When witches’ powers wake, a guide is sent to meet them, but for the newly formed Order of the Sphinx, someone else gets there first…
There’s no indication Sandry’s last first day of college is going to be anything but ordinary. But after a bright light sweeps her away and drops her outside with her new order, all thoughts of normal fly out the window.
As the confused students figure out their new powers, a stranger crashes the party. He claims to only want to talk to the new witches, but as the magic gloves come off and the fangs come out, Sandry fights to protect her new friends, even as the vampire makes her blood rush for more reason than one.
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What needed to be done? Getting out of the rain would be good. Where was Eric? I turned and he was staring at the burning tree. The fire sent up a smoke signal that’d make a pair of marooned pirates proud as it licked at its neighbor’s branches.
“Cameron,” I said, pointing at the tree. “Do you think you could do something about that before it eats the yard?”
Cameron shrugged. “How the fuck would I know?” He looked at the tree, eyebrows scrunching up. “Fire down?” The flames puttered out, leaving the sapling charred and smoking. “Hey, check me out.”
Izzy walked by us and I turned to see Michelle was up. She tried to smile and I shrugged. Izzy grabbed Eric and walked him back to us.
We stood in a circle, the rain nothing but redundant, we were so soaked.
Why did we all seem calmer?
I turned to Cameron. “You still pissed?”
He frowned. “No. I’m… fine.”
“Me too. Like somehow the… whatever that was relieved some pressure or something.”
Izzy shrugged. “Magical jack off?”
Cameron laughed and Michelle squeaked.
“Magic?” I asked.
“Best explanation I’ve got,” Izzy said.
“Okay.” I cleared my throat. “Magic, not sure I can swallow that.”
“That’s what she said!” Izzy laughed, too loud and harsh to be natural, but she was trying to keep us calm with the jokes.
How did I know that?
“Let’s get inside,” I said.
“Do you guys have some weird power, too?” Cameron asked the twins.
“Weren’t you controlling that root?” I asked Izzy.
“I don’t know how.” Izzy held up her hands, shaking her head. “I just wanted her to stop running.”
“So I’m the only one who doesn’t,” Eric said.
“Actually, that is not accurate.”
I jumped at least a foot, head jerking around. The voice was upper crust British all the way, coming loud and clear over the thwack of fat raindrops.
I pinched myself again. I don’t know why I expected it to do anything but sting.
“You do possess powers. You merely have not triggered them yet.”
We twisted around, heads going every which way like a fucking bobble head convention. The voice was too close to be outside the range of the porch lights but I couldn’t see anyone.
“I must say, that little display was quite entertaining. I merely came here to speak to you before the Agency could dispatch their agent. I was not aware I would be treated to such a show.”
What the fuck? Don’t we have enough weird shit to deal with? I whirled around, taking everything in again: rain, lawn, house, bushes, but no one else.
“Who the hell are you? Where the hell are you?”
“Find me, little witch.”
Laughter colder than the rain poured around us.
Iced fear solidified in my stomach like I was facing down a dentist’s drill without Novocain and I could barely keep from wrapping my arms around myself.
“What’s going on?” Michelle asked in such a small voice I barely heard it.
“It’s okay.” Cameron put his arm around her shoulders and hugged her to him. Apparently the hothead had hidden depths. He looked up and shouted, “Don’t have the balls to show yourself?”
Okay, so they were narrow hidden depths.
Another laugh broke through the night like frozen lightning. What was so fucking amusing?
Michelle whimpered, leaning more into Cameron.
“Manners, my dear boy. Does no one teach manners anymore?”
“No,” Cameron and I snapped as one.
“You are certainly brave little witches. I can smell your fear.”
Lightning cracked through the sky, lighting the yard for a flash-moment.
No one there.
So, what? He was a ghost?
Izzy took Eric’s hand and put her other hand on Michelle’s shoulder, steering them towards the house, one slow motion at a time. Cameron looked at her as Michelle slid out from under the protection of his arm and Izzy mouthed something, tilting her head towards the house.
I gave her a quick nod as thunder ripped through the sky.
Sweat beaded on my forehead, heart pounding out a full Dancing with the Stars Samba routine. Fear cramped my stomach and made my legs shake.
I want to wake up now.
I took a deep breath and put on my best sneer. “Cut the cheesy horror movie theatrics and show yourself.” My voice was steady. Good for me. “Now.”
That cold laugh came again.
Right behind me.
I turned and no one was there. Of course no one was. He was playing with us. He was… Somehow I knew he was having fun.
Something, some sense said my eyes were lying, that there was someone right in front of me. Was it just me, or was the rain going around something not two feet away? I reached out and my hand swished through raindrops.
“Very good,” came from behind me and I turned with it.
Nothing, but he was right there! He could touch me if he wanted to.
“Shorty?” Cameron asked, voice steady too. Point for him. “Is he talking to you?”
“I think so.” My eyes searched the speckled air and I spun again.
Where did the guy go?
I felt… something at the edge of my mind. Something that found our fear damn funny.
Horror-movie-voice obviously wasn’t here for a cup of joe.
I met Izzy’s then Cameron’s eyes, mouthing, “Inside.”
Izzy wrinkled her brow and I looked at the door then back at her. She nodded. I looked around. I couldn’t sense the presence anymore.
Maybe he left?
I wiggled three fingers by my leg. Dropped one. “You know what, creepy-movie-voice?” Dropped another. “Go fuck yourself.” Dropped the last.
And screamed, “Now!” as I turned and ran.
I slammed into a body, bouncing off and stumbling back.