Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chapter 12

Nick and Chase had slept over again. It was becoming a trend; with the threat of the Dark Power hanging over them like an ominous cloud it just made sense for Nick and Chase to stay the night on the weekend. It was more convenient anyhow, Faith thought as she placed her witchy supplies onto the table in the dining room, now she could call an impromptu Magic 101 class for the boys. Unfortunately, having Chase around all of the time was only managing to confuse her more. Ever since yesterday’s events in Salem he had definitely scaled back his efforts to woo her. She thought that she’d feel relieved, but instead she felt hurt. Maybe that was his ploy—to play keep away so that the heart would grow fonder. Somehow she didn’t think Chase would be that petty. Sighing, Faith continued to arrange her witch supplies. As she was laying out the last items, the three boys came strolling in.

“What’s all this?” Alex asked pointing at the table.
“I told you all that I was going to teach you some natural magic. That way we have something to combat this guy with that won’t allow him to put a trace on us.”
“Alright. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
All three of the boys pulled out a chair and sat down at the table.
“Well, let’s start by saying that as ‘witches’ our power comes from the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. We can manipulate each of these elements, but oftentimes you’ll find that you are more in tune with one in particular. For me, I find my power in Earth.” Faith placed her hand over a wilting chrysanthemum bloom that she had plucked from the garden and closed her eyes. She envisioned that the flower was once again hale. Its petals the deep purple they once were, its scent once again fragrant. As she pulled her hand away the Three saw a once again healthy blossom.

“That is great and all, Faith; but how is that going to help us fight off the Dark Power?” Chase asked pragmatically.
“Well, you’re the ones who told me we shouldn’t use magic that needs a spell. Without a spell, our powers are greatly diminished.”
“Keep going Faith,” Alex urged, “the more we know, the better off we will be.”
Throwing Chase a wary glance, Faith continued. “Besides calling to the Earth, we can also call to Water and Air; however, without a spell, they aren’t too good as means to defend ourselves. Look.” Faith dipped her finger into a bowl of water she had set down onto the table. She imagined the water surging and spilling over the rim of the bowl. As she conjured the images the water began to rise and spill out onto the table top. Then, instead of sopping up the small pools of water, Faith imagined them vanishing, the water evaporating into the air. When she opened her eyes the table was clean once again.
“What about the air?” Nick asked.
“I’m getting to it.”
Faith imagined a sea breeze hitting her face and lifting her hair. She could smell the surf and hear the whistle of the wind. As she brought her thoughts into focus a gust of wind opened the front door and whipped through the front hall into the dining room.
“Very cool,” Nick commented.
“Thanks!” Faith said. It felt good being able to share her magic with other people. Magic brought her such joy and it was obvious that Nick was enjoying it to. Faith looked at Alex who had a hint of admiration in his eyes. Chase, however, still looked somewhat unimpressed. Faith sighed.

“I’d like to see what you can do with fire,” Chase commented casually.
Faith grabbed the unlit candle she had brought down. She cupped her hands and visualized the dancing flame. The heat that emanated from it and the light it shed. The flame burst from her hands onto the wick. Faith looked up into Chase’s eyes.
“Can you do anything else with it?” he asked.
“Anything else? Like this?” Faith grabbed the flame off of the wick and held it in her hand. The flame grew larger into a small baseball sized sphere and she hurled the fireball into the fireplace that dominated the west wall of the dining room where it exploded and the logs that had been lying there cold were now crackling cheerfully under a glowing fire.

“It’s still a bit warm for a fire, don’t you think?” Alex asked Faith.
“I do. Why don’t you put out the fire, Alex?”
“Me? Right now?”
“Yes. You. Right now. You can put it out. Just imagine the flame going lower and lower until it no longer exists. Envision it in your mind and direct your power at the fire. Push with your mind and make your vision real. Just give it a shot.”

Alex got up out of his chair, turned toward the fire and closed his eyes. He thought about the leaping flames licking at the logs and charring the wood. He visualized the flames getting smaller and smaller, fading out due to lack of fuel. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to push with his mind, but he was certainly trying. Sweat beaded on his forehead.
“Keep at it Alex,” Faith encouraged.
He focused what was in him at the fire and suddenly he felt his power release in the direction of the fireplace.
“You’re doing it!” Nick exclaimed enthusiastically.
“Hush! Let him concentrate!” Faith said quietly to Nick; but she too felt excited.
Finally the flames were extinguished and Alex opened his eyes to peek warily at the fireplace.
“Wow. That is harder than it looks; but definitely worth it. It feels different using this power.”
“Different? How so?” Chase asked.
“How can I put this?” Alex said searching for an analogy. “It’s like a homemade cake versus a store bought cake.”
“Cake?” Chase remarked snidely.
“Yeah, cake. The dark magic is like a store bought cake. If I want it all I have to do is go and get it. It’s easy. With this magic it’s like making the cake yourself. It takes a while, but in the end it’s worth it because it tastes so much better than a cake from the store.”
“As far as analogies go, it’s not the best one I’ve ever heard; but it works,” Nick said. “I want to try now. What do I do?” he asked Faith.
“It’s easy, just focus on the wick of this candle…”

Chase watched Faith as she and Alex helped Nick to use his natural magic. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was impressed with the strength of Faith’s power. It seemed that everything Faith did lately impressed him. Not only could she command the elements, but she could create powerful spells and duel with dark warlocks. So why was he fighting his feelings for her? It wasn’t just that Alex warned him yesterday about ‘distracting’ Faith while they were fighting the Dark Power. He wanted to believe that it was because he didn’t want to hurt her or because they had enough things to worry about right now; but that wasn’t it either. He was fighting them because he was the one who didn’t want to get hurt. He couldn’t face losing her if he admitted his feelings for her. What they were facing was a real danger and he didn’t want anything to get in the way of their last battle, and that included Faith. He had spent the night thinking about how the power had come into the house and challenged Faith last night. Somehow, knowing that the power was constantly near had made him realize that there was no time for fooling around or trying to start something with Faith. He was just going to have to rein in his hormones and stay focused on the task at hand: getting rid of the Dark Power.

He knew he couldn’t keep away from her, that was asking too much of himself; so, he planned to keep things going as they were. Casual. Friendly. But nothing beyond that. He knew she wanted more; but he simply couldn’t risk giving it to her. What he was doing was best for the both of them. At least, that’s what he kept telling himself.

“It’s your turn to try now, Chase. Let’s see if you’re as quick of a study as Alex and Nick.”
Chase sauntered over to where Faith stood with the unlit candle in her hand. Maybe it was his proximity to Faith and how her presence always made him feel more powerful, or maybe it was the fact that he felt in tune with the fire, but as soon as he thought of the fire lighting the wick a flame came soaring up from the candle, nearly burning Faith. Surprised, Faith dropped the candle to the ground; the flame extinguished itself as it landed on the floor with a thump.

“Damnit. I’m sorry Faith,” Chase apologized trying desperately to make sure she wasn’t burned but at the same time making every effort not to touch her. Touching her would be bad. It made him feel out of control.

“I’m fine Chase. Just a little...singed. That’s all,” Faith said as she calmly bent down to pick up the candle from off the floor. Flustered, Chase pulled out one of the chairs from the table and sat down again. He leaned onto the table with his elbows and buried is head in his hands.

“What on earth was that?” Nick said slowly to Chase.
“I don’t know.”
“Did he do that on his own?” Alex asked Faith.
“Of course he did,” Faith said sticking up for Chase.
“But he barely even thought about it!”
“Well, I told you that most witches will feel more connected with a certain element. It’s possible that Chase’s element is Fire.”
“Hmph,” Alex grunted.
“How about we draw this little session to a close? I’m done,” Chase proclaimed as he stood up and headed for the door.
“Where are you going?” Alex demanded.
“We shouldn’t spend too much time apart, Chase. You know, just in case…” Nick said quietly.
“Fine, I’m going out to Finn’s to eat. If you don’t want to separate, then I suggest we all go.” Chase said as he walked toward the front door, grabbed his jacket and headed out to his car.
Nick gave a shrug to Alex and sighed. “I’m hungry too. It must be the magic,” and he too headed outside.

Faith looked at the door where Nick and Chase had just left and then back at her cousin. He looked like he was ready to dig his heels in and stay, but if they were going to beat this thing, they had to stick together. Faith wasn’t going to allow male egos ruin their chances of victory, so she grabbed Alex by the hand and dragged him out of the door.

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