Note: Yes, I should be in bed. It’s ten past four in the morning, but I just HAD to post this now. 🙂
This short story is a prequel to the untitled novel about witches that I’ll start writing during NaNoWriMo. It takes place in 2006 and is told from Caitlin’s POV. Caitlin is 15, Vivian and Olivia are 17. The novel itself starts in 2010, when Caitlin is 19.
Olivia is insane if she thinks I’m going to let her do this. If anything goes wrong, who knows what could happen? She could die, she could set fire to the forest, or I could die because I’ll be hidden behind a tree, watching her perform her most dangerous spell yet.
Well, second most dangerous spell yet.
Olivia has reached the place where Vivian disappeared a year ago today. I hide behind a large tree and consider my options. I could tell her it’s a bad idea, but she wouldn’t listen. I could use my magic to stop her, but with the way her magic has taken over her, she’d have no problem getting rid of me. I’m a fly compared to her.
My best bet would probably be to pick up a rock and knock her out.
And then she’d wake up and kick my ass.
I sigh. I can’t even call Mom and Dad—they’ll think I’m insane if I start talking about magic, spells and opening portals to alternate dimensions.
“I know you’re there,” Olivia says.
Damn. I reveal myself and Olivia is crouched down, arranging sticks and stones into a circle for the portal. “Then you know I think this is bad idea.”
“And you know you can’t stop me, so go back home. I don’t want you here.” She stands up, pulls a knife from her pocket and turns to face me. “I mean it, Caitlin. This is dangerous.”
“Exactly,” I say. “I refuse to let you do this—what if you die? What if the portal sucks you up? Have you even considered the consequences?”
She purses her lips. “I can’t leave her there. She’s already spent a year there, which could be a hundred years for her. And I don’t even know what’s in that dimension. It could be hell.”
“And it just as well could be…a nice alternate dimension.”
Olivia shakes her head. “The spell I was doing wasn’t going to open a nice dimension.” She turns her back to me, and I know it’s because she’s about to cry. “I have to save her. Go home.”
“No. If you’re really going to do this, then I’m going to help you. My magic might not be as powerful as yours, but it could help.”
“I’m sorry,” she says before turning around and muttering, “Cogo.”
Green goo shoots from her hands and pushes me back, ties me to a tree. I struggle and say, “Don’t do this.” I draw the magic from deep inside me and force it through the skin on my arms—it fizzes against the goo, but doesn’t burn it like acid and free me, like I’d hoped it would.
“You’re right, I should send you home.” She waves a hand and the goo vanishes. She says, “Transporto” and I’m back in my room.
I almost shout, but I can’t risk waking up Mom and Dad.
Dammit. She knows I can’t do teleportation spells, and I don’t have enough time to get back there by foot before she starts the spell. And shit. My bike is in the forest. If only I were a year older, and was daring enough to steal the Dad’s car keys.
Okay, Caitlin: think. First option: go to bed, pretend you have no idea your sister is opening a portal to an alternate dimension. Second option: learn a teleportation spell and teleport to the forest to… To do what? I can’t stop her.
But I can bring a first-aid kit, because I’m sure she doesn’t have one. Olivia probably thinks she can heal herself with a spell, but opening a portal will leave her weak.
I rub my face—how can someone two years older than me be so stupid? I mean does she really think she’s powerful enough to pull it off on her own?
I go to Olivia’s room and head for her desk. I turn her desk lamp on, open the last drawer, remove the false bottom and pull out her spellbook. I flip the pages until I find the spell I need. Olivia only needed to say “Send” in Latin to teleport me home, but the first time you need to carve the most complicated symbol into the palm of your hand.
If I do it correctly, it’ll heal when I’ve teleported. If not… I check the book. Well that’s reassuring. They don’t say what can go wrong.
I’m running out of time, so I put the book on her desk and go fetch my personal spell knife as well as the first-aid kit. “Mundo,” I say and my knife is clean.
I open the book to the right page and put a paperweight to keep it open. Gripping the knife in my left hand, I take a deep breath. This has to be perfect.
The knife pierces my skin. “Ow.” But I keep going. And I whimper the entire time.
When I’m finally done, I put my knife into its sheath and take a deep breath. I can do this—this will not go wrong.
I press the palm of my bloody hand on the skin above my heart, grab the first-aid kit with my left and say, “Silva transporto.”
It works, but I’m far from Olivia. I can’t even feel the magic of her spell. I take a second to check my palm—completely healed—and start running.
When I reach Olivia, her back faces me and she’s a shadow surrounded by a white light. Roots are wrapped around her wrists and though I can’t see it, I know there’s blood on the grass.
“Stop,” I yell and keep running, only to be thrown back by some sort of forcefield. “No!”
I get my knife out and stab it through the forcefield—it bends my knife in half. Dammit. I hit the forcefield with my hands. “Olivia, stop the spell, now.”
She keeps chanting. The ground shakes and I fall backwards. I get up. “How do you even know it’s the right dimension?”
She ignores me, her head hung low, still chanting. Or maybe she can’t even hear me.
Then she screams.
“Olivia? What’s going on, Liv?”
I’m frozen. Drops of blood, Olivia’s no doubt, are suspended in the air. The only sound is the portal ripping open—it’s the fabric of reality tearing.
Then I come to my senses. “Olivia, stop it now! Please.” I hit the forcefield, kick it, bash tree-branches against it. Nothing. “Please.” I sink to my knees and gasp.
The ground trembles.
I stand, wrap my arms around a tree and, as the portal is shrieking open, I yell, “Please, it’s not too late! You can still close it.”
My heart speeds up when Liv turns around—her face illuminated by the magic has never looked so dark: dilated pupils, veins standing out and sweat, or tears, dripping off her face.
“Liv, you’re scaring me…” Tears form and fall thick and fast.
“I have to save her,” she says. She turns back to the portal, finishes the spell and waits.
The portal is the size of a door and on the other side is a vast, reddish landscape. People, or demons, move around, then one spots Olivia and comes charging towards the portal.
She chants again and I hear Vivian’s name. But she’ll never be able to locate Vivian—the demon is getting closer with each word she screams at the portal.
The demon and Vivian appear at the same time.
Olivia pulls Vivian out, back into our dimension, and the demon pulls Olivia in.
The portal closes.
“What happened?” Vivian says, then collapses.
Olivia is gone.
“I don’t know,” I whisper. “I don’t know.”