Emmy R Bennett

Writer of Paranormal, Mystery and Fantasy.

A one week sale!

Hello readers!

December 2nd is the third anniversary of me as a published author. In celebration, for one week Dec 2nd through Dec 8th, all four books in the Storm Bloodline Sage will be on sale. Eyes of Wynter will be Free midnight Dec 2nd – Sunday December 5th at 11:59pm.

Books 2-4 will be .99 cents for a limited time, increasing slowly back to regular price by December 8th.

The fire crackles and the sparks fly, attempting to reach the stars. Mesmerized, I almost stop listening to the wise woman telling the story of how the ancients had woven the cloak Gen wears, into existence.

“But first,” the woman says, “we must remove that mark you have, Geneviève.”

“How do we do that?” I ask.

“By performing a ritual. Because you have not yet reached your eighteenth birthday, it is possible to remove the impression. I must warn you.” Her voice softens. “It comes at a cost.”

I huff in protest. “Doesn’t all magic?”

“It’s okay, Maura.” Gen touches my arm, asking the old woman, “What is it?”

She smiles, revealing a front gold tooth, and raises her chin. “. It will sever all ties to your Dire wolf line preventing lycanthropy. You will become mortal, living a temporal life. However, you will still age slower than the human race, as you are Ladorielle born.”

I can see Geneviève hesitate. She licks her lips, taking in a deep breath. “Do it.”

The woman pierces a glare. “Are you sure?”

Gen nods. “Yes, let’s do this. If it gets Sonjah off my tail, I’m willing to do anything.”

“But you will lose your identity,” I assert. “I don’t like this. There has to be another way.”

“Maura, I’m not willing to run from her for the rest of my immortal life. Sure, I in a sense can live forever, now, but she can still find and kill me.” Gen looks down at her hands. “Or worse, I’ll live an immortal life like our alpha will, under her thumb.” She glances back to me. “No thank you, Maura,” she says, and her eyes veer back to the witch. “Do it. Do the spell.”

The old woman stands. “Very well.” She hums a song, as she mixes her ingredients into a mortar and pestle.

“Are you sure about this?” Arik asks. “My mother she’s half-light witch. I’m sure she could find another way.”

She looks over at the cloak that brought them to this strange new place. “Arik there isn’t any guarantee that we will ever get back to our timeline on Ladorielle, but Maura’s mother, Sonjah, is possessed by Sarmira, and she can be anywhere. There isn’t a limit to what she can do. Besides as long as you hang out with me, both of you are in danger.” She takes in a deep breath. “No, this is the right thing to do. And I’m doing this for me, and not either of you, by the way—in case you’re wondering.”

“The recipe is complete,” the wise woman says.

“I have only one request,” Gen says.

“And what would that be, my child?”

“What is your name?”

“Thermyah.” She smiles. “Now, are you ready?”

Gen nods.

“Then take my hand.” Thermyah chants a spell.

A gust of wind flows through the campsite, fueling the fire. The ground shakes, and rain begins to pour from the clear night sky.

Gen screams as though she’s in pain. I jump up, but Thermyah stops me.

Arik catches Gen before she falls to the ground in a deep sleep.

“What did you do to her,” I demand.

“Merely what she requested. Fear not, she isn’t harmed. Taking her natural born ability can be fatal. Her mind will go insane, if she keeps the memories of what she once was. She will wake soon.”

“I know what you did. You gave her a memory stamp. My mother would do that to many people.”

Thermyah clucks her tongue. “Yes, well, they can pose as good spells, too.” She begins putting her herbs into a bag. “It’s better than being marked…hunted for eternity.” She finishes, saying, “My work is done.” Curving a wicked smile, she steps away, and disappears in the darkness of the night.

Geneviève stirs, distracting us. I kneel down moving the hair from her eyes. “Hey how do you feel?”

“Like I was smacked with a frying pan.” She rubs her temples before opening her eyes and sits up. Tilting her head, looking to Arik, then back at me, she asks, “Who are you?”

“Who are you?” I look closer. “Wait a minute… you’re—you’re the—”

He puts a finger to his lips, gesturing me to be silent.

The loud sounds of crows caw outside. We wait together in silence until the calls dissipate.

He speaks first, saying, “My name is Arik.”

“Yes, I know who you are.” I bow.

“Not necessary.” He waves his arms for me to stop. “I overheard you and Martha talking right before Sonjah appeared. I didn’t stick around to find out what happened next, so I bolted, keeping in mind the shed you mentioned. So here I am. He turns looking at Geneviève. “Although I don’t know how she can sleep with all the racket.”

She stirs. Geneviève opens her eyes and is startled, pulling the ragged cloak tighter about her neck.

She glances at me. “Who is this?”

I smile, realizing she doesn’t know.

He answers. “Arik.” He nods. “And you are?”

She doesn’t answer. “It’s okay, Gen, he’s—” I look at him, not realizing what I should say.

“A friend,” he says.

“Right,” I mutter under my breath. I smirk. “Well…friend, if you don’t mind turning around, Geneviève needs to get dressed.”

I think I take the young prince by surprise because he nearly chokes. “Oh!” he stares over at Geneviève. “You mean she’s—”

I tilt my head. “As if you didn’t know that, Mr. innocent, who knows what she is.”

“Right, I mean…I didn’t connect—”

“You’re digging a deeper hole, just turn around, will you?”

Slipping off the second layer of clothes I give them to Gen.

“So, how do we get out of here without your mother knowing?” she asks.

I raise up the small bottle of elixir. It’s half full. “We each take a sip of this, disappear, and run like we have never ran before.”

Gen takes a closer look at the container. “Wait a minute, is that what I think it is?”

I smile. “An invisibility potion. My nanny Martha, made it for me.”

Both Arik and Gen give me strange looks. “You still have a nanny?” Arik asks.

“No, of course not. She’s stayed, to look out for me.” I roll my eyes. “Whatever. Anyway, it’s worth a shot to escape from here, right?”

“Okay, let’s do this,” Arik says, “I’m in.”

“Me too,” Gen agrees, as she puts on the ratty old cloak.

“Wait, you’re keeping that?” I ask.

“Why not? It’s still cold in the evenings.”

I shrug it off. “There is something else you should know; you must be holding on to all items before drinking or it will not take hold with the spell.”

They both nod. Picking up my backpack, I swing it behind me. “Are we ready?” They nod, we each take a swig at the bottle, and open the front door.

The atmosphere is quiet. Not even birds sing among the treetops as we step out of the shack.

“I don’t like that it is so still,” Geneviève says.

“Neither do I.” We head to the river as fast as we can.

I feel the cool breeze rush through my hair as we run for our lives through the thick woods, reaching the shoreline in record time. The river rushes and I can tell we’re near a waterfall.

I look up in the trees, “See any crows?”

“Not yet,” Arik says, “we should keep moving.”

“How will we know if the invisibility has dropped?” Gen asks.

“We don’t,” I answer.

As if on cue, a swirling wind kicks up and my mother appears.

We have no more invisibility liquid left.

“Who do we have here?” she tilts her neck in surprise seeing my companions. “Well done, my child. I would say this repays the debt of being a rotten child earlier.”

Geneviève steps in front. “Why don’t you just leave us alone.”

Her bravery is commendable, but my mother can strike her down with one flick of her wrist.

“Oh, but I can’t do that. You see I have plans for you, my dear. When I discovered one pup survived, other than the alpha it brought such excitement that I had to seek you out. My dear, you’re marked. You can’t escape me.”

Gen glances at me from the corner of her eye.

“I see my daughter warned you. No matter. What’s done is done. There’s no escape for you.” She turns her attention on Arik. “And you.” A venom tone passes over her lips. “You will not slip through my fingers again. I’ll see to that.”

“You won’t hurt him,” I cry.

My mother glares. “Watch me.” She flicks flames toward all of us intending to reach Arik, but she misses.

Gen’s quick reflexes, pull Arik and I behind her and she whips the cloak she’s wearing around us all.

The flames miss us entirely.

Stunned my mother says, “Impossible.” She adds more power, but the cloak hold steadfast to her magic.

We hear my mother scream in rage, and in one split second, her voice cuts off, and her shrieks stop.

We all look out from behind the protective cloak and observe that we’re not even in the same place.

“Hang on a second, how is this possible?” I ask. I look over at Geneviève. “You’re cloak. It’s made of magic.”

She smiles. “I guess it is.”

“My mother once told me a legend of a cloak that could pass through time. It’s only a story.” Arik takes a closer look at the long red cape. “It can’t be true, can it?”

I gape at Arik’s confession, but Geneviève answers, “From the first time I put this cloak on, I knew it was special, but I didn’t know until now, what it was.” She smiles. “We got away from your mother.”

“Indeed, we did, but, my new friend, you’re still marked, and we need to find a way to remedy that.”

I land on something soft and realize it’s a pile of compost. Gross.

A few scratches from a rose bush, planted against the house let’s me know it has lovely thorns too, and I pull two spikes sticking in my skin. “Ouch,” I murmur.

The crows circle above and when I look up, I see Mother peer out my bedroom window. She stares at me. Her eyes glow blue, and her face shows pure venom.

I open my mouth to say something when she looks away, saying, “Don’t just circle my pets, find her.”

She can’t see me. The potion worked.

The excitement fuels my body, and I want to run, but I need to play this safe. I don’t know how long this spell will last. It’s known for wearing off early. Invisibility spells can come in handy, but they can also get one deep in trouble, like I am now. I dart towards the thick fir trees ahead of me. I don’t want to make a beeline to the shed where Geneviève is, just in case I unknowingly lead Mother to her. Part of me thinks she’s already left. I mean, if I were in her shoes, I would, but the other part hopes she still hanging out.

I feel like eyes are watching my every move. Slinging my backpack behind me, I travel the long way around the property, hiding among the long grass, that stands between myself and the woods ahead. I have no idea if the invisibility potion is still in effect. Only one way to find out.

Bad move, as I dart across the field. The crows caw, swooping in. She’s going to catch me before I reach the woods. I take a second swig of Martha’s concoction. Martha…what did my mother do to her?

Leaving behind the birds flocking to where the invisibility spell wore off, I keep running.

Out of the corner of my eye, Mother appears. She lingers, squinting as she tries to sense where I am.

I don’t stick around and rush through the woods to get as far away from her as possible. Maybe I should have prioritized better. The shed would have been the more suitable option.

Decision made, question is, will Geneviève still be there?

I hear the crows again. They are gaining on my trail. I really hate that I can’t tell when this invisibility spell wears off. Taking off towards the riverbank I pull out the bottle of elixir once more, ready to take another sip if I need to. If I continue down this path it will lead my mother and her black-eyed minions in the opposite direction from the shed.

The rushing river drowns out the caws from the birds. Perhaps fleeing this route isn’t a bright move. My mother appears in front of me. “There you are.”

Guess the potion wore off. My mouth twitches.“Not for long.” My brave response takes her by surprise. I down the drink for a third time and take off, not daring to look behind me to see if she’s following. As I gain some distance from the river, I can tell that it worked. The crows are nowhere of earshot.

Keep moving, don’t stop.

I come upon the hidden shed, and seconds later, open the door.

I’m astounded and relieved at the same time. Genevieve is still here. She’s asleep, but not the person with her.

I’m shaken awake by Martha. “It’s time we go.”

My eyes sting from the afternoon sun. “What time is it?”

“Two.” She goes to my drawers, saying, “We take only the basics. Too much, will slow us down. I suggest you layer up.”

“Where are we to go?”

“My sister’s place, for now.”

“I didn’t know you had a sister.”

“Neither does your mother.” She smiles. “Now, hurry and get dressed.”

My mind rushes to the past events and I wonder if Geneviève is still hiding in that shack behind the hidden rose bushes and ivy vined brush. “Martha, what if I told you, Mother didn’t kill all the wolves last night?”

“Of course, she didn’t, the alpha is downstairs caged and weak, as of last night.”

“What if I said there was another?”

She stops and turns. “What?”

“Last night when Mother had me clean her mess, among the bodies, one survived her blast of death.”

I can tell, Martha is surprised. “Well, where is the wolf? It’s in danger.”

“Hidden.” I pause. “Why do you say that?”

“My dear, do you not know?”

My heart speeds up, afraid of what Martha will say.

“Once one is hit from a blast of her power, they are marked for life. That wolf you saved will always be running until death calls.”

“Marked?”

“It’s best we leave that wolf alone, for your mother will surely find it.”

“We can’t just leave her. Can’t you do something? She’s alone. Mother killed her entire pack.”

Martha shakes her head slowly. I know that look. It’s a look that says I’m going to regret this.

“Is the alpha still alive?” I ask.

“I don’t know. He wasn’t in the prison chamber.” Martha rushes around my room throwing items into a bag.

“The prison chamber.” I gasp. “What about the people in the jail cells. We have to let them go.”

“It’s already done my child. Which is why we need to leave now. With the prisoners escaping in droves, it will distract the crows allowing us to escape.” She pulls at me to get out of bed. “Hurry up, get dressed. She sets a bottle down on my dresser. “Drink this before you come down, but not the whole elixir, there is enough there to last a few more times. One swig will do.”

“What is it?”

“An invisibility potion. If something happens to me, run. We haven’t much time. The crows will warn Sonjah soon. I’ll meet you downstairs.”

I hadn’t heard my mother’s name out loud for so long, I’d almost forgotten it. Doesn’t matter though, deep inside my mother’s vessel, lives Sarmira the wraith that escaped the darkness of the mirror.

Martha leaves and I get dressed, doubling up on dresses. I also put on leggings and a second pair of slacks. Keeping in mind Geneviève, I select something that she might fit into. I need to warn her about what Martha said, too. If she’s marked, then she must get as far away from here as possible.

The crows don’t waste any time, because I cross the threshold of my bedroom door and hear, “Where is she?” My mother’s voice is enraged.

She’s back. My heart races and I feel a lump in my throat. The potion Martha gave me still sets on my dresser. How could I have forgotten something so important. I wait until my mother starts screaming at Martha again before stepping back into my bedroom.

I overhear, “How could you let her get away? I put my trust in you, and you failed me. It’s time to change that, I think.”

Taking my chances, I step backward into my bedroom, quietly, grab the elixir, take a swig, and open the window. It’s a two-story drop.

I hear Martha scream, and so I jump.

Her eyes pierce a gaze at me like daggers and I can tell she’s fuming mad. “I told you to bury these mongrels, and you’re prancing the property like you own the place.”

“I-I was trying to find a good spot to bury the bodies, Mother.”

Her eyes glow blue and I fear she’s going to throw me in with the livestock. Instead, she takes her hand putting it outward, and spreads her fingers. I can see a dark green almost black color flow to the corpses. Together, the dead pile rises, and she uses her magic to carry them all through the air, where they land in a nearby field.

“There,” she says, “I’ve done the hard part for you. There’s a shovel on the side of the house. Start digging.”

She disappears, but not before leaving her murder of crows behind to baby sit. She uses them as her eyes to see what her mortal body cannot. I glare at them all cawing, as I go to grab the garden tool.

Digging the giant hole takes all night and by the time I’m done the sun peeks in the horizon. I say a prayer of peace, and hope the crows—ravens whatever they are, aren’t lurking around and report back to my mother.

A cool breeze brushes across my skin making me shiver. I’m reminded of Geneviève. All she had in that shed was a dirty old cloak. Maybe I can find something for her in my room.

The smell of breakfast stirs my senses as I enter the house. Martha is in the kitchen.

“Good morning, Maura. I see your mother kept you out all night again.”

“Nothing new, I guess, just a different day.” I sit down and lay my head on the table.

“You should go to bed. Get some sleep.”

“Why? Mother will probably wake me anyway.”

“Actually, she’s leaving for the day. Said something about finding a key ingredient to a recipe. Only place to find this item is at The Lake of No Return.”

“But isn’t that up in the mountains where the—”

“Yes.”

There’s a reason the lake was named, which has me wondering what she’s up to.

“Martha,” my mother calls.

I stiffen, worried that she will have me do some other chore for her.

Martha glares at me to shoo, and so I hide behind the pantry door. “In here Madame.”

The clicking of heels against the wood floor, warns me that Mother has entered the kitchen. “Have you seen Maura?”

“I think she went straight to bed?”

“No, she wasn’t in her room, I checked.”

Of course, she did.

“Possibly outside, still?”

“Perhaps, but the crows cannot find her, either. If she’s ran away, I’ll find her and skin that child alive.”

“Madame I don’t think she’s ran away. Where would she go?”

I hear a long silent pause, before Mother continues, “I’m off. I’ll be back later this evening. When she comes home, throw her into the cell with the rest of the livestock. She needs to learn a lesson or two about respect.”

I can tell she’s gone. Every fiber in my being loses the dread when she’s not around, and I can feel peace.

“It’s safe, you can come out now.” Martha pulls the door of the pantry open. “You heard your mother. She will be back tonight.”

“I get it, I know. Don’t worry, Martha, I promise to sleep and be down in the basement before Mother returns. I won’t let Mother take her anger out on you.”

“Oh, my dear, child, is that what you think? I only stick around because of you. As long as I’m alive, I won’t let that evil woman hurt a hair on your pretty head.”

Her words surprise and comfort me at the same time.

“Now, go on up, and get some sleep. You’re going to need your strength for later.”

“Martha?” I eye her suspiciously.

She smiles. “I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to leave, and I think now is the time.”

“You’re not making breakfast, are you?”

“Preposterous. What ever gave you that idea?” she gives a devilish grin.

“I knew it. You do, have a plan.” I clasp my hands.

“Shh, not so loud. The windows are open, and the crows still see.”

“Right, the crows. How will we avoid them?”

“You let me worry about that. However, you—”

“I know, sleep.” I grab a slice of bacon before climbing the stairs to my bedroom, but not before I hear Martha chant an incantation in the kitchen.

It takes some effort to reach the moving fingers beneath the rest of the dead bodies. One by one I drag corpses until I reach a woman. Her hair is red and wavy. She’s young, like me. Maybe sixteen, or seventeen. She can’t possibly be much older than that.

If my mother found out one of them was still alive, she would finish this poor girl off, for sure. I haven’t a clue what to do.

Sage said, I had the ability to use nature’s energy. Maybe I can start there.

Closing my eyes, I concentrate like before when she was teaching me the locater spell. I’ll use that method to find a safer spot for this girl.

Normally I would channel to Sage, but she isn’t answering my calls. Either my mother found her, or she’s fled the area.

A ball of green light appears in my palms showing a trail. Like the last time I tried this spell, the globe reveals a path forward. Gazing into the sphere of light, I zoom in on an old run-down shack. It’s far enough away from the house that it may go undetected from my mother.

The young girl moans, breaking my concentration. I need to get her out of here before she brings attention to herself. I tap at her cheeks, saying, “Wake up.”

Before opening her eyes, she furrows a brow, laying palms to her temples, saying, “My head is throbbing.” She focuses on me. “Who are you?”

“My name is Maura, and you can’t stay here. If she finds you still alive, she’ll—”

She glances to the house. “Do you live there?”

“Unfortunately, yes. Can you walk?”

The girl looks down at her legs, dazed. I think her mind caught up to her because she becomes frigid and scared.

“Don’t worry. You’re secret is safe with me. Besides, if I wanted to harm you don’t you think I would have done that by now?”

I help her up. “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything to cover your body. I’d give you my cloak, but it’s in the house and we don’t want to risk attention from my mother.”

She appears shocked. “Your mother?”

“Yes. I can explain on the way, but we really need to get you out of here.”

The full moon lights our path as we step down to the hidden hut in the woods.

“Where are you taking me?” She asks. I can tell she’s weak. Once every few steps she stumbles. Thankfully my strength is enough to hold her up as we make our way.

“There is supposed to be a structure a few yards from here. I think through those trees,” I answer, pointing with my chin. “I’ve not been around this area before on our property. I honestly didn’t know it existed, hiding from the brush until I did a locater spell.”

“Locater spell? You’re a light witch?”

“Yeah, half anyway. My mother too, at least she used to be until—”

“Let me guess, Sarmira?”

I stop stunned. “You know about her?”

“My whole pack does.”

I turn around looking back at my house in the distance, remembering what she did. “Your pack is gone,” I murmur.

I feel her heart quicken. It’s an innate ability a light witch has, to read heartbeats, and is one method Sage told me, that helps them detect the dark witches. They have a different sound, only a light witch can hear. Sage said, mine doesn’t sound like either a light or dark witch, that my heart is in between and distinctive. It’s the only reason she decided to help me. She knew I hadn’t reached my eighteenth birthday, by my simple heartbeat.

We push through the brush, arriving at the doorstep of a dirty moss covered shed. The entrance isn’t locked, and we push through, stepping over the threshold. There’s an old mattress hugging a bedframe and a blanket fitted around the base. A nightstand sits next to it, with a few dusty book setting on top. Hanging behind the door is a ratty red cloak. The edging frayed, but otherwise looks to be in good shape. I take it down and shake the dust off outside. “This should help keep you warm. I recommend not to shift back to your wolf form. She may find you otherwise.” I take another brief look around. There is a chair in one corner and a counter with a sink. “It looks like someone lived here at some point.”

The girl takes the cloak wrapping it around her naked body. “Thanks.”

I smile. “I should get back before my mother finds me missing. I can come check on you in the morning. I’ll sneak some breakfast.”

She nods. “I don’t know how to repay you, for your kindness.”

“It’s nothing. It was the right thing to do.” I turn to go. “I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“I’m Geneviève, by the way,” she says, before I shut the door.

“Nice to meet you, Geneviève.”

“Most people call me Gen.”

“Okay, Gen, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I race down the road hoping Mother doesn’t notice I’m gone.

“Maura,” I hear her screech. Her voice is loud and angry.

My eyes widen as I watch her magic sphere of bright green glow in her hands.

“Come close. You don’t want to be on the outside of the circle. With any luck, we’ll have a few survivors.”

What does she mean by that? I step into her barrier of shielding magic as the ball of light covers us in a protective bubble. In seconds, a blast so powerful it shakes the house: glass shatters, plaster falls from the walls, and the ground vibrates. I can hear whimpering whines beyond our front door, but only a few, followed by groans of pain from people.

My faux mother smiles. “Watch and learn. One day you will have the same power.”

The other side of the threshold reveals many dead people and not the wolves that began attacking moments earlier. Stunned, I realize her power forced them back into their bodies, that they were born in.

“Hybrids,” my mother says. “They walk during the day as any ordinary person, but at night change to wolves. You my dear just witnessed the impact of what my abilities can do. It sends shockwaves so powerful that it slices through structures like it was butter.”

“You killed the entire pack.” I want to shed a tear, to cry, but I must hold them back. If I show her any type of remorse, she will see I haven’t any intension of coming to her dark side of the world.

“Not entirely,” she answers, staring at the remaining wolf still in his animal form.

He’s the one I saw upon the cliffside howling at the moon in preparation of war. His breathing is rapid, and I can see his eyes glaze. He’s in pain, helpless, and we’re at his mercy.

My evil possessed mother comes to kneel down next to him. At first, I think she’s going to finish him off, but instead she runs her fingers through his thick fur. “You’re a strong creature.” Her hand glows again.

“What are you doing?”

“Healing him.”

“So you can kill him later, to be evenly matched? Why? He has no pack. You took that from him.”

“He’s one of us now,” she coos. The delight in her face frightens me.

She’s gone mad. Not that she wasn’t already, but her sick demented way of pulling someone to her side is out of touch with reality. “You think he’s going to forget what you did this day?”

“That’s exactly what is going to happen,” she answers. Closing her eyes she concentrates, adding, “I’m currently finding the damage and healing him. Once he wakes, he will have no memory of today.” She looks into his eyes, saying, “Sleep.”

The wolf shuts his eyes, and his breathing slows, almost to the point of stopping.

“Tomorrow he will have new memories.”

I look around at the other dead bodies. “What about them?”

She appears amused by my question. “Why, you’ll bury them of course.”

I gape. “How am I supposed to do that? We have no hired help.”

“I’ll get Martha to assist you.”

“Martha, my nanny who has trouble climbing stairs?” Anger begins to fill me. “You’re a monster!” I recoil at my outburst, afraid of what she’ll do to me now that I’ve voiced my feelings.

She gives and evil grin. “Why thank you. At least now you’re finally catching on.” She picks up the wolf who is larger than she and carries him effortlessly into the house.

Anger fills my veins, along with fear. Somehow, some way, I will escape her hold on me. It will take careful planning, but I will not be apart of her evil schemes.

I glance down at the dead bodies strewn everywhere, wondering how I’m going to bury them all by myself. This will take me all day. My heart aches for them wondering if they all had families waiting back at home.

I hear a soft moan, and at first, I think someone is coming up from behind me out of the bushes a short distance away, but then I see a finger flinch from the dead pile of bodies.

My mind reels with possibilities of how to escape this place. I can’t let her know my plans. Sarmira has taught me a lot about dark magic these past years. It became more prolific when I turned thirteen. That was nearly five years ago. My birthday is coming up this summer. I don’t want to think of the prospects of what she will do to me after I turn eighteen. All I know is it’s my moment of awakening. Awakening to what exactly? She hasn’t told me much about it. Most of what she has planned, she keeps to herself. I don’t trust her, and my gut tells me it isn’t good.

My problem, where will I go? Shadow walkers lurk everywhere. Beings that are usually a nocturnal hybrid of some sort. A cross between a necromancer and another species. Sarmira has taught me to know that much. One isn’t born into necromancy, it’s learned. Unless of course the bloodline comes straight from Vothule’s lineage, Sarmira’s father.

She told me once about a great battle where the heir to the throne—a necromancer princess was killed by a knight. Sir Bryce Storm ruined any chance for hierarchy to their coven. Vothule is still king, but he seeks to help his dead daughter in finding the right vessel. Well, if my suspicions are correct, they’re plans are to have her hop into my body until the quest for the right bloodline reveals itself. I will not be her puppet.

The only I have—and this came from Sage: she said, each child born receives their gifts at eighteen. And on their birthday at the stroke of midnight, they must choose a side. Good or evil. This has to be what Sarmira is up to. My fear, she plans to possess my soul, like she did my mother’s.

A howl outside my window startles me. Wolves. They don’t normally come this far east. I’m reminded by the werewolf Sarmira killed earlier. Does it have something to do with that, I wonder?

I look out my bedroom window and view the silhouette of a wolf upon a cliff, cry out at the full moon. Several more wolves form behind him and they join in a song of howls. The performance is spectacular, and terrifying in the same breath. “They’ve claimed revenge,” I whisper.

I shut my window. The cool spring breeze is nice, but the thought of one of them jumping through the frame terrifies me. One gash, not a bite, but a slash that breaks the skin, of any living creature will turn to a werewolf.

How could she be so stupid to kill a werewolf on a full moon night? She’s smarter than that. What is her ulterior motive? No this was purposeful. She knew they would come.

I watch through the window, as they charge towards our house. There must be at least a dozen or more.

We don’t have an army here. Nothing to protect us. It’s just my nanny who I have grown to love, Martha, my mother and me.

I have a feeling I won’t survive the night. They will get through the door and have their revenge.

Terrified, I burst through my bedroom door and down the stairs to warn mother, but I find her standing in the hall meditating. She has a smile on her face, and says without breaking her concentration, “This is going to be a wonderful lesson for you, Maura.”

Lesson? We’re under attack and she thinks this is some sort of home school lesson?

The door thuds violently. I can hear the vicious growls from the other side.

“How can you say that? You triggered revenge by killing one of their own. Now we’re going to die.”

“Hardly.” She huffs, keeping her focus. “They won’t get in here if you’re worried. My magic is too powerful. Watch and learn, my daughter.”

Daughter? I think not! Still, I observe her next move.

I catch him glance at me before he looks away. My first instinct is to free him, but I know that isn’t an option. Besides, my mother would skin me alive, and feed the leftovers to the dogs.

“So, you see,” she says, pulling me from my thoughts. Her words make me cringe. “We have plenty to keep us fed through the coming winter.”

More moans sound off, bringing attention to my mother. The noise of their anguish and tortured pain get under my skin. “Come, I’ll show you. This is how we normally quiet them down.”

Grabbing a key from the wall, she takes the man that has tried relentlessly to break free from the cell chamber and places the key in the lock. She points. “See this one? He’s going to give me trouble. Perhaps now is the time to free him.”

Is she really going to let him go?

With the flick of her wrist, she suspends the man motionless, only his eyes move. “First, you keep them immobile.” She unlocks the cell door, and we walk inside. “Then you open his mouth like this.” She pinches his jaw, forcing it open. “These creatures are quite the delicacies. Of course, the human variety are best of all. But this hybrid half wolf half man will do.”

She moves towards his lips but doesn’t kiss them, instead she takes in a deep breath, and I witness his very skin begin to dry out.

I’m horrified at what’s happening. “Mom, stop, you’re killing him.”

She breaks away from the man, and turns, glaring at me, her eyes glowing blue. “Perhaps you should try.”

Horrified, I take a step backwards. “No. I’m not hungry.”

“Very well.” She tilts her head studying my reaction. “I see you’re not ready. You will be. You’re eighteenth birthday will be here soon. By then you will know how to pull the essence from your victims.”

“Why are you doing this?”

“My daughter have I not taught you anything?” She drops the man, and he falls to the floor, who is too weak to stand.

I step backwards more. “Please, mother. I’m sorry. I promise I’ll learn how to do it. I’m honestly not hungry right now,” I lie again.

Mother stiffens, and I know deep down she doesn’t believe me. “Very well.” She turns back around saying, “We can’t have food going to waste, now, can we?” Picking the man up like a ragdoll she finishes him off, until his dehydrated skin clings to his bones.

I want to run away, get out of there as fast as I can, but I know that isn’t going to happen. This isn’t the mother I remember. No, this is the malevolent wraith that tried to possess me as a little girl. My real mother saved me that day. Ever since then, I’ve been trapped here with her—the wraith in the mirror. She calls herself Sarmira. I don’t think she would ever harm me but seeing what she just did to that poor man, has me rethinking my options.

Shortly after my mother took on the wraith –this thing possessing her, who came from the mirror, my father suspiciously died, and I have my theories. Mother said he fell over the cliff and into the ocean, but after seeing this I have no doubt in my mind, that this evil entity ate him. I still call her mother out loud for fear of what she will do to me. She doesn’t know I see her true identity – she’s Sarmira.

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