Danny thought that the girl looked like the one his supervisor had told the crew to look out for, but he couldn’t be sure. It was hard to tell one person from the next in the sea of screaming, young girls, but the one with the jet-black hair was hard not to notice, especially after they had all been told that she was one of those crazy fans.
Quickly he looked around the area for his partner, Clyde. They’d been working concerts together for almost three years and they made a good team. They knew what each other needed without saying a word and they were well known by the regular concert goers.
Clyde was nowhere in sight so Danny decided to head in the same direction as the girl and see if he could offer some assistance. If he had rational reason to believe that she was the one his boss had told him about he would ask her to come with him and he would take her to the office for questioning just to make sure.
He was puzzled when he made it to the outside wall of the arena floor and didn’t find her. There was no way out other than the path of screaming girls he had just come through. Where had the girl gone?
Maybe I just thought I saw her, he thought to himself as he shook his head and turned back to find Clyde. The concert would be over in a few minutes and it was his job to make sure that no one got hurt, not to chase after ghosts.
Scott was on a natural high when he came off the stage, even more than he normally was after a concert. His heart felt new, like he could conquer the world as long as he had the love of his life by his side. He knew that he could make it through anything with her there to spend the rest of his life with.
The rest of the guys and the band were clapping each other on the back as they quickly made their way off the stage and toward the dressing rooms. Scott knew she was waiting for him, he could feel her in his blood and he was hot for her. It took his eyes a moment to adjust from the bright lights of the stage, but when they did she was the first thing he saw and he walked straight towards her.
Elayne couldn’t comprehend the expression that was on Scott’s face when he came off the stage. His eyes seemed to lock onto something or someone other than her as soon as he cleared the large, black curtains that separated the two areas. Without a glance in her direction, he walked past Elayne and as he did so she turned and stared in horror as she saw what, or rather who, he had been looking at.
Ravenmyst stood a few feet behind Elayne and her friends, waiting expectantly for Scott to join her. There was a look of triumph on her features as she allowed her eyes to fall on Elayne for a split second, then turned her attention to Scott who didn’t slow as he neared her. When he stood in front of her, Scott pulled her into his arms and kissed her passionately.
Elayne felt herself sway as she raised her hand in front of her in hopes of stopping Scott in some way. Ravenmyst wound her arms around Scott’s neck and Elayne felt her heart shatter into pieces as he dipped his head to kiss the other woman. Elayne could feel arms moving around her waist to support her, helping her to stay upright, but she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to see what was happening, but she couldn’t shut her eyes to the scene that was playing out before her, either.
“Scott,” she cried out pitifully as her head fell back onto what she was sure was Richard’s strong shoulder. How had she failed him? Elayne knew that Scott would never willingly go to the girl and she also knew that there was magick in play, but the amulet should have protected him. What had happened?
“Everyone stay back,” she heard Connie say as she joined the group again. Her voice was calm and serene, like an emergency room nurse, but the other women of the coven knew what she was capable of when provoked. Stagehands, crewmembers and some of the dancers were still hanging out around them backstage, all of them were caught up in the energy that still lingered after the final show of the this leg of the tour. Connie quickly turned to them and called out with authority, “Listen up everybody – there’s been a bomb threat, everyone needs to get out of the building in an orderly fashion. Move along. Help get everyone out.”
She was met with startled faces at first, but most of the crew knew that something had been building up for some time. Most figured that if there had, in fact, been a bomb threat made that everyone’s safety had been taken into consideration, so they quickly moved to the nearest exit without question. Once everything had calmed down again they would be allowed back inside to retrieve their things.
Ravenmyst and Scott finally broke their kiss and after she directed him to stand beside her with a small nod of her head he did so, taking her hand tightly in his. He had eyes only for the woman at his side, which only added to the pain that sliced through Elayne along with the knowledge that she had somehow failed him.
Satisfied with her victory, Ravenmyst then turned her attention to Elayne and the others, a look of pure victory plastered on her pale features. “He has made his choice,” she said to Elayne evenly, not giving the other women much notice.
She’s either really arrogant or really stupid, Amy thought as she moved to put herself between the girl and her friend. She understood that Elayne needed time to realize what was actually happening before she could be of any use to them. Amy hoped that Scott hadn’t turned his back on her friend for this little chit. She just hoped that Elayne did so quickly because there was work to be done and Amy and the others would need her to do it.
“He wasn’t given a choice,” Serena retorted as she crossed her arms across her chest and eyed the girl with frank disapproval. “Anyone with half a brain can see that.” Emotions waged clearly in her eyes as she stood next to her husband, who was still supporting Elayne, but she was doing a good job of controlling them.
She hated to see anyone manipulated the way Scott was and what was so unbelievable was that he was so oblivious to what was going on. The little interaction she had witnessed between Elayne and him that day had told her that the bond between the two was a strong one, like the one that she shared with Richard. She couldn’t imagine how any magick could be strong enough to make someone forget how much he or she loved another person, but she figured anything was possible with enough intent.
“I would be careful if I were you,” Ravenmyst warned as her eyes narrowed momentarily on Serena. “I have found favor with the God and Goddess. It was they who helped me win Scott’s love.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Serena shot back sarcastically in return.
While the two women were having their verbal sparring match, Connie was edging her way toward where the girl stood with the mute Scott by her side. She hoped that Serena would distract the younger woman long enough so that she could get to Scott and pull him safely away from the immediate danger. If things got out of control she didn’t want him to be hurt, Elayne would never forgive herself, or the rest of the coven for that matter.
The girl threw her head back and laughed menacingly, showing the others that she was in no way scared of them. While she was distracted, the rest of the group noticed a shadow that seemed to pull itself down from the rafters of the backstage area above them.
Elayne’s sense of premonition told her that this entity would bring nothing but sorrow to this place and all those here, which effectively helped bring her back to the situation at hand and threw her into action. She pulled away from Richard slightly and watched as the shadow swirled and undulated, as if it were beginning to take form.
Surveying the shadow closely and ready to use any bit of magick she possessed, Elayne and the others watched as the human sized shadow continued to lower itself until it hovered a few inches from the ground between where Ravenmyst and the others stood. Ravenmyst was the last to notice what was happening, but when she did her eyes grew wide with wonder.
“You’ve come,” she breathed. Beside her, Scott made no move to show that he was even aware of what was going on around him, having eyes only for the dark haired girl beside him. Connie used the opportunity to edge even closer to where he stood so that she was now only a few feet away from him.
The shadow took on the misty form of a young man. His hair was dark like Scott’s and his clothes were colonial in design. Elayne thought that he looked like a pilgrim in his knee breeches and black shoes that had a large buckle on the top of each foot. His back was toward Elayne and the others so that no one could make out his features, but they could still see Scott and the girl through the figure.
“Yes, my dear, I’ve come,” the misty man said. Oh, but she was breathtaking in person, he thought to himself. It was the first time he had been able to look at her and it took all his will to not go to her and pull her to him. It would be a fruitless effort, however, because he couldn’t hold her in this form. His arms would slip right through her flawless body and he would only be disappointed in the end. Better to concentrate on the matters at hand that would then allow him to satisfy his desires. “I’ve come for my payment.”
Ravenmyst looked at him in confusion while Elayne’s heart dropped. What kind of deal had this girl struck with the spirit? She wished with all her being that it had nothing to do with Scott, but knew in her heart that in the end it had everything to do with him.
“I thought you’d come to see me happy,” she replied in a small voice, not knowing what else to say. She didn’t know what he meant by payment. She hadn’t known that the gods made deals when they helped their followers. What was going on?
“My payment is him,” Zechariah said as he pointed a transparent finger toward Scott. There was a collective inhalation of breath at his words as Elayne stared in shock, unable to believe that what she was seeing and hearing was actually real.
“You can’t be serious,” Ravenmyst whispered in disbelief. “There was nothing like this mentioned in the spell. This can’t be real…”
“Why not?” Zechariah asked with a smirk as he finally turned to look around them and his hands rose, palms up, at his sides as he questioned her. “This is all about real, my dear. My being in a body again is quite real to me.”
Ravenmyst glanced at Scott, clearly not knowing what to do about the predicament she found herself in. It was obvious to everyone that this spirit meant to take over Scott’s body and she wondered what would happen to Scott if the apparition were successful. She wasn’t sure how she felt about the possibility, but what would happen to her if she said no? She doubted that this spirit or whatever it was would let her off the hook without the payment he was demanding, but she didn’t know what that would mean to her in the end.
“What about Scott?” she asked finally, lifting their joined hands so that they were clutched against her chest.
“What about him?” the specter countered with a careless shrug of his misty shoulders. “It’s not like he wanted you to begin with. If it weren’t for me he wouldn’t be standing next to you right now, so what does it matter who inhabits his body?”
The girl seemed to consider his question for a moment and it was then that Elayne realized that they had to do something now before it was too late. She heard the sound of a door opening and turned her head just in time to see Val come in, the bag of their ritual equipment tucked under one arm as he looked around calmly for his wife.
Ravenmyst and the spirit heard the door open as well and turned their heads in unison toward the disturbance. Val stopped for a moment to assess the situation then started toward Amy as if he hadn’t just seen a transparent man standing in front of him. Inside he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know what in the hell was going on here, but he was determined to do what he could to protect his wife and friends.
“What do we have here?” Zechariah asked as he watched Val continue toward Amy.
“Back up?” Ravenmyst question with a sly smile. She was beginning to warm up to the idea of the spirit coming into Scott’s body. That way she wouldn’t have to maintain a spell over him all the time to love her and she could still have ‘him’ with her. From the way he was leering at her, it was obvious that this spirit greatly desired not only to once again have a body, but to lay a certain claim to hers as well. How exciting would life be with someone like him? She was sure of two things, one, that he was powerful, and two, she could live like a god with him if she cooperated.
No one answered either of them as Val reached Amy and slipped an arm around her waist. “What are you doing here?” Amy asked quietly, suddenly afraid for the man that she loved. If things started to go down too fast she was worried that he might get caught in the crossfire.
“Helen had a dream that something was going on down here and said that you needed this,” he replied just as quietly, as Amy took the bag from him. By the tension hanging in the room and the fact that there was what appeared to be a ghost standing before him, Val knew that the urgency in the child’s dream had been valid and he was really glad that he had been able to put aside the doubts he had initially had about coming here in the first place.
Zechariah decided that the newcomer was of no consequence aside from the fact that it would be the perfect opportunity for him to seize the moment to take what was his while everyone was distracted by the man’s arrival. Allowing the form he had taken on to dissipate once again into shadow, Zechariah hovered in the air for a moment then quickly swept toward Scott.
“Vivo denuo,” Zechariah said in Latin as he neared his target. To live again.
Thankfully Connie had not allowed herself to become distracted like the others had by Val’s arrival. She had an inkling that the spirit would move in while everyone wasn’t looking and her hunch paid off. Luckily she had managed to get within a few feet of Scott and Ravenmyst so when the spirit closed in, she grabbed Scott by his other hand and pulled him away. The girl’s hold on Scott was strong enough that when Connie pulled him away, she pulled Ravenmyst with him, causing the spirit to merge into her body instead.
The young woman’s body convulsed as the spirit lodged himself inside her and took over. Elayne and the others could do nothing but watch as she dropped to her knees in front of them, her hands dangling uselessly at her sides. None of them knew what would come next, but Amy knew that they had to be ready for anything. She looked around and saw that two tour cases were stacked on top of one another behind her and she determined that they could serve as a makeshift altar. She quickly took the bag of ritual items to the cases and put it on top of them. With Val’s help she began pulling things out of it and placed it on top in some kind of order while the Elayne and Serena spread themselves out around the girl.
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