As soon as the contact with Ravenmyst was broken, Scott’s senses started to come back to him. He couldn’t remember anything past the point when he left the dressing room after his last custom change and he had no idea what he was doing standing just offstage. He looked around and saw Connie next to him.
“What’s going on?” he asked, confused.
Connie pushed him to sit on another large travel case and gave him a quick once over to make sure he hadn’t been hurt. There didn’t seem to be anything visibly wrong with him and she hoped to keep it that way. “Stay here and don’t move,” she told him sternly. There wasn’t time now to explain what had happened now, even if she knew for certain herself. She turned to survey the scene.
Ravenmyst was on her hands and knees, but the convulsions had stopped. Richard was helping Amy and Val set up an altar on a case like the one Scott was sitting on. Elayne had finally realized what Connie had done and was coming over toward her and Scott.
When she reached Connie she grabbed her hand and held onto it fiercely. “Thank you,” she told the woman who had been her confidant and roommate for five years. Words could never express the gratitude that she felt for her at this moment, but she hoped that one day she would be able to repay her.
“We don’t have much time,” Connie told her. Both women glanced over at Scott and saw that he had noticed Ravenmyst on the floor not far from where he stood and that he knew who she was.
His gaze swung and locked with Elayne’s. There were obvious questions in his green depths, but they would have to wait for now. With each passing minute the spirit was gaining more and more control over the girl’s body and now he was struggling to get to his feet. Connie left Elayne and Scott to help start the binding spell they had prepared.
Scott stood and took the few remaining steps that brought he and Elayne together. He slipped a hand around the back of her neck and pulled her to him. “What happened?” he asked.
She felt safe again in his embrace, but she knew that she didn’t have time to linger. “Later,” she promised when she pulled away again. “I’ll tell you everything lat-”
A preternatural scream cut her off. Quickly Elayne turned in time to see that the spirit was looking at her and Scott, obviously aware for the first time that he had been thwarted in overtaking the body that he had originally intended. She put herself between the creature and Scott, not wanting him in harms way anymore than possible, but he fought to be in front of her as well.
“Scott get back,” Elayne called out as she allowed the heat of fire to fill her senses. From the girl’s reaction Elayne felt sure that she hadn’t had a clue what forces she had been dealing with when she started her spell so Elayne didn’t want to hurt her unless she had to. If there was a possibility of exorcising the spirit without killing the girl she wanted to do it, but the chances weren’t likely. On the other hand, if Scott or anyone else were put in danger again she wouldn’t hesitate to use her gifts and think about the consequences later.
“Imbeciles,” the spirit spat through the girl’s mouth. “You will all die.” There was no way for any of them to know that once he had lodged himself into a human body that there was no way he could just hop into another, so there was no way any of them could understand his anger.
His fury was blinding him, however, and he began to lash out wildly, bolts of bright blue colored energy jumping from his fingertips and connecting with whatever was unfortunate enough to stand in their way. Overhead lights were hit and a shower of sparks fell upon the group before the light extinguished all together. Other bolts sliced through the tour crates and the curtains on the stage, causing them to ignite into bright red and orange flames.
“Elayne,” Connie called out sharply in order to gain the woman’s attention. Everything on the makeshift table was in readiness and she had taken her place in front of it to begin the ritual. Val and Richard moved off to the side in Scott’s direction, allowing the women space they needed to do what had to be done and ready to help in whatever way they could. Amy and Serena moved to stand next to Connie, one to her left and the other facing her, like they did when they stood inside the sacred circle. Only Elayne’s spot was empty, waiting for her to join them.
“What’s this?” the spirit taunted. “If you think you can stop me you are sadly mistaken. It is too late.”
After a reassuring smile in his direction, Elayne left Scott’s side and quickly crossed to where the other women stood. She knew that she had to do something to stop the flames that were steadily becoming a big problem, but she had to join the circle first so that they could begin the spell. She could deal with the fire then. No sooner had she taken her place between Connie and Serena than the spirit hit the four of them with a forceful gust of air.
Scott watched in horror as the women were caught off guard and tossed onto the ground like lifeless dolls. Before any of the men had a chance to react, another gust of the same forceful air hit them as well, knocking all three back into the heavy black stage curtains and the framework of the stage that stood on the other side of them. The air filled with the creaking of the framework as it shuttered under the force of the impact then broke apart only to crash down on them.
Zechariah laughed sinisterly as he viewed his handiwork. It had been so easy to send these subordinates to their knees, or their backs as the case might be. He looked down at the body that he now inhabited and realized that he liked the softness of the young girl’s skin and the way that the pink dress clung to the curves. He began to think of ways that he could use the body to get what he would need to survive. It would be easy to lure rich men to him with a body like this one and perhaps he would toy with them while he took what he wanted. The thought was appealing.
He was closely examining a perfectly manicured hand so he didn’t notice when the women began to come around. Fortunately, none of them had been hurt in the fall, but there would be many bruises the next day from where they had landed. Serena and Amy quickly made eye contact and nodded slightly at the other then opened their minds to their natural elements of Air and Earth respectively.
Time ceased as Connie and Elayne woke and sat up to join the other two women. The bright orange flames that had been quickly consuming the curtains and surrounding area were frozen in mid air, no longer putting any of them in immediate danger. Elayne quickly scanned the area and realized that Amy had removed them from normal time. Now only persons with the ability to use magick could move about freely and she searched frantically for Scott, whose figure would now be prone and unmoving.
All she found were his pant legs and shoes sticking out from under a pile of metal framework along with those of Val and Richard. “Scott,” she cried out in a strangled voice as her hand reached out and grabbed Serena’s in alarm. Her fears were put aside momentarily as she watched Richard began to ease his way out from under the rubble. Because he too had magickal abilities, he wasn’t affected by the displacement of time like the other two men. He cleared out from under the pile of twisted metal without much trouble then looked over to let the women know he was okay. He was a child of the earth and with that he gained phenomenal amounts of strength in times of need so that he was able to lift the framework easily.
“I’ll get them out,” he assured them with a glance to where the girl’s possessed body had been standing. “You must begin the spell.”
The four women quickly scrambled to their feet and once again took their places in the circle. In her worry over Scott’s safety, Elayne had momentarily forgotten the presence of the spirit in the body of Ravenmyst. She turned her gaze toward where she had last seen the girl and found that she was still there in the same spot, but not moving. It took her a moment to realize that Serena had entrapped the body with flows of air and had used a torn piece of fabric from the curtains as a hood that was secured over her head so that she couldn’t see what was happening in front of her.
“We must begin,” Connie said as she held out her hands that Elayne and Amy quickly clasped. They all joined hands and Serena used her power of telekinesis to propel the possessed body of the girl forward until it stood just outside their circle as Richard continued to clear the debris that covered the bodies of Val and Scott.
No one noticed when the small figure of Helen O’Brien entered the area backstage. She had waited for as long as she had dared in the car, but it was the need to go inside to help her parents that had propelled her to follow Val into the building. As soon as she had entered, she knew that Amy had pulled the group into a space not affected by time. It still fascinated the young girl that she could use magick like her mother and her aunties and she was always amazed by times like this one when she was able to use her talents. Elayne had shown her how to detect the use of magick and even though she had known there was magick in use while she was in the car, she could feel it even more so now that she was inside.
It had taken her a long time to find where everyone had congregated because she had to take the time to find where Amy had invoked the time disturbance. She was glad that she had listened to all the lessons that the women of the coven had been teaching her over the past few months. She only had a beginners knowledge, but there was a little voice inside her brain that told her she would do much more in the future.
Once she had located the translucent ring of magickal energy that sectioned off the area affected by Amy’s time dispersion, Helen carefully put her hand against the barrier and allowed her fingers to slowly slip through it. Amy had instructed her that it was perfectly safe for a person to walk through the veil that separated real time from the pocket she could create. A tingle ran up through her hand and arm as her fingers passed through the barrier and for the moment her worry for her parents was put aside.
She was as quiet as a mouse as she entered Amy’s time pocket. She didn’t know what was happening in there and she was smart enough to know not to announce her arrival with a hundred piece marching band. She was silent for a minute was she watched her mother and the others begin to chant the beginning of their spell. Helen also saw the figure of a young woman was standing close to the circle of women and had a hood of sorts on her head.
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