This isn’t going to be easy. Stopping a witch is no menial task, and since Ebony’s powers are stronger now that she’s been resurrected, she’ll be even more formidable.
But I’m determined to end both of our problems. I won’t kill her. Even if that was the only option, I still couldn’t because she’s still my little sister. And as long as she has her powers, she’ll be stronger than me.
But if she didn’t have her powers, that would provide an advantage for me. And that’s how I’m going to stop her.
I lean against the window in my room, going over it in my head.
Like I said, I can’t kill my own sister. I went to so much trouble to bring her back. But there is something I can do.
I can seal her powers. She’ll never again be able to use them. She will no longer be a witch. But I’ll still have her, if her soul ever turns pure, and if she can truly be saved. Besides, if I kill her, I’ll be no better than she is. If anything, that would corrupt my magic further.
But this spell is as complex as the resurrection one. In order to prevent any witch from doing this to an enemy, certain restrictions are in place.
For instance, a witch’s powers can only be sealed inside a crystal skull comprised of a bloodstone. A bloodstone is just as hard to conjure as a moonstone, if not harder. To obtain a bloodstone, a witch must, of course, cast an incantation, but it takes a great deal of blood to summon the stone. The blood has to flow in time to the incantation, and if the amount isn’t just right, the spell could backfire or fail.
After the bloodstone is conjured, it must be shaped into a crystal skull via yet another incantation. Once that process is complete, I’ll be ready to seal Ebony’s powers away. But that takes some sort of sacrifice.
Fortunately, I know exactly what I’m going to sacrifice – my magic.
As I lay on the bed and continue to stare out the window, I know that I’m making the right decision. I have to abandon my magic anyway to save Dominic. I might as well do it by performing a good deed and stopping Ebony’s reign of terror (even if no one else knows about it).
So tonight, just seven days away from the new moon, I’m going to begin this long and meticulous process. I’m on my way now, once again at the abandoned graveyard. Its seclusion is perfect for any spells I must cast.
I withdraw a knife from my pocket. Dominic was in bed when I left, and hopefully he stays there until I’m done with this ritual. I poke my head around a tree to ensure that I’m alone.
I squeeze my eyes shut and slice my wrist with the knife. Not enough to actually kill me, but this will secrete the most blood. And I need as much as I can get.
The pain is rigorous, and it seems to never end, as blood oozes out of my wound. But I can feel the spell working as I struggle through it, spluttering the chant as the blood pours from the wound in my wrist.
At last, it congeals and blobs itself into the shape of an enormous stone the color of my blood. I didn’t expect it to be this immense.
I press my other hand against my wrist to halt the flowing blood. I hope I don’t pass out, but fortunately the crimson liquid seems to be ceasing its materialization.
I gaze upon the bloodstone fiercely. Then, I begin the final chant to morph the bloodstone into the shape of a skull while remaining seated on the ground.
The wind picks up velocity, and I think I almost hear a distinctive and eerie cackling in the back of my head. Is it the spirit of a dead witch? Maybe even the emerging skull? Or is it something far more sinister?
Finally, the winds disperse and I open my eyes. Upon the ground sits a glowing skull the color of blood.
I pick it up, turning it over and over in my hands carefully as though the tiniest touch will break it. My heart is hammering inside my chest. I went through a great deal of trouble to bring Ebony back. Now I’m going through a great deal to put her back down.
Unfortunately, sealing Ebony’s powers isn’t as easy as conjuring a bloodstone and saying an incantation. In addition to those two steps, Ebony herself must be present, and her blood must also flow onto the bloodstone in time to yet another incantation.
This isn’t going to be a simple task. For one, she’s avoiding my calls and any other attempts to get into contact with her. And worse yet, time is running out. The new moon is only a few days away now. If I don’t perform this undertaking before then, Dominic will die.
Dominic can tell that something is weighing heavy on my mind. He still thinks he’s going to die. I can’t convince him otherwise. The only fortunate aspect of this is that the love we’ve been making has been even more passionate and meaningful. It’s like he knows we don’t have much time left to be together, and he wants to savor every moment.
I’m happy to say that we’ve finally managed to make love in a bed. I’ve even moved fully into Dominic’s bedroom. What’s the point of sleeping in separate rooms now?
That isn’t all we’ve been doing, though. We’ve been spending every waking moment together. When I’m not hunting down Ebony (and failing at it), we’re swimming, dancing, dining, laughing...being in love.
I refuse to give up hope. Sooner or later, Ebony will have to face me. What’s shocking is that she’s not one to be cowardly. It befuddles me that I can’t find her. I always seem to just miss her at her job (though she’s probably hiding if she sees me coming in), and I don’t even know where she’s living now. I’m about to put her face on a milk carton.
“Sheila, please don’t worry,” Dominic tells me as he sits down next to me at the dining room table. “You’ll stop Ebony someday.”
“I don’t have until someday,” I reply. “I have a few more days.”
“I already told you that I can’t ask you to give up your powers for me.”
“You’re not asking me, Dominic. I decided to do that all on my own, way before you ever even knew about me. It was always in the back of my mind just in case you ever did find out.”
“Lydia, were you going to spend the rest of our lives lying to me? Keeping your secret from me?”
“Of course not. I was going to get rid of my powers before you ever could find out. That’s what my mother did. But the feelings just came on so suddenly , and then so much shit started happening at once, that...”
“You basically forgot.”
“That’s a stupid thing to admit, but yes.”
Dominic wraps his arms around me and holds me close. “You’ve had a lot on your mind, sheila.”
I snuggle against Dominic’s comfortable chest. I wish I could freeze time in a whole other way. I wish moments like this could last forever.
But life isn’t a fairy tale. It’s not a storybook where every protagonist has a happy ending. No matter how I look at it, I lose. I’m going to lose my sister and my powers, but the alternative would be losing the only man I’ve ever truly loved.
And I won’t allow that to happen.
“I love you, Dominic,” I state instead with ferocity. “There’s no excuse for procrastinating.”
“But if you’d gotten rid of your powers already, you’d have no chance of stopping Ebony. Maybe it’s a good thing.”
I sigh resolutely. I feel torn, like I’m being pulled from two different directions. I know what I must do, and it’s the same thing that I want to do.
I just hope, as Dominic kisses me tenderly, that it’s something I physically and spiritually can do.
I’m now in my hidden chamber above the garage, though I guess there’s no point in it being hidden anymore. But I’d rather do this on my own. Dominic shouldn’t be exposed to any more witchcraft than he has to be.
I’m reading the warning regarding the resurrection spell again, and it still befuddles me.
And thus the dark shall consume ye, lest the soul is once again pure and light.
Pure and light? How can I become as such again? I didn’t even know I turned dark, thanks to deceit on my sister’s part. But I can tell that the darkness is spreading through me. Even the smallest little spells seem to have an adverse effect. The evil is growing inside me, and I fear that I may not recognize myself if I don’t quash it.
I’m hoping that, by sealing Ebony’s powers, I’ll not only stop her and save Dominic, but I’ll also turn my powers light again (until I sacrifice them anyway) by eradicating a dark witch.
I’ve been trying, and struggling, to keep my emotions in check. I don’t want to do anything that would make my predicament worse than it already is.
But my efforts are becoming more and more futile.
I take a quick break and practice a simple spell. Child’s play. One of the first spells a witch ever learns. I conjure an apple.
It’s supposed to be a simple spell. Unfortunately, it comes out a tainted mulberry-type color. Deadly. Poisonous.
“Fuck!” I exclaim as I throw the rotten fruit to the ground. I am so fed up with this shit. Is it so much to ask to want to stop my evil younger witch sister and live happily ever after with my half-Australian, half-British boyfriend?
Yeah. I guess it is. This isn’t Snow White. No kiss could cure the effects of the poison apple I just summoned with my inadvertent dark magic.
Not wanting to endure more disappointment, I flip the grimoire open again. I don’t even know what I’m looking for. Maybe a back door, or some sort of loophole. Any way out of this curse. That would be the best, and easiest, solution.
The words start to blur together until I find something that catches my eye. There’s a yellow sticky note between two of the pages, like it was meant to be a discreet bookmark that got torn out hastily.
The words on the pages look vaguely familiar, like something I’ve skimmed over before but never paid any attention to because the information didn’t pertain to me.
But it would to Ebony.
There are two pages worth of one spell, one that requires some sort of odd totem pole. But this spell’s purpose is literally utter madness.
It states that if this spell is performed by using the totem pole, an ominous rain will fall, causing anyone touched by its droplets to go mad.
It sounds asinine, and pointless enough, but to someone like Ebony, it’s perfect. Rendering humans powerless and insane would be just what she needs to do, well, whatever she plans to do.
As I read further, it becomes even clearer. This spell can only be cast on one night, and it can’t be a coincidence that it’s the one Ebony would choose for her malevolent plot.
The night this spell must be cast is on the night of the blood moon. A blood moon is the red color during any eclipse.
But it doesn’t occur until after the new moon.
That can’t be a coincidence. The spell, asinine as it may be, is enough for her to accomplish whatever it is she’s planning. She chose this one because of the timing.
Because she knows me. She knows me better than anyone else. And she knows I’d do anything to save Dominic from the curse. So she knows if I was serious about forsaking my powers, I’d do so, and it would have to be before she cast this spell so that I would be unable to stop even a stupid spell that she cast.
At this realization, I clench my fists and jaw together in unison. She may be my younger sister, but sometimes I think she’s much more intelligent than I am. The lights flicker at my spike in emotion, as if to confirm my assumptions.
My only hope now is to stop Ebony before the new moon. If I do that, I’ll eliminate all my problems. She won’t have her powers, Dominic will be safe, and no one will be hurt.
I only hope that I’m not too late.