Thank you for understanding.
Julia tapped her fingers on the computer desk in front of her. The Rascalz were playing on Much Music on the TV behind her. She always needed music to work, though usually she put on music she actually liked.
Julia had writer's block, which was nothing new. She was in the mood for writing, but the words just wouldn't come. That was always the way- once she got a story started, she couldn't stop, but it took her forever to get going.
The horrible Rascalz song ended, and the Backstreet Boys came on. Julia rolled her eyes, From one extreme to the next, she thought. She decided to take a walk. Maybe the cool night air would get the creative juices flowing.
Walking into her bedroom, Julia glanced at herself in her full-length mirror. She was tall and slender with a creamy, smooth complexion. She had a pretty, bow shaped mouth that was always quick to smile, revealing two rows of perfectly straight, white teeth. Her curly hair was like a copper coloured waterfall, cascading over her shoulders and down her back. Her eyes were the dark, sapphire blue of the deepest ocean.
She ran her fingers through her wild mass of curls, trying to tame it somewhat unsuccessfully. As she headed back out of her room, humming The Real Slim Shady (which was now playing on Much. She predicted *Nsync to be the next song,), she ran her hand over her white cat, Angel, grabbed her purse and walked out the door. She decided to get out of the bad area of the town where she lived as fast as possible, and headed for the river.
Halfway down her road she spotted four men, each in their late teens, early twenties, on the sidewalk, blocking her way. They looked like bad news, what with the multiple piercing, tattoos, leather and chains.
"Oh no," she muttered, "It's okay, I can handle this." She knew the worst thing to do would be to show fear, i.e. cross to the other side of the road. Besides, she was more than she seemed and if they bothered her they would get more than they bargained for.
She drew closer to them, and the one that appeared to be the youngest nudged the one next to him, who had a Mohawk that was bright, fiery red. Mohawk Boy glanced up and grinned when he saw Julia. She sighed, and tried to just walk past. He blocked her way, stepping in front of her. By this time, the others had caught on and they surrounded her. Mohawk Boy looked over her head at someone behind her. She turned around to face a tall man that looked like he could have been a dark angel from the gates of Hell. He had black, slicked back hair, a diagonal scar going from above his left eyebrow, down to below his right eye, a nose ring with a thin gold chain connecting it to his ear. He might have been handsome, if it weren't for the expression on his face. His nasty grin, and the leer in his grey, cold, hard as steel eyes turned her off as much as the nose ring/chain. He was the oldest there, he looked to be a few years older than Julia's eighteen years, and he was obviously the leader.
"Let me pass," Julia said, looking him in the eyes. He chuckled. It was not a nice laugh.
"Now, why would we do that, baby? What's your name?" he asked.
Julia smiled. If she was going to do this, she might as well enjoy it, "I'm Julia, you?"
He smiled devilishly, "I'm Mike. You know, you're one beautiful woman, Julia," Mike put a hand on her face, and she sensed his cronies moving in closer.
"Well, thanks Mike. But, please, don't touch me." Julia didn't sound the least bit scared, and that confused Mike. Usually they were begging him not to hurt them by this point.
However, his smile grew into a grin as he squeezed her face harder under her chin, "What's wrong, baby, don't you like me?"
"No, I don't, Mike. I wish you would take your hands off me. You are going to make me mad. You don't want to see me when I'm mad, really," Julia lost her smile, and stared him in the eye.
Mike chuckled again; the fool man couldn't take a hint, "Why? What are you going to do, slap me? I don't really care if you like me, Julie-girl, most of my girls hated me. It makes it more interesting. Ask my boys here," he let his hand drop and looked over her head, presumably at Mohawk Boy. An arm came around her neck from behind, and a sharp blade pressed against her throat.
"You can't rape me, Mike. You may as well let me go now before you get hurt."
Mike took a step closer to her, close enough that she could smell the alcohol on his breath, "I'll do whatever I want, Julie girl, and you can't stop me."
She decided now would be a good time to act. She closed her eyes, took a long, deep breath and clenched her fists. She whispered a few words of prayer in an ancient language passed down from mother to daughter in her family for thousands of years.
"What was that, Julie-girl? I didn't hear you," Mike was only inches away from her. She didn't answer. He hit her hard across the face, whipping her head to the side, "Answer me when I talk to you," he snarled. She remained silent, waiting. Mike didn't notice the subtle motion she made with her hand. Suddenly, there was a low rumble and the earth rippled beneath them. The men stumbled, but the wave of dirt and stone bypassed Julia completely. It just went around her. As Mohawk Boy lost his footing, she kicked back with her heavy, platform ankle boots. He doubled over, cursing. She spun, and drew her knee up hard, hitting him in the face and breaking his nose. He fell to the ground, unconscious. Julia raised her arms to the sky, and threw her head back. She began to turn around and around, faster and faster. The wind whipped up around her, creating a small but powerful tornado. She pointed a hand in the direction of the two men in front of her; Mike was behind her. The tornado spun away from her and in the direction she pointed. It didn't blow a hair on her head out of place.
The windstorm picked up the two men and threw them, screaming, against a wall, knocking them unconscious. Julia put a hand to her chest, and the tornado returned, like an obedient pet, to stop right next to her. She turned to smile at Mike, who was still on the ground on his knees, watching the proceedings wide-eyed. Then she pointed to the rocky beach at the end of the road. The tornado spun away to the beach. As it whirled along the shore, it picked up dozens of rocks, large and small. Julia called it back again.
"Now, Mike, if my little storm here hits you, it will kill you. Look at all those rocks, it would not be a pleasant death. And then, of course, people would just assume some rival gang had beaten you to death. You would be just another violent death among thousands each year. You'd be a statistic, just a meaningless number. And who is going to look for the murderer of a serial rapist and killer? The world would be better off without you, Mikey. I might be doing everyone a favour by killing you now. Don't you think?" Julia smiled sweetly. Mike started to stand up, but she raised a boot-clad foot and pressed it to his chest, then she pushed. He stumbled and fell back to his knees.
"I wouldn't do that Mikey. My windy friend here is getting anxious, it's well trained but it might get angry if you try and hurt me again. I can't be responsible for it's actions in that case." Julia twirled a finger around, and the tornado began to spin faster, whipping the rocks around.
"Hey, you wouldn't kill an unarmed man, would you?" he asked, smiling at her and holding his hands out to prove his point.
"Unarmed? What do you take me for? You have a gun under your coat. You should learn to hide it better, Mikey. I saw it right from the start." Mike raised his hand to the bulge under his jacket, "Don't even think about taking it out. My tornado will just stop the bullet, and then it'll be on you so fast you'll be dead before you know what happened." He let his hand drop.
"Besides, Mikey, did 'your girls' have any way of protecting themselves? No. You and your buddies ganged up on them like cowards, not even giving them a chance," Julia shook her head, then she raised a hand to point the tornado at Mike.
"No! Please, Julia, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you, really," Mike pleaded.
"Yes, you did," Julia stared at him. Then she pointed.
"No!" he screamed, covering his head. The tornado enveloped him. The screams didn't last long, before he was knocked unconscious. It took only a few minutes before she knew he was dead, and she called the tornado back. She smiled and nodded her thanks to it. Anyone watching could have sworn that the tornado bowed in return before it disappeared, letting the rocks drop to the ground. Julia put a hand to her head. Using her magic for anything major always exhausted her and gave her a slight headache. She closed her eyes for a second, then continued walking. Before she went five steps, she stopped and cursed. There was a guy watching, staring at her, wide eyed. He started to walk closer to her.
"Dammit, why can't you people just leave me alone?" she yelled, "If you demand my money or call me 'baby', I swear to God, you will die much more slowly and painfully than he did. If you think all I have at my disposal is some wind, you are sadly mistaken, my friend," she glared at the man when he didn't stop.
"I don't want your money, Julia. I'm Luke," he held out his hand to her. She shook it warily, studying his face. He was tall, with wavy brown hair that fell across his green eyes.
"What do you want?" she asked, "How do you know my name?"
"I heard you tell that guy. I want to know how you did that. It was amazing."
"How much did you see?" she groaned, "Oh man, you really did it this time, Julia."
Luke looked at her, "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone. How did you do it? And what else can you do?"
Julia sighed. He already knew too much, what difference did it make if he knew the rest? "Come with me," She started walking towards her original destination, the beach where the tornado had picked up all the rocks, grabbing Luke's arm. He followed. When they arrived, she turned and stood in front of him, the rushing water at her back.
"The elements are the bases of my magic. You saw wind," to demonstrate again, Julia made a motion as if she were plucking something out of the air, pointed to a stick lying a few feet away, and put her hand to her chest. A small gust of wind picked up the twig and carried it over to her. She took it in her hand and smiled.
"Earth..." she spread her hands, palm down and the ground between them rippled slightly. Luke took a few steps back. "Fire..." she closed her hand in a fist in front of her, then opened it slowly. In her palm was a tiny flame. She closed her hand again, putting out the fire, "And finally, water," she grinned slyly, and threw her hands out at her sides, then brought them together in front of her as if she were clapping, her arms straight out. Water sprayed from the river, going around Julia, but soaking Luke. She spread her arms back out, stopping the spray. Then she laughed. Luke was dripping wet, but he was so shocked by her display he didn't even wipe his face off.
"Watch this," she balled her hands into a fist in front of her, then slowly spread them apart. There was a small ball of fire between them. Concentrating, she raised her arm, and threw the ball of fire over Luke's head. He ducked, then spun around. The little missile had set a clump of grass on fire.
"Oops," Julie said. She turned to the river, and made a gesture like she was scooping something up. A stream of water rose from the river. She pointed to the flaming grass and the stream rose higher, then separated from the river, and floated until it was over top of the fire. Suddenly, like whatever was holding it up had been taken out from under it, it poured down, dousing the flames.
Luke slowly turned to look at her, "You're a witch," he whispered.
"I suppose you could call me a witch. I prefer 'sorceress'. It just sounds better. I'm not like Sabrina, though, who can use her magic as much as she wants with no backlash," Julia plopped down in the sand, "It takes effort, and I get tired. I get headaches. The more magic I use, the more tired I get and the worse the headaches are." She put a hand to her head and groaned. Luke wiped a hand across his face, brushed his damp hair back, and sat next to her. She shivered a little; it was cold right by the water. Luke saw her.
"Do you want me to walk you home, Julia?" he asked. She shook her head.
"I like it here," she said quietly, putting her head back to look at the stars.
"Then I'm going to gather some dry wood and make a fire, okay?"
She nodded and Luke stood up and walked off a short way. A minute later he was back with an armful of twigs and bits of driftwood. He piled it up in a little teepee shape, and patted his pockets. Then he rolled his eyes, "I should start smoking. I don't have any matches on me."
"It's okay," Julia rubbed her hands together and pointed to the wood. It burst into flames. Luke shook his head.
"So, were you born like that? Able to do those things, I mean," he asked, sitting down next to her again. She looked at him.
"Of course I was. The powers get stronger as you get older. It would be a bad thing if a baby had my powers- there would be tornadoes and fires starting all over the house."
"How old are you?" Luke asked.
"I'm eighteen. My mother died shortly after I was born. I never knew my father. My grandmother raised me. She died just a year ago."
"I'm sorry," Luke said.
"She lived her life. She was happy when she died. Tell me about yourself now."
Luke shrugged, "There's not much to tell. I've had a fairly normal life. I'm twenty years old, I moved out of my parents' house earlier this year. I have two younger brothers and an older sister. I noticed that you nodded at the tornado after it... you know. It looked almost like it..."
"Bowed? It did. It's very polite. I make sure to always thank the wind, earth, fire or water when they do something for me. They have feelings just as we do; the only difference is they can't talk. You can't take them for granted," Julia smiled and looked out to the river, then she lost her smile and squinted a little, "What is that?"
"That thing. It's half buried in the sand, on the shore there," Julia made the scooping motion again, pointed to the dark shape she saw, and put a hand to her chest. A wave picked the thing up and carried it over to them, stopping inches away. Julia smiled at it, and it crept back into the river.
The thing was a book, large and leather bound it looked to be very old. It had a picture of a woman with eight arms on the cover. Julia's eyes widened, she knew that cover. She opened the book to the first page, and there was written, in the ancient language of the sorceress, a warning-
You who have acquired this book are in possession of great power, for this is the book of I, Rajika of India, Priestess of the Goddess Bhadrakali and I speak the truth. Be wary of the spells contained here for all are powerful and those who are not experienced may unleash a demon, a yakshini, upon themselves. Heed my words, it matters not what language you speak for I have placed a spell upon this writing that allows anyone to read it. I am Rajika of India, Priestess of the Goddess Bhadrakali, and I speak the truth. You have been warned.
"Oh, my God," Julia whispered.
"What? What's wrong?" Luke asked. He read the warning over her shoulder, "Big deal. Everyone knows these things aren't for real..." he trailed off when he saw the look Julia was giving him, "Sorry."
"The Book of Rajika is well known among my kind as the most powerful weapon of magic in existence. There are spells in this book that could, literally, end the world. Rajika was the most powerful sorceress ever to walk the face of the earth. Her warning is an understatement typical of her, not only could you unleash a single yakshini, you could possibly unleash an entire legion of the bloodthirsty demons, you idiot. These things are for real, genius. We cannot let this book out of our sight, if it ends up in the wrong hands, God only knows what could happen," Julia glared at Luke.
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry," he put his hands up in defense, "So, how old is this book?"
"About four thousand years, give or take a century," Julia ran her hands over the soft leather cover, which, despite being in the river for who knows how long, was dry. She suspected that if you tried to burn it, it would repel the flames. Rajika would have cast a spell to protect it.
"How do you know all this?" Luke asked. Julia sighed.
"The Priestess Rajika was my great- great- great- great and so on, grandmother. There has always been a protector of the book, usually a woman in my family, but somewhere along the line we lost it."
Luke nodded, "So, if you wanted to use it, you're experienced enough to do it?"
Julia just stared at him, "No. I would not do that. Only Rajika herself was ever known to actually use the spells contained here. They're too powerful, the slightest mistake could have disastrous consequences."
"I see," Luke looked at the book again.
Julia stood up, and looked down at him, "I should get home now. I'll see you later, Luke."
"I'll walk you home," he said, standing up. Julia chuckled.
"I can take care of myself, Luke."
"Yeah, I noticed. I'll walk you home anyway."
Julia shrugged. She held her hands out, palms down and pointed to the fire. A little wave of sand poured itself over the fire, putting it out. They started towards her apartment building.
When they arrived, she turned to face Luke, "Thanks, Luke. You won't tell anyone about me, will you?"
He shook his head, "Why would I? All it would get me is you burying me with an earthquake, or setting me on fire, or drowning me or something like that."
"You forgot wind. I can call the four winds to blow from every direction with such force it would crush your bones to oatmeal. That takes a lot of energy, though. I'm not sure it would be worth the headache," Julia smiled sweetly and walked into her building, leaving Luke staring after her.
What neither of them saw, both while sitting on the beach and walking home, was the pair of wide eyes watching them from a nearby tree and following them on silent wings. The owl alighted on a street light outside the apartment building and watched the exchange between the two people. He watched, with interest, as Julia walked into the building, and Luke stared after her, shook his head and walked away.
The owl's huge eyes began to glow red. He chuckled silently in anticipation.
"Hey, Angel. Look what I found," Julia sat down on the couch in the living room, and the cat jumped into her lap. Julia stroked the cat's ears, and Angel began to purr loudly.
Julia flipped through the book of spells, "A Spell to Speak to the Dead? No thanks... A Spell to Improve the Crop, A Spell to See Through Another's Eyes," Julia shook her head. A spell like that was particularly dangerous. Your soul left your body and entered the body of whomever you chose. In the time that your soul is gone, your body is vulnerable. Anything, be it demon or angel, could enter it if they wished. Not to mention the time limit; you could not be gone more than thirty minutes or you would never be able to return to your body. Your soul would forever wander, detached from your body. You would spend all of eternity invisible, unable to speak, hear, or touch. Your body would simply slip into a coma- like state, unless another spirit of some kind inhabited it.
She didn't think she'd be trying that spell any time soon.
She continued leafing through the book, "A Spell To Make Animals Speak. What would you say if you could talk Angel? Hmm?" Julia smiled at the cat, which continued to purr.
Awhile later, Julia closed the book and lifted the now sleeping Angel off of her lap. She'd gone through the whole book, glancing at each spell. There were spells to make entire towns, cities or even countries disappear. Spells to kill one person or millions silently, so that it would seem they had simply vanished off the face of the earth. There were much more painful ways of killing. There were spells to raise the dead, or to invoke yakshinis into bodies of humans.
There were not only spells for death, though. There were love spells, and spells that didn't seem to belong in the book among such seriousness, like the one to make animals speak.
She went down the hallway into her bedroom. She looked around for a hiding place for the book of spells. For the moment, she decided to put in a drawer under her bed, buried under some clothes. She would find a better place later.
Julia changed into her pajamas, and curled up under her comforter. Angel wandered in and lay down at the end of the bed. They both drifted off to sleep.
He could act now. The little witch was asleep. The man who had been an owl stopped outside Julia's apartment door. He had to get that book.
He touched the keyhole with one finger, and the door clicked and swung open. He walked in.
He slowly, silently walked down the hallway into Julia's room where he knew the book was hidden. He then proceeded to tear her room apart, searching for it. He had cast a spell so that no matter how much noise he made, they would not hear him.
When he finally found it, he picked it up and placed it in among the folds of his black robe. Then he grabbed the white cat from the end of the bed. It woke with a start. He stared into its eyes, hypnotizing it. Then he thrust his hand into the cat's chest and pulled its heart out. The animal twitched, and went still. He dropped the bloody clump, and lay the cat back on the end of the bed. He grinned, and left the apartment, taking the book.
Julia groaned as she woke up. The sun was shining directly in her eyes. She stretched her legs out, feeling for Angel at the end at the bed. The sheets were wet and sticky where the cat usually was. Julia sat bolt upright, "Oh, my God!" she screamed.
Angel's body was there, but there was a bloody, gaping hole in her chest. The end of the bed was soaked in blood. Julia screamed again and jumped out of the bed.
Julia started to cry. Then she noticed the state her room was in. All the clothes in the closet and dresser were thrown around the room. There were tears in the wallpaper and her posters had been torn down. The drawers from the dresser were on the floor. Slowly she turned and looked on the floor next to her bed. The drawer where she'd hidden the book was empty. No, that wasn't right. It wasn't completely empty. The cat's heart was in it. She turned away, putting her hand to her mouth. Then she turned back, plucked a bit of wind from the room, and asked it to put the heart on the bed, next to the cat. The gust of wind obeyed. Julia thanked it, and it sped away.
She wrapped the heart and body of her pet in a sheet and took it outside, behind the apartment. There was a Dumpster back there where she threw the cat.
She went back into her room and started to clean up.
Two hours later, she was standing in the middle of her room staring at the carpet. Before, when it had been covered in clothes she hadn't noticed the message cut into the carpet.
My Dear Julia,
I must thank you for leading me to the Book; I have been searching for it for centuries. Now I am in possession of the greatest weapon in history.
I must apologize about your cat. The purity of its white fur irritated me.
"Oh no," Julia moaned. She sat down on her bed and put her head in trembling hands. The ring of the phone startled her into screaming. She picked it up, "Hello?" she said shakily.
"Julia! How are you?" It took her a second to recognize Luke's voice.
"Where did you get this number?" she asked.
"Not a morning person?" Luke chuckled, "I looked in the phone book."
"The Book is gone."
"The book, you idiot! The greatest weapon of magic ever to exist! Rajika's Book!"
"Oh. That book."
"Yes, that book!"
Julia read the message on her floor to him.
"What did he do to your cat?" Luke asked.
"Ripped her heart out and put it in the drawer where I hid the book."
"Oh. Just because she had white fur? Talk about a temper..."
"This is no time for jokes!" Julia yelled.
"Okay! I'm sorry. You're right. How do we get it back?" Luke asked.
Julia sighed, "I don't know. I don't know. I may have to use a spell I found in the book last night to find him. A spell I don't particularly want to use."
"What spell? Why don't you want to use it?"
"A spell to see through the eyes of another."
"Okay. What's wrong with that?"
Julia explained about your soul leaving your body, and all the possible disasters that could occur while you were gone.
"I see. When are you going to start?"
"As soon as possible."
"Can I come over? You know, you have to have someone to keep a demon from taking over your body."
Julia smiled, "It doesn't really work like that, Luke, but you can come over if you want."
"Give me ten minutes."
"Bye," Luke put the phone down, and reached for his running shoes.
Julia hunted around for some incense. She knew the spell, she had a photographic memory and it was one of the few spells that she had read thoroughly last night.
She found a stick of rose scented incense and a holder shaped like a dragon, with a hole in his mouth where the stick went. She set it up in the living room and began preparing herself for the major spell she was about to cast.
She had to clear her head and be totally relaxed in mind, body and soul. She sat cross- legged on the floor with her eyes closed. She took deep breaths in through her nose and out through her mouth, smelling the sweet, smoky incense.
There was a knock on the door about fifteen minutes later. She knew it was Luke, "Come in."
He opened the door, walked in and sat down across from her tentatively.
"You're late," Julia said quietly. Her entire body was still except for her mouth.
"Yeah, sorry. A friend stopped to say hi on the way. What can I do?"
"Just sit and be silent. Do not disturb me," she took one more deep breath, and knew she was ready.
"Grandmother Rajika, I beg permission to use your book of spells," Julia said softly.
A whispery female voice that came from all around them spoke, "Granted granddaughter. You have my blessing. May the Gods protect you."
Julia bowed her head and began the spell that would allow her to see through the eyes of Firos the Sorcerer,
"Walk a mile in his shoes,
See the world in disguise,
I give to you my soul to choose,
To see the world through Firo's eyes."
Julia repeated the verse over and over, getting louder each time.
Suddenly, it was as if she was speeding above the city, the buildings and peoples just a blur beneath her. This went on for several minutes. Then she stopped. There was no slowing down; she just stopped.
She was in Firo's head. All she could do was hide at the back of his mind and pray he didn't notice her. She could still see...
"Julia..." the dark, male voice called her name tauntingly, "Julia, I know you're there. You want to know where I am, Julia? Behold, little witch."
Through his eyes, Julia saw trees, a forest. Then she cringed. There was a headless deer lying on the ground, a jackal was chewing on the skull. The rest of the body was intact, there was still blood pouring from the neck. Firo turned around, allowing her to see behind him. Rocks. He looked up. She saw a mountain. Julia suddenly knew where they were.
"Very good, little witch. What do you think of my pet? I got him in Africa. He's very loyal to me- he has killed to protect me dozens of times. More than I can say for any human apprentice."
Julia tried to leave his mind, to go back to her body. What she was seeing in his head was scaring her. The mass slaughter he planned to commit with the spell book if the world didn't bow at his feet.
She couldn't do it. He was holding her in his head. She started to panic. It took about five minutes to get there, and she'd been in his head for ten minutes. That left only ten minutes to spare if she wanted to get back to her body.
"Let me go!" she screamed, "Let me go and fight me fairly, my magic against yours. Or will you be a coward and keep me here? Stupid! The Great Rajika knows of your plans from the other side. Do you not think she has the power to cross over and destroy you if you hurt me, the last descendent of her blood?"
"I'm sure she does, little witch, and I have every intention of letting you go, but not before I send a demon friend of mine over to your currently uninhabited body."
Another five minutes ticked by as she fought to be released from his mind. Suddenly, he let go and called after her "I look forward to meeting you and fighting you 'fairly' little witch!" he laughed uproariously.
Julia flew at top speed back to her body. There was an unsubstantial, misty snake spirit about to enter her body. Luke sat watching her, unaware of the yakshini only feet away from him.
"No!" she screamed. The snake hesitated, and whipped around to see her bearing down on it at top speed. It was apparently a cobra, and it spread its hood, hissing at her, its eyes glowed blood red. She didn't bother stopping to acknowledge the threat, she just flew straight into her body. Demons were purely evil, but not the most clever of creatures.
As Luke watched, Julia's eyes snapped open and she came out of her trance screaming. He jumped back.
"Are you okay?" he asked frantically. She was crying now. He put an arm around her shoulders. She nodded and began to get control of herself.
"I'm fine. I have to go. Now. I know where he is," Julia stood up,
"I'm coming with you," Luke said, standing up.
"No, you're not. I'm not going to be responsible for getting you killed. You stay here," Julia started to leave the apartment.
"I don't think so, Julia. I'm going."
She turned to face him. He was standing a few feet away, looking at her. She held up a hand, palm facing him and a gust of wind pushed him back against the far wall.
"No you are not," with that, she turned and left the apartment.
There was a car parked outside her apartment. She got in, ignoring the man that came running out of the store across the street, yelling. She touched the ignition and the car started. She sped off at top speed.
Meanwhile, Luke was still trapped against the wall in the apartment when he began to speak to the wind holding him, "Okay, Julia said you have feelings so I guess you can hear me now. Let me down. I only want to help her. She could be killed do you understand that? You would never see her again! Let me down and I might be able to help her! Come on!" he yelled. Suddenly the pressure on his body stopped and he dropped to the ground, "Thank you. Thank you," he said as he jumped to his feet and ran out through the door.
When he got to the ground floor of the apartment, he saw a man, red- faced with fury, yelling down the road.
"That girl just stole my car!" he screamed. Luke looked down the road in time to see a black bumper disappear around a corner. He ran as fast as he could to where he lived and his motorcycle was parked. He threw his leg over it and revved the engine. He roared away after the car.
Julia knew exactly where Firo would be. He was in a place she often went to be by herself, in the woods at the base of the mountain.
She went as far as she could in the car, then got out and ran. As she ran, she planned. There was no water near the mountain, so she was limited there, but she had wind, earth and fire at her disposal. First thing she would do when she arrived would be to take out the jackal. She would bury him with her. As for Firo... she would have to see when she got there.
It took only about five minutes before she smelled the rotting deer she'd seen through Firo's eyes. She heard the snarls of the jackal. She stopped before he saw her and spread her hands palm down. She threw her head back, and with a low rumble, a wave of earth and stone, beginning at her feet and growing bigger, washed over the jackal. He yelped once, then was silent. She strode calmly and confidently into the clearing where Firo was standing.
"Very dramatic entrance, Julia," Firo said. His appearance startled her- she'd expected an old man. Firo looked to be about twenty-five or thirty. He was very tall and slim with blond hair tied into a ponytail at the nape of his neck and hazel eyes. He was wearing a black robe that trailed on the ground behind him as he slowly walked towards her.
"I was growing tired of having to feed the jackal anyway. Shall we begin, my dear?" he grinned and raised his arms. Between them rose a wall of stone.
Julia leveled it with an earthquake and rapidly made a large fireball and threw it as hard as she could at Firo. He stopped it with a look and then looked at her. The fireball came flying back at her. She raised a hand and the fireball stopped. She clapped her hands together and it disappeared. Julia raised her hands above her head and cried out, "North, south, east, west, I call upon you!"
The winds blew from the Four Corners of the earth, with force enough to knock trees down, towards Firo. He threw his hands out at his sides as if he was pushing walls on either side of him. His head down, he strained to stop the winds. They did stop, just inches from his hands. Julia could feel it. She was getting tired now, and, evidently, so was he. There was sweat beading out in his face. Eyes shut with concentration, he turned his hands and pointed out away from him. Julia took advantage of the free few seconds to take a breath and plan her next move.
Suddenly Firo's head snapped up and his eyes opened. He stared at Julia; his hands still out at his sides. He let his arms drop and he stomped with one foot. Waves of earth, like ripples in a pond, spread out from him. Julia rode the first two, but the third knocked her off her feet. She took a battering of stones from the fourth, and managed to get to her feet before the fifth. Firo pointed to her and a huge gust of wind blew her off her feet and back against a tree. She fell to the ground and moaned. Then she stumbled to her feet, and turned around once. The winds were ready for her, and the tornado whipped up in a matter of seconds. It knew what to do- it whirled around picking up stones and after about thirty seconds it returned to her side. Firo just watched. Wearily, she pointed the tornado at him. It whipped across the short distance that separated the two. Firo raised a hand and it stopped a few feet away from him. Breathing hard, Julia put both hands straight out in front of her, palms out, "Go!" she cried to the tornado. Using all her power, she pushed the windstorm on. She had to distract Firo somehow. She gasped for breath, and put one hand palm down. There was a deafening roar and a huge wave of earth and stone rose. Julia was screaming. The pain in her head was growing unbearable.
The wave of earth had the desired effect- Firo stumbled and fell to the ground. Julia raised her other hand and, tears of pain and exhaustion running down her cheeks, gave the tornado one last push. It spun over Firo who was still lying on the ground. She made a big fireball and tossed it into the whirlwind, adding to Firo's screams of pain.
She turned around, "Luke, I told you not to..." Julia didn't get to finish her sentence. She collapsed.
"Julia!" he ran to her side.
I thought you were going to help her...
A soft voice that was neither male nor female whispered in Luke's ear. He looked around. Then he realized he was hearing the voice of the wind.
"I'm sorry! I was too late! Oh God..." Luke knelt beside her and put his head down, listening for her breath. She was breathing, but faintly. He picked her up in his arms and started back to the car.
"Maybe I still can help her. I know she thanks you, wind, earth, water and fire. "
We know... she has always been kind...we love her like a sister...help her...
The voice was so soft, he could barely hear it, and it was inconsistent, fading in and out like a summer breeze. He just nodded and put her in the passenger side of the car she'd driven down. Miraculously, it was still running. Then he remembered something. He ran back to the clearing where the tornado was slowing down and Firo was lying dead. He reached into the charred folds of Firo's robe, searching. Finally, he found what he was looking for. The book that had started all this. It was completely unharmed by the fire. He grabbed it and ran back to the car. He slid into the driver's seat and sped back into town.
Halfway to the hospital, Julia opened her eyes.
"Luke..." she whispered, "Luke, the book..."
"I have it," he told her, "Just relax, everything's going to be okay."
Julia smiled weakly, "Protect it, Luke. Make sure this never happens again."
"Julia, you're going to be able to do that. Just hang on, we're almost at the hospital."
Julia shook her head slightly and closed her eyes.
Ten minutes later, at the hospital, she was pronounced dead on arrival.
"A major blood vessel ruptured in her brain. It's the strangest thing, there is nothing there that could have been putting enough pressure on it to do that," Dr. Walker explained to Luke, scratching his grey head. Luke stared at him.
The doctor nodded, "I'm sorry son. Were you two close?"
Luke looked down at the book in his hands, "We just met, but we were friends." He thought of her giving her life to protect this book, "She was incredible."
The doctor followed Luke's gaze to the book in his hands, "If I may ask, what kind of book is that?" he asked.
"A spell book," Luke answered.
"Ah. Those things aren't real, of course, but they can be fun."
Luke chuckled, "No, of course it's not real."
The doctor wondered about the bitterness in the young man's tone, but wrote it off as grief for the pretty young girl that had died in his ER. It was a shame, really. The girl might have really accomplished something in life, had she been given the chance. He patted Luke on the shoulder, again giving his condolences, and walked away down the hall.
Luke watched the doctor's retreating back for a moment then turned and left the hospital.
Back in the car, he crossed his arms on the steering wheel and rested his head there. A single tear slipped from his eye.
It's my fault, he thought, if I'd only gotten there sooner. All my fault...
Then he shook his head, wiped his hand across his eyes, sniffed, and began to thumb through the spell book until one caught his eye.
A Spell to Raise the Dead
Luke placed the book aside, smiled and started home.