Danger

Danger

A Chapter by BNPrater

Jade swallowed the last of her food and excused herself from the table. She needed to call Cassie. She washed her plate in the sink and then ran upstairs for privacy. She didn’t need her father making a fuss about her “ghost talk” when there was a serious problem at hand. Jade sat on her bed and looked out the window as she waited for Cassie to pick up.

            “Hey, babe.” Cassie huffed when she answered. “Now’s not a good time.”

            “Sorry.” Jade sighed. “You with Emily?”

            “Not exactly.” Jade heard crashing in the background.

            “What’s wrong? What was that crashing?” Jade stood quickly and shoved her feet into her loafers.

            “Remember how we were talking about the missing girls and dead cattle?” There was another crash. “That sounded like Mom’s good vase! Those b******s! Anywho, I think there is a cult in town.”

            “I’m on my way, Cassie!” Jade bolted out her bedroom door. “Have you called the police?”

            “I can’t make outgoing calls. Dropped my phone. I locked myself in the laundry room. Hurry!”

            “I’m on my way out now!”

            Jade darted into the kitchen. “Call 9-1-1! Get them to Cassie’s house now. There’s a bunch of lunatics smashing up the place.”

            “Jade wait!” Mrs. Hawethorn shouted as Jade darted out the back door.

            Jade launched herself over the back fence and dodged cars as she made a beeline for Cassie’s house two blocks away. She ignored the honks and shouts of protests as she climbed fences and front-flipped over walls. When she arrived in Cassie’s yard, Jade was breathing hard and could hear shouting coming from the back of the house. She ran up the front steps and spotted one of the intruders trying to kick down the laundry-room door.

            “Don’t you know breaking and entering is a crime, Dim-wit.” Jade huffed, hands on her hips.

            “You’re fast, little girl.” The tall man turned. Jade felt a shiver run down her spine. “So you’re the one who called the little witch. You should really be more careful when entering hostile territory.”

            Out of the corner of her eye, Jade saw something flying at her. She duck and rolled in time to dodge the spear.

            “A spear? What the hell kind of criminals are you?” she narrowed her eyes and wrenched the spear out of the wall.

            “The bad kind.” The woman who threw the spear chuckled.

            Jade broke the tip off the spear and swung as hard as she could at the head of the man on her left. He dropped to the floor, groaning. The staff was broken. Jade clicked her tongue and ran at the woman that threw the spear. She jumped and aimed a foot at the woman’s head. The woman caught Jade’s foot and threw her. Jade crashed into the coffee table in the living room.

            “That hurt.” Jade shook her head, standing up. “but I’ve fallen off the top of a four-tier pyramid in practice and that was nothing.”

            “You’re certainly cocky for someone about to die.” The woman sneered.

            “Wouldn’t be the first time this month I’ve died.” Jade raised her fists. “What have you got, Grandma.”

            The woman was fast and kicked Jade in the stomach before she had the chance to react. “I’ll have you know that I only just turned thirty. Didn’t your parents ever teach you to respect your elders?”

            “Didn’t your sensei ever teach you not to underestimate your opponents?” Jade coughed as she caught the woman’s second kick and flipped her.

            Jade didn’t let go of the woman’s leg. Instead she twisted it until it popped out of place. The woman shouted and pulled a knife out of her coat and swung at Jade. She evaded the knife and grabbed the woman’s wrist and twisted. The bone broke and the knife fell to the floor.

            “You should stay down. I really don’t want to kill you.” Jade said emotionlessly before kicking the woman’s jaw and knocking her out.

            Jade limped back to the hall where the laundry room was and saw the man who’d been kicking at the door was leaning against it. He smirked and a chill ran down Jade’s spine.

            “So why exactly are you and your goonies trying to kill my friend?” She growled.

            “Being nosey.” The man tilted his head to the side. “Our server picked up on a hacker at this location. Why else?”

            Jade narrowed her eyes at the man. She couldn’t get a read on him with the mask on his face. But she sensed a fierce power radiating from him. A murderous power. She just needed to keep him at bay until the cops arrived"she could already hear the sirens.

            “I’m curious.” Jade crossed her arms. “How was the lady unconscious in the living room able to throw me like she did? She should have just thrown me into the wall, but she just caught my kick and threw me in the direction opposite to the direction my foot was going. She did a nice job of twisting my knee. Based on the law of kinetic energy in motion, she should have just turned in the direction of my kick and I would have probably gone through the wall.”

            “Smart and beautiful.” The man narrowed his eyes in a smile. “Impressive. I’m sure you’ve sensed it by now. The power my friends and I are radiating.”

            Jade focused on the man and saw a dense black cloud swirling around him. Her eyes widened.

            “Demon power? You’re possessed.” Jade stated.

            “Something like that.” The man pushed off the wall. “When a human makes a deal with a demon for, say, power…they acquire an immense amount of power. That power can then be bestowed upon other people. Power like this…”

            The man leapt forward and slammed Jade into the wall. He held her two feet off the floor by the collar of her shirt.

            “You’re strong, girl.” The man growled. “But I’m stronger. None of you or the little witch locked in that room’s incantations will do you any good here.”

            “Maybe.” Jade stated. “But even if you have all that strength, you’re still human. Mostly.”

            Jade reached up and stuck both her fingers in the man’s eyes. He howled and dropped Jade to the floor. He kicked at her. He landed two shots to her ribs before Jade caught his foot. She stood and flipped him on his back. Jade prepared to knock him out when a sudden force sent her flying through the laundry room door. Jade gasped and looked up in time to see a surprised Cassie holding a magic bag to what looked like a stab wound.

            “What happened?” Jade coughed. “And know any incantations that can neutralize demon power?”

            “I’m a healer.” Cassie said. “And that red-headed b***h stabbed me with a freaking spear. Who uses spears? But I know an immobilization incantation. I’m almost done healing myself. Can you keep Tall, Dark, and Terrifying occupied for, like, five minutes?”

            “I can maybe get you three.” Jade said, struggling to her feet. “I think he broke some ribs there.”

            “I can work with that.” Cassie pulled a leather bag from behind the book case by the dryer. “I knew hiding emergency magic bags was a good idea.”

            Jade nodded and limped back into the hallway where the man was lighting a cigarette through the opening in his ski mask. He took a drag and smiled, eyes red from being gouged out.

            “You know,” Jade huffed. “I almost felt that one. I think your lady-friend in there throws harder.”

            “Confidence.” The man took another drag. “I like that. Maybe I’ll get you to join us and when you’re 18, maybe we can talk.”

            “I appreciate the offer,” Jade bent her knees. “But I prefer my men on the submissive side. Oh, and not out to kill my bestie. You get points for having a nice butt.”

            The man laughed and tossed his cigarette to the floor and crushed it beneath his boot. Jade steadied her stance as he started walking towards her. She could tell by the vacant expression in his eyes that he was done playing. As he got closer, Jade noticed something. The police sirens had stopped. She’d heard the screech of tires when she was in the laundry room, but there were no cops bursting into the room.

            “Did you just notice that?” The man towered over Jade. “Ordinary humans can’t get through the barrier I put up. The cops see nothing unusual about this scene. You two are trapped in here with me and my ‘goonies.’ Any last words?”

            “I’ve always wondered what a cigarette tasted like.” Jade scratched her chin. “I never tried one because my mom is scary and would just know and beat me black and blue.”

            The man laughed and pulled out a pack on non-menthol cigarettes and lit one. He handed it to Jade. Jade took a drag and coughed and made a face.

            “Yuck!” she coughed. “How do you smoke those? They’re horrible. Now I’m going to die with that taste in my mouth.”

            “It’s an acquired taste.” The man frowned. “You done yet? I have things to do, people to hex.”

            “Just one thing.” Jade held the lit end of the cigarette to her mouth. “I call to the fire within me. I wish to control you. I bid you come forth so I may breathe fire.”

            Jade inhaled and shot a fireball from her mouth. The man stumbled backwards and beat at the fire on his shirt. Jade took the opening and ran at the man, drop-kicking him in the face. He fell to the floor.

            “You shouldn’t be able to manipulate fire! You’re just a medium.” He exclaimed, blood pouring from his nose. “If you could use magic, you would have put that fire out last week.”

            “You’re right.” Jade stated. “I shouldn’t be able to use a fire incantation. I’m not a witch. But after the fire, I thought it prudent to learn a few new incantations. Cassie, the cops are outside, but there’s a barrier keeping them out. Can you bring it down?”

            “Seriously?” Cassie shouted. “I’ve never practiced barrier magic.”

            “But you know about it, right?” Jade prepared to breathe another fireball.

            “Yes.” Cassie struggled to her feet. “If there’s a barrier like Killer over there said, then it would be outside. Let me cast this incantation and then try and break the barrier.”

            “I call upon the goddess Riha, mother of life and healing.” Cassie incanted. “I ask of you to come down and restrain. I offer you this liquid of life.”

            Jade heard water splashing on the floor behind her. The man exclaimed and lurched forward, trying to stop the incantation. Water shot past Jade and wrapped itself around the man. He growled as he hit the floor, unable to move. Cassie appeared next to Jade moments later holding a broken pearl necklace. She thrust it into Jade’s hands.

            “Focus your spiritual energy on this necklace.” Cassie said. “That way, the spell won’t break. And chant ‘Riha, I ask for your protection.’ Since you’re not a witch like me, you can’t maintain the incantation by simply holding the pearls.”

            Jade nodded and started chanting and focused on the necklace. Cassie ran past the man and through the front door. While she was gone, the man started speaking. He was trying to get Jade to release the incantation.

            “You’re wrong you know.” The man said. “My people aren’t evil. We’re trying to save this pathetic world. Just release the incantation. I’ll finish my work here and leave.”

            Jade ignored him. She wanted to ask what he meant, but she knew that if she broke concentration, she and Cassie would wind up dead. She bit her lip as he spoke.

            “Stupid girl.” The man pushed against the water binding him. “You don’t even know what’s happening in this town, do you? The Rebirth is coming. Even if I go down, more will come. Don’t you want to know why you’re able to speak to ghosts?”

            “How did you…” Jade looked up, shocked by the man’s statement.

            “Got you.” The man leapt up off the ground, now free from the spell and tackled Jade.

            They hit the floor hard. Jade’s head bounced on the linoleum. The man glowered as he pinned her hands above her head with one hand. Jade glared at him. She could just make out a sneer in his eyes. Jade clicked her tongue. She felt the barrier fall as the man reached around and pulled a knife out from behind his back. Before he had the chance to stab her, Jade headbutted his nose, causing him to release her. She got her knees up to her chest and used her feet to shove the man off her. He stumbled backwards, dropping the bowie knife. Jade jumped up and dashed towards the man and skirted behind him. Before he could react, Jade put him in a choke hold. The man scratched at her arm as Jade tightened the hold, keeping him from shaking her off by wrapping her legs around him, locking one ankle over the other. The front door opened and a group of police officers stormed in. Jade released the man and the officers dragged him off the floor. Cassie ran past the man and his goons that were being escorted out the house and tackled Jade.

            “Oh my, Riha,” Cassie sobbed, “I was so scared. I’m glad you’re alright.”

            “What are best friends for?” Jade smiled. “Try and be more careful when you’re hacking an evil cult’s computer, okay.”

            “Certainly.” Cassie smiled. “Did Tall, Dark, and Deadly say anything while I was bringing down the barrier?”

            “Yeah, but let’s not talk about it here.” Jade whispered as a cop approached her to take her statement. “Hello, Officer.”

            “Hello, Miss…” the officer trailed off.

            “Rosalie Hawethorn, but most folks call me Jade.” Jade finished.

            “Miss Hawethorn,” the officer pulled out a notebook, “Can you tell me what happened here and why you ran over here?”

            “Yes ma’am.” Jade nodded. “I called Cassie to ask her a question about our homework. When she answered, it sounded like she was in distress, so I asked my mom to call the cops and send them over here while I ran over to help. When I got here, there were three intruders going after Cassie. I neutralized them quickly, but the big guy was the strongest. I have a nice, little concussion now.”

            “Did the intruders say why they broke in and assaulted Miss Thomas?” the officer scribbled in her notebook.

            “No, ma’am.” Jade shook her head. “I didn’t think to ask any questions during the struggle.”

            “I understand. Did you notice anything about the intruders?”

            “They had tattoos. Identical ones that looked like a black skull with horns and three circles in the forehead. It was weird.”

            “Thank you, Miss Hawethorn.” The officer flipped the book closed. “If we have any more questions, we’ll let you know. There is an ambulance waiting to take you to the hospital.”

            “I’m good.” Jade shook her head. “I’ve had worse. I just want to go home and take a hot bath.”

           

***

            Jade felt a warm light on her face. She felt damp grass on her back and could hear crickets chirping. Crickets chirping in the middle of the day? That’s unusual, she thought as she opened her eyes. The first thing she noticed was the sky. Instead of clouds or a simple, sunny blue sky, there were planets. So, close she could almost touch them. Jade reached a hand towards one of the planets"a giant with sparkling rings"but like trying to touch the sun, she grasped at air.

            “Oh.” Jade whispered, sitting up. “They’re so close. Is that Saturn?”

            “Good eye.” A voice said from behind Jade.

            Jade tilted her head backwards to see who spoke, not scared if it was an enemy or someone with malicious intentions. Her earrings jingled as her eyes landed on a tall man in cargo shorts, a Tennessee Volunteers tee, and brown sandals. He tilted his head and smiled. Jade’s eyes widened as the man ran one rough hand through short, brown hair.

            “K-Kyle?” Jade jumped up.

            “Right, Kid.” He smiled, shoving his hands in the pockets of his shorts. “Long time, no see. How’s school?”

            “School’s good.” Jade stepped forward. “H-how? You’re dead. I saw you die.”

            “You’ve gotten taller.” Kyle ruffled Jade’s hair. “I guess I can’t call you Kid anymore.”

            “That’s up to you.” Jade shook her head, surprised at how warm Kyle’s hand was. “What’s going on? How are you here? Where is here?”

            “Slow down, Kid.” Kyle put up both hands. “I was sent to help you. You’re unconscious at your desk. And don’t you recognize this place?”

            Jade looked around. There were bright yellow, blue, and pink wildflower patches throughout the meadow. Tall trees with white trunks and red leaves created a forest around the meadow. And then, just beyond the tree line, there was a tall glass castle with purple flags waving from the towers. Jade knew there was a moat and drawbridge at the entrance of the castle.

            “Princess Rose’s Magical Kingdom!” Jade sank to the grass. “But it doesn’t exist. It was something I made up when I was little. How…”

            “We are in one of the spaces of your mind.” Kyle sat cross-legged in front of Jade.

            “Spaces of my mind. This is a dream?” Jade ran her hand through the grass.

            “Not exactly a dream. You’re dream walking"your consciousness has entered the part of the mind that’s used for dreaming. Unlike when you sleep and dream, entering this dreamscape doesn’t allow you to rest. It’s almost like you’re awake, only your physical body can’t move.”

            “But how is this place here?” Jade pointed to the castle. “I understand being in some part of my mind, but I haven’t thought about this place since I was ten.”

            “You have an eidetic memory.” Kyle leaned forward. “So you can remember everything you’ve ever seen, heard, or read.”

            “But I’ve never seen this place.” Jade shook her head. “Nor have I read about it.”

            “When you were a kid, you drew it. It was on your wall for a long time and you looked at it every day. So, it’s in your memories.”

            “But this doesn’t look anything like a Crayola and nail polish drawing.”

            “The mind is a mysterious thing.” Kyle shrugged.

            “A moment ago, you said you were sent here to help me. Help me with what? Who sent you?”

            “Something is about to go down in Blake.” Kyle’s face hardened. “A storm you’re going to get caught up in if you don’t halt your investigation. As for who sent me…I can’t reveal that. But I’m on your side, Kid. It’s time for you to wake up now.”

            “Kyle, wait…”Jade started.

***

Jade gasped and sat up. She grabbed onto the edge of her desk to keep from falling out her chair. She rubbed her eyes and looked around"her lamp was still on and her history textbook was covered in slobber. She wiped her mouth and used a tissue to clean up her book. She didn’t want to fork out $65 to pay for a book she was only going to read once. She blinked a few times and looked at the page she was on. 263. She was just starting on the chapter on the Civil War. Jade started reading the page when she noticed a bit of writing on a folded corner. “Turn to page Appendix A XVII.” Jade flipped to the back of the book and found the page. There was a worn piece of paper neatly folded stuck between the pages. Jade felt something radiating from the paper"a similar feeling she got from Cassie’s grimoires.

“Maybe I should call Cassie about this.” Jade folded open the paper. “I don’t know that much about magic, but I definitely think this paper has something to do with it. And this writing is not in English or Spanish. Wonderful. Guess I need a few new language books.”

Jade scribbled on a post-it note to remind herself to buy some language books and then shot a text to Cassie.

“Can you tell me how magic works?” She typed. It was late, but Jade knew Cassie would be up late studying after cleaning up the mess Tall, Dark, and Deadly and his goonies made.

“I can.” Cassie texted back. “Why are you asking now?”

“I found something in my history book that feels like your grimoires.”

“I’m on my way.”

Jade sat her phone on her history book and looked over the letter again. While she didn’t understand a word of it, she had a hunch as to what language it was. She’d seen a book of poetry on her mother’s desk written in a similar manner to the words on the paper. She skimmed the page and realized that the incantation was written in French.

M'entendre, les douze dieux et déesses, je demande votre protection. Au nom de Riha, déesse de la Lune et de l'eau. Au nom de Laimas, dieu de la chance et le destin. Au nom de Dalia, déesse du destin et de l'art dans le nom de Saül, dieu du Soleil et du vent. Au nom d'Aengus, déesse de l'amour et la poésie. Au nom de Mach, dieu de la guerre et de l'espoir. Au nom de Meili, déesse de la soirée et saison de plantation. Au nom de Baldr, dieu de la matinée et de la récolte. Au nom de l'Ista, déesse de la Terre et de la mort. Au nom d'Ignus, dieu du feu et de la vie. Au nom de los Castañuelos, déesse de la protection et de la fertilité. Au nom de l'Inab, dieu de la fortune et de la santé. Je vous demande votre protection divine du mal et du mal. Du grand mal qui menace votre enfants. À partir de la maladie provoquée par des causes artificielles. Je vous demande de vous pour votre protection, oh douze dieux et déesses du ciel et de la terre.

 “I think Momma has some of her old language books in the attic.” Jade folded the paper and stuck it in the pocket of her pajamas.

As Jade started down the hall, she felt heat on her back followed by sulfur and rotten eggs. She reached for the little protection charm she received from Cassie earlier that day and turned around. Three feet away stood the Fax, grinning as it stroked the feathers of the peacock on its shoulder. Sweat immediately started dripping from Jade’s face and neck and chest. It felt like an oven being so close to the demon. She thrust the charm forward and spoke the incantation that would activate the charm.

“In the name of Riha, Goddess of the Moon and Water.” Jade resisted the urge to wipe the sweat from her eyes. “I ask of you your protection. Shine down and cast away this creature of evil. In the name of the Twelve Gods and Goddesses, cast away!”

The demon roared and shot a fireball at Jade. The charm absorbed the fire and disintegrated, burning Jade’s hands, but the demon vanished. Jade sank to the floor, and looked at her hands. They were red and starting to blister. Jade took a deep breath. It felt like she’d thrust her hands on the burners of a hot stove and didn’t move them. She wanted to cry. The pain was different from a fall or broken bone, or even the pain from the burns she got from the fire. It was more intense. She could faint. Jade jumped up when she heard he front door slam shut. She’d just made it to the stairs when she saw Cassie running up with a sphere of water swirling around her left hand. Cassie looked at Jade and then at the small pile of ash on the floor.

“Jade,” she puts the water in the water bottle in her other hand. “What happened? Are you alright?”

“The Fax showed up.” Jade leaned against the wall. “It got past the warding around the house.”

“What? How?”

“I don’t know how. I think I have second degree burns.” Jade presented her hands to Cassie.

“Oh, by the goddess.” Cassie gently took Jade’s hands. “These are bad. Come with me. I’ll heal you.”

“Thanks.” Jade fell into step beside Cassie as they made their way to the bathroom. “Think you can give me a crash course on how magic works?”

“This have something to do with the incantation in your pocket?” Cassie opened the bathroom door and turned on the spigot.

“Yeah.” Jade thrust her hands under the cool stream of water.

“Oh, Riha, Goddess of Healing,” Cassie started, “I ask for you to bless this water and heal these wounds. Lift away the pain and let it dissipate. Heal the flesh.”

Jade watched in amazement as the intense pain she was feeling was washed in warmth and disappeared. The water glowed and swirled around her hands as Cassie repeated the incantation. Several minutes passed and Jade’s hands started returning to their normal sun tanned color. The redness and blisters faded and left only light scars. Cassie turned off the spigot as Jade dried her hands on a towel. They were still tender, but they didn’t hurt anymore. Jade examined them. She understood some aspects of how magic worked, such as how it used the witch’s spiritual power, but how it was wielded and how the incantations worked, she didn’t know much. Jade and Cassie made their way quietly to Jade’s room and shut the door.

“So,” Cassie grabbed one of Jade’s pillows and hugged it to her chest on the bed. “What do you want to know? Oh, and there are some things I can’t tell you because humans aren’t supposed to know about magic. Mediums like you, however, can know a bit more than most people, though. What made you want to know more?”

“I have a feeling that our enemy uses some kind of magic.” Jade ran a thumb over her palm. “You always mention someone called Riha when you cast a spell. Who’s that? And why is there always a strange power emanating from grimoires? I know I’ve used a fire incantation before, but how do incantations work?”

“This is going to take a while.” Cassie scratched at her chin. “I can’t go into explicit detail, but I can answer your questions.”

Cassie launched into her explanation of magic. Riha was one of the Twelve Gods and Goddesses"the Goddess of the Moon and Water. Along with Riha, there were Laimas, God of Luck and Fate, Dalia, Goddess of Fate and Art, Saul, God of the Sun and Wind, Aengus, Goddess of Love and Poetry, Mach, God of War and Hope, Meili, Goddess of the Evening and Planting Season, Baldr, God of the Morning and Harvest, Ista, Goddess of Earth and Death, Ignus, God of Fire and Life, Nabia, Goddess of Protection and Fertility, and Nabi, God of Fortune and Health. Nabi and Nabia were said to be twins. Witches, after mastering the basics and learning about the Twelve Gods, choose a house to join that aligns with their magical abilities. There are twelve houses.

“Houses?” Jade ran a hand through her short hair.

“I can’t go into too much detail about them.” Cassie sat back. “I can tell you that I’m in the House of Riha.”

“Because you primarily use water in your magic?”

“Pretty much,” Cassie confirmed. “But there’s more to it than what element I use in my magic. Should I continue?”

Jade nodded and Cassie returned to her explanation.

Grimoires are texts that house the incantations witches use to practice their magic. These texts are imbued with magic that prevent them from being destroyed or falling into the wrong hands. Grimoires come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from old dusty books that are hundreds of years old to spiral notebooks written by a witch to a piece of paper inscribed with an incantation and hidden. Unless a person has latent magical abilities, has had magical training, or is capable of sensing and locating spiritual energy, that person won’t be able to tell if a text is a grimoire or even locate one. There are hundreds of grimoires in existence, but they are difficult to find, so it’s not uncommon for a witch to write their own and put incantations they’ve learned and created in the text. There are two types of grimoires: tomb and leaflet. A tomb can be anywhere from 10 to 100,000 or more pages. A leaflet is a grimoire that consists of less than 10 pages and can have anywhere from one to ten incantations depending on difficulty and how the incantation should be prepped. Cassie stood as she continued speaking, looking through the books on Jade’s book shelf.

“So the paper I found in my history book is a leaflet grimoire?” Jade swung her legs over the edge of her bed.

“Right.” Cassie took the paper Jade handed her. “I’m fairly certain a witch used that book before you got it. What is this? French?”

“Yeah.” Jade confirmed. “I’ll be able to translate it in a few days if I can find Momma’s old French Textbooks.”

“I don’t think you have to.” Cassie sat down next to Jade. “I’ve seen this incantation before. According to my teacher, this is a protection spell in a few grimoires"his has this spell. It’s in a couple of different languages. My teacher’s grimoire is in Greek, but he showed me a couple other translations. In English, this says ‘Hear me, the twelve gods and goddesses, I ask for your protection. In the name of Riha, Goddess of the Moon and Water. In the name of Laimas, God of Luck and Fate. In the name of Dalia, Goddess of Fate and Art. In the name of Saul, God of the Sun and Wind. In the name of Aengus, Goddess of Love and Poetry. In the name of Mach, God of War and Hope. In the name of Meili, Goddess of the Evening and Planting Season. In the name of Baldr, God of the Morning and Harvest. In the name of Ista, Goddess of Earth and Death.  In the name of Ignus, God of Fire and Life. In the name of Nabia, Goddess of Protection and Fertility. In the name of Nabi, God of Fortune and Health. I ask for your divine protection from evil and harm. From the great harm that threatens your children. From sickness brought on by unnatural causes. I ask of you for your protection, oh twelve gods and goddesses of heaven and earth.’ These words in the margins and at the bottom of the page are instructions, and this symbol absolutely has to be drawn to use the incantation.”

“Oh.” Jade examined the symbol. “What is that, a rune?”

“I think it’s Celtic.” Cassie traced the symbol with her finger. “Weird since this incantation is written in French.”

“Does the rune have to match the language the incantation is spoken in in terms of origin?”

“Not exactly.” Cassie shook her head. “I’ll explain.”

Incantations are words spoken that focus a witch’s spiritual energy to use magic. The longer the incantation and more intricate the preparations, the more energy it takes. Not all witches need to recite the incantation to utilize magic, but the incantation is more powerful when the words are spoken. Many powerful incantations utilize runes that relate to the purpose of the incantation. An incantation for safe birth spoken in Greek, for example, could use a Nordic fertility rune.

“The incantation you used on tall, dark, and dangerous yesterday,” Cassie picked up an anatomy book on Jade’s floor, “was a short incantation in English. That ankh necklace you’re wearing is the Egyptian symbol for life. Since fire is heat and can represent life, the incantation you spoke worked. Without that necklace, things might have gone bad.”

“Huh.” Jade fingered her necklace. “That’s interesting. I suppose it’s a good thing I never take this necklace off. What kind of magic do you suppose you’d have to use to summon demons? I suspect that’s what the people that tried to kill you used.”

Cassie paled and stared at Jade. “They would have to have access to a Black Grimoire"a book of dark magic. It’s not impossible, but the Twelve Houses are strict on the use of magic. There are rules. I can ask the Crone if she knows anything. Anyways, about the barrier, you said the demon got past the warding?”

“Yeah,” Jade nodded. “When we discovered it, you said it was a powerful one"near impenetrable by evil beings. Luckily, I was able to scare it off with that charm you gave me. But it disintegrated.”

“That happens when two opposite elements interact.” Cassie nodded. “They tend to negate each other. But that demon is stronger than me. I had help making it. I’m glad it worked…mostly. You still got hurt. As for the barrier, it might have been compromised.”

“Or it rode in on someone like a wraith would.” Jade frowned. “Can you check the warding? I’m going to check on my family. If it rode in on someone, there will be a mark.”

“I can do that.” Cassie nodded. “How are you going to check for the mark without waking your family?”

“My eyes are special, remember.” Jade shrugged. “Ever since the fire, I’ve been able to see and speak to spirits, and I’ve been seeing these weird, colored clouds floating around people. Not all the time, but sometimes, when I focus on my sight, I see them. I think a black cloud is the trace of a demon.”

“Right.” Cassie nodded and started down the stairs.

Jade made her way to her parents’ room first. Their door was open and she could hear snoring. Dad would snore, then Momma would snore louder. It was like they were having a snoring competition. Jade stifled a snicker and focused on her parents. There was a red cloud surrounding her father and a pink one surrounding her mother. There were no traces of an evil cloud. Jade froze when her father snorted, thinking he might have woken up. He rolled over and resumed snoring. Jade breathed a sigh of relief and tip-toed out of the room and down the hall to Brian’s room. She reached for the doorknob and tested it"unlocked. She carefully opened the door and peered inside the room, focusing her eyes on her brother, sprawled half on-half off the bed. There was no sign of the Fax hitching a ride on him. Jade closed the door as quietly as she opened it and made her way to Kenny’s room. She could see the light on under the door and knocked. When she heard what sounded like sniffling, Jade opened the door to reveal Kenny rubbing his shoulder and his face red from crying. She rushed up to him and sat next to him.

“Kenny, what’s wrong?” Jade looked at Kenny’s shoulder.

“My shoulder hurt-t-ts.” Kenny sniffled.

“How long has it been hurting?”

“It woke me up a-a-a few m-m-minutes ago.” Kenny unbuttoned his Harry Potter pajamas to show Jade where the pain was coming from.

Jade grit her teeth when she saw a hand-shaped burn on Kenny’s right shoulder. That demon marked him, and when she focused, Jade could see traces of the demon’s energy emanating from the wound. Her pulse raced and she clenched her fists. That was the last straw. The Fax could come after her, but hurt her family…it was going to pay. Jade shot a text to Cassie.

“We need to get rid of this demon. It marked Kenny. I’m going to kill it!”

“Marked? That heathen. I’ll be up in a minuet. The warding is intact.”

Jade ran to the bathroom and grabbed the first-aid kit. Sitting next to Kenny, she opened the box and grabbed a tube of burn cream. She instructed Kenny to sit still while she applied the cream to the burn. A look of relief washed over Kenny’s face and he yawned. Jade could just hear an incantation in the hall and felt drowsy. When the incantation finished, Kenny slumped, asleep. Jade caught him and laid him down on the bed. As Cassie entered the room, she slipped what Jade assumed was a rune into her pocket.

“Why did you put him to sleep?” Jade stood and closed the first-aid kit.

“You said he was marked by the demon.” Cassie leaned against the door-frame. “Burn cream won’t help much for the pain. It looks like a first degree burn, but I’m certain a few minutes after you applied that cream, he would have been in pain. He needs to be cleansed.”

“Because being marked can harm the soul?” Jade asked.

“That’s what Teacher says.” Cassie moved to examine the burn. “I’m going to need a circle to cleanse him. Treating burns and other injuries are different than cleansing an injury received by being marked by a demon.”

“What kind of circle?” Jade leaned against the bedframe.

“A pentagram will do.” Cassie stood. “What?”

“I just had a thought.” Jade said, clearing the floor so she could create the pentagram. “When you first started learning magic, you never said why you wanted to learn. And now you can use all sorts of healing and cleansing incantations, but you don’t know much about barrier and attack magic. Why?”

“Do you remember,” Cassie helped create the symbol on the floor with a roll of masking tape Jade found in a drawer, “when my little brother was diagnosed with cancer?”

“Yeah.” Jade tore off a piece of tape. “You were devastated. I heard he’s getting better.”

“He’s not.” Cassie shook her head. “Doc doesn’t give him long. His meds and some of my magic are keeping his pain at bay. Back when we found out, I wanted to do something to help him. Researching all sorts of ways to heal people. That’s how I met Teacher.”

“But…”

“But, later, as I mastered more incantations,” Cassie finished off the pentagram, “I learned that there were no incantations that could cure cancer. So, all I can do is do my best to relieve the pain he feels from the cancer and Chemotherapy. And heal you and James and anyone else close to us when they get hurt. There we go. Can you move Kenny to the center of the circle? I need a candle, a bowl of water, some rocks, and an incense.”

“I have some in my room.” Jade lifted Kenny off the bed and placed him in the circle.

Cassie returned and set the room up for the incantation. The candle was at the northern point of the circle. The water was South. Rocks were West and the incense East. Jade felt Kenny’s forehead"he had a fever and his face was pale. The taint from the demon was starting to eat at him. Cassie tapped Jade’s shoulder and instructed her to leave the circle. From there, Cassie began speaking the incantation. As she spoke, she waived a bushel of burning sage over Kenny. Jade watched from her perch on the edge of her brother’s bed. As Cassie worked her incantation, the color returned to Kenny’s face. Jade could see the taint radiating from Kenny’s shoulder dissipate. The burn was still there, but he was out of the woods. Cassie clapped her hands together, indicating the incantation was complete and used the crystal ash tray Jade usually stored paper clips in to put out the sage.

“The burn should heal in a couple of days.” Cassie dabbed at her forehead with a rag. “Just put some of that burn cream on it and keep it covered. I’d heal the burn if I hadn’t already exhausted my spiritual energy.”

“Thank you so much, Cassie.” Jade pulled Cassie into a big hug.

“Anytime, Babe. I gotta get going. Its almost time for Mom to be waking up for work and she’ll notice I’m gone. I’ll make some protective charms for you to give to your family so they’ll be safe outside the house.”

“Be safe.” Jade walked Cassie to the door.

Jade ran up the stairs to Kenny’s room to check on him. He was still asleep in the floor. Jade picked him up, dressed the burn, and put his pajama shirt back on him. After tucking him into his bed, she gathered the materials used for the incantation and put them away. Then she pealed up the tape and tossed it in the trash.




© 2017 BNPrater



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Added on November 7, 2017
Last Updated on November 7, 2017
Tags: friends, danger, bad guys, magic


Author

BNPrater
BNPrater

GA



About
I'm a small town country girl who loves a good ghost story every now and again. I love to read and write stories in my free time. I hope to travel the world someday and write about that experience. more..

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A Chapter by BNPrater