As soon as I took a sip, I realized it was poison. Recognizing that harsh burn slithering down my throat, I scanned the room in a mild panic. A man’s eyes locked on mine and winked. He actually winked! He wanted me to know it was him.
Slowly, I made my way through the party and slipped out the back door, my bag clutched in my shaking hand. Hot sweat slid down my face practically causing steam in the cold October air. It’s not too far. I ran. The inviting forest embraced me in moments. This was my domain. Any normal human would be disoriented in the dark woods but I could find it with my eyes closed. With the poison seeping deeper inside me, I might have to.
I placed my clammy hand on the rough bark of a strong pine calling on Mother Earth for strength. A surge shot through my arm. My heart pounded with new power. I used that push and found our sacred spot.
The black cauldron hung over the wood pile my coven had left the night before. Nature had given me a push but it was fading fast. I stumbled to it, my exposed knees sinking into the moist grass. I snapped my fingers. Nothing. A few more tries and still nothing. Rubbing my hands on my dark jeans, I concentrated and snapped again. A small spark lit in the pile. I had to use what little breath I had to help it spread.
Bottles clanked as I rummaged through the infinity pocket in my brown leather bag. I pulled out anything that touched my hand and tossed it on the ground.
Ice splintered in my throat creeping slowly towards my chest. What kind of poison is this? Darkness speckled my vision. Hurry. I threw in the ingredients I thought were right and it took everything I had to focus on the concoction bubbling in the pot.
Crunch. Someone was close. Leaves crackled under their feet.
A heavy fog oozed over the top of the cauldron. The potion was done. NOW. There was no time to find a cup. I plunged my hands into the brew and bit back a scream. Cupping the hot liquid, I brought it to my mouth and poured it down my throat, some dripping along my chin.
Suddenly, invisible arms flung me to the ground. The ice spread faster, paralyzing my chest.
He stood over me with that same smug look he wore just minutes ago. “I thought you’d be more difficult to get rid of.”
His foot thrust into my stomach. I would have screamed if the poison hadn’t been squeezing my lungs. Only pathetic gasps escaped.
“Disappointing.” He shook his head before his expression turned stern. “You messed with the wrong warlocks. We sent your little coven several warnings but you just wouldn’t quit.” He leaned closer and examined my face before moving to the cauldron and knocking it to the ground. “Doesn’t look like your counter potion worked. Sad.”
I rolled onto my back and stared up at the blinking stars. Where they mocking me with their winking eyes as he had? Please, I begged.
A frigid wind spiraled from above and on to my coven’s sacred area causing the fire to flutter out. My left arm grasped for anything, finally slipping into my bag and into the infinity pocket. I wrapped my hand around something solid. A handle.
“Your meeting place is rather cliché, don’t you think?” He went on, “From how fast this poison is slipping through you, you’ll be dead in moments. So I’ll be brief.” This time he knelt next to me in the dirt. My insides twisted when his rough hand slide under the top of my blouse. My amethyst crystal dangled from it’s silver chain when his hand emerged. “When you’re gone, I’ll be able to take this off your skinny neck with no trouble. Then I’ll use it to find the rest of your worthless, irritating group and we’ll finish the rest of them off.”
I gagged as the icy poison arrested my lower body.
“What was that?” He leaned over me leaving his face only inches from mine, his hand still on my necklace. “Have some parting words?”
“Killing-” I choked on every word. “Killing with- slow… and pain- Cruel.”
“Oh really? And how do you kill?” He laughed. “You don’t. You just die.”
“I kill. Not-” I didn’t know how much I had left in me but I called on everything I could to give me this last moment. “Not with- tricks… like you.” I pulled my arm out of my bag and thrust a dagger directly into his chest. “I’m more direct.”
Warm blood seeped onto my hand and sputtered from his lips onto my chest. His body slumped to the side. I gave the blade a twist before his body went limp and my limbs succumbed to the cold. This is it. I looked above me, giving my spirit to wherever witches were welcome after death.
My eyes shut but a burning sensation started in my stomach, crawling up my throat forcing them back open. Can it be?
I called on the night, knowing the witching hour approached and my powers would be at their peck. The antidote coursed through my veins, bringing feeling back to my body.
Stumbling to my feet, I observed my surroundings with new life. The warlock lay lifeless on the ground. I pulled my dagger from his chest and wiped it clean before storing it away. His talisman hung from his belt. When I yanked it off, his body dissolved into ash and floated away on the autumn breeze.
I looked up at the sky. “Thank you.”
“You still have more to do.” The stars whispered in reply. “Go.”
I had to gather the rest of my coven. We had a lot to do. One down. Twelve to go.