and with the petty trinkets you took. However, you will not have me, and you will not have the boy,” I smile. “In fact, your acts will only strengthen their bond.”
“He was mine first. You know nothing,” she spits.
“He was never yours,” I snap. “He will never be yours. You do not own what you must charm to keep.”
Energy builds up around the girl, her thoughts impressively focused for someone in so much pain. She gives the command to release the energy. I give the command for her to fall unconscious. I catch the dark energy in a bubble of psychic power, forming it into a sphere the size of a football.
“What sort of spell is this?” I wonder aloud to myself.
“Void magic,” Markus answers, appearing next to me.
I raise an eyebrow. “You remember I forbid you from being here.”
The redhead frowns. “I sensed trouble.”
I blink slowly. “And you thought you would… what? Spook the girl?”
His eyes turn to blue slits, mouth twisting. “Watch your tone. I’d say you owe me quite a bit now, don’t you?”
I cross my arms, tilting my head. “I could say the same. You’re welcome, y’know, for your partial restoration. Though, if I knew how much of a dick you’d be, maybe I would have left you as a whisp.”
A low growl emanates from his throat. He looks at the girl, crumpled in a heap on the floor. “What will you do with her? You know she has a part-”
“Yes,” I snap. “I know. I won’t kill her. I’ll return her to her room, and if she doesn’t leave in the next couple days… I will take other measures,” I grin.
Markus scratches the back of his head, long hair tied in a half-ponytail. “I hate to agree. The girl must go soon. I worry about Kaitlyn.”
I raise both eyebrows. “Oh, now you’re worried?”
“Yes…” he averts his bright blue eyes. “I sense she has become trapped… in the Veil.”
My heart sinks.
We’re out of time.
By Krystyne Yates