Lacey reached the tree panting, struggling to catch her breath. Still unable to grasp what had just happened, her mind reeled to grasp the full concept of all she had just learned. She knew her aunt was twisted and took sick pleasure in tormenting people. But even this was beyond anything she had ever imagined possible. She dragged her battered body up into the comforting arms of the tree and curled up in a little ball and sobbed.
The high priest began the ceremony in an old language she couldn’t understand. The horror and shock of what they were attempting to do still reeling in her mind. Her aunt’s self satisfied grin as she stood next to the priest made her stomach lurch. A bitter twinge of pride pricked at Lacey’s mind, reminding her in the end her aunt would not win, because Lacey wasn’t a virgin. The only question that remained would be at what price?
The girls in the circle started chanting low and swaying with the beat that was orchestrated by the priest. There was a definite magic building in the room, the hair on Lacey’s neck stood on end. The priest walked towards Lacey to the rhythm of the chant, a silver blade in his hand, Percy’s own grip became painful on her shoulder. “No worries now my dear, “her aunt crooned from his side,” he needs just a small bit of virgin blood to complete the spell.”
Again Lacey paled. She wasn’t going to be able to escape her aunt before it was discovered she was not a virgin. Things were about to get very bad. The priests hands were dry, almost leathery, as he pulled her hand into his. The sharp blade sliced her palm, the blood pooled in her hand before the pain registered in her brain. The priest was delicate as he allowed the blood to run over his blade, the look in his eyes was more disturbing than anything she had ever experienced.
As the priest walked towards the circle, cupping the blade, she heard a voice in her head, “Be ready.” At first she thought it was just her knowing the disaster that was about to happen, then Percy’s hand moved a slight breath on her shoulder. “Be ready Lacey.” He had not spoken out loud, only to her mind, and it was something he had never done before. But Percy had always been kind to her, and she knew that whatever was about to happen, he was going to help her.
As the priest dropped the blood on the edge of the circle and drew the blade outward so it reached her father’s corpse, the spell broke. It was as if an audible pop happened and everything just fell apart. Sensing something was wrong, her aunt demanded, “What is wrong, why is my brother not up and walking?!” She stalked towards the priest, her anger growing, “You told me you would bring him back!”
The priest turned and with a wave of his hand silenced her aunt. A heavy silence fell over the room as the priest turned and looked at Lacey, his eyes penetrated her as he brought the blade that still had some of her blood on it, and licked it. Lacey trembled at the gesture, she saw death in those eyes for the betrayal. Holding her breath, her aunt broke the silence with a shriek, “You WHORE!” And all at once things began to move very fast.
The problem with magic is, even if the spell fails, the power will hover, waiting to be used. It doesn’t care who uses it, it has no feelings, no sense of right or wrong, it just wants to be spent. The priest and her aunt both bore down on Lacey, using the power to levitate her and the chair up off the ground, forcing Percy back from her. She was shot across the room and slammed into the wall, the chair shattered, her body tumbled to the ground. Splinters of the chair pierced the bare flesh of her arms and legs.
The priest stalked towards Lacey as she tried to get up, and found she was unable to breathe. It was as if something was being wrapped around her throat and all the air was being cut off. Her eyes flew open wide and she saw the priest and her aunt’s eyes were glowing a fire red. The girls had gotten up from the circle and were salivating at the blood. Everything was closing in fast on her when she heard a guttural sound from across the room.
Percy was glowing a brilliant white color, his body was morphing and growing with the light. It was so bright it hurt to look at him, but you couldn’t help but stare at the beauty of it. Percy was almost as tall as the cathedral ceiling in the parlor now and the light was warm and getting brighter. Lacey realized that she could breathe and everyone’s attention was on Percy as he unfurled the most beautiful wings she had ever seen.
“Run!” She heard it in her head and hesitated for only a second, she couldn’t leave him here to fight her battle. But she was only a mortal after all. “RUN!” His voice roared through her head and she didn’t look back as she bolted from the parlor and out the front door. The sounds of bloodshed and the shrieks of the girls ringing in her ears. She didn’t stop running until she got to the tree that she had come to, her safe haven for all these years.