Sunday, May 26, 2019
Night World : Spellbinder Chapter 8
A sharp, acrid odor assaulted her nostrils. She had to blink away tears as she held the bottle over the fire and very autoefully tipped it. unmatchable drop, two drops, three.The fire flared, burning blue.It was ready. The balefire that was the entirely way to gravel a spirit from the other side-apart from swing outing the veil and fetching it back yourself.Thea took Phoebes amulet in both hands and snapped it, cracking the clay and breaking the seal. Then, holding the broken amulet over the fire, she verbalize the words of power shed heard the elders oration last Samhain.May I be given the Power of the Words of Hecate.Instantly, she found words coming to her, rolling off her tongue. She heard them as if it were mortal else talking.From beyond the veil I call option you back Through the mist of years I call you back From the airy void I call you back Through the narrow path I call you back To the heart of the flame I call you back Come speedily, conveniently, and with go fort h delayShe tangle a rumbling vibration like an earthquake rock the floor. Above the ordinary fire different flames seemed to burn cold, ghostly flames that were pale blue and purplish and rose to lick at her knuckles.She championted to open her hands, to let the amulet fall into the magical flame. however right as she was close to do it, there was a bang.The door to her bedroom swung open, and for the second term in twelve hours she found herself horrified to see Blaise.The whole place is shaking-what are you doing?Blaise-just stay backBlaise stared. Her chew up dropped and she lunged forward. What are you doing?Its more or less finished-Youre crazy Blaise grabbed at the amulet in Theas hands, and then, when Thea snatched her hands back, at the silver box.Leave it alone Thea grabbed the other side of the box. They were struggling with it, from each(prenominal) one trying to pull it from the other. Fire scorched Theas hands.Let go Blaise shouted, trying to twist the box a way. Im warning you-Theas fingers were damp with sweat. The box slipped.That was when it happened.The silver box flipped in Blaises hands, sending a spray of amulets everywhere. Locks of gray hair, black hair, red hair, all flying. Most of them hit the floor-but one landed directly in the balefire.Thea heard a crack as the clay seal broke.For one second she was frozen, then she plunged her hand into the fire. But the clay was already burning-not red hot, but white hot. She couldnt fold her fingers most it. For just an instant she seemed to see a symbol etched in blue flames, and then a flash like sheet lightning set off from the fire. It knocked her into Blaises bed and Blaise into the wall.The lightning formed a column and something shot out.Thea didnt so much see it as sense it. A wraith shape that tore around the room like a blast of arctic wind. It sent books and articles of clothing flying. When it reached the window, it seemed to pause for an instant, as if gathering itsel f, and then it shot by as if the sugarcoat didnt exist.It was gone.Great Mother of life, Blaise whispered from against the wall. She was staring at the window with huge luminous eyes-and she was scared. Blaise was scared.That was when Thea realized how dark things were.What halt we done? she whispered.What have we done-what have you done, thats the question, Blaise snapped, session up and looking more like her ordinary self. What was that thing?Defensively, Thea gestured at the scattered amulets. What do you figure? A witch. ,But who?How should I deal? Thea close to yelled, fear giving way to anger. This is the one I was going to call back. She snatched up the auburn hair and cracked amulet of Phoebe Garner. That one was just whichever one fell out when you grabbed the box.Dont try to make this my fault. Youre the one doing forbidden spells. Youre the one summoning ancestors. And whatever happens with that one- Blaise pointed at the window-youre the on e responsible.She got up and move out her hair, standing tall. And thats what you get for trying to sic the spirits on me She turned and stalked out the door.I wasnt trying to sic the spirits on you Thea shouted-but the door had already slammed shut.Theas anger collapsed. Feeling numb, she looked at the overturned silver box, where she had temporarily stored the tissue with Erics blood.I was just trying to find a guardian for him. Somebody whod help him fend off your spells, whod understand that hes a person even though hes a human.She looked forlornly around the room. Then, feeling older than Gran, she struggled to her feet and started automatically cleaning up the mess.When she dumped the ashes out of the bowl she found some sort of residue sticking to the bottom. She couldnt wash it off and she couldnt pry it offwith a steak knife. She stashed the completed bowl under her bed.All the maculation she cleaned, her mind kept churning.Who got out? No way to know. Process of elimin ation wouldnt help, not with all those unmarked amulets.What to do now? She didnt know that either.If I tell anyone-even Gran-theyll want to know why I was trying to summon the dead. But if they find out the truth, it mingys devastation for me and Eric.Around sunset, a limousine pulled up in the back alley. Thea proverb it from her window and rushed downstairs in alarm.Grandma was being helped out of the car by two politely expressionless vampires. Servants of Thierrys.Gran, what happened?Nothing happened. I had a little weak spell, thats all She whacked at one of the vampires with her commodee. I can help myself, sonMaam, said the vampire-who might have been three or four times Grandmas age. To Thea, he said, Your grandmother fainted-she was pretty sick there for a while.And that good-for-nothing apprentice of mine never showed up, Gran said, making her way to the back door.Thea nodded good-bye to the vampires. Gran-it was my fault about Tobias. I let him have the twenty-four hours off. Her stomach, which had been clenched like a fist all day, seemed to draw even tighter now. Are you authentically sick?Im good for a few years yet. She began laboriously working her way up the stairs. Vampires just dont understand old age.What did you go there for?Gran stop to cough. None of your business, but I had to settle some arrangements with Thierry. Hes agreed to let the Inner Circle use his land on Samhain.Upstairs, Thea made some herb tea in the tiny kitchenette. And then, when Gran was in bed with the tea, she gathered her courage.Gran, when the elders call up the spirits on Samhain-how do they send them back? wherefore should you want to know? Gran said crossly. But when Thea just looked at her, she went on. There are certain spells that are used for summoning-and dont you ask me what they are-and you say those backwards to send them back. The witch who calls a spirit has to be the one to dismiss it.So only I can do it. And thats all? Thea asked.Oh, of course not. Its a long process of kindling the fire and scatter the herbs-but if you do it all right, you can draw the spirit down from between the standing stones and send it back where it came from. Grandma went on muttering, but Thea had snagged on a earlier phrase.From between-the standing stones ? she got out.The standing stones that encircle the spirits. Well, hark back, Thea If you didnt have a circle of some kind to hold them in, theyd just-voom. Gran made a gesture. Theyd zip out and how would you ever find them again? Thats why I went to Thierry today/ she added, taking a noisy sip of tea. We need a place where the sandstone forms a native circle and naturally its up to me to arrange everything. She went on grumbling softly.Thea felt faint.You have to be-physically close to them-to send them back?Of course. You have to be within spit out distance, And dont think I dont know why youre asking.Thea stopped breathing.Youre planning something for Samhain- and its probably all Blai ses idea. You two are like Maya and Hellewise. But you can forget about it right now- those spells are for the elders, not for girls. She stopped to cough. I dont understand why you want to be crones before youre done being maidens. You ought to enjoy your youth while you have it.Thea left her still grumbling.She hadnt cast any kind of a circle before calling the spirit. She hadnt realized she was supposed to.And now how could she ever get close enough to the spirit to send it back?Well-itll just have to stay out in the world, she told herself bravely. Too bad but its not as if there arent other spirits floating around out there. Maybe if it doesnt like roaming around, itll come back.But she was sick with guilt and disheartened. Not to mention worried-if only a little-about Grans fainting spell.Blaise didnt come to bed. She stayed downstairs and worked on her necklace long into the night.On Monday, everyone at school was talking about Randy Marik and the ruined dance. The girls were annoyed about it and roughshod with Blaise the boys were annoyed and furious with Randy.Are you okay? Dani asked Thea after world lit class. You look kind of pale.Thea smiled wanly. It was a busy weekend.Really? Did you do something with Eric? The way she said do something alerted Thea. Danis heart-shaped face looked as sweet and concerned as ever but Thea couldnt trust even her. She was a Night Person, a witch, a human-hater.It didnt matter. Thea was so edgy that the words just seemed to burst out. Do something like what? Smash his car? Turn him into a toad?Dani looked shocked, her velvet-dark eyes wide.Thea turned and walked readily away.Stupid, stupid, she told herself. That was so dumb of you. You may not have to pretend to be playing with Eric in front of Blaise anymore-but in front of the other witches youve got to keep acting.She headed almost blindly for Erics locker, ignoring the people she passed.Ive only been here a week. How can everything in my life have become so aw ful? Im at war with Blaise Ive worked a forbidden spell I dont dare talk to Gran-and Ive broken Night World law.Thea I was looking for you.It was Erics voice. Warm, eager-everything thatThea wasnt. She turned to see unfledged eyes change surface with dancing gray and an astonishing smile. A smile that drew her in, changing the world.Maybe everything was going to be all right, after all.I called you yesterday, but I just kept getting the machine.Thea hadnt even looked at the answering machine. Im sorry-there was a lot going on. Eric looked so kind that she groped for something that had been going on that she could tell him about. My grandmothers been sick. He sobered at once. Thats terrible. Yes. Thea fished in her backpack for the small herb pillow shed put there this morning. Then she hesitated. Eric is there somewhere we could go to talk alone? effective for a few minutes? I want to give you something.He blinked, then waggled his eyebrows. Nothing Id like better. And I know jus t the place. Come on. He led her across campus to a large building that stood apart from the rest of the complex. It had a shabby look and the paint on the double doors was blistered. A banner announced in orange and black letters dont miss the .ultimate Halloween political party. What is this?Eric, who was opening the door, put a finger to his lips. He glanced inside, then beckoned to her.Its the old gym. Theyre supposed to be renovating it as a student center, but there isnt enough money. He snorted. Probably because theyrespending too much on renovating downtown. Now- what was it you wanted to give me?It Thea stopped dead as she took in her surroundings. All thoughts of the herb pillow vanished. Eric- She stared around her, feeling a slow wave of sickness roil through her stomach. Is this for the Halloween party?.Yeah. They do a couple fund-raisers a semester here. This is kind of a weird one-but they did it last year and it brought in a lot.Not weird, Thea thought nu mbly. Weird doesnt startle to describe it.Half the room was empty, just scuffed hardwood floor, a broken basketball backboard, and exposed pipes in the ceiling. But the other half looked like a cross between a medieval dungeon and a casino. She walked slowly toward it, her footsteps echoing.Wooden booths of various sizes were decorated with orange and black crepe paper and fake wanderer webs. Thea read one banner after another.Fortune telling Drench a Wench Bobbing for Shrunken Heads?Its bobbing for apples really, Eric said, seeming embarrassed. And the gambling isnt real. You do it all with pixy money and exchange it for prizes.Thea couldnt stop looking at the booths. Wheel of Torture a money wheel with a silent person dressed like a witch spreadeagled in the middle. Bloody Blackjack. Devils Darts a dart game with a cork witch as a target.And there were witch figures everywhere. stuff witches on nooses hanging from the overhead pipes.Cardboard witches leering from the tops of b ooths. Paper witches dancing on the wall. They were fat, skinny, white-haired, gray-haired, cross-eyed, squint-eyed, warty, funny, scary and ugly. That was the one thing they all had in common.Thats what they think of us. Humans. All humansThea? Are you okay?Thea whirled. No, I am not okay. She gestured around the room. Will you look at this stuff? Do you really think its funny? Something to party about? Hardly aware of what she was doing, she spun him around to face The Iron Maiden-a wooden replica with rubber spikes.What are people going to do? Pay to step into that? Dont they realize that it used to be real? That real people were put in it, and that when the door closed, those spikes went into them, into their arms and their stomachs and their eyes She couldnt go on.Eric looked as stricken as Dani had earlier. Hed never seen her like this. Thea-look, Im sorry I never thoughtOr that. Thea gestured toward the Wheel of Torture, the words tumbling out. Do you know how they really put a witch on the wheel? They broke every bone in her body so they could just thread her arms and legs through the spokes like spaghetti. Then they put the wheel on a pole and left her up there to die.Erics face contracted with horror. God, TheaAnd these picturesthe witches who got tortured didnt have green skin and evil eyes. They werent monsters, and they didnt have anything to do with devils. They were people.Eric reached out for her, but she spun away, staring at a particularly ugly hag on the wall. Do you think this place is all right for a party? That this is good fun? That witches look like that? She flung out an arm, close to being hysterical. Well, do you?In her minds eye she could see the world Dani and Blaise and all other witches on the left Eric and the students here and all other humans on the right, both races hating and despising each other-and herself somewhere in the middle.Eric caught her shoulders. No, I dont think its all right. Thea, provide you just listen to m e for a second?He was almost shaking her-but she could see that there were tears forming at the corners of his eyes.I feel awful, he said. I never thought about taking this stuff seriously-and thats my own stupid fault, and I know its not an excuse. But now that you say it, I do see how terrible it is, and Im sorry. And I never should have brought you here, of all peopleThea, who had been starting to relax, stiffened again. Why me of all people? she demanded.He hesitated a moment, then met her eyes and spoke quietly. Because of your grandmas store. I mean, I know its just herbs and positive thinking- but I also, know that in the old days, there would have been somebody out there pointing a finger and calling her a witch.Thea relaxed again. It was okay for people to thinkGran was a witch-if by witch they meant someone who talked to plants and mixed up homemade hair tonic. And she couldnt disbelieve Eric, not under the intensity of those steady green eyes. But she saw an opportunity a nd seized it. Yeah, and theyd probably have burned me for giving you this present, she said, opening her hand. And youd probably have been scared or superstitious if I asked you to keep it with you all the time youd think I was putting some kind of a spell on you-I wouldnt think anything, he said firmly, taking the little green pillow from her. It smelled like fresh New Hampshire pine needles, which was what was in it-mainly. Shed also added a few protective herbs and an Ishtar crystal, a golden beryl in a star cut with thirty-three facets, carved with the name of the Babylonian mother goddess. The charm was the best she could do to help him fend off Blaises spells.I would just candy kiss it and put it my pocket and never let it out of my sight, Eric went on. And he did, stopping after the kiss to say, Mm, smells good.Thea couldnt help smiling at him. She chanced saying, Actually, its just to remind you of me.It will never leave my pocket, he said solemnly.Well, that worked out nic ely.Look, theres probably something we can do about this place, Eric said, glancing around again. The school board doesnt want any bad publicity. Why dont I run and borrow a camera from the journalism class, and we can take some pictures so people will see what we mean when we complain?Thea glanced at her watch. Why not? I think Ive already missed French.He grinned. Back in a minute.When he was gone, Thea wandered slowly among the tranquil booths, lost in her own thoughts.For a few minutes there, when I was ranting, I almost told him the truth. And then later I thought maybe hed pass judgment it all out for himself.And would that be so terrible? Hes already under sentence of death just because I love him it doesnt matter if he knows or not.But if he did know what would he say? Witches may be okay in the abstract-but does he really want one for a young woman?The only way to find out was to tell him.She leaned against a ladder and gazed sightlessly at an oilcloth lying beneath a ha nging noose. Of course, it was probably all academician anyway. What kind of future could they possibly have ?Suddenly Thea realized what she was looking at.Underneath that oilcloth was a shoe-and the shoe was connected to something. Subconsciously, shed been assuming it was another witch dummy but now she focused. And she felt the hairs on her arms lift and tingle.Why would they dress a witch in black Nike high-tops?