WARNING: This chapter contains strong sexual content, strong language, and some "magical" violence.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Only a few hours ago, Dominic and I agreed to be in an exclusive relationship.
And now, here he is, lying on his back, with my little sister on top of him, riding him like a slutty cowgirl, their bodies illuminated by a dim light on the nightstand.
And then comprehension dawns. To me, it looks like Ebony fucking my boyfriend. But I can see what Dominic cannot.
Ebony has disguised herself; she’s cast a spell to make herself appear as me to Dominic. He thinks it’s me he’s having sex with, not Ebony.
And the loud moaning? She obviously did that intentionally to get caught, to prove some sort of asinine point! Dear God, the bitch is more like a succubus than a witch.
I snap my fingers in time to a short chant. Time freezes around us; only Ebony and I are in motion. Dominic is still naked and in bed, but he has no idea that he’s suspended in time.
This all happens in a matter of seconds. Dominic doesn’t even have time to react to my shriek of terror. Which is good, because he’d be beyond confused if he saw me on top of him and in the doorway.
“What the fuck?!” I demand of my little sister. She hops off Dominic and throws her underwear back on. I am seething, absolutely furious. I can’t remember the last time I was so angry.
“What?” she has the gall to ask all innocently, as though she hasn’t been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. That cookie jar being my boyfriend.
“Don’t give me that shit!” I fume. “You were in here fucking my boyfriend!”
“I only did it to prove a point, Lydia. I told you he’d hurt you. And if he’s willing to cheat, he’ll do far worse.”
“He didn’t cheat! He thought you were me! If he’d known it was you, he would have resisted!”
“Keep telling yourself that. I won’t let you forsake your powers for this guy!”
“Why the hell do you even care?! How could you do this to me?!”
As my voice rises higher and my anger sky-rockets, the candles that Ebony had apparently lit to add to the romantic vibe burst into flames. The fire begins to climb higher until Ebony simply glances at them and extinguishes them.
What is going on? Why is it that lately, whenever I’m very emotionally stimulated, something strange happens? When Dominic and I had sex in the kitchen, the lights flickered and went out. And now, when I’m beyond infuriated, the candles spontaneously combusted.
Ebony is sneering at me. Obviously she’s noticed this as well.
“You haven’t read the entire grimoire, have you?” she says calmly. It’s more of a statement than a question.
“What are you talking about?” I demand.
“I suggest you study up on it, sis. It might answer a lot of your questions.”
“I’ve read that book cover to cover.”
“Well, then you missed a spot. Because there’s a very important piece in there that explains what’s going on with the candles, and the lights that flickered when you and Dominic were fucking in the kitchen.”
“You saw that?”
“Yep. And I was just waiting for you to figure out what it meant, but I guess you’re not as bright as I thought, big sister.”
I grit my teeth with vehemence as Ebony snidely sidles over to one of the chairs and grasps the back of it.
My fists clench tightly at my sides, and then another flame explodes out of the candle. It ignites so abruptly that I actually jump back from it, as though the flames were about to engulf me in their white-hot wrath.
Ebony shakes her head. “I’d stop that if I were you.”
“You better give me some answers, Ebony.”
“You’ll find them in the spell book. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to manually finish what your boyfriend and I started, since you’ve shattered the illusion.”
She stalks off with a contrite smirk, and I feel the longing to cast a fireball at her ass.
The result is another candle igniting. What the hell is going on?
I hate to actually do what Ebony told me to, but my curiosity is getting the best of me. Is there truly a reason as to why sudden emotional stimulations cause strange events to occur? I have to find out.
I haven’t spoken to Dominic about last night’s events. He hasn’t mentioned it, either, which is good – sometimes time-freeze spells can cause a memory lapse. I was counting on that.
But still, even if Dominic was suspicious, what’s there to say? He thought he was screwing me. I can’t believe Ebony banged him, and she got to do it in his bed before I did.
This realization makes me livid again, and the lights flicker.
It’s getting annoying and more and more disturbing.
I don’t notice it at first. I guess it’s because it’s hidden in the book’s binding. The pages are pretty fragile, but still well-preserved. I gently remove the lining from the back flap of the book, where I felt an indentation that I wouldn’t have noticed before unless I’d been looking for it. When the lining is peeled away, I see that I’m looking down at a folded piece of paper that looks newer than any of the other pages in the book. But maybe that’s because it’s been preserved all this time, whereas the other pages have been thumbed through assiduously.
I skim the pages, but then some of the words seem to jump off the page at me and catch my eye.
Should ye cast this dark magic, and should ye survive, so then shall ye become the dark. And thus the dark shall consume ye, lest the soul is once again pure and light.
This warning makes me read even further, a perilous feeling crossing through my mind. I don’t know if my grandmother wrote this or not, as the book has been passed down through generations, but somewhere along the line, a Brewster witch discovered the price of performing dark magic.
And one of the darkest forms of magic is bringing a soul back from the dead, and making it living once more.
I hate to think of it, but it makes sense. The odd occurrences with the lights and candles have only transpired since Ebony has been back. Now, any severe sensation that I experience will cause some sort of supernatural effect. But that’s just the beginning.
According to the grimoire, if a witch casts a dark spell as powerful as this, her own powers will begin to be consumed. Even more frightening is that a witch’s magic doesn’t only go dark – her soul will also be tarnished. In time, she may not even recognize herself. This magic involves scenarios that aren’t meant to be tampered with. Death is one of them.
I gaze down at the book, breathing heavily, trying to control my emotions so that I don’t cause any more power surges. The darkness will spread through me, only getting more powerful, until it consumes me.
I thought bringing back Ebony was a good thing. I wanted her back more than anything. But now I see that it wasn’t my sister that I brought back. This assumption is confirmed when I see another warning, which seems to make everything even more clear.
This spell is especially dangerous if the soul to be called forth from the netherworld is evil.
I think of Ebony and how desperate she was to prove that Dominic would hurt me. How she’s not practicing discretion at all, almost as if she wants to get caught. How desperate she is for me to keep my powers, because it’s long been said that multiple witches casting the same spell are that much more powerful. And if my magic is dark, and Ebony’s is dark...
I step away from the book and collapse onto the floor, heaving.
The realization hits me like the bolt of lightning that struck the night I brought Ebony back. It was no accident. It was a warning strike, and a lesser witch would have been distracted or frightened by it, causing the incantation to fail.
But not me. Not a Brewster witch.
I’m heading back through the main house now to confront my sister. Did she know all along that this would happen? And even more importantly, was she truly evil upon her demise? The grimoire states that it’s especially dangerous, and more likely for a witch’s powers to turn dark, if she brings forth a spirit from beyond the grave, but even more so if the revived soul is evil. Has Ebony been evil all this time and I was too blind to see it?
The thought is terrifying. And yet, considering what I saw last night, not out of the realm of the possible.
Once I arrive in the house, I find Ebony in the den watching TV on the couch. Dominic is downstairs preparing lunch. Upon hearing my approach, my sister turns around to greet me.
I waste no time. I stalk right up to my sister, my eyes narrowed into furious slits. I grab her by the shoulder and jerk her backward with a hard shove.
Ebony doesn’t anticipate this. She looks sincerely baffled as my hand makes contact with her cheek, causing her to tumble backward. I hope I left a mark.
“What the fuck?!” she demands.
“Don’t give me that shit. You know that my magic is turning dark, and you knew it would all this time!”
“Black magic? You? Who would’ve thought?”
“Ebony, I’m not playing around here. I need answers, and you’re gonna give them to me.”
“All you have to do is ask, Lydia. You don’t have to threaten me.”
“Fine. Let’s start with how you knew about that hidden warning paper in the grimoire. It was in the damn lining. And yet, the actual spell page was in the book. Care to explain that?”
Ebony rolls her eyes like this is the most asinine thing I could inquire about. But nevertheless, she answers. And what she says is far from what I expected or imagined.
“Isn’t that much obvious? I knew you’d never believe the fire was an accident. I knew you’d be at your wit’s end trying to prove otherwise. And if you knew there was a spell to bring me back, I knew you’d try it. Really, I think I know you better than you know yourself, sister.”
“What are you saying?”
“The pages warning about the consequences of casting the spell that brought me back were hidden for a reason. I didn’t want you chickening out. I guess my plan worked better than I thought it would. I didn’t think it would take you two years to bring me back, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers. I never did thank you, so I’ll do that now. Thanks for bringing me back, Lydia.”
“Ebony, I never believed the fire was an accident. But how could you know...?”
“Duh. I planned it, Lydia. The fire wasn’t an accident. But it wasn’t some random stranger or psycho witch hunter who started it. It was me.”
I can’t believe what my sister is confiding. It’s as though I’m hearing it, but my cognitive functions aren’t allowing me to process it. My sister started the fire that ended her life two years ago? What reason could she possibly have for doing so? Just because she hoped I’d find that spell in the grimoire and bring her back to life? What purpose would that provide?
“Lydia, you didn’t read everything,” she tells me impatiently. “And I’m tired of waiting for you to fill in the blanks, so I’ll just come out and say it. I started the fire and let it consume me, and then I recited an incantation before I died. That way, if I was ever brought back, I’d be more powerful than when I was alive. So really, Lydia, you didn’t just bring me back to life as your sister. I’m more powerful than ever now, and I have you to thank. And since your magic is turning dark too, and because we’re Brewsters, we can be the most powerful witches in the world.”
“Ebony, you’re nuts. And what do you hope to accomplish from this? You committed suicide, which would have sent you to hell, and planted a resurrection spell in the grimoire hoping I’d find it and use it to bring you back, just so you could gain more power? And then we’d team up? What the fuck is wrong with you? And why? Why do we need to team up as the most powerful witches in the world?”
“Let me ask you something. Don’t you hate the fact that you can’t really be with Dominic without losing your powers, or without him being cursed to death?”
“Of course, but the risk is only there if he finds out I’m a witch, and I guarantee that he won’t. What does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, if humans weren’t in the picture, you wouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
“What are you saying? That you’re planning to eradicate all humans? Who are you? Sarafine from Beautiful Creatures?”
“Please, I’m much hotter than Sarafine.”
I clench my fists at my sides, fuming. This is beyond ludicrous. My sister planned this the whole time? She planned to die, to have me bring her back in order to become more powerful, only to join forces with my inevitable darkening magic and extradite all humans? It sounds like the plot to a bad horror movie.
And I played right into her trap. And I didn’t even realize it!
I’m so pissed off that the TV flickers on and then off again. The lights follow shortly thereafter. Ebony finds this amusing because she gives a contrite chortle.
This sends me over the edge. The nerve of her! After everything I’ve done for her, this is what she does?! This is what she planned to happen the whole time?!
Well, there is one flaw in her malicious scheme – my refusal to take part.
“You are absolutely insane,” I state with a vengeance. “I never should have brought you back. You were right that night Dominic and I went out on our first date. I should have left you dead.”
Well, this clearly pisses her off. And now there’s no turning back. She doesn’t fight pretty, nor does she fight fair. She never has.
Like I said, our fights, when they did occur, were never pretty. And I can tell this one is going to be a doozy.
Ebony isn’t going to get into a physical confrontation. She’s going to get into a magical one. And she does so by arrogantly facing one palm toward me and hurling a fireball in my direction. It’s all I can do to dodge it.
“Stop it!” I shriek at her. “Dominic will hear!”
“I don’t give a shit! You’re still willing to give up everything for him?! After what he did to you?”
“He didn’t cheat on me!”
“How do you know?! Maybe you were the one seeing things and not him!”
“But I must admit, damn, he’s a good lay. And that cock of his, wow. How do you keep from fucking him twenty-four seven? He gave me probably ten orgasms.”
I hurl a fireball of my own at Ebony, and she cracks up as she blocks it with a magical shield she didn’t possess before.
So it’s true. Her powers really are stronger.
I don’t know how long we battle it out like this, screaming obscenities at each other, but finally Dominic comes barreling upstairs, and is immediately caught in the fray. Thankfully, the fray is just us exchanging colorful profanity rather than spells.
“What the fuck is going on?” he demands, obviously peeved.
Ebony is about to cast another spell when I lunge across the gap between us and tackle her to the ground. She lands on her stomach with a loud thud, shrieking vulgarities the whole time.
“Dominic, I want her out of here,” I declare with vehemence.
“Uh, okay. Do whatever you want, sheila. She’s your sister. But you’re both making a mess out of this den, and I’d thank you to stop it.”
Ebony writhes beneath me, but she eventually stops struggling against my steel grip. When I release her at last, she stands up, glowers at me, and says only one thing:
“I’ll be back.”
Okay...is she the Terminator now?
But that’s all it takes. Ebony goes downstairs, with me following close behind, packs a bag, and leaves.
Good riddance. I can’t believe she did this after all the trouble I went through to bring her back. I don’t care if her intentions were good; they weren’t justified.
Still, her last comment looms in my head, and it makes me fear that it’s more than a farewell. It sounded like an idle threat.
And Ebony Brewster is not one to take threats lightly.