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Go south the voice had said, and now Betony was wondering if she was just going mad from all the years of seclusion. Maybe it was beginning to take its toll, and madness was winning over. But she felt more empowered, and at peace with herself, the farther down the coast she drove. She finally stopped somewhere in Virginia as her body was about to give out. Even with the magic coursing through her veins, it just wasn’t enough to keep on going. Everything she had ever loved was gone now. It was frightening, but at the same time she felt free for the first time in her life.
She couldn’t take another step, nor could she think clearly as the tears threatened to block her vision. She took the next exit and looked for a dive. It was just a flea bag motel in the middle of nowhere, but she found it was just enough. The manager had let her pay cash, which meant there wouldn’t be a paper trail to follow. Betony decided that she would need a few days to process not only the previous days events, but where she would go. Luckily money had never been an issue, so that was one less worry for her troubled mind. She didn’t know where the money came from, but it was in a never ending supply.
So much had happened, and Betony just didn’t know what to do. She tried to sleep, but sleep wouldn’t come as her mind raced about the events she had witnessed, and the odd voice that she had heard. Was it trying to guide her? Was it a spell her father had placed upon her? What was south? She hadn’t lived in the south since she was six years old. Betony couldn’t even remember what it had been like, or even what their old house had looked like.
She barely remembered the fateful day when she had created a glowing ball of fire out of thin air. It was hot and bright, yet it did not burn her skin. Betony remembered the energy pricking at her skin as the ball grew in size, and the icy feeling when her father extinguished it with his magic. A tear escaped now as she looked back to the time when she was allowed to use her power freely as long as she didn’t harm anyone. It was encouraged of most children so that they may learn to control their power. The community was a safe haven for the supernatural, yet they had left, and she was never told why.
Betony gave up on trying to sleep, and opened the bag with her emergency belongings. As she dumped the contents on the bed she stumbled upon a rather old-looking envelope. It was still sealed and it held her name on the outside. She immediately started to feel the pain deep in her heart as she tore into the envelope and revealed its contents. Odd enough there were more envelopes inside, one addressed to her and another to George Skyland in South Carolina. Was the voice guiding her back home to South Carolina? Regardless she would see that whatever was in this envelope was placed directly in the hands of Mr. Skyland. Betony couldn’t save her parents, nor could she bring them back, but she would make sure this envelope made it home.
It was another muggy night in South Carolina, but Liam was on vacation for the whole month and he was going to enjoy every moment. It was nice not having to worry about his father, and it’s not like there had been any incidents recently. But something felt off, something was coming, he could feel it like the thickness of the air on his skin. He would have to visit the oracle. Yes, she would know if something – or someone – was headed their way.
Liam removed his clothing and without another thought shifted into a breathtaking wolf. All that remained of his human features were his blazing green eyes. He ran quickly to Mrs. O’Nally’s house, stopping only to try to catch any off scents, but he found nothing out of the ordinary. The Corporation hadn’t breached the communities defenses.
It had been years since their last attempt. He feared that the town council was growing lax in the town defenses. There was little actually stopping the Corporation from waltzing in and capturing them all. Liam had pleaded with his father, but the answer had been “no.” “Why do we need more defense? It’s been years since they last tried to break through.” Sure his father had been correct, but if they tried now they would have a difficult time holding them off. Heaven help us if they come in with a large force. Liam shivered at the thought of his family and friends being taken into captivity – forced to rot in magical prisons, betray their kind, or there was always death.
The Corporation had too much control over the magical world. They made the laws, gave false peace, but worst of all they collected power to use against their own kind. Six and Twenty was a free community – one of the few, and they had refused to bend to the Corporations will. It never stopped them from trying to invade, yet it had been quiet these past years. Only one or two coming, which Liam believed was to test their defenses. A war was coming, but this community wasn’t prepared.
Mrs. O’Nally was on her front porch, rocking without a care in the world, when he arrived. “You feel it too, Liam?” He let out a soft whine as she patted his head. “Something is coming, but it isn’t all danger.” She spoke gently to calm his anxiety. “We will have a visitor soon enough, my dear. Something that was once lost, yes, yes, powerful, and unique, but lacking guidance and control.” She spoke as her eyes rolled back into her head. Mrs. O’Nally was old as the dirt itself. Wise, yes, but she had never been wrong. Her spirit and magic had been touched by the Phoenix. She had been chosen before birth to guide the Phoenix children, and in doing so had felt much loss and pain. “Yes, Liam, a Phoenix is coming. She will need us as much as we need her. Be ready.”
Logan had been on her tail since he turned 18 and ran away from home. They had taken away everything from him, and they wouldn’t take her too. He had known when he was younger, when she was younger, that they were meant to be together. No, they wouldn’t stand for his tainted blood, so the old bat found a way to strip him of the Phoenix, and then as a slap in the face she had imbued his little brother. Logan was forced to watch as the community went mad, and forgot that he had been a true Phoenix child. It was if they all forgot, and then they had sent his Betty away when she turned 16, when she had turned from a little girl into a young woman. It was like pouring salt of his bleeding wounds. He could, he would live without his power, but he would surely perish without his heart.
He was still a witch at least, and if all went well he would get one of those blood suckers to turn him. If he couldn’t fulfill the prophecy than he would live forever until it did. Logan pulled on a glamour to change his image, and was thankful that he had the ability to fool those around him. Very few could see through, and even then they could only pick up on some similarities. Betty never seemed to see him, and that all but broke his heart.
The one hope Logan held onto was that she would remember him, but when he first encountered her in New York she didn’t show a single sign of knowing who he was or what they had once had. He shivered at the thought of what this could mean as their souls should have been drawn to each other no matter what disguise he used. She always found him before, and she told him it was his heart calling to her. It meant what he couldn’t face: he no longer held his heart within hers. No, it’s not over yet, I still have time.
Betony finally dozed off around 3 AM, though she continued to cry and sob as she slept. The nightmare consumed her at once. “It has been done my lady.” And unknown voice spoke to her, but she couldn’t speak or move. She tried to scream as she saw the destruction surrounding her. Bodies scattered the earth and the only light was from the world set a blaze. “The secret will remain safe now.” The words coolly left her mouth. “They asked for it, and were given fair warning. The Corporation will be pleased.” She hissed at the dashing vampire whose mouth was covered in blood. He took her hand, and held it to his heart. She let out a girlish giggle that disgusted her, though she knew it was because this meant the Corporation had won. “Come, my love. Let us move on. The sun will be up soon, and we haven’t much more time.” Love echoed in her mind…And as they parted she noted that a slight sheen of flame licked at his pale skin.
Her nightmare flashed forward to a small town. “You were warned time and again to follow the rules. How many warnings did you think we’d give you before we took action.” She bellowed to the townsfolk. Her eyes scanned the crowd as if seeking someone, but she didn’t recognize any of the people. No one even stood out to her until he walked into the room. He looked defeated, broken, and there were tears in his eyes. He shook his head at her, she didn’t know why, but she wanted to comfort this man who appeared aged beyond his appearance. Instead her dream form summoned the fire. The gut wrenching screams filled the air as the smoke rose from her burning victims. “Now you must pay the price for your defiance.” The stranger stood his ground as the flames licked at his body, and suddenly a smoke-filled haze swirled around him. In a flash he was gone.
She awoke drenched in sweat, heart pounding, and in a total daze. Betony scrambled to write her dream down as she had always done. This dream was different, new and overly frightening. The evil that she had done chilled her to the bone. How could she murder innocent people, people just trying to survive? Ah but she had mentioned the Corporation. Had the dream served as a warning? With that thought she was quickly dressed, and headed for the door. She had to get to George Skyland, she had to reach Six and Twenty as soon as possible. They should have the answers her soul longed for. This dream would not come to pass, and like her other nightmares, she would find a way to change the future. “No rest for the wicked.” She mumbled and knew she had to leave right away.
The Prophecy Written by Rae Z. Ryans/Heather Capewell © 2011 All Rights Reserved.