WARNING: This chapter contains strong language and sexual references/content.
I stand up abruptly at this horrifying realization, making my head swim. As I cover my ears with my hands, attempting to block out the TV’s audio and squeeze my brain back to its normal shape so that it stops straining against my skull, I detect someone behind me.
I assume it’s Dominic returning home. But when I whirl around to greet him, I’m confronted with the eerie green eyes of my younger sister.
My evil younger sister.
My first instinct is to cast a spell on her. But I settle for a verbal confrontation instead.
“What have you done?” I demand. Not quite the menacing effect I was going for, but it still seems to catch her slightly off guard, if only for a moment.
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t fuck with me. You killed Abel.”
Ebony actually has the audacity to look smug.
“How do you know that?” she retorts, almost in a purr. “You don’t have any proof.”
“I don’t need any. You said you couldn’t believe I didn’t use my magic in the shitty situation he put me in, and you knew that I hated him. So you decided to do the job for me, is that it?”
“That sounds like something that should go in a fiction crime-solving novel, or maybe a CSI episode. Or Castle or any of those other crime shows on TV, which, by the way, are all the same after a while.”
“Ebony, I’m serious. I know you killed him. But my question is, why?”
“You seriously have to ask? You hated him, and you’re my sister. We look out for each other and we always have. Plus, the fucker raped you for God’s sake! Don’t tell me you’re defending him!”
“Of course not! But you killed him! That’s murder! You could go to prison!”
“They’d have to prove it was me first. And no witch can be held behind bars.”
I look away, disconcerted. Unfortunately, she has a point there. Of course, witches have never been stupid enough to get caught except back in the Puritan age, during the Salem witch trials. And they were burned, hanged, stoned, and all other manners of torture. There was no chance of them escaping or coming back from the dead.
I think the most traumatizing aspect of this whole ordeal is that this isn’t a new development. A soul cannot be corrupted upon death; a revived soul is still the same soul. This means that Ebony had to have been evil upon her demise. Maybe even longer than that. She’s been practicing dark magic, the type that isn’t meant to be tampered with, all this time. And I never knew. I never noticed.
I’m suddenly angry with myself for being so blind. How could I not have realized my sister’s true colors sooner?
“How did you even get in here?” I ask, since she’s obviously waiting for me to say something.
Not the best response I suppose, but at least the silence is shattered.
She rolls her eyes at me and asserts, “Duh. Lydia, the door was unlocked and you didn’t even think to put a seal on this house to keep other witches from getting in. I told you I’d be back. What did you think would happen?”
Fuck! A seal! It would have been simple to put a seal on this house to prevent Ebony from gaining access. I should have known better.
But I’ve been blinded by lust and desire, and possibly something more.
It seems that since I’ve met Dominic, he’s done nothing but distract me. I was trying to focus solely on resurrecting Ebony when I first met him. Now, after her true colors have been unveiled, I have to focus on that and doing everything in my power to protect both of us from her.
Yet I let the notion of performing a simple sealing spell on this house lapse. And I can’t put one on with the targeted witch inside; she has to be outside for the spell to be successful.
I once thought that perhaps Dominic was the one who had me under a spell, so entranced with his rugged good looks and ability to be both a gentleman and a bad boy. Perhaps it’s true after all. His hold on me seems to be stronger than my hold on reality and my magic.
“Wow, does this guy have his hooks in you that deep?” Ebony sneers. “Damn, you’ve got it bad. Way worse than I thought. He’s got you so brainwashed that you can’t even remember the basic functions of witchcraft. You know, one thing I learned when I was weaker is to never let your heart go to a man. If you’re a witch and you fall for a guy, chances are your powers will get weaker. Plus it’s only a matter of time before you end up in the same predicament as Grandma – you’ll have to choose between your magic and your man.”
“You don’t know anything about this, Ebony. And you have no right to assume you do, either.”
“I’m not assuming, Lydia. I know. It’s written all over your face. I’ve seen it since I first saw him. You want this guy, in all ways, and just knowing that you can’t must be gnawing at you like...hm, what metaphor should I use here? There must be one.”
“This isn’t a joke. And stop changing the subject.”
“Me? You’re the one who started thinking about your latest boy toy. I just said you didn’t put a seal on his house. Of course, I should mention that if you really loved him, or cared about him as much as you say you do, you would have remembered such a menial thing.”
“Ebony, I want you to leave.”
“Oh, sure. I’ll leave, and then you’ll seal me out of the house. I don’t think so. But then again, even if you did, I’d still be able to get in. Your powers aren’t nearly as strong as mine, sister. I’d be able to break any spell you cast in a second. It’s child’s play.”
“You know what? I’m sorry I ever even considered bringing you back! You should have stayed dead! And after all you’ve done, what with fucking my boyfriend and killing someone, I’m going to put you back in your grave and make sure you stay there! I’m sick of listening to your voice! I hate you!”
In that instant, I lunge over the couch as the windows rattle in their frames, syncing to my wrath. I land in front of Ebony and grip her hair as hard as I can. I long to rip every single strand out of her skull.
Ebony isn’t anticipating this attack, but she’s still able to fight me off. It doesn’t help that I’m cramping like hell right now, plus suffering from a pounding headache.
Of all times for PMS to hit, it had to be now, when I’m alone with my vengeful sister. Fantastic.
Ebony grips my neck and clenches her hands around me in a chokehold. I gasp for air.
I claw at her arms, causing her to release her grip at last. I choke back tears from the pain (both physical and emotional) and she comes at me again. She pushes me down and grips the top of my aching head, pulling my hair.
“Let me go you bitch!” I screech at her. Her fingernails are like razor-sharp talons as they dig into my scalp.
“Fuck that,” she says, irritatingly calm and conceited. “It doesn’t matter if you try to fight me physically, mentally, or magically – I’ll always win, even though I’m the youngest. Guess that kind of makes you the weakest link. Ah, yes. That was a good show. To quote the host, ‘You are the weakest link. Goodbye!’”
Seriously? She’s quoting old TV shows right now? That’s it.
I yank myself free of her steel grip, pulling out probably a dozen strands of my hair. I face her, unrelenting, still on the floor, and see the same look mirrored in my sister’s eyes.
Wasting no time, I conjure two electrifying orbs in my palms before sending them at Ebony in time to a chant, but not before she ignites her own inferno in her palm.
Ebony blocks my attack and counters it with an even larger fireball. Thank God I manage to block that one.
Then she shoots ice shards at me. This might give me a chance. I’ve always had a way with fire.
“Really?” I taunt her in a sudden boost of self-confidence. “Fire melts ice.”
“Sure, if the ice is weaker.”
This statement reaches full impact when the fireball that I’ve sent hurtling toward her and the ice shards collide, creating a brilliant flash of light until they both dissipate into thin air. The ice shards didn’t melt; they consumed the fire. So instead of the fire shooting through the ice and into my sister, it just vanished.
I’m really starting to get concerned about the welfare of my magic. Ebony’s powers have definitely gotten stronger. And I’m to blame (although she prefers the term “thank”).
Ebony manages to levitate herself, no easy feat for any witch, and hurls another icy spell at me. This time I’m too caught off-guard to stop it.
The ice stings my face and bare hands, and even begins to pierce through my clothes.
Which Ebony chooses this moment to comment on.
“Have I mentioned that you look like crap in those clothes?” she quips. “They don’t flatter you at all. If you want Dominic to keep fucking you, that isn’t the way to do it.”
This just angers me even more, causing a nearby glass to shatter in my rage. I conjure all the magic I can, focus on Ebony, and send it hurtling toward her.
To my surprise, she doesn’t block it or counter it. She sidesteps it.
And then I see why.
As of now, it doesn’t matter if I love Dominic or not. Because he’s standing right in the doorway, his eyes wide, and he’s seen this spell casting duel with his own two eyes. More accurately, he’s seen me cast a spell at my sister, and I’m still in a spell-casting stance. There’s no turning back now, no hiding the truth.
Dominic Taylor knows that Ebony and I aren’t human.