Moonlit Romance – Caroline

    The day starts as usual; I wake up at quarter to six, rubbing my eyes as I silence the alarm. The room seems to ripple with my consciousness as I stir from my sleep. That would be the water in everything reacting to me again. I’ve grown accustomed to the notion that I … Continue reading Moonlit Romance – Caroline

The Guild – Chapter 10 – Andrei

I can’t believe what just happened. When did I start having feelings for this girl? We only just met a week ago, and for most of that week I was in the past! My heart pounds in my chest and my palms are all sweaty. I feel like I could drop my fork at any moment.

I try not to make direct eye contact with her while I eat. I have a feeling Caroline planned this just to screw with me. She’s always hated that I flirt with her. I’d bet anything that the moment she saw I was anything but flirty around Kaitlyn she jumped on the wagon of opportunity.

But what’s worse is I – kissed – her… I kissed, her… I, kissed her. The moment replays in my head as I nibble on my bacon. I can’t get the reel to stop. She looked at me and an urge took over like a spell and I leaned in. Her lips were soft and warm and in my moment of awareness I pulled away. I pulled away much too quickly, now that I think about it. It was hardly a kiss, more of a peck. I’m such an idiot! That doesn’t even count as a first kiss.

Before I realize it, the meal is over and we’re at the cashier. I shake out of my daze long enough to offer to pay for Kaitlyn’s before she has time to pull out her money. Then we leave and are walking towards the museum.

Caroline and Kaede lead us towards the ROM, leaving Kaitlyn and I side by side again. I hear my blood rushing in my ears, and I’m for once in my life at a loss for words. Why am I so nervous? Is it because I don’t know what she thinks of me yet? I mean, she read my journals, I’m sure she has an opinion… What if I was wrong!? What if she read them and hates me? Just because she read my stories doesn’t mean she understands me. Doesn’t mean she gets me. This is worse than being exposed! I don’t know what to think! My mind races a million miles a second and I can’t form the words to ask her a simple question.

A question. She said, after I kissed her, after I confessed my very immature feelings for her… that I could ask her anything. One question. Whatever I want to know. What did I want to know? Suddenly my mind is blank. Blanker than when I was meditating beneath the willow tree with Waaseywaa. What should I ask her?

Before I can think of a question we arrive at the ROM. Caroline stops and turns, facing us and the street. “So! Where’s the entrance? Do we need to buy tickets to get in or is it accessible from the outside?” The street is bustling with activity despite it being a weekday. I can’t imagine what all these people could be doing not at school or in an office. I hope we’re not seen doing anything crazy like walking through walls or something.

Kait looks around, then heads for the path around the back of the building. We follow her closely. She finds a door that says ‘Authorized Personnel Only.’ “This will do.” She says, grabbing the handle. The door doesn’t budge.

The tattoo I saw before on her arm flares and it opens.

Caroline nearly shrieks in surprise and Kaede quickly places his hand over her mouth to quiet her. She looks at him, eyes questioning what she just saw, but he hushes her with a finger to his lips.

“This is so illegal.” I whisper, trying to look casual.

As the door swings open, a guard suddenly rounds the corner beside us and stops. “Hey! What are you kids doing? Get away from there!”

Kaitlyn quickly waves us through, but I hesitate. She grabs my wrist and yanks me in, slamming  the door shut behind me. Inside is a bunch of yard equipment like rakes and shovels.

“Where are we?” Caroline whispers, confused.

The space is close and we’re nearly all rubbing shoulders. My back is to the door and Kaitlyn is still holding the door shut. I feel her warm against my chest and my heart skips. “Everyone hold onto each other.” She says. I look down at her, confused. Isn’t that what everyone is already doing? I feel Caroline snake her hand into my left. Kaede is already gripping her other hand and reaches out for Kaitlyn. I see she has her hands busy so I hold onto her shoulder with mine. Kaede grabs her elbow.

I see the glow of her tattoo again and the ground begins to shift beneath us. Caroline squeezes her eyes shut and Kaede is smiling gleefully. Rakes and shovels topple and we are knocked into each other.

Suddenly everything stills and the door swings open. She pulls me out with her but I lose my footing on a rake and topple backwards onto the ground. She falls on top of me with a grunt and Caroline and Kaede stumble out after us.

“Are you ok?” I whisper from beneath her.

She pushes herself up, hand on my chest to steady herself and seems a little disoriented, looking around. My breath catches in my throat and I focus on the feeling of her hand. I look up at her, waiting.

She finally realizes she’s on top of me and I see her cheeks turn red as she shuffles away. “Oops, sorry… Um… I’m ok. Are you?”

“Y-yes, I’m good.”

“Well when you two are done being all cute you might want to check this out.” Kaede says. I turn to see him and Caroline looking behind me. Caroline’s hand is on her mouth in awe.

I scramble to my feet and look out at a vast landscape. We’re standing on the edge of a cliff, on an island and in front of us the landscape crawls upwards toward a large elaborate castle-like metropolis. Towers spear the sky, sweeping pointed roofs are mounted with little flags of various colours. Arched windows decorate every walled surface. I see bridges exposed to the sun and domed structures are scattered about the entire structure.

The air is warm and my coat suddenly feels unnecessary. A salty ocean breeze buffets the cliff. The fields before us are dotted with tropical trees and flowering plants. There’s a fancy brick path leading from where we stand all the way up to the city; it’s the best word I can use to describe how large this castle looks to me.

I turn to Kaitlyn, shaking out of my wonder to see what her impression of the place is. I remember she said she has been here since she was four years old, I can’t imagine growing up in a place like this. She just stands there, passively picking at her nails.

I turn back to the wondrous Guild and notice a tall figure approaching quickly along the path. “Hey! Someone’s coming, is… is it safe?” Kaede points, noticing the figure too. As he gets closer I notice the figure is a man, a very tall and muscular man with a scruffy beard. He almost looks like a viking! I see red and blue tattoos on his arms like snakes curled around his limbs and his light brown hair is pulled back into a ponytail.

Kaitlyn nods beside me, not bothering to look at who it is. “They’re just coming to see who’s arrived.”

The man arrives, huffing from his run, which explains how he got here so quickly. Now that he’s closer I feel small as he towers over me. Beneath his thick beard he wears a huge smile and his eyes glint in the sun. “Hello there!” He says in a deep voice. “Welcome, to the Guild of Antiquities.” He begins his introduction and pauses as his eyes settle on Kaitlyn standing quietly beside me.

“Kaitlyn? Kaitlyn Smith? Oh my god! You’ve come back! Thank the gods!” He booms, stretching his bear thick arms wide and diving in for a hug. My eyebrow raises in surprise. I thought she said she didn’t have any friends?

She starts to backup, an alarmed look on her face, but Cliff pays no heed and grabs her in a bear hug. I think I hear bones cracking and I unconsciously bring a hand to my mouth to stifle a laugh.

“Do I know you?” She squeaks.

“You don’t remember me? It’s Cliff! Cliff Reznick! We arrived the same year!” He shouts in surprise. “Always been your biggest fan, other than Professor Ambrosse of course.”

She glances at me quickly then back to Cliff, a little horrified. “Fan of what, exactly? Spontaneous combustion?”

“I do say,” He says releasing her and bringing his hands into a thinking posture, “That is a very intriguing ability and I think it is my favourite. Wish I could make fire. Then I could light my arrows and send them flaming!”

“What?” She shakes her head. “Why would you want to do that?”

“Make them look like falling stars,” He grins. It’s a terrifying look for him. Kaitlyn stares at him like he’s crazy. I agree, the man’s nuts.

“Oh, forget that nonsense! I’m so glad you came back! And look! You brought new friends!! Did you know Professor Ambrosse forbade me from going after you?! I begged and pleaded and even threatened to quit the school, but she wouldn’t have none of that.” He rambles on.

“So, what do you do?” Caroline pipes in quietly.

“Oh, the new one asks! I am an alchemist. I can transform any substance into another! At least, that’s my main ability. And how about you guys? Why has Kaitlyn brought you to us?”

Caroline answers first. “I seem to have some sort of water ability but all I do is flood things.” She says. She points to me next.

“I… uhh, I time jump.”

“Whoooa. I ain’t never seen that one before! Wicked.”

“Right?!” Kaede chirps.

“And you, what can you do?” He asks Kaede.

“Ahh, you know, I’m a master at Warcraft and other games. I can fix computers and shit. And I take care of these guys.” He smiles, grabbing us by the shoulders.

Cliff’s face makes an expression that sort of looks like a bear in pain. “Warcraft? I’ve never heard this ability before. Perhaps the professors will know of it.” Kaitlyn smacks her forehead and I chuckle nervously. I’ll let him have his moment of fame for a little while longer. It might get interesting.

“Wow, Kaitlyn! You’ve done a wonderful job bringing these new kids back with you. I’m so pleased! Professor Ambrosse wishes to see you. How ‘bout we head up to the Guild and get you folks settled?” He holds out a hand, gesturing towards the castle city and I feel a bubbly excitement rise in my throat. This is something I’ve never seen before and I think I’m going to love it.

He starts walking up the path back towards the Guild and we all follow behind. To Kaitlyn we probably look like a group of gawking tourists. At a steady walking pace it takes us nearly forty-five minutes to arrive at the main entrance to the Guild. Standing this close, the place towers above us, taller than anything I’ve ever seen, except for maybe Everest.

Cliff leads us through a maze of halls; branching passages, winding staircases, over some covered bridges and through cavernous halls. Eventually we arrive somewhere on the east side of the building, according to the sun, and he stops at a tall door engraved with a flame. It is literally dancing on the wood. No heat comes from it but it moves as if it were a real fire and I can’t stop staring at it.

“Well, here we are! Is everyone ready to meet Professor Ambrosse, Headmistress of the Guild?” He asks us, smiling. He seems excited for us to meet her. Why would he be excited?

I watch closely as he pushes the doors inward, the flames moving as if they were affected by the movement. I look back at Kat, hanging back nervously. I let Caroline go first with Kaede and bump Kat’s shoulder. “Hey, you got us here, don’t worry.” I say. I shyly offer her my hand to hold, hoping she’ll accept it. I try to hide the fact that it’s shaking.

She looks at it for a second, like she’s not sure what to do with it. Then she hesitantly reaches out her own hand. She timidly places it on top on mine and I grasp it tightly, moving into the doorway.

Kaede turns his head back and whispers, “Oh – my – god! This place is freakin awesome!!” I know it’s difficult for him to contain his excitement. I notice Caroline pinching his arm every time he says something.

We walk down the centre of a large room, wood arched supports line the ceiling and frame the geometrical patterns that construct it. The other end of the room is a wall of windows taller than even Cliff. The centre of the room is adorned with a red carpet that leads to a desk at the end, set before the windows. That must be a magnificent view. It would suck if you had a fear of heights though.

Before the wall of windows stands a tall woman, white blonde hair cascading down her back in loose ringlets. She wears a white dress made of lace, the middle of which appears to be see-through, showing the small of her back and I assume her midriff from the front. She looks like a medieval princess from Ireland to me. Draped across her shoulders is a golden orange lizard with wings… wait… is that a dragon? I swallow my surprise and hold Kaitlyn’s hand tighter.

Wait… why am I nervous?

Cliff stops before the woman and bows slightly to her. “Professor Ambrosse. I’ve brought Kaitlyn and the new guests, as you requested.” He remains bent as she withholds her response. The dragon on her shoulders lifts its head and makes a sound similar to that of a cat meowing and a bird chirping at the same time. It flies off her shoulders and soars towards Kat, landing across her shoulders and licking her face like a puppy.

Kaitlyn starts giggling and tries to fend it off with her free hand. I gape in horror, expecting it to rip her face off.

“He missed you.” The woman says from the window, turning slightly with a smile. The noon sun barely filters through the window, but the rays that do fall upon her hair and make it shimmer like gold. She can’t be more than thirty years old!

I hear a whine and notice Kaede barely holding back a scream. “Ohh, ohhh!!  This is the best!! Man! I can’t wait to get a pet dragon!!” He whispers loudly. I roll my eyes.

When the headmistress turns around, her eyes study us closely. They come to rest on our interlocked hands with a raised eyebrow and a coy smirk. I begin to sweat. I feel like I’m meeting the in-laws and I drop Kat’s hand suddenly. Why did I do that? She’s gonna be so mad! I hazard a glance at Kat, wondering what she’s thinking.

She hardly notices as she continues to fend off the dragons loving licks, now with both her hands. I release the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding.

“Typhon, that is quite enough.” The Headmistress calls. The dragon stops, hanging it’s head sadly. “Kaitlyn, come.”

Kat gulps, walking up to where Cliff stands, and kneels on the floor with her head down. Are we supposed to do the same? I thought this was a school for learning magic? Why all the formality?

The woman walks over to stand in front of her, “Come now, child. That is not necessary. Tell me how you met these new friends.” She says, smiling.

I watch Kaitlyn stand, but her eyes remain downcast. “They were Logan’s next target. I stopped him, but… he escaped.” She glances back briefly. “I thought they would be safer here.”

Caroline wrings her hands and Kaede for once is quiet. Ambrosse has an aura about her that demands attention. We listen carefully, watching. She nods and turns to look up at us. “Of course, you are welcome to stay as long as you would like. Kaitlyn, you’ll show them to the dorms, won’t you?”

Kaitlyn bows and scurries back. The dragon returns to it’s mistress with a chirp. I shift my weight to follow Kaitlyn as I feel Ambrosse’s pointed gaze on me and freeze.

“Take care of each other.”

Caroline hesitates before turning. “Umm….” She tries to work up the courage to address the Headmistress. “We heard that we could learn about our magic here.” She pauses again,  wringing her hands together. “Umm, I’d like to learn here, if I could, please.” Her cheeks are bright red, making her freckles stand out.

The mistress flashes a set of perfectly white teeth, “Of course, dear. You are welcome to all of our resources.”

Caroline smiles timidly eager. I can tell from the way she works her jaw that she has more questions. “How do we enroll?” She asks. Of course she’d ask that. One doesn’t go to university without knowing how to apply. I imagine you can’t just walk into this place and start learning. There has to be some sort of application process.

The Headmistress giggles, her laugh sounds like chimes ringing in the wind. “You already have.” She says.

“Wait, me too??” Kaede jumps in, Caroline shoots him a look that could kill.

“Apparently he has the ability of Warcraft, headmistress.” Cliff adds. Oh boy…This can’t end well.

I see her visibly trying not to laugh now, “You are certainly welcome to try.”

“Yesss!” Kaede pulls down a fist. I can only facepalm myself. God save him now…

Cliff waves us goodbye. “See you later Kaitlyn! You too new kids!!” I see them begin to laugh out of the corner of my eye as we shut the door behind us.

Kaitlyn leads us around the castle to the West wing where the dorms must be. I watch her maneuver the curving halls and twisting stairs and I can tell she really knows her way around this place. I don’t think I could ever remember how to even get out. This place is a maze!

As we walk the halls we see others, mostly older people in strange garb and funny hairstyles. All of them giving us a wide berth as we pass. I furrow my brows with concern. Is it because we’re new? Or, is it Kaitlyn? It concerns me, the looks they give us and it makes me angry that anyone would treat her this way before getting to know her.

I decide to make my move. I stride up to Kaitlyn and boldly grab her hand with a smile. “Thanks Kat, this is great! Tell me about the Headmistress. She seemed very casual with you. What’s her ability?” I ask, glaring back at the others as we pass.

Kaitlyn looks at me, surprised. She tries to say something but the words come out jumbled as she trips over them. I can’t make out what she’s trying to say.

I give her a look and she tries again. “Um… She’s the Senior Guardian of Fire in the Guild. She’s also the best healer on the island. She’s been my mentor since I first arrived.”

“I see. So, it seems to me you fibbed a little when you said you have no family or friends here.” I tease. “Cliff sure seems to like you, and Ambrosse seemed almost like a mother if you ask me.” The way she stared at me when I had held Kat’s hand still made me nervous.

Kat tips her head, genuinely confused. “You think so?” God, she can be dense sometimes. If she didn’t notice till I said that then she has a long way to go.

“Yea, totally. Did you not see the way she was looking at you? All smiles and laughter. That’s what a mother is. And Cliff is a secret admirer I think, if you’ve never spoken before. He seems alright.” I say, feeling a little defensive. I squeeze her hand as I mention him.

She stares ahead, expression unreadable, “I dunno. Logan said she’s like that with everyone. I’ve never really talked to anyone else here, except professors.” She admits.

“Well, for one, do you always believe everything Logan says? I mean, look what he was doing? I wouldn’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth. And two, do all the professors act like her? What do you think?” I point out, hoping for her original opinion.

She chews the inside of of her lip, and it’s adorable. “Um, I don’t know… they’re all very different people. Wouldn’t it be weird is they all acted the same?”

“Exactly.” I confirm. “And all the teachers I’ve ever had have never acted like that with me.” Except maybe Waaseywaa. He seemed very friendly with me, almost like he knew me. I’ve never had an encounter like that before when I’ve time jumped.

She doesn’t respond and I can’t make out if it’s my comment about Logan or the Headmistress being friendly with her that has her in knots. I decide to probe a little and see if I can understand more about her previous relationship with Logan.

“Did Logan tell you why he was leaving?” I ask, trying not to be too accusing. I hope she’ll open up to me.

She shakes her head, “Not exactly. He said there was a better place for us to go. That we could become more powerful… but I didn’t want to go.” Her voice gets almost inaudible, “He got really mad… and then he left.”

I frown. That was a jerk move he pulled on her if they really were friends. I can’t believe him. I mean, it really shows what kind of guy this Logan really is and it makes my blood boil. I can’t wait to get my hands on him again. I still have to help Kat figure this out too though. She keeps trying to convince herself that he’s her friend, it seems.

“Have you not seen Star Wars?” I ask, imagining Kaede jumping in with the perfect example scene I’m thinking of. Unfortunately, him and Car seem to be speaking excitedly in hushed voices behind us and not paying us any attention.

“No… Should I?”

I stare at her, my jaw hanging open. “Really? Do they not have cable in this place?” I ask incredulously.

She shrugs. “Oh my god, Kat! You need to watch it with me. Anyway, my point was, the Chancellor, Palpatine, promised the main character, Anakin, a powerful Jedi, that if he turned to the dark side, he’d be more powerful than anyone else, so powerful he could even prevent his pregnant wife’s death. Of course, there’s no such power and it was all lies, just to get him to murder a bunch of people and make the Chancellor more in control of the empire. So… the moral is never believe a lie about somewhere you can get more power. The only way to have more power is to look within yourself. You’re only as strong as you let yourself become.” I suddenly feel like the twenty first century philosopher and I contemplate growing a beard.

She hums, “If that was true, I wouldn’t have magic at all.”

What?!! How did she come to that conclusion? “That’s not what I meant! It means you can’t find more power somewhere else. What do you mean you’d have no magic at all?”

She looks at me, wide, innocent eyes, “If I had a choice. You said you can only be as strong as you let yourself become.”

“Yes… but I think you misunderstand. I mean, if you have magic, I don’t know where we get it from, but, if we have magic, we either do or we don’t. And that magic has a level. I think it’s predetermined what our level is and we can only train ourselves to use our full potential. You can’t extend past it. I don’t know what preconceptions Logan has about power, but it sounds like he’s not satisfied that he’s maybe reached his full potential.”

“I guess that makes sense. He never really talked about it.” She pouts, “He doesn’t like when I ask stupid questions.”

I see this is starting to bother her, but I have to say it, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question, especially between friends.” I hope she gets it. I really want her to trust us. Now that we’re all here, there’s no going back.

The words must be stewing in her head ‘cause I see her brow crease and she becomes silent again. I guess that’s better than complete compliance.

Finally she stops walking and I notice we’re standing in a circular chamber with five halls branching off in different directions. I didn’t realize till now, but there doesn’t seem to be anybody else around.

“You’re free to claim any of the unoccupied rooms.” She says, waving her hands at the halls surrounding us.

Caroline walks up close peering across the vast space. “It’s really kind of creepy. Where’s your room Kat?”

“Yea we wanna be close to you! That way we can keep you up at night.” Kaede jokes.

She leads us down a hall that looks different from the rest. It looks sort of newer, cleaner. Brighter, even. We follow her all the way to the end. Along the way I see that every door is open, unoccupied, except for the one at the end. Inside each I glimpse a basic dorm set up like Caroline’s dorms in Pond at York university; wooden furniture, a chair and a table. That’s all I can see from the hall.

“Wow! It’s like a private suite!” Kaede grins. “You’re so lucky girl! I’m so happy to be your dorm neighbour!!” Caroline smiles and nods.

“Oh, Kat, umm I hate to steal you gloves. Do you think I’ll be ok without them here? Or should I wait till I start lessons?” She asks.

Kat looks at the gloves for a moment, “Yea, maybe hold onto them for now.” She scratches her head awkwardly, “Everything in this hall is fireproof now… So it should be fine.”

“Think it’d be waterproof?” Caroline asks, giggling.

Kaede stops and cocks an eyebrow. “Wait, everything is fireproof? What the hell do you do in your sleep?”

“Kae, that’s a bit rude. I’m sure it’s nothing, just a procaustion.” I dismiss.

“Actually…” Kat blushes.

We all look at her, but I think I’m the only one whose heart skips a beat with her reaction. Her face begins to scrunch, looking kind of guilty.

“What!” We all say in unison. It’s actually quite amazing.

She looks at her feet, “I have nightmares a lot.. Ever since I was little.”

“Annnndddd?” Kaede prompts.

She frowns, confused. “What do you mean?”

“He means,” I try to say in English. “What happens with your fire when you have these nightmares.” I give Kaede a flat stare. “Common man, don’t be dumb.”

“I’m not being dumb! I really want to know what happens? What if I walk in on her in the middle of the night? I just wanna be prepared!”

“Kaede, don’t be mean. Kat’s our friend. I’m sure she wouldn’t let anything happen to us. That’s why they’ve fire proofed the rooms, right?” Caroline states.

Kat sighs, “Essentially, yes.”

Caroline sighs. “Kaitlyn, look, don’t let my idiot of a boyfriend get you down. I believe in you. You taught me quite a bit this past week and I’m sure we’ll be fine. Remember?” She tries to joke, “I’m like your personal fire hydrant! If you ever want something put out, just give me a shout, kay?” She smiles, and it looks a little goofy on her face, but she has a point. Water is the opposite of fire. Anything that could go wrong, could potentially be taken care of with Caroline’s ability.

She looks skeptical, but nods in agreement. I feel her hand trembling in mine and I look down just to be sure. She starts to squeeze it and I can’t tell if she’s sad or happy. I look at her with concern filled eyes. “Hey, Kat, you ok?”

Caroline punches Kaede in the arm and smiles. “Well, I think it’s time we picked a room, wouldn’t you say Kaede?” She glares at him and he smiles back weakly.

“Yeaa.”

“I don’t know about you Kae, but I want this one.” She says, pointing at the one to the right of Kaitlyn’s door. “I think it’s perfect, no morning light to wake you up but plenty of evening sun to tell you when to go to bed.” She steps into the room, pulling Kaede with her. “Maybe we can steal a second bed for you Kae, unless you want the floor.”

I grunt with a laugh. Oh, poor Kae.

I squeeze Kaitlyn’s hand in return. “So, wanna help me pick a room?” I ask her.

She puts her best smile on, my heart thumps in my chest, “Sure.” She says. I don’t think I can handle any more excitement today. She points of the left side of the hall, where the empty room on the left sits. “What about this one..” She mumbles, barely audible.

I think I’m smiling but I can’t really feel my face. “Yea, looks perfect. Thanks.”

 

By Krystyna Yates

Kiki's Tales

    I can’t believe what just happened. When did I start having feelings for this girl? We only just met a week ago, and for most of that week I was in the past! My heart pounds in my chest and my palms are all sweaty. I feel like I could drop my fork at any moment.

    I try not to make direct eye contact with her while I eat. I have a feeling Caroline planned this just to screw with me. She’s always hated that I flirt with her. I’d bet anything that the moment she saw I was anything but flirty around Kaitlyn she jumped on the wagon of opportunity.

    But what’s worse is I – kissed – her… I kissed, her… I, kissed her. The moment replays in my head as I nibble on my bacon. I can’t get the reel to…

View original post 5,098 more words

The Guild – Chapter 9 – Kaitlyn

Welcome to another chapter of Kaitlyn!!

 

The sun hits directly on my face, stirring me from my dreamless slumber. The sound of birds outside the window erase any hope of slipping back into unconsciousness. I can’t remember the last time I slept so well. I didn’t have a single nightmare. Maybe it was his stories?

I reach for the journal, where I think it should be. I only feel the sheets. Confused, I sit up and look at the space beside me. I lift the pillow, but it’s gone. I check the floor, but a book is not what I find.

There, sprawled across the hardwood floor, dressed in strange leather clothes is the very boy I’ve been waiting for. I gasp, despite myself, and immediately cover my mouth. I look again for the book, panic building in my throat. It’s nowhere on the bed, or on the floor. I glance at the desk, only to see it back on the shelf with the others.

Mortified is putting it mildly. The reality of what I’ve done hits me. Not only did I invade his privacy without permission, but he found out. How am I supposed to face him now? Maybe I can sneak out before he wakes up. I carefully scoot to the edge, and the bed creaks. I freeze, holding my breath. His face scrunches and his eyes start to flutter.

Shit. Shit. Shit. I jump off the bed and make a break for the door.

“Kat, wait!” His voice sends a shiver down my back. I stop with my hand on the doorknob. “Where are you going?”

I turn my head to get a look at him through my peripheral. He’s sitting up on the floor, rubbing his eye and yawning. I turn, “Nowhere.”

“Good, I… I was worried about you.” He pauses, looking a little confused for a second. “I was worried about everyone.” I hush the voice in the back of my mind when he corrects himself, trying to control my expression. “What happened to your arm?”

I look down at my left arm, the bandage still in place. The three-quarter length sleeves on this shirt doesn’t cover it. I silently curse the stupid shirt. “Oh, um…” I look to the sigil on the window. I’m not sure how to explain that.

He looks up over his shoulder, “What the hell is that? Why is…” He turns back to me, “Your blood on my window?” He jumps to his feet, eyes bulging. “Did Logan come back?”

I shake my head, “No, not that I know of.” His shoulders relax, “It’s a warding spell, I put them on all the windows.”

He shifts his eyes to the desk. I feel my heart jump into my throat. “Um, how’ve you been?”

“Um, I’m okay… You’re probably tired. I should let you get some rest. I’ll let the others know you’re back.” I feel blindly for the doorknob.

“No, I’m fine, really. You… look tired. Did I worry you?” He asks. His face is scruffy, and dirty, but he looks so sincere.

“Of course you did.” I pout, “You disappeared, not even fully dressed. I was starting to think you weren’t coming back…”

“I’m sorry, that must’ve been scary for you.” He frowns. I shrug. Probably wasn’t half as bad as what he went through.

“I’m just glad you’re okay.”

“Do you want to know where I ended up?” He smirks.

I glance up at him, and take a second look at what he’s wearing. “I bet I could venture a guess.”

He looks down and chuckles, “I’m a dead giveaway.”

I look at the journals; I can’t help it.  “I’d like to hear what happened, if you want.” I try to sound casual.

“At first it was dreadful! There was this storm, and it was night, and I wandered around for hours before…” He plops down on the bed, racing through his explanation as fast as the words can leave his mouth. His arms flail in wild gestures, accentuating the tale. I wander over, entranced, until I find myself sitting just a foot away.

“… So, I focused my energy and thought hard about getting back here… There were all these lights, different times passing by in this dark tunnel, until I finally landed back here.” He grins, breathless.

“That’s incredible.” I whisper, “I wish I could have seen it. I can’t imagine how it would feel.”

“Well…” He gulps, his face flushes pink suddenly as he looks down at me, “It would be cool if I didn’t have to go alone.”

“Maybe you don’t?” I ask.

“I have no idea if someone could jump with me. I’m not ready for that kind of risk yet.” He scratches at the beginning of a beard on his cheek.

I nod, “I understand. It’s hard to live with that, if someone gets hurt because of your magic.”

A moment passes in silence, until his stomach growls. “So… Have you guys been eating junk food while I’ve been gone? Are you hungry?” He jumps up.

I laugh, “I’m told Kaede can’t cook, and Caroline has been too busy. There wasn’t much of an alternative.”

“Oh god, is there even any food in the house?” Andrei grimaces.

I blink, “Um… maybe? We haven’t left the house since you’ve been gone.”

“Well that won’t do… What have you been doing? Is Caroline doing okay, with the water and all?” He moves toward the door. I swallow back the feelings that swell in my stomach.

“She’s learning, slowly. She hasn’t tried taking off the gloves yet though.” I get up to follow him. “Magic is a hard concept for her to swallow, but she’s doing her best.”

“That’s good then,” He turns back to me with a breathtaking smile, “You’re a good teacher. If you know anything about Caroline, she loves studying, but when it comes to relaxing, she doesn’t learn fast. If she’s gotten anywhere with it, that’s your doing.”

I clench my jaw to keep my lip steady as I force myself to smile. The way he talks about her, it seems that perhaps he’d rather she was dating him instead of his friend. It’s not my place, either way. I just need to get them to the Guild… I nod in response to his musings.

“So, when do you think we should leave? I mean, there’s no point in waiting if we’re all ready, right?” He tips his head slightly.

“Right.” I agree. “We should leave today.” The sooner this is over with, the less it will hurt.

He grabs the door handle. “Um…” He hesitates. I hold my breath. He turns slowly, his expression torn. I bite the inside of my lip, hands trembling. Please don’t say what I think you’re going to say… “What do you want to eat? I’ll buy you whatever you want.” He winks, his demeanor shifting drastically.

I almost faint. I let out the breath I’d been holding and cover my face with one hand. “I don’t care.” I reply weakly. This is way too stressful. I don’t even have Rhoan to break the tension…

The door opens and he heads down the hall. The other door opens at the same time, and the boys nearly walk into one another. Kaede does a double take.

“You’re back! That’s like, the shortest jump you’ve ever had! Where’d you go?!”

“What? Andrei’s back?” Caroline shouts from the other room.

“What are you wearing?” Kaede raises an eyebrow.

They’re too loud. My heart is racing so hard it hurts. I need some air. They’re blocking my only way out, but I can’t risk losing control, without the gloves.

“Sorry, excuse me…” I mumble, sliding between the pair. I try to ignore the fact that I’m forced to brush past Andrei on the way. I grab my cigarettes off the side table, and put on my boots. I can’t get outside fast enough. I don’t even bother trying to find where I put my jacket.

Once outside, I pull out one of the white sticks and place it between my lips. The end ignites on its own, and I inhale. I drop the pack by the door and start to pace. I flick my arms, sparks fling onto the ground and fizzle. I need to calm down.

I was doing so well the past few days. I don’t know what happened. All of a sudden my heart is pounding and all these strange things run through my mind. I can’t let my emotions get the better of me, not while Caroline has the gloves. I shouldn’t even need to rely on them. I’m so pathetic…

Breathe. Don’t think about the way he winks at you. Oops. Shit. Think about happy things. Puppies? He kind of looks like a puppy… No, bad brain! Ugh, this isn’t working. I grab another cigarette and return to my pacing, desperately trying to focus on anything else.

“Oh my god, Kaitlyn, are you alright? What happened?” Caroline gasps. I spin toward the voice. She stands just outside the door, my jacket over her arm, a backpack slung over her shoulder.

What happened…. That’s a good question.

“Um… I’m okay. Thanks.” I mumble, taking my jacket. I slip it on, grab the pack from the ground and stuff it into my pocket.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” She frowns. I notice the boys coming up the stairs and nod quickly. Andrei glances between us, and blinks curiously. I stuff my fists in my jacket pocket and turn away.

“So, Kat, where to?” Andrei asks, smiling.

I flinch, and brush it off. “I thought you were hungry?” I look up at the sky. I reach out to Rhoan with magic, telling him to come back.

“We are, but… What direction are we headed in? That’ll kind of determine where we go.”

“Oh… Um…” I think about it, “Downtown. Museum station.”

“Oh! I know a really nice breakfast place just off the subway next to the ROM!” Caroline jumps up eagerly. Seeing her excited is new. I raise an eyebrow.

“Sure, I guess. If that’s what you want.” I start toward the street. A little bird lands on my shoulder, shifts, and crawls under my hair.

“Here, you’ll need this.” Andrei jogs up next to me, holding out a bus token. I take it, avoiding touching his hand.

“Yay! It’s been so long since I’ve been there. I’m so glad it’s the last place I…” Caroline pauses, “The last place I’ll go… before I leave.”

I glance back at her. I wonder if taking them is the right thing to do. She seems to recover quickly, as Kaede distracts her with idle chatter. Andrei keeps pace beside me. I let my hair serve as a barrier to block my view of him and focus on the road ahead.

“So, this Guild place, what’s it like? Do you like it?” Andrei asks innocently.

“It’s home.” I answer, a little too fast. “I… don’t think there’s anything to compare it to, that you might know of.” At least, nothing I read about…

“Don’t you have a family? Or friends there?”

“No.”

“I don’t see how anyone couldn’t like you.” He hums, “You’re… talented.”

What the heck is that supposed to mean. I glance over at him. He’s staring ahead. His face is flushed, but that’s probably from the cold. “Thanks, I think…”

“Um… So, how long have you been studying there?”

“Since I was a kid. Maybe four or five.” I answer simply.

“What? That’s… crazy! Your family didn’t come with you?” He looks back at the pair trailing behind us.

I barely flinch, “They’re dead.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.” His face falls, “That’s… That’s awful.”

“It was a long time ago.” I say, hoping to reassure him. I don’t like seeing him sad.

“Long ago or not, you’re not that old.” He insists, “Can I ask what happened?”

I drop my gaze, curtain of hair covering my face. I take a ragged breath as the memories come surging back. “A fire broke out, in the middle of the night. They say they died in their sleep, from the smoke, before…” I take a deep breath and push back the tears that threaten to fall.

“I’m sorry.” He whispers, “When I first jumped, I was seven. I found myself in a small village that was being raided by vikings. It was pretty scary.” He’s trying to cheer me up, I think, “But I hope you know that you can’t blame yourself for something that happened beyond your control.”

I smile bitterly, “Maybe, but… If you want to know why I don’t have friends, that’s your answer. If you’re smart, you’ll keep your distance too.”

He looks hurt, “I… I thought we were friends…”

“Even more reason to stay away.” I mumble. “I’ve hurt enough people already.” I skip down the steps into the subway, putting some distance between us so he won’t see the liquid as it leaves a trail on my cheeks. I wipe it away quickly, before they can catch up.

Andrei falls back, trailing behind the others. I’m not sure if I’m more relieved, or disappointed. I guess it’s better this way. The rest of the trip is quiet, and we make it to the restaurant without incident.

Caroline chatters away happily, listing off her opinion of every item on the menu before we even sit down. We’re led to a booth, where Caroline and Kaede slide into the one side. I hesitate, risking a glance at Andrei. This is going to be awkward… He gestures for me to sit first. I reluctantly oblige, moving in to sit across from Caroline, who’s still talking. I am electrically aware of how close he is as he slides in next to me.

The waitress comes over, and Caroline lists off her order, followed by Kaede. Andrei glances at the menu briefly, and orders. All eyes fall on me. “Just a coffee, please.” I smile.

Andrei’s head snaps in my direction, “You haven’t eaten in who knows, days! Kaitlyn, you need to eat something.” He glares at me, “As your friend, I’m telling you!” He emphasizes the word ‘friend’.

I feel like a deer in headlights, staring back at him. He doesn’t back down. I drop my gaze, “I’m sorry…” I have no idea what to eat, and now they’re all waiting. I turn to Caroline, “Um… What do you suggest?”

“Well, the pancakes are nice here. They come with fruit and cream.” Caroline offers, looking quite puzzled at the sudden outburst.

“Okay.” I nod at the waitress. She scribbles on her pad and hurries away. Andrei rests his head in his hand, leaning away from me.

“Did something happen between you two?” Kaede asks when we’re alone. I peek over at Andrei, wondering what he’ll say.

Andrei shoots a look across the table, “Nothing, man. Just… nothing.” He mumbles, picking at the napkin in front of him. Kaede and Caroline share a skeptical look. The silence stretches until Andrei finally cracks, “She doesn’t think we’re good enough to be her friends!”

I gawk at him. How did he get to that conclusion?

“What? But, Kaitlyn, we all really like you, especially…” She trails off as Andrei shoots her a look, “… me! You helped me a lot! Please, let’s be friends!” She begs. Kaede nods.

I hold my hands up and lean back, “That’s not what I said… He asked why I don’t have friends at the Guild…” I try to explain, “It’s just… safer that way, for you… I don’t know what I’d do if I hurt any of you.”

“Oh, Kaitlyn, you don’t have to worry about us getting hurt!” Caroline smiles, “That’s what friends are for! They’re there for each other. Poor Andrei only has us, and it would mean the world to him if you’d let him be your friend.” She grins at him as he shrinks in his seat, “Besides, if I got water magic, like you said, I could combat anything you do by accident. Think of it like a friend who’s insurance!”

I can hardly comprehend what she’s saying. “But…”

“She’s right, Kaitlyn.” Kaede nods, “And if you can’t tell, Andrei’s been uncharacteristically mopey lately. Could be why.” He winks at his friend.

I frown, “Why… what?” I look at Andrei for an explanation.

“I’m gonna go to the bathroom. Kae, move.” Caroline pipes up suddenly. The pair shuffle out of the seat, and both of them wander off to the back of the restaurant.

I watch them go, totally lost. What was that about? I don’t understand why they went together. On top of that, they don’t come back.

Andrei fidgets, glancing up in the direction they disappeared. The napkin is in pieces now. He then switches from looking there, to glancing over at me. Was it something I said? Is that why they aren’t coming back?

“So…” Andrei speaks up. I turn on instinct, hoping he’ll clear up what’s going on.

His face is alarmingly close. His eyes fall closed and his lips press against mine. I blink, and he’s already moved away. Did I… imagine that? It felt real… I touch my lips, and try to remember how to breathe.

“I’m sorry,” He mutters, his face bright red. Okay, maybe I didn’t hallucinate. “But, I can’t stay away. I think I like you too much.” He looks over from the corner of his eye, “If you don’t feel the same way, I’ll understand, and we can just be friends… Please don’t push me away.”

I blink repeatedly, as my eyes start to sting from bulging for so long. A thousand things run through my mind. I’m not sure where my voice went.

“She likes you too.” Rhoan says, impatiently. Andrei jumps in surprise.  If I could blush more, I would.

“Really?” He asks, turning to face me.

I nod once, picking at my nails, “But… I thought…” I glance at the empty seat across from me, “I didn’t think I was your type.”

“My type? Kat, I don’t have a type. No girl stays with me long enough, because of the time jumps. I miss dates all the time, and they get mad…” He pauses, “You practically read my life story… waiting for me to come back.”

I cover my face with both hands. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to! I was curious and then I couldn’t help it…”

“I haven’t even shared some of those stories with Kae, but the weird thing is… I don’t mind that you know. I don’t know why. Don’t get me wrong, I feel super exposed, but… I don’t seem to mind, I think.” He explains, though I’m not sure which of us he’s trying to reassure.

I lower my hands so I can see his expression. He seems calm. “Um… If it makes you feel better, you can ask me anything.”

He opens his mouth to speak, but Caroline and Kaede reappear and climb into the booth. The waitress follows behind with some of the food. She comes back with the rest in a moment. I focus on putting sugar and cream in my coffee, avoiding eye contact.

“So, friends! Time to dig in!” Caroline chirps eagerly.

 

By Krystyna Yates

Kiki's Tales

    The sun hits directly on my face, stirring me from my dreamless slumber. The sound of birds outside the window erase any hope of slipping back into unconsciousness. I can’t remember the last time I slept so well. I didn’t have a single nightmare. Maybe it was his stories?

    I reach for the journal, where I think it should be. I only feel the sheets. Confused, I sit up and look at the space beside me. I lift the pillow, but it’s gone. I check the floor, but a book is not what I find.

    There, sprawled across the hardwood floor, dressed in strange leather clothes is the very boy I’ve been waiting for. I gasp, despite myself, and immediately cover my mouth. I look again for the book, panic building in my throat. It’s nowhere on the bed, or on the floor. I…

View original post 3,288 more words

The Guild – Chapter 7 – Kaitlyn

Another installment!

 

“Sorry, Kat. I can’t stop it! Take care of Kae and Car, ‘kay?” He begs, reaching for me. He’s surrounded with a blinding flash, and then I’m alone.

I’m left speechless. Witnessing the time jump is amazing enough, but the fact that in that moment, not even giving it a second thought, he called me Kat. It seems silly, I know. The only people who ever dare call me that are Rhoan and Logan. I’ve never had any other friends before. Now he’s gone, and there was no telling if he will ever come back.

I return to the living room, the floor is lined with damp towels. We had managed to clear most of the water with a bucket and strategic use of mugs, dumping it down the drain. At least the gloves will keep us from drowning for now. She’s in desperate need of instruction.

“Hey, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Kaede jokes, mop in hand. He’s trying to clean up as much of the damage as possible. Caroline sits on the couch, damp cloth over her eyes.

I suppose watching a man disappear is almost the same as seeing a ghost. “Andrei… is gone.” I mumble.

“What?” Both of them gasp. The cloth on Caroline’s face flops into her lap.

“He just… Vanished. I think it was a time jump…” I explain.

“What?! Aw, man! You’re so lucky! Even I haven’t seen that yet! !” Kaede whines.

“Kae, shut up! How are we supposed to go to that school place now that he’s gone?!” Caroline snaps. At least one of them has the right priority.

“We don’t.” I reply, “We’ll have to wait until he comes back.”

“Seriously?” Kaede frowns, “That could be weeks! last time he jumped he was gone for three.”

“Can we stay here that long?” Caroline demands.

“What if we just like, left him a trail of clues to follow, and then he can meet us there?” Kaede suggests, “It’ll be like a spy mission!”

I roll my eyes, “That won’t work. He won’t be able to get to the Guild without me. It’s a safety measure.”

“Oh…”

“So, what do we do?”  Caroline starts to hyperventilate again.

I move to sit across from her, “You need to stay calm. Logan doesn’t know where we are right now. I’ll put up some wards, and he won’t be able to find us. While we’re waiting, I’ll teach you what I can.”

“Okay,” She nods, “Okay… I can do that…” Kaede snickers.

“You should get some rest. We can start tomorrow.” I smile, trying to calm her down. “Just, don’t take the gloves off, okay?” She nods, and shuffles down the hall.

Kaede leans the mop against the wall when the bedroom door closes, and looks at me excitedly, “Can I watch you make the wards?”

I shrug, “Sure… Do you have a sharp knife?”

He raises an eyebrow, disappears into the kitchen, and returns with a small paring knife. I guess that will do. I step up onto the couch, the small window just above me, and slice a groove into my left arm. I flinch as my skin splits. Red liquid oozes to the surface.

“Whoa! What are you doing?!” The young man yells.

“It’s stronger if it’s written in blood.” I state simply, dipping two fingers into the blood. I draw a simple sigil on the window pane, and move to the kitchen. I go into each room, drawing the same symbol on the glass of each window, and the door. I go into Kaede’s room last.

Caroline screams when she sees the knife, and again when she sees the blood. I’m suddenly drenched in water. Red spills onto the floor at my feet. Water magic is such a pain…

Kaede slips by and explains what’s going on as I step onto the bed to draw on the window. She calms down once she realizes it’s for a good reason. I drop the knife in the bathroom sink, and wrap my arm in toilet paper, since all the towels are on the floor.

“Um…  Sorry about the water…” Caroline pokes her head around the door. She sees the paper on my arm and raises an eyebrow, “What are you doing?”

Isn’t it obvious? “Stopping the bleeding.”

“That’s not how you do first aid.” She sneers, “Sit down, hold out your arm.”

I obey. I’d rather not get soaked a second time. She retrieves a white box from under the sink, and places it on the counter. Inside are all kinds of bandages and things I’ve never seen. She unwraps the paper, takes some fresh cotton balls, and drenches them in a stinky liquid. I hiss when the swabs touch my arm, and try to move away. It hurts worse than the initial cut.

“Hold still!” The girl snaps. I pout. I don’t like this, but I grit my teeth and sit through it. After the painful liquid, she applies a clear gel, before wrapping a strap of white linen around my wrist to my elbow. “There, that should hold for a while.”

“Thanks.” I mumble. I guess it does feel better than the toilet paper. I definitely don’t have the energy to heal it, and it’s not really life threatening.

Caroline goes back into the bedroom, and Kaede goes to follow. It’s taken most of the day just to clean the house, so it’s already past ten.

“Hey, you may as well use Andrei’s bed. It’s not like he’ll be using it.” Kaede smiles, and shuts the door.

Left alone, I wander into the dark bedroom. His dirty, bloody shirt lays discarded on the floor by the bed. I move it to the laundry basket for him. His desk is meticulous, books neatly stacked on the shelf, pens in a cup by the light, and papers stacked neatly to the left. Right above the chair, there are a series of leather-bound books, different from the rest. On their spines are handwritten titles.

1300’s, 1500’s, 1600’s, 1700’s, 1900’s.

I pull out the one on the left, as it looks the oldest, and open to the first page. It’s also handwritten, a date in the top right of the page. I read the first couple paragraphs before it occurs to me what I’m looking at.

“These are his journals of his time jumps…” I whisper to myself. I glance over my shoulder. The door is still open. I close it carefully, and sit on the floor, my back against the bed. My clothes are still wet, so I don’t want to sit on the bed yet.

I imagine Rhoan would scold me for reading the personal journal of a boy I just met, but he’s not here right now. He decided to patrol around the apartment to make sure Logan doesn’t sneak up on us. Part of me says I should put it back, but I can’t. I want to know more about this person who not only is not afraid of me, but is so kind. Curiosity wins out against my better judgement and I read on well into the night.

I guess I fell asleep while reading, because I wake up to a knock on the door, and the sun in my face. The journal is still in my lap, and I think my ass has gone numb. I quickly put the journal back in its place and open the door, but no one is there.

“Breakfast is ready!” Kaede calls from the living room.

I wander to the living room, to see the pair on the couch, plates in hand. A third plate sits on the table, with bacon and scrambled eggs. I sit on the floor and smile, “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it. Can’t let you starve, now can we?” Kaede grins, “Caroline made us breakfast, she says we’d all die if she let me cook.”

“My cooking may not as good as Andrei’s.” I try not to laugh. It’s not, but I’ll save her pride. “So, how does this whole magic thing work?” Caroline perks up.

I frown, “That’s a question way above my paygrade. From what I understand, its a form of energy, and some people are able to channel that energy and control it. I can show you how to keep it from flowing on it’s own. The professors at the Guild will be able to teach you what you can do with it.”

“Why can’t you show me that too?” Caroline frowns.

I scrunch my nose, “You use water. I can’t use water magic; it’s kind of the opposite of fire, y’know?”

“I… see. That makes sense I guess.” She hums.

Kaede nods excitedly, “Yeah, perfect sense. Opposite elements! That’s always how it works in the games!”

I narrow my eyes at him, “You do realize those games aren’t real… right?”

He grins and shrugs like it’s no big deal. I shake my head. This is going to be interesting.

Kaede leaves to clean up the dishes. I climb up onto the chair  across from the couch and get comfortable. Caroline watches with her big green eyes, eagerly awaiting my instruction. I’ve never taught another person before, so I’m not sure how, but I pretend to.

“Get comfortable, make sure you don’t need to pee, or anything.” I say. She nods, and waits. “Okay… So, first, focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath, let it out slowly. In, and out… In, and out… Think only about the steady rhythm, let everything else fade away.”

She nods and closes her eyes, breathing breathing in and out. Kaede drops drops a plate into the dish rack and I see her jump. She wiggles in her seat and tries again. In and out. A loud bang echos from upstairs, perhaps the owner upstairs dropped something something, and Caroline’s eyes pop open. She frowns and tries again.

A few silent minutes pass as she continues to frown.  “I don’t think is can do this.” She slumps in her seat. Can you give me more … more direction? What should I think about again?”

This is going to be a long day…

****

We spend the next three days sitting in the living room, while Caroline practices her self control. Hours pass while the two of us sit across from each other in silence. I take the time to practice as well, since I’ve got nothing better to do. She still has the gloves, and so far I haven’t had any accidents. Though, I also haven’t tried to actively use magic since the incident.

Part of me is hoping that it won’t work. The rest of me is afraid it will. As much as I depend on the fire, it’s a burden I wouldn’t miss. I imagine what life would be like, to live without magic. Could I be like other people my age? Could I go to a university, get a job, and live blissfully ignorant?

Probably not. It’s a nice thought, but I feel the energy there, same as always. It lingers at my fingertips, begging to be set free. I pray I won’t have to use it.

As a distraction, I spend my nights reading. Andrei’s adventures in the past. The little notes of what he thought, or felt are my favourite parts. It’s almost like he’s there, telling me the stories. He notes things that history got wrong, and things that were purposely recorded false to change the course of history. Sometimes though, there are incredible things that sound made up, that did happen. He seems particularly excited about those moments.

I notice a trend of how he seems to appear in the middle of dangerous situations. He seems to be injured often, and laments how many scars he’s collected over many jumps. Now, thanks to me, he’s got another one on his leg. I fall back on the bed and let the open book fall over my face. Will he be okay, wherever he ended up this time? He was only wearing his jeans and socks when he disappeared.

My face feels warm at the memory. I can’t even remember why I knocked on the door that night. Everything happened so fast. In the books, he describes the sensation to feel like static shocks, all over his body. I wonder if it’s painful. He doesn’t exactly specify.

I lift the book off my face, holding it up above me. The lamp on the bedside table illuminates the adorably messy scrawl in black ink. It’s like he couldn’t write fast enough.  I imagine him, sitting at the little desk across the room, furiously scribbling in a journal. Has he had time to write about what’s happened since Logan attacked? I haven’t seen it yet, if he has.

Andrei has been through so much. I’ve only read some of the entries in the half-dozen books on his shelf. Even after all that, he was so quick to offer to help me, a complete stranger. Now, he was in danger, along with his friends, because of me. I’m such an idiot.

I hope the Guild can help him learn to control his magic. If not, maybe I can help him find someone who can. It’s the least I can do, for dragging him into this mess. I mean, if he comes back at all…

I focus my thoughts back on the words in the dairy. There’s no use worrying about that right now. I have to stay positive. He asked me to keep his friends safe, and that’s what I’ll do.

 

By Krystyna Yates

Kiki's Tales

    “Sorry, Kat. I can’t stop it! Take care of Kae and Car, ‘kay?” He begs, reaching for me. He’s surrounded with a blinding flash, and then I’m alone.

    I’m left speechless. Witnessing the time jump is amazing enough, but the fact that in that moment, not even giving it a second thought, he called me Kat. It seems silly, I know. The only people who ever dare call me that are Rhoan and Logan. I’ve never had any other friends before. Now he’s gone, and there was no telling if he will ever come back.

    I return to the living room, the floor is lined with damp towels. We had managed to clear most of the water with a bucket and strategic use of mugs, dumping it down the drain. At least the gloves will keep us from drowning for now. She’s in desperate…

View original post 2,251 more words

The Guild – Chapter 6 – Andrei

Here’s another new chapter!

 

I know I shouldn’t have gotten mad at her, it wasn’t her fault. In the heat of the moment, I couldn’t hold back my frustration at not landing the final blow. All that planning and we were so close! I set my Tims coffee down on the table and release the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding.

“I’m sorry…” I say, letting the words hang in the air space between us.

She looks up from the cup in her hands, like she’s coming out of a daze. Did she forget I was here?

I feel drained, more so than from the physical activity of fighting six larger than life monsters. It’s more of an internal exhaustion. My movements and my mind feel sluggish, like they’ve been running at a sprint for hours and can’t keep up the pace. I wonder if it’s from using the time magic to speed up my movements. I’ve never maintained it for that long before.

I try again.

“I’m sorry… for blaming you earlier…” I add. “I didn’t … I shouldn’t have accused you of withholding information. I… I was frustrated… that he got away. It’s not your fault. I’m sorry.” Man this is awkward. I hate saying sorry.

I can tell she’s been dwelling on my comment for a while. She’s barely spoken a word to me since we left the warehouse. It’s doesn’t help that our throats were nearly burned raw. Mine still feels funny.

She fiddles with the plastic tab on the lid. “You were upset. I understand that. I should have known he would have some sort of trick up his sleeve…”

I’m taken aback, I thought she’d be angry with me, at my emotional blunder. I watch her sitting across from me. I open and close my mouth, unsure what to say. I wasn’t expecting her to agree with me; I was way out of line. After a long awkward pause, I finally decide to change the topic.

“You couldn’t have anticipated that, it’s irrational to expect every move this guy might make. I think our best option is to head home and regroup.” I notice the people in the shop, eyeing our tattered appearance. “…and probably have a shower and some new clothes.” I drain my coffee, it was nearly done anyway.

She nods and follows suit, tossing the cup in the bin on the way out. She still looks sort of dejected, like she has something else on her mind.

I lead her out towards the crosswalk. It’s not far to our house from here, no need for a bus. Before long, we’re climbing up the driveway. I pull out my key and unlock the door. The first thing I notice is the inch of water pooling at the bottom of the stairs.

“What the hell? Kaede!” I shout down the hall, removing my shoes and leaving them on the stairs. “You leave the shower on or something?” I splash through the water and find both Caroline and Kaede perched on the couch, Caroline looks like she’s been crying. “What’s up with all the water man?” I ask.

“It’s me!” Caroline hiccups. “I… I… I can’t stop it! It… it just keeps coming!” Kaede rubs her back as she hiccups again.

“We tried leaving the house, you know, went for a walk and the water just followed her around. First it was like leaving wet footprints on the walkway, then it was like, the gutters were running water. We didn’t want to rouse the neighbours so we came back.”

“I’m sorry!” She hiccups again.

“The water damage is gonna be awful. Are we covered?” Kaede shrugs.

Kaitlyn pushes past me, wading over to Caroline. She pulls her gloves out of her back pocket, and says “Put these on.”

Caroline looks up at her, taking the gloves timidly. “Why? What will these do?” She turns them over in her hands, hesitantly.

“They’ll keep your magic restrained until you can learn to make it stop on your own.” She explains.

“So I really do have magic…”  She drops the sentence halfway, as if she didn’t want it to be true, “Don’t you need them then?”

Kaitlyn shrugs, “I’ve been trained to control my abilities. I only have those as a precaution… Besides, I doubt I’ll be able to light any fires for a while.” Caroline slips the gloves on, flexing her hands.

“Thanks.” She whispers.

“Why not?” I ask. “Have you tried using it since Logan got away?”

“What?! He got away?” Kaede jumps up. I exchange a look with Kaitlyn and we both shrug.

“Tell me all the details! How was it?” He sits back down.

“It was fine.”

“It was pretty rough.” We say at the same time

I give her another look. “We, uhh, found him, but he got away. But the students are safe, they were locked in a room at the warehouse. He mentioned this guy – the master – who I think helped him to get away.” I add, still steaming about that teleportation trick.

“Frig, man, I wish I was there! I always miss the good stuff.” Caroline punches him in the arm and he apologizes. “Not that this isn’t cool, Car. I’ve always wanted an indoor swimming pool.” He chuckles. She punches him again.

I turn back to Kaitlyn, “Try using your fire. Maybe it’s come back.” I’m hopeful that it’s returned since Logan skipped off.

“It’s not that,” She sighs, “Blocked or not, I can’t. My body is too weak from fighting those things.”

“Not even a–?” I hold up my finger, waving it around like a candle stick.

She looks back at me following my finger, “Fire magic is expensive. It’s one of the hardest elements to master because of the energy it takes to use. It should never be forced.” She says with a flat stare. I drop my hand, smiling.

“More energy than, let’s say, time magic?” I cock and eyebrow.

“Just slowing time, yes. Time jumping, on the other hand… If I remember correctly, that is the most expensive ability.”

“So, what happens now?” Caroline asks. “Are we safe to stay here? Or… or is everything going to change?”

Kaitlyn looks at her with pity, “I don’t think it’s wise for you to stay here. You need training, or your powers will become a hazard to you and everyone around you. I can bring you to the Guild, and you’ll be safe there. Once you’ve mastered your innate ability, you can choose to stay and study other fields, or you can return to the outside world.” She explains.

Caroline perks up at the mention of studying. “Wait, there’s other things there? Things to study?” She ponders that thought a moment but remains melancholy. “But, my studies here, all the money I’ve spent to get here… All that will disappear… won’t it?”

Kaitlyn frowns. “I have no idea. Most people who come to the Guild from the outside choose to stay and complete their studies there.”

“Maybe we’ll like it there Car! Maybe all the people there are really nice and you’ll get along! And maybe I can learn a trick or two too.” Kaede says enthusiastically.

“I’m not sure it works that way Kae.” I hate to dampen his dreams.

Caroline looks up at Kaitlyn, sad, but hopeful. “Really?” She says shakily. I know exactly what she’s thinking. Her whole life will change. No more University, no more visiting old friends and family. It’s a big change for someone with plans and a future. I don’t have either.

I look at Caroline, her eyes flutter to me and I give her my best winning smile. “It’ll be cool, Car. We’ll get to spend every waking hour together! It’s what we’ve always wanted isn’t it?” I joke with a wink.

She sticks her tongue out at me. “You would wish that wouldn’t you?” She asks. Kaede chuckles silently behind her, unnoticed.

“Everyday, sweetie, every single day.” I grin. She rolls her eyes. “Well…” I slosh through the water to the kitchen. The water slows my movements down,  more so with the sludgy feeling I already have. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m hungry, and after some rest I’ll be good to go.”

I turn to Kaitlyn and the look of her running mascara and torn shirt reminds me, “Oh, and mind if she uses the shower and a set of clothes? She’can’t go walking around looking like that anymore.” I say. Both girls give me an incredulous look, like I’ve just insulted both their mothers in Latin. “What? Just sayin’. She looks like a drowned rat.”

*****

My limbs feel heavy and stiff. I haven’t worked out like that since I was surfing in Hawaii. My head throbs and the setting sun in the window feels like a strobe light in my face. I try to roll over, groaning as I achieve a position facing away from the light.

My shoulder aches from the fall too. I hadn’t noticed it before, when Kaitlyn had healed my leg. That’s a skill I wish I had now. This lingering pain is annoying. Enduring it feels like a hangover that won’t let up.

I mull over the details of today, the fight, the master, the teleportation. Something doesn’t seem right to me. How could that guy, that coward, who always runs away from the fight, and lets others fight for him, have found a way to block Kaitlyn’s magic? He seemed to egg her on in the tunnel to use her magic. Something was off.

I feel a static shock on my arm and I bolt straight up. I immediately regret the sudden moment as my my vision swims. Was it just my imagination?

I lay back down, holding my head and hear a knock at my door. The pounding reverberates in my head and I groan.

“…Come in…” I moan.

Kaitlyn stands in the doorway, wearing Caroline’s black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans. It’s more form fitting than what she was previously wearing; I think it looks good on her, but I can’t be sure because it seems she’s swaying in the doorway. I roll my eyes back and close them.

“What is it?” I ask her in a whisper, hoping she’ll be quiet too.

I don’t hear any movement and she doesn’t speak. I take a peak and see her looking at me, mouth half open, then she turns beet red.

The static charge sparks again and I tense.

“No… no…”

She takes a step into the room, concerned. I hate to make her worry for no reason, but she’s so damn cute with that look on her face. “Are you ok?” She asks.

“Sorry, it’s just my head.” I deflect. Again, the static crawls over my skin like a snake around its prey. It jumps up my arms and through my spine. I jump out of bed, ignoring the protest from my brain and I shake my arms to make it go away. I forget I’m half naked, tattered shirt laying on the floor.

“No, no, no… Not now!”

I look into her wide eyes and I shiver, the charge growing in intensity all over my body.

“Sorry, Kat. I can’t stop it! Take care of Kaede and Car, ‘kay?” I hold out my hand, but I know she’s too far away to grab it. “I don’t know wh–” I’m cut short as the jump triggers and I’m thrown from my room.

I shut my eyes as the lights blur around me. I grab my head, trying to keep myself from getting sick. It’ll be over soon. My heart pounds and the tingling feeling in my body subsides. I hazard a peek at my surroundings.

The landscape is dark, the sun having just set. The chill air is sharp on my bare chest. I shiver, wrapping my arms around myself and looking around at the empty landscape. I can make out the faint shape of rolling hills and massive trees, but that’s all.

“Wh–Where the hell am I? When am I?!” I shout into the night. “Shit…”

 

By Kayla West

Kiki's Tales

    I know I shouldn’t have gotten mad at her, it wasn’t her fault. In the heat of the moment, I couldn’t hold back my frustration at not landing the final blow. All that planning and we were so close! I set my Tims coffee down on the table and release the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding.

    “I’m sorry…” I say, letting the words hang in the air space between us.

    She looks up from the cup in her hands, like she’s coming out of a daze. Did she forget I was here?

    I feel drained, more so than from the physical activity of fighting six larger than life monsters. It’s more of an internal exhaustion. My movements and my mind feel sluggish, like they’ve been running at a sprint for hours and can’t keep up the pace. I wonder if…

View original post 2,008 more words

The Guild – Chapter 4 – Andrei

    My door closes with a click and I listen to the tick of the clock on my nightstand. My room is a mess, there’s laundry everywhere and school notes are strewn across the computer desk. I spot an empty plate peeking out from under one of my journals. The clutter bothers me but I’m not exactly tired yet so I start to tidy the mess.

    Kaitlyn, Logan, monsters, and magic? It all seems a little far-fetched, like I’ve just been thrown into a cold pool and am expected to keep my head up, no problem. Heck, I know what I saw though. Fire came from her hands like it would a BBQ lighter. The guy was controlling those ooze monsters like it was second nature. Is there really a place where you could learn this stuff?

    I toss a crust of bread into the bin and stack the notes neatly, hiding them in a drawer. So much has happened today. I mull over the events while I set my room in order. The cleaning soothes my uneasiness.

    I’m not the only one who feels this way. I can hear a muffled conversation in the next room, Kae and Caroline are still a little upset. Caroline has some sort of trick too, though she was completely unaware of it, until now. I can’t help but wonder what she can do.

    At last, the room looks presentable. I sit at the desk and pull a half-filled journal from the bookshelf. I rifle through the pages to a blank one and grab a pen from the cup under the lamp. I start to record the events of the day. I can’t forget a single detail. I relive each moment, feeling my heart skip when I saw Kaitlyn by the library, smoking. My muscles tense as I fight the ooze monster, and my mind races as I plan how I’m going to ring Logan’s neck.

    Who the frig does he think he is anyway? Enough crime happens on campus nowadays, I can’t let some freak get away with what he did to Caroline. I mean, it’s our fault for being on campus, to begin with. I gotta find those missing students, it’s the right thing to do.

    I finish the journal entry and lean back, the chair creaking. It’s eerily quiet. Maybe they’re all asleep by now. I glance at the clock, it reads one thirty. I can’t believe I’ve been up this long.

    My mind wanders back to her, the flaming hair, the skittishness. She’s an odd character. I wonder about her and what she’s been doing. Could the white-haired freak really be scared of her? Why?

    I stretch, yawning. It’s late and I’m feeling the excitement wear off. I switch off the lamp and pull off my shirt. The light of the moon comes in through the window, falling across my bare skin, making it glow faintly in the dark. Seeing the faint pink lines of my own scars from the past reminds me of how Kaitlyn had healed herself. Her skin is marbled with burn scars. Did she had an accident with the fire?”

    Questions plague me but I feel it’s too inappropriate to ask; we only just met. I have to be patient, but it’s hard. I want to know! I want to know all I can. I look at the books on my shelf, titles of ancient histories, their ink reflecting the moonlight. I love their stories. I can faintly make out the ends of sticky notes poking out at the top from corrections I’ve made from my own travels.

    I finish undressing and crawl into bed. I anticipate tomorrow’s planning. I can’t wait to take action. Now if only I had my fencing sword. I smile in the dark and pull up the covers, drifting into sleep.

~*~

    The sun shines on my face and wakes me from my deep sleep. I groan and roll out of bed. I take a look in the mirror and run my hands through my hair, fixing the shape. When I’m happy with how it looks I head to the kitchen.

    The floor is cold on my feet and feels a little damp. Was the floor always this damp? I double check to see if there’s been a flood from the laundry machine but I see nothing. Weird. I enter the kitchen and flick on the light switch. Time for food.

    In no time at all, I have a plate of eggs and mini sausages and I’m pouring a cup of coffee. I wander into the living room and freeze. Shit, I forgot the new girl was here. I look around wildly for a shirt. Nothing. I put the plate down, thinking it best I grab one from my room, but the sleeping girl catches my attention.

    She’s sprawled out on the couch like a drunken sailor, arm thrown over her head and mostly covered by a weird fuzzy orange blanket. I don’t recall owning an orange blanket. Weird. My eyes wander over her until I notice a faintly flickering light near her wrist. It glows slightly red and is about two inches long. It looks to be the shape of a flame. I’ve never seen a birthmark or a tattoo that glows. It looks slightly raised too. I lean a little closer for a better look.

    My hand reaches towards it.

    “I would advise against that,” a deep voice says. I jump back, nearly tripping over the coffee table. The blanket spoke.

    “Shoot, Rhoan. You scared me.”

    I hear a groan and she starts to move. Her eyes flutter open, resting on me before she gasps and I hear the couch creak as she tries to jump out of it. Fortunately, this time, Rhoan seems to restrain her, and the couch shakes a little with her effort.

    I watch her, eyes wild and fearful. She seems to relax as she recognizes me. Suddenly I’m self-conscious and wish I’d grabbed my shirt before taking a closer look at her strange flickering mark. I feel heat in my cheeks and I stutter.

    “Uhh, s-sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you,” I back up, knocking my heel on a leg of the coffee table. I quickly grab my plate and dash off to my room.

    What was I thinking? Stupid idiot! Great way to make an impression, frighten her to death … again! I’m such a fool. I set the plate on the desk and grab a shirt. Suddenly, I’m not so hungry, but I can’t let it go to waste so I wolf the meal down and head back out to apologize.

    I glance into the living room, she’s just sitting there on the couch, looking confused. I feel bad. I step in and look at the floor. “I’m so sorry for earlier. I didn’t – I shouldn’t have … uhh… disturbed you.”

    “It’s ok,” she whispers. “People don’t usually come that close to me, except when they’re trying to kill me. You’re very… different.” She adds as an afterthought.

    “Kill you? My god, where did you grow up? Normal people don’t try to kill each other,” I point out, surprised by her comment. I feel sorry for this girl if that’s her regular routine.

    “People do crazy things when they’re afraid. I don’t hold it against them.”

    “Well, you should! It’s not like you’re living in the year 200,” I say coming into the room and kneeling in front of her. “That’s not normal. If anyone says otherwise then they’re crazy too.”

    She looks at me with sad eyes, so sad it hurts to look back at them. “I set things on fire, without even trying. I’m not normal.”

    I realize what she’s trying to do – trying to justify others irrational fears of her unique ability. But I can’t accept that. I have to tell her. If we’re going to work together, she has to know.

    “By that logic then no one here is normal, but that’s not the point. They shouldn’t try to kill you just because they don’t understand. I… I know how ‘not-normal’ feels. I’ve been not normal all my life,” I hesitate, how do I say this so it doesn’t sound stupid.

    “I… time jump,” there. It’s out. A weird shiver courses through my body and I fear that a jump might be at hand, but it calms down. It’s not every day I reveal my little secret to a stranger.

    “I’m sorry,” she says, completely serious. “That must be terrifying.”

    I nod my head in agreement. “Yes, it was the first few years. When you’re seven and you’re suddenly not in class but in the middle of a ship that’s sinking, it can be a shock. And yes, it really fucks with regular life. But who cares! Regular life, to be honest, is pretty boring, which is why I want to help out. That is why Kaede is so excited all the time. He wishes he was like us,” I say with a wink.

    She turns pink and smiles. It’s really cute and I cough to hide my own smile.

    “Anyway… Breakfast. Want anything? I can make eggs, we got cereal or toast. What’ll it be?”

    “You don’t have to do that… Just coffee is fine. I’m okay.”

    My jaw drops and I give her a big frown. “That is so not healthy. I’ll make you a real English breakfast,” I flash her my best smile and jump into the kitchen. It takes some time to prep but soon I have the tomatoes sliced, sausages and mushrooms cooking and perfectly fried eggs glistening in the sun.

    I plate it and bring it into the living room as I see Kaede’s door open and the two of them come wandering out to join us.

    “That smells delicious!” Caroline says.

    “Woah dude, any left for us?” Kaede asks.

    “There’s stuff left on the counter if you want any,” I set the plate down in front of Kaitlyn and grin. “That’s a real breakfast. Enjoy!”

    She looks at the plate, a little overwhelmed. “I…Thank you. You really didn’t have to…”

    “My treat,” I grin.

    “Stop flirting with the new girl!” Kaede shouts from the kitchen, I hear him laugh quietly with Caroline.

    “It’s not like that,” I shout back. “I’m just being nice,” I say, feeling the heat in my cheeks again. Damn it.

    She slides to the floor and picks up the knife and fork, carefully cutting each bite into small pieces before eating. I take a seat on the floor across from her and lean back on my hands.

    “So, why don’t we plan while you eat, hmm?”

    She pauses, reaching beneath her hair to pull out a mouse, putting him on the table. The blanket, I notice is gone. The mouse talks and I quickly look to the kitchen to see if the others hear it.

    “Andrei, be a dear and bring me something to draw a map,” he says in his deep voice, so uncharacteristic to his current form.

    I check Kaede’s desk and find something to draw on. “Here,” I set it down and return to my spot at the coffee table. I watch closely as the mouse shifts into a disembodied hand and lays out some plans. Freaky…

~*~

    Standing in front of this old, rundown warehouse, the severity of the situation hits me. We’re really here, we’re going to find this guy and the missing kids and take him down. Kaede had insisted on joining us, but I’d somehow convinced him that if anything should happen to us, he should stay behind to call the cops. So now, at ten in the morning, Kaitlyn and I stand out front of this decrepit warehouse off Snidercroft with the shapeshifter, Rhoan.

    “So…” I say, looking at the fence that surrounds the property. I do a quick check for any cameras, the coast seems clear.

    “I hope you can climb,” she muses as she grabs hold and starts.

    “Whoa! Really?” I look around again, it’s still early morning and I’m hoping no one can see us on their commute. “Here, let me help you,” I offer. I grab the chain link fence and try to hold it steady. She gets to the top and waits for me.

    The holes in the fence are too narrow for my shoes and it’s difficult to find my footing. When I reach the top, I look at Kaitlyn. “It’s really happening, eh?” she nods and starts to climb down. I swing my leg over and grab the pole for support but my jeans catch on the top where a stray wire sticks up. It tears through, gashing my calf as I lose my balance.

    I fall off the fence and land hard on my shoulder with a small grunt. “Shit,” I breath through clenched teeth. Kaitlyn drops down next to me, nimble like a cat on all fours, clearly having witnessed my embarrassing acrobatics, a panicked look on her face.

    She holds her hand out as if to help me up but then freezes, second-guessing the action and pulls away. “Are you okay?” she asks instead, hand still out but too far away to really help. I watch her carefully as I prop myself up.

    I look at my torn jeans and sigh. They were new too. “Yea, I should be fine,” I say, holding the fabric up to get a closer look at the cut. The gash looks to be three inches long and is still bleeding. I’m such a clutz.

    She looks at the blood, biting her lip. It’s really quite cute. “I could close the wound, but … it’ll hurt.”

    I look at her in disbelief. “Really? I can handle it. We just got here and I already put a wrench in our mission. I probably can’t walk on it otherwise,”  I give her a nod, curious about how healing really feels.

    She rolls the rest of the pant leg up to my knee, well away from the wound. She pauses, hesitating again. “I’m sorry,” she says before she’s even touched it. Then she pulls off her right glove and places three fingertips over the cut.

    I feel a wave of heat rise up from the wound as if it’s bathed in flames. I grit my teeth and try to stifle a moan as the heat and pain intensifies. I throw my head back, trying to keep my cool. I can take it, really. I don’t want her to see me complain. It’d be more embarrassing than falling.

“Sorry,” she says, again and again.

    “It’s fine,” I try to mutter. “Perfectly… fine,” I swallow the whimper that threatens to escape.

    “Sorry, sorry… sorry,” I hazard a glance and see a tear in the corner of her eye. I thought I was the one in excruciating pain?!

    Suddenly the heat is gone and I look down, the wound is gone, my leg is smeared with dried blood. I see a light burn mark where the cut was – another scar to add to my collection, but heck, it’ll remind me of her, I think with satisfaction.

    “Thanks,” I say, truly grateful. I roll down the pant leg and try to stand on it, I feel a slight discomfort, but it’s good to go. “Alright, let’s get this show on the road,” I say with a grin, hoping to cheer her up.

    I hear her take a deep breath as she stands up. “Rhoan, go with Andrei,” the mouse jumps from under her hair and lands on my shoulder. I jump a little as I feel his tiny claws through my shirt.

    Kaitlyn removes her other glove, stuffing them both in her back pocket. “You should probably keep a safe distance from me.”

    I raise an eyebrow, wondering what she means. I take a single step back.

    She shakes her head and suddenly sprints for the building door. I dash after her. “So, Rhoan, how about we turn you into a fencing blade, hmm?” I feel the excitement taking hold as we begin our chase.

    “As you wish,” he leaps from my shoulder and becomes a very shiny fencing blade, complete with an ornate cross guard.

    I give him a toothy smile. “So cool.”

    Kaitlyn stands at the door, unmoving. “What are you waiting for?” I ask.

    She shrugs and grabs the handle. For a moment I see her staring at it with great intensity, then the handle begins to glow bright orange and melt. “Whoa…” Is all I can say and the door swings open and we enter the dark warehouse.

    There’s a darkened hallway lined with doors. The floor is covered in dust. It doesn’t look like anyone’s been here in ages. I wonder if Rhoan really saw Logan come here last night. I creep down the hallway, trying to keep my breathing quiet as I follow Kaitlyn to the end of the hall where a double door blocks our passage.

    “This has got to be the storage room,” I whisper, stepping to the side as she considers our next move. I drop the sword to my side and wait.

    She places her hands on the crack of the door and pushes, squeezing her eyes shut with the effort. The door slowly gives way and she tumbles through the opening she’s made. Once through, however, the door slams shut behind her before I can get through.

    “Hey! Kaitlyn! Wait up!” I shout, tossing Rhoan to the ground.

    “Oww… That was rude,” he mutters as I try to push the door open.

    “Sorry, I thought you’d change or something,” I push with all my might but the door won’t give. How’d she do that?

    “Kaitlyn!” I yell, banging my fist against the door! “Kaitlyn, hold up!! Heyyyy!” I hear nothing though.

    I continue to bang my fist against the door, the sound echoing down the empty hallway. I hear a faint scream from the other side and suddenly the door shakes a bit as something bangs against it from the other side.

    “Kaitlyn! No!!!” I yell, sinking to my knees and banging the door. “No…”

    Rhoan rolls over to me, knocking my knee. I look down at him, worried. “Are you going to just sit there, or are we going to find another way in?” his remark makes me think a moment.

    “Another way… in?” I look at Rhoan, eyes lit with determination. “Another way in,” I say, more confidently.

 

By Kayla West

Kiki's Tales

    My door closes with a click and listen to the tick of the clock on my nightstand. My room is a mess – laundry everywhere, school notes strewn across the computer desk. I spot an empty plate peeking out from under one of my journals. The clutter bothers me, and I’m not exactly tired yet. I start to tidy the mess.

    Kaitlyn, Logan, monsters and magic? It all seems a little far fetched, like I’ve just been thrown into a cold pool and am expected to keep my head up, no problem. Heck, I know what I saw though. Fire came from her hands like it would a match. The guy was controlling those ooze monsters like it was second nature. Is there really a place where you could learn this stuff?

    I toss a crust of bread into the bin and stack the…

View original post 3,056 more words

The Guild – Chapter 3 – Kaitlyn

    My hands are still shaking. Two cigarette butts lay at my feet, their contents burnt too fast to consume. I make a conscious effort to savor a new one between my fingers. I watch the space between the houses at the end of the driveway, hopeful. The night air bites, so I hug my jacket tighter around my chest. It’s been a long day.

    I wonder how they’ll adjust to the revelations I’ve brought them. A hidden world of magic isn’t something one stumbles into every day. Of course, they needed to know, for their own good. Logan isn’t the only threat out there. Let alone the risk of losing control of their own abilities.

    The screen door creaks as it opens slowly. My gaze snaps to the figure as he emerges. Even in the dark, his messy hair is distinctive. I turn to stare ahead and pretend I don’t notice him. I know better than to get my hopes up. Eventually, he’ll be afraid of me too.

    “How are you holding up?” he asks, stepping up next to me.

    I resist the urge to look over at him. “I’m fine. You?”

    “I mean, I’ve seen crazy shit before. Monsters is new though,” he muses. “My friends, on the other hand, they’re having a grand time with it.”

    I chuckle, “Yea, that’s kind of Logan’s specialty. Most monsters aren’t so… grotesque.” I flick off some ash, “I just hope your friend’s enthusiasm doesn’t get him killed.”

    “Kaede? Nah, he’s smart. I’m more worried about Caroline. She’s more down to earth, hard facts. This has shaken her up pretty bad,” he sighs. I nod half-heartedly. There’s a long pause before he clears his throat. “So, this Logan guy… Is he a friend of yours?”

    The half cigarette I have left burns up. I guess I won’t be finishing any right now. I clench my fist and cross it over my other arm. “He was.”

    “Doesn’t seem like the forgiving type. Do you think it’s still safe, I mean, for Caroline and I to hang around? Or would we be causing more problems for everyone else?” he turns his curious gaze to me. “What if he comes back, like you said, looking for us?”

    “He will,” I kick absently at the ground. “He’ll come for you, and others. You especially, if he saw what you did earlier,” I see his mouth open in the corner of my eye, assuming he’ll ask why, again. “Time magic is one of the rarest forms of magic. He’ll want to use you.”

    “I can’t let that happen. You could tell so easily, there’s no way he won’t figure it out soon. Especially if he saw me pull you out of the way,” he straightens himself. “I’m coming with you then.”

    I turn to him without meaning to and blink a few times. “Coming with me?”

    “I’ll help you find your ex-friend instead, and help you take him down. It’s safer than staying here, hiding,” he stares at me, his expression hardened and determined. A little smile cracks the corner of his mouth and he winks.

    I snap my head back facing ahead, letting my hair fall between us. What was that look for? Doesn’t he realize he’s putting himself in danger, even just standing there? My face feels hot, but I’m pretty sure it’s not on fire.

    “You are okay with my help, right?” he frowns. “His ability with those things could be troublesome. I suppose you have your own reasons for looking for him, but for me, it just isn’t right what he’s doing; stealing students and whatnot. I don’t know what he’s planning, but I’d like to pay him back. What do you say? Partners?” he grins, holding his right hand out to me.

    I’ve seen people do that before. It’s some sort of gesture of agreement, briefly holding hands. I find myself somewhat at a loss. He knows I set things on fire, right? Usually with my hands? What if I burn him by accident?

    “Well go on. I sincerely doubt he’s going to bite,” a masculine voice speaks from out of nowhere. To my right, perched on the lid of a garbage bin, is a small fox. Its big fuzzy ears stick upright, with its golden eyes fixed on us.

    “You’re late,” I sneer at the animal.

    It licks its paw and rubs its snout. “Terribly sorry, Kat. I was merely doing what you asked,” its nose twitches. “Shake the poor boy’s hand. Lord knows you could use some friends.”

    Oh, how I hate him sometimes. “You know what? I don’t think I missed you.”

    “No need to be rude,” the fox puffs its little chest out.

    “Who are you talking to?” Andrei asks, eyeing the fox, unsure.

    “Just your friendly neighborhood shapeshifter and full-time babysitter, at your service,” the fox jumps off the bin and prances up next to me.

    “Whoa! That’s wicked! You can talk?” Andrei gasps, leaning down for a closer look. “Where can I get one of those?”

    “He’s one of a kind… Probably…” I glare at the little beast.  “I hope Logan squashes you.”

    “Yes, yes,” he shifts into a snake and begins to coil his way up my leg. “Until then, I’m afraid you’re stuck with me.”

    “That’s … awesome,” Andrei smiles, clearly impressed.

    I grab the snake and drape it over my shoulders. It shrinks into a mouse and curls up under my collar. “We’ll see if you still feel that way in a few hours,” I flinch as tiny claws pinch my neck.

    “Does it have a name?” Andrei asks innocently.

    “It!” the mouse squeaks angrily. “I’ll have you know, I identify as male! Even though I don’t technically have a gender…”

    “His name is Rhoan,” I roll my eyes. “So, did you find him?”

    “Of course I did,” Rhoan sniffs. “But I’m not going to tell you until morning.”

    I grind my teeth. “If we wait, he’ll have time to make more monsters.”

    “Hm… What’s this Logan guy like?” Andrei asks. I don’t understand the question.

    “He’s kind of… Insane,” Rhoan replies. “Hard to really describe. Seems to think he’s on some sort of mission.”

    Andrei scratches his head. “I mean, is he an action seeker, or is he likely to hide and plan?”

    “He won’t come after you while I’m here,” I state simply. “He’s not that stupid.”

    “Speaking of here… Why are we still standing here? You are absolutely frozen, Kat. Get inside this instant!” Rhoan orders like a mother hen.

    I consciously try to stop shivering. “It’s not that cold…”

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t notice. We’ve been out here long enough, let’s get back inside,” Andrei opens the door and gestures for me to go ahead.

    “It’s fine, I’m fine, we don’t have to – Ow!” I jump as the mouse bites into my shoulder. “Alright, I’m going… Geez…” He locks the door behind him and I reluctantly reenter the little basement apartment.

    The living room is empty, one of the doors down the hall now closed. Andrei wanders down to peer into the other room. “Looks like she decided to stay with Kaede instead. You can use my bed if you want. I’ll sleep on the couch.”

    I glance between the couch and the dark hall. I can just faintly make out the voices in the back room. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather stay out here.”

    “I swear the bed is much more comfy, you’ll get a better rest,” he insists.

    I sit on the couch, kick off my boots, and pull my knees up. “Don’t worry about it. You should get some sleep.”

    “Suit yourself. I know it’s late, but I can make you something to eat. Are you hungry?”

    I open my mouth to refuse, but Rhoan beats me to it. “Yes,” Then, as if on cue, my stomach growls. My face turns a shade akin to a tomato, so I turn away from him.

    He chuckles. “We have ramen and tomato soup.”

    I tip my head, curious. “What’s ra-men?”

    He hesitates. “Uh… Instant noodles in a bean paste broth. It’s pretty good,” he reaches into the kitchen and throws a little packet across the room.

    I yelp and barely manage to catch it on instinct. I flinch, waiting for it to ignite in my hands. When it doesn’t, I relax. The plastic packaging is covered in characters I can’t read, but there’s a picture on the front of some kind of soup with noodles in it.

    I glance up at him, watching me from the kitchen archway. “Um… Okay, I guess,” I shrug, and toss it back. As he disappears into the kitchen, I pick at my nails and twist my fingers. Is this how life is for normal people?

    “I don’t understand! Kae, I’m freaking out! What’s going to happen?!” the girl’s voice emanates down the hall before she’s quieted again. I’m so glad that’s not my problem right now.

    A few minutes later, he emerges with two steaming bowls and sets them on the coffee table in front of me. “Mind if I eat with you?” he asks. I shake my head. He crouches then settles on the carpet, across from me. I carefully slide off the couch and sit on my legs so the table is the right height.

    Beside the bowl is a fork and a pair of sticks. I watch him pick up his own pair of sticks, and use them to pick up the noodles. I’ve never seen anyone eat like that before. He slurps a mouthful of noodles, then looks up. He stops and smiles.

    “Have you never used chopsticks before?”

    I laugh, embarrassed, and bite my lip. “I, uh… I don’t get out much.”

    “Don’t worry,” he snickers, “I learned from Kaede. He’s Japanese.” He crawls around the table. “Here, let me show you.”

    He picks up one of the sticks and picks up my right hand. I hold my breath. His hand is warm and calloused. He gently turns my hand and places the stick between my ring and middle finger, the long end resting in the crook between my thumb and first finger. He then takes the second one and puts it next to the other one, between my first and middle finger. Then, holding my hand in both of his, he shows me how to move the two in a pinching motion.

    “See, it’s easy. Now you try,” he nods to the bowl.

    I try to ignore my racing pulse and the fact that he’s watching. I prod a cluster of noodles with the sticks. Trying to mimic the motion, I carefully lift them out of the water and to my relief, they stay long enough for me to get them into my mouth. It’s not half bad, actually.

    “It takes some practice,” he leans back a bit, and slides his bowl closer, instead of moving away. “But I swear, it makes it taste better.”

    This strange boy, apparently oblivious, sits less than a foot away from me like it’s perfectly normal. Maybe it’s not strange. I guess I wouldn’t know since I’ve never left the guild before. I resolve to try to act natural, and just keep eating. What do normal people talk about?

    “So… You said Logan won’t attack while you’re around,” Andrei casually breaks the awkward silence.  “Why is that? Is he afraid of you?”

    I half shrug. “Probably more than most, which is saying a lot…”

    He hums. “Does he have any other abilities I should know about? Also, if you don’t mind me asking, where’d you get that sword from?”

    “Hm?” I blink. “Oh, that was Rhoan. He can change into pretty much anything.”

    “What? Even inanimate objects? Honestly, most handy friend ever!” he sighs. “I need to figure out a way to get my hands on a sword.”

    “If it comes to a fight, you can use Rhoan,” I lean back against the couch. He’d be safer that way.

    His eyes narrow slightly. “How does he take damage?”

    “What do you mean? He becomes the sword. How does steel take damage?”

    “It’s the same? That’s crazy!” he gawks.

    I shake my head and smile. Everything is so exciting to him. “Yea, we don’t know how it works, it just does.”

    When I finish eating, I climb back onto the couch. The broth seems to have thawed my body enough, so I pull off my jacket and toss it over my boots. Then I remember there’s a hole in the front of my shirt and glare at it. I liked this shirt. Oh well, I didn’t exactly bring a bag, so it’ll have to do. I slide back onto the middle of the small couch, putting a subtle distance between us as I curl up again.

    Andrei stands up, then picks up the two bowls. “It’s late. I’ll let you sleep. We’ll plan in the morning,” I watch him disappear into the kitchen and listen to the tap run for a moment. I want to tell him to stay. If I fall asleep; if I have another nightmare…

    “Want the light off?” he asks. I snap out of my daze. “If you need anything, I’m the last door down the hall,” he smiles. I just nod. I can manage on my own. He’s been through enough today.

    “Thanks. Good night,” I try to give a convincing smile.

    He flips the light switch, plunging the room into darkness. I wait for the door to close. One, two, three candles light up on the TV stand. The gentle flicker of their glow brings me a shred of comfort. At least if anything happens, Rhoan is here to keep them safe.

 

By Krystyna Yates

Kiki's Tales

    My hands are still shaking. Two cigarette butts lay at my feet, their contents burnt too fast to consume. I make a conscious effort to savor the one between my fingers. I watch the space between the houses at the end of the driveway, hopeful. The night air bites, so I hug my jacket tighter around my chest. It’s been a long day.

    I wonder how they’ll adjust to the revelations I brought them. A hidden world of magic isn’t something one stumbles on every day. Of course, they needed to know, for their own good. Logan isn’t the only threat out there. Let alone the risk of losing control of their own abilities.

    The screen door creaks as it opens slowly. My gaze snaps to the figure as he emerges. Even in the dark, his messy hair is distinctive. I turn to stare…

View original post 2,289 more words

The Guild – Chapter 2 – Andrei

Here is the next installment from my character’s point of view! Enjoy!

 

We pull up to Kaede’s basement apartment and file out of the car. It wasn’t a long drive but with Caroline freaking out silently, it was pretty intense.

“Hey, is your friend OK?” The driver asks, looking back through the rear-view mirror as I try to lift her out of the car. She seems to have passed out while we were driving. I don’t blame her.

“Yea, she’s just tired. Don’t worry about it.”

“Alright. Take care you kids. I hear there’s a kidnapper around here.”

“Actually -” Caroline starts to explain, but Kaede jumps in at the right moment.

“Yea, we heard, that’s why we called you. Thanks for the ride!” We finally exit the cab and, watching over our shoulders as we get into the house and lock the doors.

As soon as we’re in, I lay the red haired girl on the couch and run to the kitchen to grab a wet cloth.

“What’s wrong with her?” I hear Caroline say from the living room.

“She just fought off two crazy monsters and a dude who’s been kidnapping people. Did you not see him moving those monsters, Car? Give the girl a break.” Kaede retorts.

“I didn’t mean it that way,” She says defensively. “I mean, why isn’t she wounded anymore? Look!” I walk into the room with the warm cloth and I see her pointing at the girls stomach. I notice the tear in her shirt. “Andrei said she was bleeding but I don’t see any fresh blood, nor do I see a cut. She’s perfectly fine!”

“Look out,” I say as I take a look. I gingerly lift the bottom of her shirt up. I wipe away the dried blood and pause. I notice a small burn scar next to her belly button. I wipe again, to make sure it’s not a trick of my eye but it remains there, like a small flower shaped scar. I replace the shirt quickly, before the others have time to question what I’m doing.

“How is it?” Kaede asks, leaning over and checking her forehead for a fever.

“Good. It’s strange, but Car’s right. The wounds gone. I swear I saw her bleeding and look,” I show them the bloodstained cloth. “There’s blood here, but her wound is gone.”

“I told you! We shouldn’t have brought her here! What if that dude with the silver hair comes looking for her?! What if the monsters come back?! We probably led them right here!” Caroline’s hands wave wildly in the air as she speaks.

I get it; I thought the same thing, but I honestly couldn’t leave her there, no matter how little I knew her. She seemed… different somehow. I felt something around her. I couldn’t explain it, not yet.

“Caroline, you can take my bed, I don’t care.” She stares at me, flabbergasted that I would  change the topic, then huffs off to dump her things in my room.

“Kaede?”

“Hmm?”

“Did you see anything else during that fight? Anything strange?” I ask, hoping to confirm the details.

“Yea, I mean, for starters, where’d she get the sword, right?” He asks, taking a seat on his computer chair.

“Right, anything else?”

“Hmm,” He thinks a moment. “Other than the strange monsters and the silver haired dude, I mean, she suddenly killed both those things with fire. Does she have a lighter?”

I check her pockets, trying to be respectful and not prod too far. “Nothing. Maybe she dropped it.”

“Perhaps.” He nods.

“She said a name too. Rone, or Roahan. Something like that. Was there anyone else there besides us three and the silver haired guy?”

“Not that I recall. Wait, I think I saw an animal, maybe a cat or something run by. I can’t remember though.”

“This is strange.” I say, rubbing my chin.

“That’s an understatement,” Caroline says as she returns from my room. “This whole thing is a huge mess. What are we going to do with this girl?”

“Caroline, go check the window or something. See if you see anyone across the street.” I suggest.

“What?! I don’t want to be seen! What if they recognize me?”

“Don’t let them see you then.” I roll my eyes. Honestly. I turn to Kaede and nod my head.

“She noticed.” I say, softly, so Caroline doesn’t hear.

“You let her see?”

“Not on purpose, but I tried to knock her out of the way. The thing was fast. But I mean before. I think she can use magic!” I whisper.

Kaede looks over his shoulder to see if Caroline’s returned, then turns back to me with a serious look on his face. “That would explain the fire and no wounds.”

“Right. But how can she know if I change time or not? That’s just…”

“Not weird man. It’s like that in all the books and movies. A magic user can always tell when another user’s around.”

“Really, man?”

“Really.” He whispers, looking up as Caroline comes back in, she seems to have calmed down a bit.

“No sight of anyone.” She says, looking at the girl. “Hey, I think she’s stirring.”

We all turn to the red haired girl as she groans, eyes fluttering open. She just stares at the ceiling for a few moments, her eyes focused on nothing. Suddenly she jumps up, making us all lean back in shock as she leaps onto the back of the couch and crouches there. Caroline let’s out a surprised yelp as the candles on the TV stand light for no reason.

We all watch her, I throw up my hands to calm everyone down. Her eyes look panicked like a trapped animal, and are they.. Orange? I’ve never seen eyes that colour before. They’re strangely attractive. She watches us carefully, her chest heaves with each breath and she looks ready to jump past us. She has nowhere to run, thanks to the small space and the three of us standing around her.

“Hey, hey, it’s OK. You’re alright. No one’s going to hurt you. Do you… remember what just happened?” I ask, trying to relieve the tension.

She squints at me, her face scrunches up and she rubs her forehead as if it hurts. “Shit… I guess that wasn’t another bad dream.” She mumbles.

“Wait, are you saying this happens often?” Caroline says in a forced whisper.

“Not the time Caroline.” I hiss.

The girl scratches her head, “Uh… Well, yeah.” She says flatly.

“Great!” Caroline huffs, throwing her hands and storming back into the kitchen.

I turn back to the girl. “What do you mean another bad dream? Can you tell us what happened back there? Why was that guy kidnapping students? Why were you following us? And how’d you – “

“How’d you defeat those monsters?” Kaede interjects like a hyper child with a new video game. I give him a look but I can’t stop his wild imagination.

She looks at us with a level stare, “I set them on fire. Weren’t you there?” She raises an eyebrow at Kaede, like he’s the crazy one. He just gawks.

“So, no lighter? No matches? Just…” He flicks his fingers and makes a puffing sound.

The girl raises her hand and mimics Kaede perfectly, except real flames leap from her fingertips and he jumps out of his chair.

“Whoa! You really are a witch!” He looks at me like he’s not sure if what he’s seeing is real or not.

“Witch?” She says with a defensive huff, sliding down onto the couch and sitting with her legs pulled up to her chest. “Do you see a pointy hat?” She draws the impression of a hat on her head with her hand. I snicker.

“Not all witches wear hats,” Kaede points out, holding up his hand ready to tally the number of tv shows he knows where witches don’t wear hats.

She looks at him with a sarcastic smirk, “Which of us do you think knows more about witches? You or me?”

“That’s besides the point,” I interrupt, glaring at her and Kaede both. “What were you doing on campus? I saw you earlier, before lunch. Why were you following us?”

She shrugs, like it’s obvious, “I was looking for Logan. You seemed like a likely next target.”

“Logan, is that the silver haired dude?” Kaede asks.

“Target? Why me? I don’t even go to that school.” I say. This girl obviously knows way more about what’s been happening on campus than either of us know, but why? And how does she make those flames? Is she really anything like me? I intend to drill her all night if I have to.

“Where’s your sword?!” Kaede asks out of turn.

“Common, man! Wait your turn.”

She laughs, “He’s not just targeting random students.” She pointedly ignores Kaede. “He’s looking for young people with… potential.” She looks me up and down and it’s like I’m naked under her gaze. I feel a blush touch my cheeks. “You stick out like a sore thumb. I could pick you out in a heartbeat.” She adds.

I stare her down, I need more information. “What kind of potential?” I ask. I need to know how much she knows.

“Magic, spells, sorcery. That sort of thing. It’s kind of a whole underground society.” She says matter of fact.

“It’s real man! She’s not just kidding us! I can’t believe it! Oh my god I’m so psyched!” Kaede jumps up and down energetically. Like my own secret wasn’t enough prove for him to believe in magic.

“Well, I think your friend here has the wrong people in mind. None of us here can do magic.” I say, standing up and crossing my arms. This whole thing sounds fishy to me, like it’s too good to be true.

She pouts, “Oh… Then I guess I got impaled back there and died. This is a pretty crappy afterlife.” She stares at me, unblinking, a smug smile on her cute face. It almost looks like a glare with all that mascara on.

“Ah-hem,” Kaede coughs, standing next to the TV stand and elbowing one of the candles off balance.

I see it falling and out of instinct, I feel the time around me, slowing it down and dashing over to grab it. I see it fall at half the regular speed and I grab the bottom of the candle, holding the flame up. I set it back on the stand and return time to normal.

I turn back to the others and freeze. “Shit… You jerk!” I punch Kaede in the shoulder.

“Oww…” he pouts. He deserved that.

The girl grins like she just won a million dollars.

“You can’t pass this up man! It’s too awesome!”  I just glare at him, angry with his trick.

She stops smiling and furrows her eyebrows, thinking, “But that doesn’t explain why there were two traps…” She slowly turns to the kitchen, where Caroline disappeared to.

Kaede and I share and questioning look and shrug.

“Maybe he knew you were there?” I suggest. She just shakes her head. She suddenly jumps up and sneaks into the kitchen. We quickly follow behind, waiting to see what she’ll do.

Caroline is looking out the window again, balanced on the balls of her feet, peering across the street. She doesn’t even notice the girl standing right behind her. Suddenly the girl pokes Caroline in the side and she jumps with a small cry, slipping on the floor. The girl backs up stealthily, like a cat.

“Oh my god! What was that for!” Caroline shouts, rubbing the spot on her back where she was poked. Kaede and I both snicker from the doorway. It was too good. She glares at us, clearly offended. “It’s not funny you guys. What’s your problem?” She grunts at the girl.

The girl looks around Caroline, as if looking at something behind her. “Interesting…” She mutters. She turns back to me, “Do you see it?”

I shake my head, “I don’t see anything. Why?”

She looks annoyed, pointing with her finger, “Look harder!”

I look again and see Cars grumpy face, then. As if focussing a lense on a camera, I focus on the space around her and see a shimmering light, like a blue filmy cloth floating around her. “What is that?!” I ask, stepping closer.

I turn to the girl and suddenly I see a similar film, like a veil of shimmering red around her too. “You have one too!” I gasp in surprise.

“What? What do you see?!” Kaede complains from behind.

“It’s like a… I don’t know, an invisible curtain or something. Can’t you see it?” I ask him.

“Nope, just a grumpy Car.” He complains.

“It’s called an Aura. It’s like a signature of your magic ability. Not everyone can see them, not even all magic users.” She explains.

Kaede frowns, leaning against the wall. “Figures, I’m just a normal kid.” He’s definitely sulking.

“What do you mean, magic?” Caroline asks. She definitely missed most of what was said in the other room. “I don’t know any magic. I don’t even believe it exists!” She says. She’s a product of her studies, all hard core facts and theories. She can be so cute sometimes.

The girl shakes her head, “Sorry, one lecture per customer. You boys can fill her in. I need to step outside.”

“Wait, you can’t go out there. What if that Logan dude comes back?” Kaede says blocking the door.

She shrugs, pushing past him easily, “Then I’ll kill him.”

“Why didn’t you do it before then?!” Caroline points out. I dash over and grab the girls wrist, making her stop.

She looks at me, surprise crossing her face as she flinches away from my touch. I’m a little taken aback, did it hurt? “It might not be wise to attract his attention now. It’s getting late, and besides, we don’t even know your name.” I point out.

She half turns away, face hidden by the door frame, “It’s Kaitlyn,” She mumbles, “I’ll only be a minute.” She pulls her hand away and climbs the stairs, letting the door slam shut behind her.

“Great! Now fire girl-”

“Kaitlyn.” I correct.

“Kaitlyn… She’s gone and I’m alone with two magic freaks who almost got me killed today!” Kaede buzzes.

“Oh shut up Kae, For all we know she could be lying about our magic.” Caroline grumbles. She looks to me for confirmation and I shrug.

“I don’t know… She did something and I saw those auras. I don’t think she was lying.”

A scared look fills Caroline’s eyes.  “Then… what’s going to happen next?” she asks.

“I don’t know…” I say. “Anything could happen next.”

By Kayla West

Kiki's Tales

    We pull up to Kaede’s basement apartment and file out of the car. It wasn’t a long drive but with Caroline freaking out silently, it was pretty intense.

     “Hey, is your friend OK?” The driver asks, looking back through the rear-view mirror as I try to lift her out of the car. She seems to have passed out while we were driving. I don’t blame her.

    “Yea, she’s just tired. Don’t worry about it.”

    “Alright. Take care you kids. I hear there’s a kidnapper around here.”

    “Actually -” Caroline starts to explain, but Kaede jumps in at the right moment.

    “Yea, we heard, that’s why we called you. Thanks for the ride!” We finally exit the cab and, watching over our shoulders as we get into the house and lock the doors.

    As soon as we’re…

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The Guild – Chapter 1 – Kaitlyn

    It’s past noon. I’ve been wandering around this campus for hours. When did silver hair become a trend? Students run around this place like ants, either oblivious or careless. A dozen have already gone missing, but life goes on. University is expensive, or so I hear.

    The alcove outside the Library offers shelter from the brisk October winds. Just enough to light a much-needed cigarette. I’d hoped this mission would be quick, simple. There are too many people. Too many potential targets. I need to narrow it down somehow.

    The doors swing open, missing me by inches. I glare at the young man as he steps out, the mop of long curly brown hair dances in the breeze. He pushes the hair out of his face and freezes when he notices me watching him. Most people ignore me; my odd red hair hardly sticks out in a place like this. He doesn’t turn away.

    “What?” I snap, uncomfortable with the attention.

    He glances at the death stick as I inhale. “You’re not allowed to smoke here, gorgeous.” He smirks, gesturing to the obnoxious sign above my head.

    As I stare back at him, I sense a strange aura about him. This is no ordinary student. I narrow my eyes, and my lip curls up in one corner, “My mistake.” The cigarette burns rapidly, apparently out of nowhere. The ashes are carried on the wind into the young man’s face.

    He flinches and holds his breath as the smoke passes. One eyebrow cocks as he eyes my now empty hand. He seems torn but finally turns and mutters. “Sorry… I have to go.”

    I watch the gentle curls bounce as he hops down the steps and walks away. He glances over his shoulder twice, before turning a corner out of sight. An interesting development.

    “You should follow him,” a voice whispers in my ear. My hair shifts and a little nose with long whiskers pokes out.

“Don’t have to tell me twice,” I snicker, skipping down the steps after him.

    The strange boy goes to the Student Centre, where he sits with an Asian boy and a blonde girl. The blonde appears to be upset, but the boys are relatively light-hearted. I buy a coffee, and sit at a small table by a window, halfway across the large room. In the sea of colourful hair and backpacks, it’s almost impossible to pick out an individual. His aura, unique as it is, draws my gaze without fail.

    The trio spends over an hour in the lunchroom, chatting, and whatnot. It’s incredibly boring. I scroll through social media on my phone to pass the time, until finally, they get up to leave. They cross the campus to a nearby dorm building. At that point, the brunette seems annoyed. I keep my distance, so I can’t hear their conversation. The sun inches toward the horizon when they finally emerge, at least six bags carried between them.

    With the added baggage, they amble across the nearly deserted parking lot. They cut through a tunnel between buildings. I hang back, wary of the lack of hiding places. I’m starting to think following them is a waste of time until I hear a scream.

    “Finally,” I smile as I take off for the mouth of the tunnel. The group is almost out the other side, but they’re not alone. The blonde, kicking and screaming, is confined within the ribcage of a thin, fleshy monstrosity. A second one looms beside it as the two boys scramble back.

    “That’s quite enough of that horrible noise,” A melodic male voice echoes down the tunnel. I duck into a shadow just before the man steps into the light of the lamp above the group. The girl’s screams cut off, and she grasps at her throat with panic, eyes bulging. Can’t say I disagree with that spell.

    “Who are you?!” the brunette demands. He’s braver than he looks.

    “Me?” the silver-blonde man grins and brushes imaginary dirt from his light grey suit. “I’m Logan, your new best friend,” his silver eyes fall on the Asian boy, who’s fallen to the ground in shock. “I’m sorry, he won’t be needing you.”

    I dash across the cobblestone path as the man raises his arm. The beast without a prisoner lifts its long, pointed arm and stabs down at the hapless youth. The rat on my shoulder slides down my arm, into my hand, where it transforms into a sword. The creature screeches, a horrid sound, as it’s arm rolls away and black liquid oozes from the stump left behind.

    It seems like all three students hold their breath as I stand upright. I keep my eyes on the silver-haired man, the one I’ve been looking for. A wicked grin spreads across his perfectly angular face. His long, thin arms spread out almost as though for a hug.

    “Kat,” he cooes. “I’ve missed you,” I glare at him. He pouts. “Now, don’t look at me like that. I thought we were friends?”

    “That was before you started kidnapping people,” I spit.

    He chuckles and folds his hands behind his back. “Kidnap? That’s such a harsh word… I prefer to think of it as rehoming.”

    I glance at the girl trapped in the bony cage. With a precise swing, I slice through the base of right half of the ribs. The girl tumbles onto the ground with a silent yelp. The Asian boy scrambles out from behind me to the girl’s side, helping her sit up.

    He looks to Logan, confused. “Wait… You mean you’re the one responsible for the missing students?” Logan shrugs innocently.

    “What the hell is wrong with you?” the brunette steps up beside me.

    “What are you still doing here?” I hiss at him. “Run, while you still can.”

    He looks at me like I’ve got three heads until recognition passes his expression. “Hey, you’re the girl from the library! Look, you may have a sword, but I can’t let you fight alone. Kaede, get Caroline out of here.”

    “No way man, I’m not leaving you here with that freak!” the other boy snaps.

    The brunette grumbles. “Fine, just… Stay back then.”

    I roll my eyes. “This is not the time to play hero,” I don’t wait for his response. Instead, I lunge at the creature missing an arm. I slice off a leg, the head, and then cut the torso in half just to be sure. The other one lumbers up behind me, missing half its ribcage. I spin the blade and stab backwards under my right arm. It groans and stumbles away, taking the sword with it.

    “Kat, it’s not like you to hold back. What are you waiting for?” Logan grins, “Light them up. Light them all up.”

    “Shut up,” I snap. I duck under the giant creature’s swing and grab the handle of my sword. I twist the blade, still in the thing’s gut, and rip it wide open. The thing crumbles into a pile of black goo and pale green flesh.

    “Hey, gorgeous! Look out!” the voice catches my attention. I spin on my heel just in time to see the business end of the reformed monster’s pointy arm inches away from me.

    I’m hit with a blunt impact, first on my chest, and then on my back, knocking the breath right out of me. I gasp. Suddenly I’m looking at the concrete ceiling. Above me, two sets of running shoes scurry back. The pressure on my chest lifts and I’m confronted with a set of bright hazel eyes.

    “Are you alright?” he asks, breathless.

    Movement behind the curtain of long brown hair catches my eye. I hook my leg around one of his and swipe at his elbow. He grunts in surprise as he tumbles to the left and rolls away. The tip of the thing’s arm pierces the left side of my stomach. I grit my teeth.

    “Fine. Have it your way,” I growl. With my teeth, I pull the velcro strap on my right glove and bite the edge of each finger until it slides off. I grab the fleshy arm with my bare palm. The creature yelps and retreats several steps. It claws at its arm as flames crawl up its flesh, slowly devouring it.

    The brunette gawks, eyes falling from my hands to the flow of red from my gut. “Hey, be careful, you’re bleeding!” he scrambles to his feet.

    “Thanks, I hadn’t noticed,” I grumble. I kick my legs in the air, using the momentum to flip onto my feet. I spot Logan manipulating the broken body of the second monster back together. “Logan, I’ve had enough of your shit. You can either come quietly, or you can come dead,” sparks dance at my fingertips.

    The suave young man twists his lips into a pout. “I’m afraid I don’t like either of those options. Here’s my counteroffer,” he gestures, and the repaired creature lumbers at the brunette boy. At the same time, he turns and takes off out of sight.

    “Crap,” I cuss, “Rhoan, follow him,” the sword, forgotten on the ground, shifts into a fox and bolts out of the tunnel. I pull off my left glove and notice the boy fending off the slow attacks of the beast with a kitchen knife. I’m not even sure where he got it from.

    Focusing energy between my hands, I form a small ball of hungry fire and lob it at the fleshy thing. It lands square on its back and spreads in an instant. Soon, we’re left with no more than two large piles of ash. I let out a heavy sigh of relief.

    “Oh my god… Oh. My. God! What was that? Who was that? Who is she?!” a female voice rambles at hyperspeed. I roll my eyes.

    “Calm down, Car. It’s fine, look, Andrei’s handling it,” the other boy assures her. I turn slowly, glaring at the pair. Are they serious?

    “You three need to leave. Now. Get somewhere safe and lay low. He may create more of those things and come back,” I hold my stomach with one hand, warm liquid seeping through my fingers. With the other, I crouch down to collect my gloves.

    “We can’t leave you here,” the one called Andrei, insists. “You’re bleeding!”

    “Yes, we can! We don’t even know her!” the girl shrieks.

    “Again, thank you for the update,” I roll my eyes and shoot the girl a cold look. “You’re welcome for the rescue. I only got stabbed for you.”

    “Andrei is right, we can’t,” the other boy nods. I think his name is Kaede? “Look, Car, this is all super crazy, I know, but it’s just like a video game!” his face lights up. Yea, he’s totally going to get himself killed. “It’s so freakin’ awesome!” the girl punches him in the arm and he winces.

    My view of the bizarre couple is blocked when Andrei kneels beside me. He hands me the gloves I was reaching for. “Look, we’re taking you with us. You’re in no condition to go after that guy alone.”

    I study his face; strong jaw, slightly small nose, a shadow of stubble across his face. Piercing brown eyes with a hint of a yellow ring, wide as they can be. “You’re not going to take ‘no’ for an answer, are you?” his lips curl up into a small smile as he shakes his head.

    “Fine, then I’m calling a cab,” the girl huffs, as she digs for her cellphone.

    I sit, ungracefully, and lean back on my right arm. Closing my eyes, I focus first on steady breathing. Then, I imagine the fibers of my flesh weaving back together. I know it’s working when the pain intensifies. Breath in, and out…

    “Back there… Did that fire come from you?” Andrei whispers. I peek at him with one eye. He glances over his shoulder at his friends, who are occupied with baggage issues. He looks down at my hand over the wound and his brows raise. “Are you… using magic?!”

    I frown. “Are you just figuring that out now? After all that? You used magic too. Don’t play dumb with me.”

    “Dumb? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he turns his face away. “Magic isn’t real… I don’t know what you saw.”

    “The cab will be here in ten minutes! Get over here you two!” the girl yells from the other end of the tunnel.

    I barely glance in her direction. “If you really believe that, then why did you ask?”

    He doesn’t respond for a moment, before glancing over his shoulder. “Come on, I’ll help you up.”

    I scoff and shake my head. He slides one arm around my waist and carefully lifts me until I’m standing. The world is a little topsy-turvy, but I can manage. The hole is still closing, but the bleeding seems to have stopped. I put the gloves back on and flex my hands until they’re comfortable again.

    The strange boy watches me like a hawk as we meander down towards the other two, and hovers by the door when I slide in behind the passenger seat. The girl takes the front after they stuff all her crap in the trunk. Andrei scoots in the middle of the backseat, and Kaede sits behind the driver, giving directions. I lay my head back on the seat when the car starts moving.

    I may have lost more blood than I thought…

By Krystyna Yates

Kiki's Tales

    It’s past noon. I’ve been wandering around this campus for hours. When did silver hair become a trend? Students run around this place like ants, either oblivious or careless. A dozen have already gone missing, but life goes on. University is expensive, or so I hear.

    The alcove outside the Library offers shelter from the brisk October winds. Just enough to light a much needed cigarette. I’d hoped this mission would be quick, simple. There are too many people. Too many potential targets. I need to narrow it down somehow.

    The doors swing open, missing me by inches. I glare at the young man as he steps out, the mop of long curly brown hair dances in the breeze. He pushes the hair out of his face and freezes when he notices me. Most people ignore me. My odd red hair hardly sticks out…

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