A Witch’s Fire – Chapter Five

Published March 25, 2015 by darksilvertree

Ysabel levitated Samiyah and drew her across the room. She touched Samiyah’s cheek and laughed as ice began to cover her body, her skin draining of color. Samiyah heard a muffled voice say, “Stubborn. Why?”

She felt strength seeping in. Her head cleared and Oliver’s voice was louder as he said, “Why did you go without me?”

She tried to reject his strength but he wouldn’t allow it. The threads of their bond were healing but still too fragile to handle a battle of wills. Samiyah could feel it starting to fray and she gave in grudgingly. Her borrowed strength allowed her to break away from Ysabel, who eyed her with a curious expression.

“Interesting.” She reached towards Samiyah and beams of light prodded her.

Oliver’s energy became weaker with every touch. Samiyah ran. “Kat! Could use some help.”

Her sister groaned but managed to stand. She created a shield between Samiyah and Ysabel. Her breath came out in heaving gasps. Neither of them could fight much longer. Katherine was untrained and Samiyah was running out of borrowed time. Ysabel moved dashed forward. Her form was blurred. A second later Katherine’s shield cracked and splintered. She tried to run but Ysabel changed into her ghostly form. Katherine screamed as she was surrounded. Flailing wildly to defend herself, she accidentally sent out bursts of fire. They weren’t that strong and burned out quickly but Ysabel let out a pained noise. Samiyah felt a strange sense of elation as she realized her magic must be keeping Ysabel solid enough to feel physical pain.

Not caring how much it must’ve cost, Samiyah kicked out at the intricately carved coffee table until one of the legs snapped off. “Ysabel!”


Her named forced Ysabel back into her human form. She turned, a vicious snarl ripped from her throat. Her face was twisted by anger. Ysabel launched herself at Samiyah, who got in one solid blow before the table leg was yanked from her hand. She heard her wrist pop but she didn’t have time to concentrate on the pain. She grabbed the front of Ysabel’s dress and flung her towards the marble fireplace. Ysabel caught herself, her nails created deep gashes in the marble.

Ysabel wrinkled her nose as if she could smell Oliver in the room with them. “Wolf,” she growled.

Samiyah, knowing her surprise was gone, leaped over the ruined coffee table and couch. Her fingers were just closing around the table leg when Ysabel’s fingers closed around her neck. They stretched to completely encircle Samiyah’s neck, tightening.

“Kat.” Samiyah’s voice came out as a harsh croak.

“What do I do?” She sobbed.

Samiyah kicked back, connecting with Ysabel’s knee. They fell. Samiyah landed on top of Ysabel. She rolled off and raised the table leg; bringing it down where Ysabel’s head had been moments before. Taking a risk Samiyah held it out and shouted, “Kat, light it.”

“Are you crazy?” She balled her hands into fist.

“We don’t have time to argue.” Samiyah tried to dodge an attack. A spasm of pain shot through her left side and she stumbled, clutching at the couch for support. Samiyah gave Katherine a desperate look.

“I can’t believe this.” She concentrated on her hand until a weak flame appeared. Katherine tried throwing it but it fizzled out.

While she struggled Ysabel leaped towards her.


Samiyah forced herself to follow, and tackled Ysabel to the ground. She fell through to the floor when Ysabel suddenly changed again. Before Samiyah could defend herself Ysabel attacked her mind. She panicked as she lost feeling in her legs; the numbness creeping up until she wasn’t sure she hadn’t stopped breathing.

“I will have your power.”

Samiyah used everything in her to push back. She would not let Ysabel hurt people. She’d keep it, and herself, locked inside before she let that happen. Ysabel renewed her attack and Samiyah screamed until her throat hurt. Suddenly Ysabel drew away from her. She pressed against the wall, howling and spitting at Katherine; who finally had a sizable fireball floating above her hand. Her expression was just as angry, which made the tears streaming down her face more terrifying.

“Just go away.” She threw the fireball as if it were a softball.

It hit and Ysabel’s dress went up in flames. She tried to run but wherever she went Katherine met her with another one. Ysabel tried calling up another wind. Only to have it cut off when Katherine snapped her hand closed. The look of intense concentration told Samiyah this was all instincts. She forced herself to roll onto her side, gritting her teeth, forced her arms to push herself up. As she was standing up Ysabel rushed Katherine, who met her steadily. Her eyes fluttered and then closed. Katherine’s expression was peaceful. Samiyah felt as if ice was crawling over her again. Her stomach rebelled but there was nothing to throw up. A burst of energy knocked Samiyah to her knees. Ysabel lay on the floor before Katherine, dress mostly burned away and her skin was translucent.

Katherine’s face was devoid of emotion. When she spoke, the power in her voice made Samiyah shake. “Get out.” It was dark. Heavy.

Ysabel jumped at her. She exploded into light just as she hit. Katherine slowly sat down and drew her knees to her chest.


Samiyah crawled over to her sister, wrapping Katherine in a hug. “I’m sorry.”

Katherine didn’t respond and they sat like that for a long moment. Eventually Samiyah noticed the magic swirling around her. It crowded around her but didn’t try to force its way in. She could send it away. Samiyah looked at where Ysabel had just lain. She knew she wouldn’t. With a sigh, Samiyah called the magic back. She felt her body relax as it seeped in through her skin. Once Samiyah was sure her magic had completely returned she pushed it to her core, sealed it. Her head snapped up when she heard a groan and she remembered where she was. Samiyah started to stand but Katherine gripped her arm.

“I’ll handle him. Just go to the car, I’ll meet you there.”

“You sure?”

Katherine nodded. “Some pretty expensive things got broken. You’ll only put your foot in it.” She gave a weak laugh.

Samiyah tried to give a comforting smile though she was sure it looked as forced as it felt. Her legs were stiff as she walked towards the door. With each step she felt more disconnected. At first Samiyah wasn’t aware she’d even gotten to the car until she bumped into the hood. She stopped and just stood there until someone tapped her on the arm.

Samiyah expected Katherine so she didn’t turn around. “What?” she asked in a flat voice.

“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”


Samiyah felt angry suddenly.

“I didn’t know. I swear! I just wanted to say I helped you. I didn’t know it was her.”

Samiyah spun, ready to yell at him because he was close. He looked as exhausted as she was. Who knows how long Ysabel had been using him. Her words died in her throat.

“I didn’t even know she existed. I wouldn’t have answered.”

“She would’ve made you.” She gave him a comforting pat on the arm. Taking a deep breath she said, “I’m going home. You can forget about this and never speak to me again.”

Trevor gave an incredulous laugh. “I can’t forget this.” He grabbed his hair. “What do I do now? Did everything I have come from her?”

Samiyah nodded.

He moaned. “I’ll lose what I worked for. This will ruin me.”

Samiyah turned away, walking around to the passenger seat and opening her door. “Would you rather she be here again? You’d rather be possessed?”

“That’s not what I-”

“What did you mean?”

Trevor started to walk towards her but Samiyah waved him away.

“Retire from doing exorcisms, become an author playing yourself up. I don’t care. I’m done with Ysabel. We’re done.”

“At least you told me in person this time.”

Samiyah snorted, sliding into the passenger seat and slamming the door.




Katherine stood in the doorway watching their exchange. She wanted to feel something about it but all she could concentrate on was the buzzing in her head. Her whole body tingled as competing magic coursed through her. Katherine looked down at her hand expecting it to look different. It didn’t. Nothing did. She ran her hands over the faded red tank top she was wore. It was significantly more wrinkled than it was before. Otherwise it was fine, she looked fine; not like someone was stretching inside and testing her out like a new car.

I’m strong enough to keep you in. I’m going to get rid you.

Katherine looked up in time to see Trevor walking towards her. He looked distraught and she wanted to laugh.

“What are you going to do?”

“What can I do?”

Katherine shrugged. “Honestly? I don’t care, Trevor.” She walked by him, chuckling. “I’ll send a check for anything ruined. But I suspect you’ll have bigger problems.”

Trevor grabbed her arm. “You two can’t leave me like this.”

Katherine jerked her arm away. “We did our charity service for the day. Goodbye.”

She turned and walked away, feeling momentarily light.




When they arrived back in Kissimmee Rhonda rushed out of Isi’s shop, deep shadows under her eyes like she didn’t sleep for days. She threw her arms around Katherine, pressing her daughter’s head to her chest. “I was so worried about you. Are you okay? Is it over?”

“Yes mom. It’s over.”

Rhonda pulled away and searched Katherine’s face. She tried to smile but Rhonda frowned.

“I’m fine. Let’s go home and we’ll have dinner.

Samiyah watched this silently, holding her injured wrists though it’d been wrapped. She didn’t expect to be invited but she did need a ride home. “It’s a bit early for that.”

Katherine stared at her as if she didn’t fully comprehend. Then sudden realization crossed her face. “Oh. I must be confused.” Her voice was still robotic with only the slightest inflection.

“It’s fine sweetheart.” Rhonda glared at Samiyah. “If you want dinner, we’ll have dinner.” She waved Samiyah away from the car and helped Katherine get in. “We won’t talk about any of this anymore.” Rhonda got in and drove off without saying goodbye.

Samiyah heard a bell ring as the door opened behind her.

“Welcome back.”

Samiyah knew he could sense her magic. “Lucky me.”


Oliver came to stand beside her. “I’m still your friend. We’re bound for a reason.”

She folded her arms, as if that could protect her from everything that happened. “How can any of this have a reason?”

Oliver shook his head. “I don’t know. But I understand, you still need space,” he said with a dry laugh.  “At least call this time.”

“I will.” Samiyah looked away, not sure that she would.

He made her look at him. “Sam, call me.” His voice was gentle though it held a pleading undertone.

That Oliver let her hear it let Samiyah know more than any words. If he hadn’t fully forgiven her, he didn’t hate her either. “I will. Promise.”

He gave her a small smile. “Uh…I’ll uh, get Delfina to drive you home.”

Samiyah nodded. They weren’t friends and that’s what she needed. Someone who would let her sit, and think, in silence. She surprised Oliver by giving him a tight hug.

“Why? He tentatively returned it.

“Just accept the hug,” she said laughing. “I’d be dead if you hadn’t helped.”

He muttered something, embarrassed, but hugged her tighter.

A Witch’s Fire – Chapter Four

Published March 8, 2015 by darksilvertree

Samiyah and Katherine rode in silence, only the mindless music coming from the radio filled the space between them. They were both lost in their own thoughts. Samiyah worried that there was no separation now from the otherworld. Since the appearance of Seven Bays in 2014, nine years before, their worlds grew more entwined each day. She could not truly remove her powers without separating the two, and she would not survive. This meant she would always be the sword held over her family’s neck. There was no giving any of this up. Samiyah worried about Katherine. Her sister had similar concerns for herself. She worried that she would never have the life she wanted; that she would always be protecting the family of others, but never returning home to her own. Katherine’s dislike of Trevor made her glad to hunt him down for revenge so she wouldn’t complain. This time. But she had better things to do than fix Samiyah’s boneheaded mistakes. A part of her looked forward to that feeling of power surging through her again. She’d hold that power in her physical hands even if Samiyah’s teacher turned up his nose at her. Neither of the Hayden sisters realized just how connected their actions now would change them.


Samiyah stood, looking up at Trevor’s house.

Katherine placed a hand softly on her arm. “Are you sure? We can still turn around.”
Samiyah took a deep breath. “Trevor isn’t the problem. There’s, a spirit. It’s going to use my magic to create a physical body.”
Katherine stepped away. “Why didn’t you say so before?”
“Oliver would’ve come. His pack needs him.” She looked at her sister. “You can leave.”
Katherine grunted. She stalked by saying over her shoulder, “You better let me know next time.”
Samiyah smiled, relieved. “You bet.”
As they approached the door it opened, Trevor stood there in an unbuttoned white shirt and casual slacks. His eyes were staring at them but they were clouded over. Katherine’s breath hitched and Samiyah stepped closer to her.
“Come in, come in children. I’ve been waiting.”
Neither sister moved. Samiyah didn’t want to involve innocents but she also didn’t want to step onto its turf. Katherine nudged her and tossed her head towards the door, her eyebrows lifted in question. Samiyah tried to summon her courage. It was harder to do once she realized just how deep she was. Believing she’d been on the edge of the paranormal allowed her to be a little arrogant. Like Katherine was now.
“Sorry about that.” Samiyah strolled casually towards the two story house. Inwardly she felt as if they were making a big mistake.
Katherine had a confident bounce in her step as she followed behind. Trevor stepped aside and let them pass, a huge grin on his face.

As soon as her foot hit the entrance way, Samiyah could feel the spirit’s energy seeping through everything. She could feel it searching for a weak point. Samiyah looked over her shoulder. Katherine had a disgusted look on her face. Her view of the large living room would be much different. Samiyah didn’t envy her. She started when Katherine suddenly yanked her back. Her surprise was short lived. A sharp pain in her leg was followed by something cutting through her jeans, leaving a jagged line across her leg.
Trevor laughed. “Try to avoid the plants.”
It had to know she couldn’t see its actual domain, but she wouldn’t give it the satisfaction. Samiyah stopped Katherine when she tried to walk ahead. “I can handle it.”
“You can’t even-”
“I got it.” She didn’t, but she was the reason behind all of this. She’d manage. Praying she wouldn’t end up spearing herself on an unseen thorn, Samiyah stalked to the center of the room. “Well, here we are. What you got for us?” She spun as she said this. Her eyes grew wide when she saw Trevor holding the talisman. “Kat, get it!”
Katherine spun. She ran towards Trevor at the same moment he calmly traced the water symbol in reverse. Just as she reached him, he finished. Samiyah’s vision spun as her power burst into the room. Before she could pull it back a fog lifted from Trevor’s body; he crumpled to the floor. The spirit laughed as it drew her magic in with a multitude of fingers, becoming more solid as time passed.
“What are you?” Katherine asked in a breathless voice.
“I, I am a god.”

The shape it took grew as large as the room, it had to bend its head because the top touched the ceiling. Wispy black hair fell to its shoulder, it looked at them through one brown eye; the other so insubstantial it flickered in and out. It’s body was the color of a phantom sandstorm. Nothing was solid, one moment it was vaguely feminine and the next slightly masculine. It grinned down at them. Samiyah sincerely hoped it was not a god. It suddenly exploded and then dived. Katherine pulled Samiyah close and created a shield around them. Sweat beaded her forehead but Katherine’s shield held against the barrage.
Samiyah eyed the talisman where it must’ve slid across the floor and into the hallway. “Kat, can you move?”
Putting her hands on Katherine’s shoulders, Samiyah said,”I’ll guide you.”
They moved sideways in a crabwalk that would’ve been laughable any other time. The spirit became thicker, slowing their progress.
“Get the talisman. I’ll distract it,” Samiyah whispered.
“Sam, no.”
Samiyah turned and pushed Katherine towards it. Without the shield’s protection her skin grew cold, sharp fingers pricked her skin, but she ignored it. Samiyah felt until she found its core and met it head on. Its power turned inwards, directly on her heels. Energy wrapped around her and burnt as it went. Despite this Samiyah learned what she needed to; a name that faded as most do and should’ve never been forgotten, but certainly didn’t belong to a god.

Ysabel Dominico; a relatively minor noble from a family who rarely stuck their heads out, and one of the witches who challenged the council. Her family’s status was not an accident. If their involvement with the otherworld became known every member would be killed. This did not stop a nineteen year old Isabel from taking over the local coven, along with the surroundings areas. She forced allegiance from even the wise women who lived alone, separate from society. She amassed more power over the years and gained a following while preaching that humans did not need to bow to immortal creatures. As her followers threw themselves at werewolves and fae, giants and even other witches she absorbed their magic after death. Ysabel joined many witch families together, who then made allies across continents. This led to a war and the self imposed exile of the council members and magical creatures, having lost faith in humanity. Ysabel lived to the age of sixty, nearly unheard of, before disappearing. Now Samiyah knew what happened to her. She prolonged her life by stealing the energy of witches, willing or not.

“I know your true name, Ysabel Dominico.” Samiyah said when she came back to herself.
Ysabel growled and her form hissed into something that closer resembled a woman. Her dark hair was bound in an embroidered coif with curled bangs, honey eyes glared at her and showed no signs that time had dimmed her mind.
“You know nothing of me!” She crossed the room quickly despite the elaborate black corset and hooped skirt she wore made of raised silk. It was covered in rubies and diamonds. Her hand tightened around Samiyah’s throat and pinned her against the wall. “You are less than pond scum and you dare speak to me this way?”
Samiyah slammed both her feet into Ysabel’s chest. They tumbled to the floor but Samiyah was still able to catch the talisman when Katherine threw it. “Ysabel, leave us be. Do as I say. Cast away. You don’t belong here. Go, far away.”
A howling wind sprung up. It rose to such a pitch they had to cover their ears. Samiyah screamed when the talisman heated up. She tried to drop it but her body wouldn’t respond. A blast of energy flung her backwards. Her back burned and blood dripped dripped onto the floor. Through blurred vision she saw Katherine’s crumpled form.
She groaned and rolled over, but didn’t open her eyes. Samiyah called her again and pushed herself into a sitting position. She tried to ignore the ringing in her ears. She winced when Katherine called her name.
“I’m here.”
Katherine’s eyes shot open and she looked around. “Sam?”
“Trevor has a nice house.”
A laugh exploded out Samiyah, surprising them both. And then Katherine giggled. Samiyah leaned back against the wall, allowed herself to relax.
“Kat, are you hurt?”
Before she could say anything Ysabel’s laughter filled the room.
“Did you think a spell made with no knowledge of me would work.” Her laughter continued as her body reformed. “No child.” Ysabel grinned.

A Witch’s Fire – Chapter Three

Published March 3, 2015 by darksilvertree

Samiyah gasped, a bone deep chill seeped into her. Had she died? Someone laughed nearby. She looked around even though pitch blackness was thick around her. Her breath sounded muffled by distance. It came to her all at once. She remembered being grabbed and pulled. Her panicked mind was unable grasp she’d been pulled into the astral realm.

“Good. Good.”

Samiyah felt her skin prickle as a presence surrounded her.

“Now we can talk.” The disembodied voice seemed as far away as it was near, as feminine as it was masculine. It belonged to an old spirit, which didn’t bode well for a powerless former witch.

Samiyah whimpered as a bony finger tapped at her. Searing pain followed each touch as a new cut opened up. Biting cold seeped in and she shivered. “Why is it…so cold?”

“You’re dying child.” A gleeful laugh echoed in Samiyah’s ears. “Any minute now.”

“I’ve…done nothing to…you.” She felt her eyes sting and knew she had to be crying.

“No, though that matters not. You’ve cut off a limb that desperately wants to come back.”

If Samiyah concentrated she could make out a faint glowing outline; a twisted ghostly hand reached out and tipped up her chin.

“We can’t have that.”

“Trevor?” Samiyah’s voice wavered.

A full bodied laugh answered her. “That one.” Another laugh. “I’ve been with him such a long, long time. Waiting for you.”


Past events snapped into focus. Trevor’s sudden attention made sense; it wasn’t his. And she’d suspected he’d stolen her books on magic, was he also drawn to them because of this spirit?

“Is he alive?” Long-term possessions usually resulted in the host’s death. “Why wait…for me?” Her teeth chattered and her mind was quickly becoming sluggish.

A jagged smile appeared before her. “You always had your power child. But afraid like all mortals. Still afraid.” A blurry outline of its face began to appear. “I will use it. I will come back.”

Samiyah drew away. She was afraid but she knew she couldn’t let this happen. Using all the will she could muster, Samiyah pulled away from it; screaming as she felt its talons rip out of her skin. Childlike laughter accompanied Samiyah’s efforts, but she didn’t care. Even her doubts were forgotten because she had no time for them. She thought of her physical body, of going back to it. Samiyah grasped at the frayed ends of leftover magic and used them to drag herself back.

The spirit screeched. “You will not stop my coming.” “I’ve stopped worse.”

The spirits next words followed her as Samiyah as the astral realm disappeared around her. “You have fought nothing like me child.”

Samiyah came back into her body with a violent jerk. The momentum threw her into Oliver. His image was fuzzy but she hurried to her feet only to tumble over. A second later she was doubled over as pain rushed over her in a tidal wave. Flashes of heat shot through the numbing cold.

“Sam, look at me.”

Oliver’s voice was muddled and Samiyah saw him as if she were underwater.

“To Colorado,” she said in a hoarse voice.


“You need help.” His hurt temporarily forgotten.

Samiyah shook her head, or she thought she did, and repeated her statement.

“What the hell’s in Colorado?”

“Trevor. He’s going to…use it wrong.”

Oliver grunted and picked her up, carrying Samiyah in his arms. “I’m taking you to your sister.” He ran down the street, making her head pound. “You’re not making any sense.”




Katherine heard the cup drop, heard the echoing cracks as it broke, but didn’t feel it fall from her hands. She watched mute as Atian rushed over to Oliver. Katherine watched as he took off his jacket and draped it over her sister. Samiyah was speaking but they ignored it and Katherine tried to block it out, until she heard Trevor’s name. She’d only been eight when he met Samiyah, but something always felt off about him. And as she grew older she hated the way he treated her big sister though she never said so; she’d learned by then not to argue against something her mother approved of.

“That creep?” Her voice was raw with unshed tears. It seemed to explode in her ears.

Oliver looked up. “You know him?”

Out of habit she looked to her mother for approval. A dark part of her enjoyed seeing the looked of stunned hopelessness on Rhonda’s face. “He’s an old boyfriend of hers. From when she didn’t know herself.”

Oliver became so still Katherine wasn’t sure he was breathing. Then he moved so fast Katherine couldn’t stop herself from jumping. He gathered Samiyah in his arms and held her as if she would break.

Making sure Samiyah focused on him, Oliver asked, “Did Trevor do this?”

“Use it wrong.” Samiyah started sobbing and a dangerous growl ripped from Oliver’s throat.

“I’m guessing he’s why she needs to go ‘to Colorado’. Damnit.” Atian rocked back on his heels.

Katherine was shocked by his out of place swearing but she brushed that aside to take charge. She turned to her mother and said, “We need to get to Colorado. Or are you going to let him get away with this?”

She saw a strange emotion flash in Rhonda’s eyes, and then it was gone; her shoulders drooped.

“We can’t fly off to every city in the state, Katherine.”

She turned back to Oliver, careful to keep her voice even. “Can you fix her?”

“The bond is damaged.” His voice was calm and so low Katherine had to strain to hear. “But I’ll try.”




Samiyah’s world was filled with pain, garbled words, and the occasional “touch” from Oliver; just enough to let her know he was there, each time it felt like a salve to her metaphysical wounds. She wasn’t aware of how much time passed but her arms and legs responded more when she tried to push herself up. Her headache hadn’t receded but she couldn’t let that stop her. Samiyah gripped the counter and started to pull herself.

“Stop it. Right now.”

Her mother’s voice shocked her into letting go and she crashed to the floor. Her breath hissed out through clenched teeth. Rhonda knelt and rearranged pillows Samiyah hadn’t noticed. They were peach colored and decorated with tiny red beads, with price tags still on them.

“I have to go.” The words didn’t sound as firm as she wanted.

“No, you’re not running off after Trevor.” Rhonda didn’t look at her but Samiyah could hear the tightness in Rhonda’s voice. Had she been crying?

“It’s not about him. I don’t have time to explain.” She stood on shaky legs.

“You’ve gotten your sister involved. Make time.”

“Someone’s going to use my magic and they’re going to hurt people. I don’t have time,” she said, stressing the last words.

A door opened. “You, Sam, are going to stay right here and let your little sister handle this.” Katherine walked up to the counter. She didn’t look like the girl who grew up without ever having to lift a finger. She looked like she might even be willing to break a nail.

“You’re in even worse shape than me.”

Rhonda stood abruptly. “Surely there are witches there who can handle this.”

“We can’t risk them not being enough.”

“And you are?”

Samiyah squared her shoulders. “I don’t know but I’m going anywhere.”

Katherine gave her an encouraging smile. “Well, we should get going then.”

Rhonda looked helplessly between them. “Ashley, you don’t have any magic.”

Samiyah walked away as steadily as she could with Katherine beside her. She was not going to have the name argument when the world was in danger. If she lived to see her mother again, now, that was a different story.

A Witch’s Fire – Chapter Two

Published February 26, 2015 by darksilvertree

“For the best? That’s all you have to say?”

Samiyah shrugged. She wanted to say good riddance; no good had come of it. That wasn’t entirely true. Jaegar was a good thing. He’d become the father she never had; he took her under his wing when he should despise her. And what of Santiago, Oliver, Lyric; they were good things. But it didn’t change her fears of dragging innocent family members into this mess. She couldn’t save everyone. It didn’t change the fact that she had no human friends. And if she did, could she handle seeing them lifeless? Samiyah knew the answer and she knew this had been the right decision. Let Trevor find out for himself what it was like. Samiyah squared her shoulder.

Noticing the change in her demeanor, Jaegar let out a harsh laugh. “He didn’t steal anything.” He said it more to himself than her. He grew cold and spoke in a professional voice. “I’ll have someone track down your friend to disperse the energy safely. Then, we’ll be out of your hair for good.”

“Thank you. Don’t worry about the door, I’ll get it.”

She knew Jaegar wanted to say “you couldn’t fix this if your life depended on it”; instead he just grunted and left. Samiyah waited a few moments before approaching the fallen door.

Nudging it with her foot, she muttered, “Now how the hell am I supposed to fix this?”




“Trevor, pick up. It’s important.”

Samiyah paced as she tried calling Trevor for the fourth time. Eventually she sat where the front door still lay on the floor; angrily disconnecting. Her stomach churned and a nagging feeling told Samiyah it had all been an act. Trevor had known who she was before she let him in. And he’d come for her power. Samiyah knew if she hadn’t been so desperate she would’ve noticed that. Trevor actually helping her?

So, so stupid. She let her head drop against her knees.

Just then the phone rang.

She answered it instantly, a flutter of hope made her heart beat faster. “Hello?”

“So you change your mind about me staying over?”

Samiyah ignored that. “You need to bury that talisman.” She ran her hands through her hair, grimacing slightly when she caught on a nap. “Or go to the nearest beach and throw it in the ocean.”

Trevor didn’t answer immediately. “How did you know? Your magic’s gone?”

“And I’m not holding a talisman or I’d do this myself.”

He chuckled. “You got me there. This isn’t your problem anymore.”

“I know. But the SBPD will be looking for it, and Jaegar Richter was my alpha.”

Trevor cursed profusely. “You pick nice friends.”

“It was the other way around. Do you see why you need to get rid of it?”

“Yeah,” he said, distracted. He took a deep breath and mumbled something. Then, in a more aware voice he said,” Yeah, I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”

Samiyah let out a relieved breath. “Thanks, Trevor. Be safe.”

She could imagine him smiling on the other side of the phone. “Of course. And you enjoy your life back among us regular mortals.”

“I will. Trust me.”

And her first act was to pay someone else to fix things for a change.




A week later

Samiyah sat at a local bistro, across from her mother. She hadn’t heard from Trevor or Jaegar and after the first panic filled days, she decided it was safe to move on.

“I gave it up.”

Rhonda sniffed and ate her salad as if she was a delicate bird. “Are you sure?”

Samiyah nodded. “I’m sure.” The words almost caught in her throat.

“Why?” Rhonda eyed her suspiciously.

Samiyah wasn’t sure how much her mother knew about Katherine’s condition. Or if she knew why Nathaniel suddenly disappeared, but no doubt she blamed her oldest daughter. Taking a deep breath Samiyah explained it all in a deadpan voice. She felt an uneasy sense of pride when retelling Katherine’s betrayal didn’t bring any tears. And a feeling of warmth replaced that numb space when she spoke of them fighting together. Samiyah ended by saying, “I don’t want to see where it goes next.”

Rhonda sat stiff backed. Her dark hair had been straightened and dyed to hide any grey. It made her pert nose and sharp cheek bones look even more severe. “I want you to take me to her. And then you stay away from all of us.” Her voice shook with anger.

“What?” She should’ve been expecting that. Why would her mother accept her? But tears still sprung to her eyes and she had to fight to keep them from spilling over.

Rhonda stood as fast as she could. She wore a skin tight white dress that ended just under her knees and matching heels. Samiyah wore a loose, stripped shirt and dress pants. She’d dug out her old “uniform” to impress her mother. Instead she felt like the school freak who dared to talk with the popular girl, thinking they could be friends.

“Take me to my daughter, and then leave us alone. Did I stutter?”

Samiyah shook her head sadly. She stood to follow and caught a glimpse of Santiago a few tables down with Lyric sitting on his shoulder, looking miserable.


Samiyah called ahead to Isi’s shop as they drove to Kissimmee. When Atian picked up she was happy to hear a friendly voice.

“How may I help?”

“I need to speak with Katherine.”

There was silence and then she heard a door close. “It’s been a year, why do you want to talk with her now? And why call the shop?”

“Because it’s been a year. Anyway, her mother wants to speak with her.”

If Atian noticed she didn’t say “our” he was smart enough not to mention it. “Alright. She’ll be here by the time you arrive.”

Samiyah ended the call and resigned herself to the tense silence. She felt the back of her neck heat up even though her mother hadn’t looked at her or spoken the entire trip. There was no point in trying to explain Katherine was not likely to give up her power. Not when she had the potential to control all the elements. That would draw otherworld creatures just like they’d been drawn to Samiyah. But there was no need to say that and make them both outcasts. She gasped as the air suddenly left her lungs. A burning ache spread through her chest as if she’d been punched. A magic induced wave of nausea swept over her and she felt like she was falling. Then, all at once, it was over. Samiyah checked to make sure they were still in the right lane and hadn’t caused an accident. She took a deep breath, and decided to ignore it. She was not involved in whatever was trying to happen. Samiyah spent the rest of the trip convincing herself the spell worked.


When they finally arrived Samiyah felt drained. When she saw big red hearts decorating the windows of Isi’s shop she had to repress a groan. Her mother stepped out of the car and Katherine came running out, a huge grin plastered on her face. Her skin glowed and her full hair bounced, but she still looked tired. Katherine stopped when she noticed Rhonda’s expression. Samiyah got out of the car and Katherine pursed her lips.

“What’s going on?”

“You’re coming home.”

Katherine brushed her hair nervously behind her ear, and then Atian came out. They shared a look and Samiyah knew her sister wasn’t going anywhere unwillingly.

“I will. When I’m better.”

“Katherine Hayden, I want you home now,” Rhonda snapped. “What will people think if they find out you’re involved in…whatever this is?”

Katherine stepped closer to Atian and took his hand. “I don’t care,” she said softly.

Rhonda spun on Samiyah. “This is your fault. Why did you get involved in her life?”

“You invited me to the wedding.” Samiyah couldn’t stop a laugh, it was full of ridicule.

Rhonda sputtered and she looked back at Katherine, looking at her like she was a stranger. Her normally stylish daughter wore a faded red tank top, jean capris and heeled sandals. Katherine’s brown hair was tied in a messy bun/ponytail. Rhonda made an effort to calm herself since she was obviously outnumbered.

“I’m okay. Atian and his family are protecting me.”

“Can they stop someone – something like Nathaniel?”

Katherine’s jaw clenched. Their mother definitely knew how to hit sore spots.

“Please give this up. Even your sister had enough sense to give it up.”

Katherine gave Samiyah a confused look. She nodded. It wasn’t how she wanted them to find out but the news was out.


Katherine held her head up. “I’ve never been her. That made you proud.” She pretended not to see Rhonda flinch. “I made coffee.” Katherine turned and walked back into the shop without waiting to see if they accepted.

Atian held the door open for them. Rhonda strode past him without speaking. Samiyah tried to walk past him but he stopped her.

“What happened?” His voice was full of concern.

“I can’t let people around me get hurt the way you did. Or Katherine.”

“That wasn’t you.”

“But you were there because of me. What if I can’t save you next time?”

Atian took a deep breath. “I’m not any safer because you won’t fight.”

“It doesn’t matter if I want to fight anymore, I can’t.”

Atian searched her face for any hint she was lying. When Samiyah’s expression didn’t change he turned away and his disappointment seemed physical.  Instead of following him inside Samiyah began walking down the street. She spun the keys around on her finger, trying to remember what it felt like before being a witch. She didn’t get very far before she heard whispering behind her. Samiyah ignored it and walked faster. Her knees grew weak and she stumbled. The whispering became loud enough she could almost make out words, though they were fuzzy. “It didn’t work,” she cried.

“What didn’t work?”

Her head snapped up at the sound of Oliver’s voice. It was too calm. His expression was closed off. As soon as her power left he would’ve known; it was the second time she’d thrown energy back in his face. She had no right to ask him for help. Samiyah started to respond and then cold, ethereal talons gripped her and yanked.

A Witch’s Fire – Chapter One

Published February 24, 2015 by darksilvertree

Trevor stared dumbfounded. Part of Samiyah wanted to bask in this moment; regrettably she couldn’t. One of the pack would drive by in an hour. They would know a stranger was here and, if they didn’t come after him themselves, they’d call Jaegar. This had to be done soon.

Stepping aside, she said, “Come in. Make yourself at home.”

Trevor walked by and she had to fight a grimace.

Her eyes watered from his cologne. “You haven’t changed I see.”

He wore a crisp white business shirt, black pants and leather shoes; the best money could buy. He gave her a smile she guessed was supposed to be charming. “Nothing wrong with that. You on the other hand. You’ve changed a lot.” He chuckled. Sitting down on the couch he stretched out his long legs, crossing them at the ankle. “So, what’s this problem you need taken care of?”

Samiyah started to pace. Every time she’d come to him with a problem flashed before her. She took a deep breath. She didn’t have to email him, she knew that. In a clipped voice she said, “You’re sure you can get rid of any problem?”

“Yes, Ashley,” he purred. “Can I still call you that?”

Samiyah almost agreed out of habit but caught herself in time. “No.”

Trevor put up his hands in mock defeat. “I haven’t failed yet. I suppose that’s why you’d call me over someone with less…history.”

“Yes,” she said as calmly as possible. “And the spell wouldn’t work with a stranger.”

“I don’t use-”

She cut him off with an annoyed look.

“What exactly do you want me to do?” His shoulders were suddenly stiff and he sat up straight.

“I want you to get rid of my magic.”


He looked overwhelmed but she couldn’t wait for it to sink in.

“Do whatever you need to set up.” Samiyah went to her room. She knelt in front of her dresser and pulled out the bottom drawer. Underneath the t-shirts was a wooden talisman in the shape of a sphere. The only marking she’d made was a water symbol. Samiyah hoped that would make the transfer easier if she used a more flexible element. Using fire could quite literally blow up in their faces.

This will work out.

Samiyah returned to the living room, glad to see Trevor hadn’t run off on her. And he’d regained some composure.

“This can’t be the first time you’ve been asked to do something like this.”

“No.” His voice shook.

It was almost imperceptible but Samiyah had lived with werewolves too long. She had to resist taking advantage of it. Trevor wasn’t a wolf.

Trevor continued, oblivious. “They usually want an exorcism. I don’t think it will work.”

“It’s a good thing I thought of that.” She picked up a letter from the coffee table. “All the instructions are here. We have to do this now.”

“Why the need?” He skimmed over the instructions. “You’re an icon.” He snorted and said, under his breath,” Quiet little Ashley. Who’d guessed?”

Samiyah didn’t answer, either question. She kept glancing at the clock. Trevor looked up and noticed.

“Why now?”

“Spells become stronger under the moon. It’s not required and we don’t have that long.” She put as much emphasis on that as she could.

He stopped, considering. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

Samiyah began to push the couch back. Trevor surprised her by helping.

“Thanks,” she murmured as she turned to drag the coffee table out of the way. Once they cleared enough space she said, “Let’s get this over with.”

Trevor pointed two fingers at her and began drawing a pentagram. After circling three times a white light began to glow with Samiyah at the center. “Energy, leave her be. Do as I say. Cast away. You don’t belong here. Go, far away.”

As Trevor spoke, Samiyah channeled her magic through the pentagram. She felt her skin heat up with the comforting touch of flame, followed by a cool breeze and then a sudden feeling of solid content. As Samiyah’s magic flowed into the talisman she felt a strange pressure in her chest as it tried to return.

No. She made her inner voice as firm as she could, but she was cutting herself in half and she knew it.

“I demand you listen to me. Get out, get out.  Leave! Hear my shout for it carries my will.”

Trevor repeated the chant countless times. Each time Samiyah’s magical sense dimmed; until finally she couldn’t even sense Trevor’s energy, and it barely made a “noise” next to hers. She gave a nod and Trevor gave her a sympathetic smile as reversed the pentagram, releasing the magic.

“So mote it be.” The words sounded strange to her. Samiyah hadn’t considered herself Wiccan in so many years; hadn’t touched anything ritualistic in so long, but she needed this to work.


Trevor began to speak but Samiyah cut him off. She rushed into the kitchen and opened the cabinet over the sink. She kept the money she’d saved in a simple, cracked jar to keep Lyric from looking in it. The sprite would want to know what it was for. Thinking of it brought a tinge of guilt. Would she still be able to see it?

Samiyah pushed the thought aside as she shoved the bills into Trevor’s hand. “I’m really happy for your help, I am, but you need to leave. Now.”

“No dinner, Samiyah?” He grinned.

His attempts to be charming were irritating her. And she needed him gone.

“I’m not interested in romance. With you or anyone else. You need to leave, trust me.”

Trevor grew serious. He was insulted but right now Samiyah didn’t care.

“I think I’m entitled to know why?”

She grunted. “You didn’t care before.” As soon as the words were out she realized she wasn’t sure if they were talking about the same thing. Samiyah avoided looking at Trevor so she wouldn’t have to figure that out.

“I could be leaving. Like you want.”

The loud ring of her telephone startled them both. Samiyah had a very good idea who it was. “I’m-I was a witch. In a werewolf pack and who’s energy just disappeared. Now, put two and two together while you drive like hell.”

Trevor’s skin grew pale as he rushed to gather his things, a bag full of supplies she’d made sure he wouldn’t need. Any evidence could lead back to him, she knew that. Being a terrible boyfriend didn’t mean he deserved the rage of her friends if they thought he hurt her. Samiyah glanced nervously at the still ringing phone as she rushed him out of the door. As she watched him hurry down the stairs a small voice said she hadn’t seen the last of him. She sincerely hoped she was wrong as she finally picked up the phone.

“Hello?” she asked in an innocent voice, as if she wasn’t aware it had been on its last ring.


“Sam, what’s going on?”

She sighed. “I do have normal days.” At least now I will.

Jaegar growled. “Sam, I can’t…. Where are you? Who’s there?”

“I’m at home. Alone.”

“Where’s Lyric?”

“I let it go out.”

“Let it out or sent it away?”

Samiyah felt herself shrink down in guilt. “Either way I’m alone.” She controlled her voice, careful not to snap.

Jaegar growled again before hanging up. Samiyah sighed. She didn’t like lying to Jaegar but he’d leave on his own when he sees she was just another human now, right? Samiyah dropped down onto the couch. She rubbed her forehead and drifted off. Not truly hearing the phone hit the floor when it slipped out of her hand. This was the right thing to do. Yes, she would miss Jaegar and she hated to leave; being a part of his pack had been honor. Samiyah knew she didn’t belong there and the others treated her like a porcelain baby. Another wolf wouldn’t accept that unless they wanted to be stuck at the bottom; she had no choice.

It’s doesn’t matter. None of that matters anymore. She took a deep breath. I’m through with-


There was one loud bang on the door. Samiyah jumped to her feet. The next bang preceded her front door hanging off its bottom hinge.

“Are you out of your mind?” Her voice cracked, which would be more embarrassing if she wasn’t pissed.

Jaegar stalked into her apartment; and sniffed.


“Did you run here?” She didn’t hide her irritation as she casually looked around for an air freshener. He didn’t need to know it wasn’t directed at him. When he didn’t answer, she looked up. He was standing where she’d been just moments before.

“What happened here?” Jaegar grimaced, his brows pulled tighter together than she’d ever seen them. He looked like he was in pain.

“Nothing. Just a cleansing ritual.”

He glared at her. “You’re lying, Sam.”

If Samiyah had a tail it’d be tucked firmly between her legs. She couldn’t speak. She just stared at the floor.

Jaegar made a noise that was almost moan. It rumbled out of his throat like the vilest curse he knew. “Who else was here?”

Samiyah’s voice was tiny when she spoke. She barely heard herself say, “Just an old friend.”

“Then why did he steal from you?”

She realized with a sinking feeling Trevor hadn’t returned the talisman. “How do you know that?”

He stared at her a long time, probably judging if she still deserved his confidence. She didn’t blame him.

Finally, he said, “There’s excitement here and your magic leaving.” He pointed out the door. “It’s faint.” He gave her a pleading look; one last chance.

All she could say was, “Maybe it’s for the best.” And pretend the betrayed look on his face didn’t shatter her.

A Witch Decides Her Fate

Published January 29, 2015 by darksilvertree

Twelve years ago


Ashley watched Trevor enter the mall and strut towards her. He had light skin and his sandy hair was ruffled stylishly in a way girls found attractive. Or at least that’s what the girls at their school thought.  She had to admit he dressed nice enough. He wore a light blue hooded jacket over a plain white shirt and dark blue jeans. But the physical attraction ended there. Her mother said it would come. She was still waiting. At least Trevor was entertaining, so she greeted him with a smile.

“Hey, Ashley.” He grinned, showing off.

“Hey,” she replied, trying not to cringe at her name. And trying not to notice he was smiling at the other girls; not her. “Decided to show up on time. Surprising.” She took a sip of her soda.

His smile disappeared. “When did you get so high maintenance?”

Ashley didn’t respond. He had a point. They met in eighth grade four years ago. Nothing unusual about him asking her out, except he’d never spoken a word to her before now. She would’ve turned him down, but her mom prodded her.

“Give him a chance. He was brave enough to ask in front of me.” Then she flashed him a smile that she usually saved for local reporters. She wore an expensive peach dress by some French designer paired with a diamond necklace and matching heels.

Ashley suspected that caught his attention more than she did but agreed to date him and went along with whatever he wanted.

“You’re right. Let’s just go in and enjoy the movie.”

He shrugged, giving her an irritated look. “Yeah. Let’s go.”




A year later


“Get a nice dress for prom.”

Translation: I have to spend an extended amount of time with you, in public. Look presentable.

Ashley looked up from the magazine she was reading. “Aren’t you supposed to ask me if I want to go?”

Trevor gave an exasperated sigh. “You never want to do anything.”

She wondered again just why he’d asked her out. Trevor seemed to like her less every day. He rarely even invited her over anymore. She was surprised he hadn’t just sent her a text saying ‘show up to prom’. But he told her to come over, so she did. After her father made sure Trevor’s parents were home. The fact that Ashley was eighteen didn’t matter.

“It’s polite to ask.”

“Get a dress or don’t.” He began checking his phone. “I could ask someone else.”

Ashley looked down, flipping through the magazine but not seeing anything. She knew who he meant. There were rumors of him being interested in Caitlin Roberts; a girl with straight, strawberry-blonde hair and amber eyes who was on the volleyball team. Rumors Ashley knew she was meant to hear.

“Fine. I’ll get a dress.” She whispered, trying not to cry.

“Cool.” Trevor didn’t look up from his phone.


The day of prom Ashley’s mom took her to get her hair done. She chatted away happily; more excited than her daughter. She showed her first one style and then another with a manicured finger. Ashley just managed to say no each time. A part of her felt guilty. She hadn’t spent any quality time with her mom since she was a child. So when her mom finally got frustrated and asked what’s wrong, she didn’t want to answer.


Ashley sighed. “I don’t really want to go.”

“But you can’t miss it!” Ashley started to protest but her mom said, knowingly, “You’ll regret it.”

Ashley self-consciously twirled her curly hair around her finger.

Her mother patted her leg gently. “You’re just worried about graduating. But don’t worry, you and Trevor will be going to the same college.”

Her mom kept talking but she didn’t hear her. It was true, she was going to college with her high school sweet heart. Ashley was now very certain she didn’t want that. That realization was followed by one she’d been pushing aside for five years.

“I don’t even want this,” she blurted out.

Her mother looked startled. “What do mean?”

“Mom, is it normal… to…not want a boyfriend?”

Her mother laughed, looking relieved. “It’s just nerves sweetie. You already have a boyfriend.” She smirked and whispered behind her hand, “Unless you’re already looking ahead.”

Ashley shrank in her seat. Is that all her mother thought about? “That’s not what I meant.”

Her mother smoothed down her dark hair, a nervous habit. “No, Ashley. Now, just choose a hairstyle. In a few days you’ll feel ridiculous about all this.” As an afterthought, she said, “Don’t mention it to Trevor. He’ll be crushed.”

Ashley thumbed through the pages silently, dejected.




Three Years Later


Ashley let the box fall to the floor. It was the last one from the moving truck. She looked around the skyline apartment. The walls were an off white, the carpets beige, the curtains would also be beige. Neutral colors because this wasn’t hers. Sure it may say Ashley Hayden on the lease but it was her parents’. Sure, she could move to Manhattan but she better be their perfect little girl.

“Have fun, but school is first,” said her father like the business degree was her idea.

“Just think in a few years you’ll be starting your own business. After you’re married, of course.” Her mom was giddy and already planning the wedding and reception.

Ashley grunted. She might as well be married already. She still had to cook dinner for Trevor, who was coming up from Florida. At least she would be on her own most of the time. Trevor hadn’t taken it well when she told him she was transferring after only one semester.

“So there’s a guy waiting up there?” It was the first time he’d looked at her that night.

She thought it was funny he accused her of being unfaithful. “No, nothing like that,” she said calmly, trying to keep the edge out of her voice.

“Then why? We’ve wanted to get into this school for years. Now you want to leave.”

No, my parents did. Ashley felt trapped. She fell silent though and let him keep ranting.

Now she was alone for the first time in her life. The thought made her extremely happy and she flopped down on the couch. Trevor could suffer take out.




A year later, multiple things happened that shouldn’t have. She began studying Wicca. When she discovered it, she’d been so excited she told Trevor without thinking. He responded by hiding the books she borrowed from the library. He claimed to lose them; leaving Ashley to painstakingly track down new books to replace them. She’d hidden it after that. Along with the fact that some things, namely Trevor’s, moved without her having to touch them. So when he came to visit she blamed it on bad memory and put up with his anger. Ashley couldn’t believe this is what she was supposed to want out of life. Thankfully Trevor kept this to himself, more for his image than anything else. If her mom found out, she’d probably comb the apartment top to bottom for anything that could even hint at witchcraft. Ashley found out soon enough that was the least of her worries. It started with reports of strange creatures, which were easily dismissed by most people but she followed the updates anyway. So she was already aware of rising water concerns. Like others she began preparing for a suspected flood. What she wasn’t prepared for was a feeling of sudden vertigo hitting her. One moment she was walking home from the corner store, the next she was face first on the ground. There was an unbelievable pressure trying to keep her down but she stood despite it. She saw a few people stop and then continue, uninterested. Later she would find out about the “impossible” island. Her interest was immediately piqued but she’d learned her lesson about sharing anything. Trevor was afraid and would not allow her to watch any new programs about the island while he was there. He may as well have been screaming in a storm. As soon as word came that humans could settle there as an act of goodwill, she sought a way to break her lease. It was expensive but she was sure it’d be worth it. She didn’t tell her parents, or Trevor. She only informed her job at a high end clothing store when she was approved for a small apartment. Her mother and sister would be horrified she thought with glee. Ashley sold most of the things her parents bought, saving the money. She stood looking out over the bay from her old apartment one last time before leaving; holding a picture of her grandmother, the only possession from her old life she’d keep. A week later a man would approach her with an offer. It wouldn’t take her long to accept.


Her adventure didn’t start immediately, but once it did it was nonstop and she often wondered if she’d made the right choice. And at twenty-nine, she was tired. Tired of seeing people she cared for hurt because of her. So she researched a way to remove her powers; slowly, quietly, for a year. And where that search would end convinced her fate had a very cruel sense of humor. In Denver City, Colorado there was a miracle worker who had a very high success rate. High enough she took notice. An amateur could tell that he was using magic, but what prompted her to contact him was his guarantee he could remove any problem. Be it mundane or magical. She signed it Samiyah Hayden, a name her grandmother had chosen and her own way of getting back. Of course he jumped at the chance to help ‘the greatest human witch’. If she couldn’t fix it but he could…well, that was self-explanatory.

But when he arrived and she opened the door, all he could say was, “Ashley?”

“It’s nice to see you again, Trevor.”

Paths Cross Again

Published January 23, 2015 by darksilvertree

For anyone new, this story follows “Box Thief”: https://darksilvertree.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/box-thief/



Three days earlier


Nevaeh watched Augustus step from an old hover car. Its windows were dark with dirt and it was made of a patchwork of different colors. She watched him shuffle with his head drawn in like a turtle’s. Pulling her hat down over her eyes, Nevaeh left the crowded café she’d been waiting at.  As if being so hard to find wasn’t bad enough, he was late. He approached a tall apartment building. Nevaeh signaled to Aniyah, who sat on a bench reading a book she’d bought just for this. It was used so that it would look appropriately worn. It hid a tablet she used to hack into the building’s registry and enter Nevaeh into it. She would then watch through the security cameras. Nevaeh waited until Aniyah sent her the code, before crossing the street. Through the glass she could see a luxurious lobby and it took effort to keep her face emotionless. Here in Sector Three poverty was rarely seen, and if anyone fell on hard times they’d probably be shuttled to an unnamed sector; unless they had connections or a large enough “rainy day” fund. She’d enjoy this. She took on an air of being unaware before punching in the code. The glass doors slid open and she strolled in, confidently. Some people turned their noses up but ignoring her would save their lives. Nevaeh inwardly grimaced at the sound of her boot heels clicking on the marble floor, but made it to the elevator without chucking them. Once she was on she asked, “Where is he?”


She got off on the second to last floor. Aniyah sent a code that would stop the elevator randomly on lower floors. She’d have to be done before they looked for a source. It was doubtful they’d find anything though, as soon as they got near their computers would be fried. Aniyah hadn’t yet learned the subtleties of being an assassin. The rooms on this floor were empty. She knew this because all the doors were open. It was possible Augustus knew he was being followed, but she dismissed that thought. Even he was smart enough to act sooner if he knew she was after him. Neveah was cautious as she passed. She hadn’t lived this long and learned nothing. Coming to the end of the hallway she saw a plain metal door. She left her shoes behind. They would dissolve so Neveah had no fear of them being discovered. She pressed her hands against the door. The lock made an almost inaudible noise as it slid out of place. She slowly turned the handle and inched the door opened just enough to see it was pitch black. The only light came from a computer.

A deep, distorted voice said, “If they get anywhere near it again, you will pay.”

“Of course, sir. I’ve moved it to Mr. Dorsey’s office. He has a very advanced security system. They would need a small army to get in.”

“You’d better hope so.”

The video call ended abruptly and Augustus let out a shaky breath. He reached to turn on his desk lamp and Neveah lunged, spinning him around and grabbing him by his collar.

Yanking him to his feet with one hand, she asked, “What don’t you want us getting our hands on?”

He sputtered as his shirt tightened around his neck. His feet knocked against her shin. “You’re…a monster,” he choked out.

“I wouldn’t waste your breath, Mr. Calder.”

“No! He….”


Neveah tightened her grip. “I’m here now. What did you use at Oblivion?” she growled.

Augustus shook his head frantically. Neveah raised her hand to put it on his head and he began to struggle. He begged for mercy in gasping breaths.

She tilted her head and her smile returned, more unnerving than before. “You have one more chance.”

“Will I live?” His eyes were filling with tears and she felt disgust welling inside.

“No. But if you tell me, your death will be quick.”

He began to whimper and tears flowed freely down his cheeks.

“People like you should keep their heads down.” She placed her hand gently against his face. Tendrils of magic snaked into his mind. They searched for the information she sought. If anyone had looked into the office they might assume he’d fallen into a quiet sleep. His head lolled to the side.

And then suddenly he was screaming as her magic found its target. Information came to her in snatched pieces. It would only take ten minutes if she could get out in one piece. As she pulled her magic back, it burned his mind clean. Insuring that he wouldn’t remember her and that no one else could take advantage of what he knew. Neveah let him drop back into the chair. He was aware though he no longer had the means to understand his surroundings. She doubted whoever he answered to would allow him to live much longer anyway.

“Aniyah, are you there?”


“Go home. I have someone to meet, I’ll see you there.”

Aniyah hesitated slightly and Neveah was almost touched by her concern. “See you there,” she said finally.

Neveah left, closing the door behind her.





Mei-Lien stood slowly, the tantō still pressed against her throat. “Well, talk. We don’t have much time.”

Setsuna laughed. “You don’t get to order me around anymore, Mei-chan.”

She pursed her lips and tried to look upset but she remembered when he spoke with complete affection towards her. “We don’t have time,” she snapped. “Talk or move.”

Setsuna started to speak but the intercom on Dorsey’s desk began to beep.

“No one here could think he’s in his office.”

The sounds of running could clearly be heard. Setsuna had no choice but to lower his sword. Mei-Lien opened the window, prepared to jump. Setsuna grabbed her arm. He looked worried despite himself.

Why the hell not. She gave him no time to protest before gripping his forearm and launching them both out. They plummeted just as the door slammed against the wall. She slowed them down just enough that the fall wouldn’t kill them. Summoning a last minute shield she saved them from any broken bones. Setsuna’s breath came out in a whoosh. He glared at her. Mei-Lien grinned and tried not to show the effort as she stood. She was unsure of why she was showing off but she didn’t have time to figure it out. She took off running and hoped Setsuna could keep up. He still had what she’d come for after all. Mei-Lien made a blind dash to find her planned escape route. She turned a corner to see a woman thrown into an alley. The man who stalked towards her was a giant and had an unnatural green glow. She was caught between rescuing an innocent, or revealing herself. Having some magical ability from a young age would explain the window trick, but not this. And she’d shown in the past once she had her score nothing else mattered. But she had to. Everyday thugs, she had no problem with them. She knew she wasn’t a match for The Collective’s assassin.


They ran into the alley just as the woman began to raise energy. She saw them and it disappeared almost instantly. The man stopped. His head turned slowly. His lips pressed together in a tight line. Veins bulged in his arms. He spun faster than Mei-Lien expected. She barely had time to call up another shield. Her whole body shook as a green blast hit it; leaving behind a mucus-like film. She felt as if was touching her skin and she had to resist dropping the shield. The man grunted and fell to one knee. For a moment Mei-Lien saw the woman standing above him with a broken pipe.

Innocent my ass. “What are you doing here?”

The man was on his feet again. She ducked underneath his swing and landed a blow to his elbow. “I came to find you.”

That couldn’t be good. Mei-Lien took her brass knuckles out and slipped them onto her hand. “And you are?” She turned the electricity up as high as it could go, and then jammed it into the back of his already wounded knee.

“Right now?” She asked incredulously.

As the man fell Setsuna landed a hard punch to his ribs. By the metallic clang Mei-Lien knew there was a metal bar somewhere in his gloves. He drew his tantō and pressed it against the man’s throat.

“Do what you will, the collective will fall.”

Setsuna started to question him but both women shot him dangerous looks. His mouth snapped shut and Mei-Lien nodded towards the man. Setsuna’s expression was blank as he drew the short sword quickly across the man’s neck.

“Now, who are you?”

The woman glanced at Setsuna before saying, “Tamara.”

It could be her real name but it was common enough they couldn’t find her if it wasn’t.

“You have something Temple wants.”

Mei-Lien grimaced. “Not exactly.” She jerked her head towards Setsuna. “He does.”

“How important is he?” Her voice held curiosity but was still uncaring.

“Very important thank you.”

Mei-Lien found his response amusing, but she said seriously, “We can’t talk about it here. Let’s go, before the others catch up.”


Mei-Lien ran past Tamara, without answering.

Setsuna was on her heels. “What the hell’s going on?” he hissed.

He wouldn’t want to know, even if she could tell him.


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