Thanks to Lori Connelly for this brilliant idea! Here is a story told in parts across the blogs of authors throughout October who’ve gathered about a virtual camp fire to share a story. My part below is the end of the story so “SPOILER ALERT!” don’t read it unless you’ve gone in and read all the others.
The story so far…
Regina reached out a hand to hold Chance back as he tried to grasp her arm, wishing she knew how to be a witch; she had no knowledge. How to fight a spirit? Not even, how to become a witch.
His fingers passed right through her arm.
“Damn it.” The words carried anger, but he looked at his fingers before looking at her. There was something else in his eyes. Confusion? “Regina? Who told you?”
Regina curled her fingers into fists, her heart thumping wildly. Grey smoke was still seeping from the basket on the floor beside them, and flashes of blue light came from it but there were no sounds now. She couldn’t look. She had to focus on Chance.
“Grandma came back to me in the hospital, she told me. And Lily told me what you want.”
“Believe in me, Regina. Don’t listen to them. We could do amazing things. Marry me, and you could have, and do, anything…”
What was anything? “Do you want us to rule the world like some kind of crazy arch super-villains? You sound stupid Chance.”
She liked the idea of being a witch, the Queen of Witches, but not to cast evil spells.
“Come to me.” He beckoned with his fingers, looking exactly like one of the villains from an X-Men movie, even in his tux, as if any moment a random part of his body would reveal claws, or burst into flames, or something. The whole scene was cut straight from a comic book horror, or sci-fi, with the basket still rustling on the floor, glowing and seeping smoke.
She couldn’t move.
The bracelet coiling about her arm and finger got tighter, as if Chance pulled her towards him. She stepped back in denial, her gaze dropping to the book beneath his foot. The letters in its title were glowing like an iron brand straight from a forge, Incantations and Spells.
If Chance’s hand had passed through her arm just now, he was losing his power. Was he returning to a spirit world? “Believe in me.” If she didn’t want him, if she didn’t believe him, would he just cease to be and disappear?
“Regina…” He said her name like he knew what she was thinking, but before he had time to second guess her anymore she reached down and grasped the book from beneath his foot. When her arm passed through him it felt like breath on her skin.
The wicker basket was rustling and jolting on the floor, brushing against the bare boards as it shook. Blue light still flashed from it, but the smoke seeping out through the wicker was now white.
Regina straightened, her heart pumping in the deep rhythmic pulse of a baseline. She clutched the book to her chest. It felt like it belonged against her. She was regaining what was hers. “Regina…” Chance drew her attention back to him. He looked translucent now. His power was dying. “Take my hand.” He held it out.
“No!” Regina turned to see Lily.
“Mum?” She was standing behind her. The door to the house was open and outside silver moonlight glistened on damp grass.
“If you take his hand, in the witches’ world you’ll be married. Don’t take it!”
“It was your Grandma’s spirit that sent the force to push you away from this house. She wanted time to tell you who you really are. Then she visited me and warned me you’d be coming back. She sensed you like Chance. It’s your choice, but I’d take the book, and not Chance. He represents everything evil. If you want to be like your Grandma? Be a good witch.”
“You think you’re so damned clever!”
Regina turned back, looking at Chance, and was hit by a rush of energy, it flowed into her with the force of a twenty-foot wave as he threw himself at her except it was air and not water which swept into her and through her. It knocked her to the floor as the wicker basket broke into a million bits of straw, spinning on the wind. She was trapped inside it as it became a powerful tornado. Regina’s fingertips gripped the soft leather of the book as words spilled from her lips, words she didn’t even understand, like the book was writing them from its pages onto her soul, and odd images danced around her, a strange alphabet of glowing letters, as the battle of winds and power and strength raged.
Her lips kept moving… Whispering… whispering.
Then all of a sudden she was caught up in the wind and spun a dozen times. Her words ended and the wind died, and she was unceremoniously dumped on the dusty wooden boards, feeling battered and bruised, but like she was wired into an electric socket as energy tingled through her nerves.
A church bell outside started striking midnight, and the sound echoed in to the dark room. Her mother’s shadow, cast by the moonlight coming through the open door, stretched across the floor boards. There was a second longer shadow.
Regina looked up. “Cha… Who?” The man was naked, but it wasn’t Chance, he had jet black hair and eyes that even though it was dark shined like light through a glass of whiskey.
“Take my hand?” He held it out as another strike of the church bell echoed into the room.
Sinuous ridges and hollows cut muscular lines in his naked chest. Regina’s breath caught in her lungs.
Another chime rang out and he came down onto one knee near her. “I’m Karma. Chance tricked me like he tricked you. Your mother protected me years ago and changed me into a cat. It’s time for us both to be free and accept our fate. Take my hand, Regina, be my wife?”
She didn’t know this man, but she’d known Karma. She’d loved Karma. That cat had been made for her… Literally. Smiling she took his hand. Instantly the silver chain about her arm moved, slithering like a snake to wrap about his finger and wrist too.
“My wife,” he said, a moment before his mouth came down onto hers, in a strong hard kiss…