Friday, July 10, 2009

Chapter 8

It was Monday. D-Day. Except, so far, it felt just like any other day.

Faith has spent the weekend trying to figure out what could have caused her moonstone to break. She even called her mother for advice. Diana wasn’t sure how the stone could have been broken, but she did help Faith put together a charm for protection, so Faith made three more and planned on secretly placing them in each of The Three’s bedrooms. Each charm contained citrine to dispel negative energy, garnet and onyx for protection, and a few other carefully chosen stones and herbs. During the day, they could count on each other for protection, but at night each of them was vulnerable to attack.

“Miss Faith, your breakfast awaits.”
“I’m coming, Robert!”
Faith stuffed two of the charms into her back pack and walked out of her room. Instead of going directly down the stairs, she took a detour that led her right by Alex’s room. She listened at the closed door to see if he was on the other side. Nothing. She quietly turned the knob and winced as the hinges creaked when she opened the door. Peeking inside she looked around and then dashed to his bed. She took the charm that she had left out and stuffed it into the underside of his pillowcase. I certainly hope he doesn’t find this, Faith thought desperately. She heard a creak from behind her. Alexander was in his bathroom. Faith hurried out of the room just as Alex stepped back into it. Leaning against his door she took a deep breath.
That was a little too close.
She’d have to do better with Nick and Chase. Lucky for her, Nick and Chase shared a dorm room at the Academy.

The Three all had shared a room in the Chatwick dorms at one time—only staying at home on the weekends, but this year Alex decided to stay home completely; his father’s accident still too fresh, his mother still too clingy. It’s better this way anyhow, Faith thought. Now we each have a back up close by.

Faith made her way into the kitchen and started scarffing down the blueberry pancakes her aunt had left on a plate for her.

“Happy Birthday!” Faith and her Aunt yelled together as Alex walked into the kitchen.
“Uh, thanks.”
“Don’t be excited about it or anything Alex. You’ve only reached the age of adulthood. You can only vote, purchase cigarettes and get this, buy porn now,” Faith said facetiously.
“Sorry, I had a rough night’s sleep.”
“Well, here, let me provide you with some sustenance. I made your favorite, blueberry pancakes!” Aunt Libby said, placing a stack of pancakes in front of Alex.
“Thanks mom,” Alex said dutifully taking a couple of big bites.
“Hurry up and eat them, Alex. Faith here already ate hers and we wouldn’t want you to be late to school.”
“We always seem to be running late Aunt Libby, but we always make it in on time.”
“Don’t worry mom, we’re leaving now. I can’t eat another bite. They were delicious.”
Alex gave his mother a kiss. “I’ll see you after practice.”
“Alex, I thought that maybe today we’d go and visit your father…” Libby’s voice trailed off and she looked at the floor.
“Sure, mom.”
“Bye Aunt Libby!”
“Bye kids!” Libby said giving a watery smile. “Drive safely!”

It was lunchtime; the only time during the day where she wasn’t under the constant watch of her cousin. She made some petty excuse to Reese about needing to study in the library and then left the cafeteria. She walked through the corridors of the classroom wing and crossed the breezeway into the dormitories. Climbing the stairs, she ran into a girl from one of her classes. The girl gave her an odd look, but thankfully she didn’t ask any questions. She walked onto the third floor and looked at the numbering. Which way was 313? Left. She walked nonchalantly down the hall and stood in front of the door to room 313. Making sure that no one was around she came up with a quick spell:

Wind and flame, rain and rock,
My powers I call, this door unlock!
I’ve come to protect and save The Three,
As I will, so mote it be.

It wasn’t her best spell, but it would do. The locks clicked and she opened the door. It was surprisingly neat considering two teenaged boys lived there. Not wanting to waste time, she slipped a charm inside of each pillowcase, making sure to place the pouches under the pillow. The pouches were small enough to not be too noticeable, but there was still a chance they could be found. She would just have to cross her fingers and hope for the best.

The door closed behind her as she walked back into the hallway and she heard the locks once again slide back into place. She tested the knob to make sure her spell worked, and then hurried back to the classroom wing. Her history class would be starting soon.

She was late. So, she made her excuses to Mr. Kovacs and then sat in her seat next to Reese.
“I checked for you in the library and you weren’t there.”
“I, uh, had to use the ladies room towards the end of the lunch period. I had to freshen up a bit before class,” she said with a flirty smile, praying that Reese would take the bait.
Reese gave her a quick once over, flashed her one of his signature wolfish grins, and then turned his attention back to Mr. Kovacs.

At the end of class, Reese grabbed Faith’s hand before she could head toward the door.
“So, have you picked out a dress for this Friday?”
Faith hadn’t really given it much thought. She had a semi-formal gold satin dress that would probably look ok, but it was down at her house in Eastbrook. Maybe she could call her mom and have her drop it off.
“Sure. I have the perfect dress.”
“What color is it? I want to make sure that my tie will match.”
“Oh. It’s gold.”
“Yeah, like an antiqued brass color.”
He was still holding onto her hand; but his hand was sweaty, like he’d been holding his fist closed for a long time. Gross.
Trying to casually slip his grip she turned and pulled her hand as if she was going to pull her hair up into a ponytail, but his hand followed so that he was touching her face instead. She looked nervously at his face as he leaned in for a kiss. Faith panicked and didn’t know how she could get herself out of this and not ruin her plan for Friday night; but then, Mr. Kovacs came to her rescue, “You two lovebirds need to get out of here and head to your next classes.”

Silently thanking Mr. Kovacs, Faith grabbed her books and nearly ran out the door. She rushed to her next class and sat at her usual seat next to the door. Alex was already in the room, but when he saw her he sat in the seat adjacent to her instead of in his seat near the gaggle of girls that typically surrounded him. The girls watched his movement with confused looks on their faces.

“Want to tell me why both you and Reese were late to class?”
“What are you talking about? I walked in by myself if you’ll recall.”
“Reese walked in thirty seconds before you did. You were both late.”
“Well, trust me, I wasn’t with him.”
“Where were you then?”
“Um, the ladies room,” that excuse had worked with Reese and Faith was hoping it would work with Alex too.
“Whatever. Just don’t be alone with that guy.”
“I can..”
“…take care of yourself. I know. You say it every five minutes.”
“Well, I’ll stop once you quit questioning my capabilities.”
“Look, just make sure you tell me if he tries anything, ok?”
“You’ll be the first to know.”

The bell rang and Alex remained in his new seat. He needed time away from all the gossip and small talk that those girls always seemed to revel in. He needed time to think. The school day was almost over and still no sign of anything evil. He had been pretty sure that the Dark Power wouldn’t attack him during the school day and it looks like he was right. He had already talked with Nick and Chase and they all decided that they would cast the circle and use it as protection until midnight when his birthday was over. God, he couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Once he was at full power he wouldn’t be so worried about whether or not he’d be able to protect himself and his family. Not that he’d be getting a good night sleep anytime soon. There was still Nick and Chase to worry about. Sure, they had each other in case anything happened, but it would be weeks before either of them turned eighteen.

“Hm, yeah?”
“Class is over. You have to head to practice. What were you thinking about so hard? You didn’t even hear the bell!”
“Just thinking adult thoughts. You wouldn’t understand,” Alex joked.
“Right. You are only ten months older than I am. And didn’t you know? Girls mature faster than boys.”
“You just keep telling yourself that.”
“I’ll see you after practice, old man.”

After practice they headed over to the hospital and celebrated Alex’s birthday with ice cream and cake. Chase and Nick had come and his mother and Faith had sung him “Happy Birthday.” It had all been so…surreal. When it was time to go, everyone left the room and Alex was alone in the room with his father. He leaned down and made a promise, “Don’t worry, Dad. We’ll get rid of this thing.” Alex felt his father squeeze his hand. He searched his father’s face for any glimmer of life, but saw nothing. Alex squeezed his father’s hand once last time and left the room.

Alex stood in the middle of the circle with Nick and Chase beside him. All of them waiting. Watching. It was nearly midnight and there was still no sign of the Dark Power. What was it waiting for? Alex could feel the power rippling through him. It was heady, tempting. He waited for the smallest hint that the Dark Power was going to attack so that he could send his power rushing out into the night. But there was nothing. Not one sound. Even the owls were silent.
Alex looked at his watch. Midnight.

“Looks like we were wrong boys. He isn’t going to make a move tonight. He’s out there, but he’s waiting…”
“You’re the boss,” Nick said moving into position to close the circle.
“How can you be sure he isn’t going to attack tonight?” questioned Chase.
“I can just tell. He’s waiting.”
They closed the circle and walked back to the house.
Faith watched unnoticed from her window; scanning the tree line to make sure nothing followed them.

Still in the woods, the Dark Power sat alone. He had wanted to strike tonight, but he was still weak. All of that power available for the taking and he had been too weak to take it. It won’t be long now, he comforted himself. He would make his first move and they wouldn’t see it coming. The power would soon be his.

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