Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chapter 20

The old man walking toward them looked like Robert and sounded like Robert, but the coldness in his eyes and sardonic expression on his face could only belong to the Dark Power that possessed him.

“Hello, David,” Alex said, using the Dark Power’s human name.
“Oh, the young witch thinks he is so clever! You think you have it all figured out, don’t you Alexander Martin?” the Dark Power spat out Alex’s last name as if it was a curse. “Allow me to assure you that you know nothing. Nothing! The only thing you need to concern yourself with is giving me back my power…as well as your friends, of course.” The Dark Power/Robert gently folded his arms together, “I must warn you, tonight is my night of nights. My power is only enhanced by the fact that there is a full moon on All Hallow’s Eve. I couldn’t have chosen a better night! However, I can show mercy; something your thieving ancestors knew nothing about. Give me back my power peacefully and no one will be harmed.”
“We’re not giving you anything.”
“Well, then. It looks like I’ll have to take it from you.” The Dark Power unfolded his arms and his fingertips reached for the sky. The already fading sun quickly became obscured by dark ominous storm clouds. Lightening crackled out of the sky and thunder boomed in return. A steady rain began to fall and the Dark Power pulled himself out of Robert’s body.

He started out as a misty cloud of darkness floating in black wisps away from Robert’s body, but as the mist drew closer to the circle it became denser and started to take shape. By the time the Dark Power reached the outer perimeter of the circle he had taken the shape of the hooded man—the same man that had faced down Faith and Chase at the Cove.

Robert gave a groan and then crumpled to the forest floor, the rain soaking his flimsy t-shirt enough so that the ring he kept hidden underneath created a lump.

Faith eyed the lump and then looked back at the Dark Power, wondering if she should risk leaving the safety of the circle to go and take the necklace off of Robert. The Dark Power was distracted now with trying to intimidate the Three by calling a storm, his arms reaching toward the sky. Maybe she could run over and grab it while the Dark Power’s face was turned away…

Faith looked down at her hands and saw that the charms she meant to place around the circle were still being grasped by her fingers. Deciding it would be better to protect the Three than to grab the ring off of Robert, Faith took advantage of the Dark Power’s distraction and quickly scrambled to put the charms into place.

The boys, who had been standing in the middle of the circle, didn’t realize what Faith was doing until she was placing the last charm on the circle—right in front of the Dark Power.

“Faith! No!” Alex yelled as the Dark Power looked down at Faith. With his hands still held up to the sky he called down the lightening.

Horrified, the Three could only watch as Faith struggled to protect herself from the blow. Her glowing blue shield proved to be no match for the Dark Power. The bolt of lightening hit Faith and sent her unconscious body to rest at the feet of the Three.

Furious and filled with rage, Chase stepped forward to use his power.

“No, Chase. You haven’t come into your full power yet. Nick and I will take care of this,” Alex said pulling Chase to stand behind him and Nick. Alex and Nick used their powers to hold off the Dark Power—each of them hurling their own energy at him to deflect the lightening bolts that were being thrown their way.

Frustrated with his powerlessness, Chase focused his attention on Faith. Crouching down beside her, Chase rolled her onto her side to assess the damage. She had some minor cuts on her face, but the most alarming sign of damage was the blood trickling out of her ear. Panicked, Chase quickly checked her neck for a pulse. Feeling a steady beat, Chase let go of a breath he hadn’t known he was holding. Her pulse was weak, but she was still very much alive. Chase gently touched her face and called to her.
“Faith, you have to wake up. C’mon Faith.”

Faith continued to lay motionless on the ground. The rain softly fell onto her expressionless face.

Chase looked up to see his friends starting to grow weary from the constant use of power. As their energy flagged the lightening bolts started to come closer and closer to meeting their marks. Alex and Nick couldn’t hold out for too much longer.

“Wake up, Faith,” Chase urged as he gently patted first one cheek and then the other. “I mean it. We need your help.”

Suddenly, Chase felt strange—like he had butterflies in his stomach. Chase placed his hand on his stomach and thought that he might get sick. Then, the fluttering in his stomach started to spread to his chest and limbs. A slight tremor moved through his body and Chase thought he might lose his balance. He put his hand to the ground to steady himself and the wet leaves beneath his fingers burst into flames.

His power had come to him.

Chase quickly stood up and stamped out the fire, the leaves hissing as the rain drops fell onto the hot ashes. Feeling the power surging through him, Chase gave Faith one last glance as he walked over and stood between his two best friends.

The Dark Power must have sensed that the Three were now all at full power. His face contorted with rage as he screamed into the night. An eerie gray light began to emanate from all around him and the Three stood still, cautiously awaiting his next strike. The Dark Power began to mumble and the grey light surrounding him became brighter and brighter.

“What is he doing?” Alex yelled to his friends, hoping they’d hear him over the thunder.
“Whatever it is, it isn’t good,” Nick yelled back, keeping his eyes on the Dark Power. “What should we do?”
Chase grabbed Alex and Nick by the hand, “Hold on!”

Just as the Three joined their hands the Dark Power released a blinding wave of dark energy. The strongest power he had ever conjured; however, he underestimated the power of the Three.

With their hands joined, the Three seemed to absorb the dark energy. All three looked at the Dark Power, their eyes black and glimmering with magic. Their power linked through their hands, the Three threw the energy back at the Dark Power and sent him flying backwards, his body turning to mist and dissipating as it hit the trunk of a tree.

The Dark Power reappeared in front of the tree.

Doesn’t feel too great, does it?” Chase said mockingly.

The boys unlinked their hands and began to hurl their magic at the Dark Power—three against one.

As the boys battled the Dark Power, Faith slowly regained consciousness. Not yet aware of what was going on around her, she lifted herself up off of the soggy ground with her elbows and shook her head as she tried to focus on the last thing she could remember. Her entire body ached. Her head felt as if had been hit with a sledgehammer. She blinked slowly several times in an effort to get the spots of light in her vision to go away. After one last long blink, she could finally see straight. She looked up to gauge her vision and saw the Three fiercely fighting off the Dark Power.

They need my help! Faith thought immediately. Her muscles screaming in protest, Faith pushed herself into a kneeling position and felt something in her right hand. The pouch that held the last charm.

Faith fell back to the ground and did her best to avoid the battle going on around her. Slowly snaking her way through the water-logged earth, Faith made it over to the edge of the circle—to the exact location the Dark Power had blasted her away from. She said one last blessing and placed the charm onto the perimeter of the circle.

NOOOOO!” the Dark Power screamed as he was effectively locked out of the circle. The charms had worked! They were safe inside of the circle.

“Faith! Are you alright?” Alex asked as he ran over to his cousin and helped her off of the ground.
“I’m fine. A bit dirty, but fine,” she said as she unsuccessfully tried to wipe the mud off of her shirt. She was covered with mud from her head to her toes. “Let’s just say the final spell and get this over with. Quickly.”

All four of them joined hands and prepared to call their elements.

The dark power remained outside of the circle, continuing to hurl his dark energy in an effort to weaken the power of the Three.

“Leave them alone,” a voice called out from the forest.

Oh no, thought Faith, please no.

“I said, leave them alone.”
Reese came walking toward the circle.

Seeing who it was, the Dark Power stopped his attempts at breaking the circle. “Well, isn’t this pleasant! My own descendant has turned on me. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Didn’t your father ever teach you to be loyal to your family?”
“Why should I be loyal to you? You’ve done nothing but lie to me from the start.”

“Reese, get out of here. This isn’t for you,” Alex commanded harshly.
“No, Alex. We’re all in this together, whether you like it or not,” retorted Reese as he continued heading toward the circle.
“Reese, NO!”

As Alex yelled out to Reese the Dark Power used his magic to blast Reese with a lightning bolt. As the thunder crashed Reese sailed through the air and landed in a puddle right next to where Robert’s seemingly lifeless body lay.

“Well isn’t this convenient. Do you know what happens when water and electricity mix, Alex Martin? Allow me to provide you with a demonstration using your friend Reese.
“You wouldn’t dare.”
Wouldn’t I?”
“He’s your family! Didn’t you just say that you should be loyal to your family?”
“Ah, but he has betrayed my trust and he must pay.” The Dark Power held the lightning in his hand, letting it spark and crackle.

Alex looked at his circle of friends, desperate to find a way to help Reese.
“We can’t leave the circle, Alex. He can’t touch us in here. Let’s just say the spell and get rid of him,” Chase said.
“Yeah, but not before he has the chance to kill Reese. We can’t have that happen, Chase,” Alex replied.
“Maybe YOU can’t have that happen, but I couldn’t care less about that guy. He’s done nothing for us but cause trouble. Look at the mess he’s gotten us into. You can put your own life at risk for Reese, but not mine.”
“What are you talking about, Chase? Are you crazy? You’re siding with the evil guy that nearly killed my father?”
“And now we’ve come full circle, haven’t we? Everything always has to come back to you, doesn’t it Alex? Your father. Your life. Your everything! I’m sick of it! I’m sick of having to follow you around and play second fiddle. I’m done.”
“Chase, what are you doing?” Faith asked incredulously.
“Stay out of this, Faith. This has been a long time in the making. I’m just glad it’s happening now when I can actually do something about it.”

Chase did the unthinkable and left the circle.

He walked right up to the Dark Power and said, “You want your power back? Take it. You want to kill Reese? Do it. I won’t try to stop you and I sure as hell won’t help them,” Chase said with a sneer. “I assure you their spell isn’t going to work without me. I only ask one thing in return.”
“Name it.”
“I keep my power.”
“Done!” The Dark Power exclaimed almost joyfully. The lightning disappeared and he clasped his hands together. “Go and destroy those charms!”

“Oh no you don’t you son of a bitch!” Nick yelled as he threw power at Chase. Chase ducked and laughed at Nick.
“You always were the pathetic one, Nick,” Chase taunted.

Only thinking of his anger, Nick lunged at Chase and found himself outside of the circle.
“Nick!” Faith screamed and ran toward him. Alex grabbed her arm and pulled her back and Nick was hit by a lightning bolt and sent back into the circle. Faith knelt down next to Nick who was already trying to get back onto his feet.

“Get the charms you fool!”
“He’s not going to get anything,” Alex said as he too threw his power at Chase. Unlike Nick, Alex had more time to learn to control his power because his birthday had come first. And unlike Nick, Alex’s surge of power hit Chase on the chest and sent him away from the circle and the pouches surrounding it.

“Get up! Get the charms!” the Dark Power roared irately.
“Why don’t you go and get bent?” Chase snidely replied.
“Get bent.”

Chase grabbed hold of both Reese and Robert and disappeared.

The Dark Power roared.

When Chase reappeared he was back in the circle—alone.
“Let’s get this done,” Chase said and grabbed Faith and Alex’s hands.

Still disbelieving what they were seeing, Alex, Faith, and Nick stood immobilized by their shock.
“Guys. The spell. NOW!”

Nick grasped onto Alex and Faith’s other hands to complete their inner circle.

“You can’t DOOOO this!” screamed the Dark Power.

All four of them looked to the sky and let their magic weave their spell. One by one, each of them called out to their element:

The sea is mine, the rain I call,
Water, I beseech, pour and fall.
Douse the evil and drown the dark,
Destroy him and his wicked mark.

Of Air I am, of wind I cry,
I call down fury from the sky.
Ravage, gust, scream, and spin,
Defeat the Dark Power that seeks to win.

Fire I summon, the flames I seek,
Burn this evil and make him weak.
Blazing heat and furious flame,
Return this power from where it came.

The Earth I am, the ground I invite,
Tremble, quake, and show us your might.
Swallow the evil that seeks to corrupt,
With life, with love, and perfect trust.

The Dark Power writhed in fury, “You only think it will end here. You may have broken the spell, but in my place will come another evil. You have no idea the beast you have unleashed!”

The four of them, hands still clasped, finished the spell together, their voices ringing in the night:

We call the elements, we set them free,
As we will, so mote it be!

As quickly as the raging thunderstorm storm had arrived, it departed—taking the Dark Power with it. The rain slowly came to a stop and the four friends were left staring at each other. All of them battered and bruised, and soaked to the bone.

Faith turned to Chase and slapped him across the face.
“What the hell were you thinking? Do you have any idea what you put us through?”

Chase rubbed his cheek and answered back, “It wouldn’t have looked authentic if I told you what the plan was. He had to believe that I would turn against you.”
“You sounded pretty serious,” Nick said quietly.
“Nick, Alex, I only said those things to get you to react to me. If I really meant them, I would have said them to you a long time ago. Besides, what does it even matter now? We’re all on an equal level. We’re all powerless now,” Chase said with a shrug.

“You’re not powerless, you’re just less powerful than you used to be, that’s all,” Faith said.

“So, it was ALL an act?” Alex asked.
“Yes, Alex,” Chase said, getting annoyed.
“I’ve gotta say, Chase, that was dangerous, stupid and probably the most…brilliant thing I’ve ever seen. That was awesome, man!” Alex said, giving Chase a slap on the back.
“Seriously, Chase, that was pretty good for a spur-of-the-moment plan,” Nick admitted with a grin. “How did you know you could blink out with both of them?”
“I didn’t. I just figured that it would be worth the risk,” Chase shrugged.
“That was a big risk, Chase,” Alex stated bluntly.
“It was the only way I could think of. It’s not like I had a lot of time to strategize.”
“Well, thank you, Chase.”
“Yeah, thanks, Chase.”
Chase turned to look at Faith who was still eyeing him suspiciously. Chase shrugged again and turned away to hide his disappointment.
He turned back around, “What?”
Faith jumped into his arms, “You were amazing! I can’t believe how brave you are! You’re just…incredible! Happy birthday you big idiot!” Faith grabbed Chase’s face and gave him the kiss she’d wanted to give him for the past few weeks. To her utter delight he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her back.

“I’m so sorry, Faith. I never meant to hurt you.”
“It’s ok, Chase. I understand. That’s what your paper was about for Mr. Kovacs’ class. You didn’t want to jeopardize all of us by being…distracted.”
Chase fell back into kissing Faith.

“Um, I don’t mean to interrupt this romantic little interlude, but where are Robert and Reese?” Nick asked.
Chase pulled away from Faith and gave a toothy grin. “They’re at Alex’s house in the living room. I checked both of them, they’re unconscious, but they’re fine.”
“Seriously?” Alex asked in amazement.
Chase nodded.
“Let’s go home then.”
The four friends all headed toward the house.

As they were just about to reach the house, the cell phone in Alex’s pocket rang. Alex pulled the phone out of his pocket and looked at the caller ID.
“It’s my mom,” he said and answered the phone.
“What? Are you serious? That’s great! We’ll be there as soon as we can! What’s that? We’re fine. Everyone is fine. We’ll see you soon. Bye.”
“What was that all about?” Faith asked her cousin.
“My dad is awake. He’s out of the coma.”
“That’s great Alex!” Faith gave her cousin a hug.
“I think she knew.”
“What do you mean?” Chase queried.
“She asked me if we were all ok. Like she thought that we were doing something that might get us hurt. I mean, I kind of figured that Faith’s mom knew and that’s why she sent her up here, but MY mom? Huh.”
“My mom! I need to call her! Let me use your phone, Alex.”

Faith called her mom and let her know that everyone was okay and that the Dark Power had been defeated. Needless to say, her mother was ecstatic and relieved.
“Does this mean that you’re coming home now?”
“I don’t think so, mom,” Faith said looking at her cousin and his two best friends. “I think I’ll just finish the year out here; but we can talk about this later. Alex and I are going to go and visit Uncle Matthew. He’s awake now.”
“Really? That’s great!! Your father and I will have to come up and visit tomorrow!”
“Alright, mom. We’ll see you then!”
“Bye sweetie!”

Faith handed the phone back to Alex, looked at the Three and smiled.

The power that had both protected and corrupted was now gone. And outside, in the woods of New Jerusalem, a wolf could be heard howling at the moon for the first time in over three hundred years.

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