Observations: Now this is more like it. This was far more fun. Hopefully, if you read it, you’ll think so too. Making stuff up, now that’s fun. 😉
Total word count: 39,579
You can read previous sections here.
As my brain slowly reconstructs, I think I hear someone sobbing and then realize it’s me. Anton’s arms are wrapped around me, holding me tightly, whispering words in Swedish that I presume are meant to console.
“Tell me what happened? Why are you crying so? Was the sex that bad?” he asks.
The light from kitchen sends a sliver of gold across his face, showing the feeling in his eyes. In previous times, have we always been doomed lovers, and by doomed, I mean dead, not just losing love?
I sit up, pulling the comforter up to my shoulders, still unable to rid my mind of the devastating images.
“I had a flash of images, Anton. It was like I could see a couple —us— throughout time. We’d be together and then we’d die. In horrible ways. I don’t know if any of it’s true or if our future will be that… We died in a fire, Anton. A fire, like at the stake.” I bring my knees up to my chest and rest my forehead on them, feeling a shiver course down my spine at the anguish we must have suffered.
His hand kneads the back of my neck. He’s quiet, too quiet. The only thing I hear is owl still sending out its call, but the owl sounds different to me now, almost human.
He tries to pull me against him, but I don’t want that. I am afraid. I am afraid that those images will be us. I am afraid of losing him in a horrible fire and of losing myself. And it’s all too soon and unimaginable that I could care about him fiercely. It’s as if centuries of emotions are tangled between us.
“We are bound now,” he says in a voice that means it should have some significance to me.
I whirl my head around to look into his eyes. “What in the hell does that me? We are bound? Am I supposed to understand that?”
“Even though I didn’t think it possible, we are the Light Union and tonight, upon consummation, we became bound to each other.”
I roll my eyes. “Do you even hear yourself? That’s a lot of mumbo jumbo, you know? I am not bound to you. I’m not bound to anyone. I’m my own person and I will continue to be my own person.”
I dart into the bathroom and flip the knob to turn on the shower. I glance in the mirror, expecting to see an angry image of myself reflected there but not the streaks of silvery hair throughout my ginger tresses.
Throwing a towel around me, which strikes me as funny considering the man in my bed has already seen me buck naked, but I am always self-conscious about my body, I return to the bedroom to see that the Swede doesn’t share my modesty concerns as he’s standing naked in front of the dresser mirror, examining the silver streaks through his own hair.
He turns toward me. “This is proof,” he says, his fingers reaching out to grab the silvery streak in my hair.
Proof? Proof that we’re bound to each other. I flounce on the bed, realize I left the shower running and then go to turn it off. When I return, I stare at him, feeling something like a pressure deep inside of me, a caring that’s too soon for me to feel.
“I guess you’d better explain to me what it means to be bound and what exactly this Light Union thing is,” I say, grabbing my sleepshirt and slipping it on.
There was a time when witches ruled the earth although the tribal chiefs pretended they ruled. The witches were powerful and necessary. They could heal and predict the future. They could harness time, stopping it, if needed. They could protect their tribes with power that no mortals could witness. The light witches were good. They sought to create harmony with Gaia and bring good to their tribes, prosperity, health, wisdom.
Yet others were born who were dark. They absorbed evil powers and became dark witches who could cast spells to make the lands of their enemies less fruitful. They could make the women in enemy tribes barren. They wrought evil and their powers increased to such an enormous degree that no one could control them. Even the light witches could not always fend off the evil of the dark. The dark witches sometimes perished through their own hand, not by suicide, but by trying to gain more power from other witches.
This is when witch slayers came into being. We grew out of a tribe of magic, light magic. We began to possess our own powers, powers so strong that they could take on the darkness and defeat it. We became a force of good to equalize a darkening time.
Over the centuries, we became a background, only rising to the surface when needed, if witches strayed. We continued to hone our powers. Some of us are very strong. We may possess powers that even we are unaware of in order to battle darkness.
We can become preternaturally stronger if we embark on a Light Union, which is when a strong light witch and a strong witch slayer bond. Unfortunately, this union usually occurs at the same time that a great evil has come into the world. It can be a single person, an army, a coven, or even many separate factions of evil. I believe you understand where I’m going with this.
Sophie nods. Anton wants to reach out because her eyes show so much fear. She’s his now as he is hers. They are bound for the length of their natural lives, although time has shown that they are bound for far longer.
She saw images of them together. He wonders what those images were that they could have frightened her to such a degree. Burning, she said. Yes, sometimes the humans would catch them unaware. Out of fear, the humans kill. It’s their first instinct.
He does not mention that he saw images of them together, but not their death. He saw their laughter and passion, their playfulness and found he wanted that. He saw them sitting in a field, yellow flowers burgeoning around them, her head in his lap, her belly full, and he was happy. So happy that it was like the sun filled him. He saw a future they might have. But he also saw a blight that he couldn’t fathom.
I am in his arms again, listening to him talk about our past, the past of his kind and my kind. He tells it as if it’s a story he’s heard as one would hear a bedtime story. His fingers splay through my hair, my streaky hair, and I am lulled and almost feel safe here with him now.
Moira runs into the room and jumps on the bed. Her hackles are raised.
“Guys, we’ve got company in the woods.”
“Company? What are you talking about?”
“Three different groups out there who don’t know anything about each other, but they are all focused on us. You guys set off some hefty power,” Moira says before licking Anton on the cheek.
Immediately he’s standing, pulling on his jeans. “Tell me what she said.”
I explain about the intruders in the woods. He yanks his cell phone from his back pocket and checks for messages.
“Damn,” he says.
“What?” I ask as I dress.
He laughs, but the light doesn’t reach his eyes. When he speaks, his words sound bitter. He already regrets what we’ve done. “We made a power burst.”
“Moira said we set off some hefty power. Is that what she meant? Our sex created power?”
His eyes are serious and strangely sweet as they look at me. I feel myself wanting to lean into him, feel his palm cup my jaw, but this is so the wrong time for sweet caresses. Frankly, I don’t know what kind of time it is.
“My brother may be one of those in the woods.”
Moira nods. “The European from before. Ask him if his brother has been local for these past two months.”
I ask Anton. He shrugs. “My brother sometimes goes rogue. He thinks he can save the world. He’s a couple of years younger than me and is certain that I will screw up and fall in love with a witch…” His words drift off and I look up at him, but he glances away. There’s a vulnerability to his expression that makes my heart ache.
“We’ve got one brother, one sister…”
“Sister?” I ask Moira.
“Your dark sister is out there.”
“Crap, Isla’s out there…in the woods with your brother.”
Anton’s sigh is resigned. “And the third group?”
“My guess would be that English dude you were flirting with and his posse,” Moira says to me.
“Does that make sense?” I ask, but Moira shrugs.
“I’m a familiar not a fortune teller,” she says.
“Moira thinks it’s Heath Lawrence.”
“Mr. Black Ops.”
“But, why?” I ask.
“The power surge, Sophia. I thought he might have been here for the same reason as I was, but I think now he was here because of your sister. Isla started to generate power after she stopped taking the power binding tea. Those power blips showed up. That must be why my brother came to the area earlier.”
All three of us start when a loud fist bangs on the front door.
“Come out, traitorous bitch sister!”
end of Day 23