Love’s Sacrifice

“Love should be celebrated not punished,” Angie said shoving the tip of her wand to the high priestesses throat. “You will help me break this curse or you’ll die.”

“You’d really blacken your soul with murder to be with that creature?”

“Ethan isn’t a creature. We love each other more that you’ll ever know. You separated us, just because he’s not a witch too.”

“If he was human, there wouldn’t have been a serious problem, but he’s a vampire a creature of the night. We’re of the light and cannot consort with such beings. It’s against our laws. You were removed from the temptation before more severe measures would have to be taken.”

“Now, I can only be in the sunlight and he can only be in the moonlight. Never to see each other again, but you’re going to change that.”

She said nothing, but the defiance in her eyes was easy enough to read. I’d seen that look on my own face enough times to recognize it.

A few murmured words and she was unconscious. With her wand she drew a protective circle around the Priestesses unconscious body, that would not only keep anything from harming her, but keep her from leaving. She picked up the book and quickly gathered her ingredients. There was only a small window of opportunity to perform this type of spell in the daytime, when even the shadows hid from this realm.

She returned to a conscious Priestess. “What are you… no. You can’t be serious. You’re going to sacrifice me!”

Angie ignored her and started the prep work needed for the spell.

“Please listen to me. If he loved you he would care enough about your soul not to make you do this.”

“I haven’t talked to Ethan in a month. Do you know how hard it is to be able to FaceTime someone you love and know that you’ll never feel his touch ever again? Know that he can’t be there to hold you and tell you that it’s okay when you need it the most? It’s the worst punishment you ever could have given us. It’s easier not talking to him. So, don’t you dare say he doesn’t love me.”

“Vampire witch relationships are forbidden for a reason. They always end in bloodshed.”

“That’s bullshit. You’re just scared that we’ll blend our magic and be more powerful than you,” Angie said studying the Priestess. “See, that fear in your eyes tells it all. That’s why you ruthlessly separate any witch who loves a vampire. Fear, and you should be afraid. I’m going to strip you of your power and lift the curse myself. Then Ethan and I will disappear.”

“If you even want anything to do with him after you cast that spell. Black magic changes people. You won’t be the same person that he fell in love with.”

“Shut up!”

“You’ll both die for nothing. A blip in our history books as an example of why vampire and witch bonds are forbidden.”

“No, you’ll die to bring us together,” she said and picked up the spell book. She didn’t like touching it, it whispered to her. Made her think of things she’d never dreamed of, dark thinks. She started to say what she needed to for the spell, but she couldn’t get the words out. No matter what the book tried to coax her to do, it didn’t feel right. . She collapsed by the circle and threw the book across the room. She was blinded by her tears. Now she’d never be with Ethan ever again and the witches were probably going to kill her anyway.

“Angie, are you okay. I think you stopped it. Every thing’s fine,” the High Priestess said from her magical prison.

“It’s not okay,” Angie said dropping the barrier. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened. I would ask for mercy, but after what I’ve done I don’t deserve it. Just don’t punish Ethan. He didn’t know what I was doing. I swear, he had no idea. Please, please just don’t hurt him,” she said starting to sob again.

The High Priestess knelt beside Angie. “You were tested, both of you. You’ve proven your love for each other and your intentions. We’d like to make you an offer.”

“What are you talking about? Tested?”

“You were given a book of the darkest magic and you resisted it, even knowing that it could reunite you with Ethan again if you used it.”

“You tormented us all this time on purpose for a test?” Angie yelled.

“It was necessary. Do you want to hear our offer?”

Her face was slowly turning red. She let out a breath, crossed her arms over her chest, and nodded. Not trusting herself enough to speak.

“We’ll make you both human. Strip you of your magic and let you live a normal human life together.”

“What’s the catch?”

“No catch. You keep your memories. You keep your pasts to yourself. Have a normal human life together.”

Angie was surprised. She’d never heard of anything like that before and she’d researched reversing Ethan’s condition for months. They knew from their people’s history that if he tried to turn her she’d die. Now she wondered how much of that was true?

“It sounds good to me, but I’ll need to talk it over with Ethan first.” The High Priestess laughed.

“What?”

“That’s exactly what Ethan said.”

I’d give up my magic for Ethan in a heartbeat, but could I ask him to give up his immortality?

Desperation and Death

Death came for me with both hands. This was something I’d been training for my entire life, but people telling you that you’ll face Death, with a capital D, and facing Death are two very different things.

They didn’t prepare me for the cold. Sharp, burning iciness radiated into me, leeching my warmth where his hands gripped my throat. “Your time is up Sonya. Your name’s on my list. You’ll be reaped, just like the others,” Death said. His voice was enticing, like a sweet ice tea on a scorching hot summer day, tempting you to embrace the coldness.

“Sorry, that doesn’t work for me,” I rasped. My fist caught his jaw, only succeeding in knocking down his hood and probably breaking a knuckle.

He laughed and I glared into his eyes. They were so light, almost white. You could see great sorrow there. It almost made me feel sorry for what I was about to do, almost.

I kicked him in the stones as hard as I could, while sweeping my arms across his to break the hold he still had on my throat.

His laughter shook my entire body. “Do you think Death feels pain? You can’t physically harm me. Just give into it and this will be much easier for both of us.”

“Fine, I’ll give into my baser instincts.” My head dropped back and my eyes glowed with the tell, tell signs of something otherworldly.

“A lycanthrope? They are getting desperate to catch me. It doesn’t matter, you’ll die just like the rest.”

I tried to finish the change, but my energy was depleted. If I didn’t transform soon I was going to die.

“Having trouble are we?”

“You could just help us you know?”

“I’m bound by the Laws of Nature.”

“I’m honor bound to change your mind one way or another.”

“You will die first.”

“You really don’t care that they’re slaughtering thousands for their own entertainment?” He said nothing, but his grip loosened a little. “You’re one of the most powerful beings still around. You’re too powerful for someone to control, even my people. Power corrupts. So, if you’d just help…”

“I can’t. I wish I could help you,” he said as his grip tightened and the cold intensified. “I’m sorry.”

You know that saying, if you back a dog into a corner it’s going to bite? I was weak from my partial change and on the brink of death. I needed an external power source to fuel my change. Normally, that would be from the pack or the moon. Death severed those links. My heart faltered and something snapped into place. The only available power source was Death, and somehow I used it. Focusing on the painless void until it was mine. The power seemed endless, healing me, and replenishing my lost life. I reveled in it. Then there was nothing, but the echoes of power lingering in me.

“What the hell did you do?”

“Look, I can’t hurt you. You can’t kill me. You can help me now or I can follow you around forever pissing you off at every opportunity until you help us. Either way you’re going to help me. One just has a substantially less body count.”

“Seriously, what the hell did you do?” he repeated.

She grinned at him.

“I could probably figure out how to kill you.”

“By that time you’d miss me. So, you couldn’t do it.”

“Doubtful,” he said dryly. “I have to warn you, when the Laws of Nature are broken the consequences are unpredictable.”

“Honey, I’m a walking example of what happens when the Laws of Nature are broken. We have a tyrant to overthrow.”

Secrets, Lies, and Death Trains

I wail a name and they die. I’m a banshee, that’s what I do. Chasing after a Death Train, in pumps, isn’t a typical job requirement. Here I was, praying not to trip, trying to catch up to my date. A low moan came from the train signaling it’s next pick up. Not that it would stop, death stopped for no one.  I reached out for the back rail of the train. I could feel the coldness radiating from the train before I even touched it.

“Man this is going to suck,” Nora said and grabbed the rail. Searing coldness raced up her arm across her body, beyond pain. Beyond anything she could have prepared herself for. She was paralyzed from it. Her legs were being dragged behind the train. She could feel each cut as it happened, but it didn’t hurt. It was a pleasant numbness. Like nothing mattered, everything was fine.

Through the fog a thought was trying to form. No, that’s not right. Something’s wrong. I can’t think. She focused her power and was rewarded with thought and punished by feeling. She fought to pull herself up over the railing. She landed with a thud, out of breath, and shoe-less. “Damn, I loved those shoes.”

She got up and stalked through the cars looking for Daniel’s soul. She was the only corporeal being on the entire train, except for the conductor. That should have creeped her out, but being an assassin for the underworld made her all too comfortable with death.

This wasn’t my worst first date if you can believe that. Close, but you don’t know crazy until you date a Reaper. Lets just say running into an ex on a first date with a Reaper should be avoided. Seriously.

She found him in the last car, sitting straight ahead waiting for his final destination, just like all the rest.

It was hard for her not to help them all, but it was the natural cycle of things. Everyone dies, even banshees. She had to correct her mistake.

“Daniel, can you hear me?” He said nothing. She put her hand over where his heart would be and two fingers between his eyes. She drew her power to her again, but this time she filled him with them, more, and more until his soul began to scream. Then she gave it everything she had. A burst of energy exploded between them, throwing her into the seats across from him. When she looked over at him he had a body and he was terrified.

“What are you?”

I could lie or go with the truth and b.s. my way out of it later. Hmm…

“I’m a Banshee. You were dead. Something that I had nothing to do with,” Nora said. Okay, maybe a little b.s. now too. “I’m trying to bring you back to the land of the living. We have to go before we’re noticed.”

“Who dares enter my train!”

“Damn, it’s not my day. Be quiet and stay right there. Don’t move. We don’t need to draw any attention to you. I’m going to distract him and you’re going to get off the train. Don’t touch anything. Okay?”

His eyes were wide. I don’t know if he understood me or not. I didn’t have time for repeats. Odds were pretty slim of us surviving anyway.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you My Lord. I’m Nora, Banshee of the First Order,” she said bowing.

“Yes, I know who you are. Why are you on my train?”

“I’ve heard so much about you, Son of Charon. I’ve admire your work and I was hoping you could show me the engine room?” I said batting my eyelashes.

He tilted his head and looked at me. It was intense. Daniel needed to wait a few more minutes before he makes his move. Or not, she thought. Daniel screamed running down the aisle. He didn’t  make it far before he was frozen mid yell.

“How did a human get on my train? He wouldn’t have been able to survive it in tact. You tell me how he’s on the train and I won’t kill him.”

Her heart rate intensified. She was on the verge of a panic attack, but she couldn’t afford that right now she needed to play it cool. A believable lie that wouldn’t betray her secret.

“You see,” Nora started.

“Lie to me and you both die.”

If she told him the truth at least Daniel would live. She owed him that.

She took a deep breath and sat in a seat defeated, motioning for him to sit too. When he did she said, “I’m a banshee. I wail a name the Underworld gives me and they die. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right?” She looked up at him. “I can alter peoples destines by wailing a different name. I can choose who dies.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Explain my date then. I accidentally said his name when I was given another and here I am talking to you.”

“If you wailed his name, how is he alive?”

Double damn. “I may be able to revive a soul, under the right circumstances.” She ran her hands through her hair and sighed. “Someone’s probably getting ready to wail my name now. Please make sure he gets back safe?”

He studied her for what seemed like forever before he said, “You’re shielded from their magic here. No, one can hear us.”

I don’t like the sound of that. He’s looking at me with too much interest.

“Nothing nefarious, so stop looking at me like that. I have a job for you.”