"What can sacrifices do? The answer to that question is anything you wish. That is exactly what it is. It is a magic based of wishing. We are like children begging our ancestors to grant us a wish. The more we coerce them into giving us what we want the easier it will come..."
Bah had went on and on this certain day. It was a beautiful day outside. The sun shone past the fog and peaked into the classroom in our tower fortress. The rays warmed me and lulled me to sleep several times during Bah's endless talk. I found myself daydreaming I was more paying attention to Mason across the room. It was really killing me that we still weren't talking and I didn't know how long I could play hard ass. He had been sitting in front of me at this point. There was no way that he could have saw staring at him. Catalina Bah had crossed through us several times as though blocking our way. Still Mason turned around almost like he knew I was watching him and even at that moment he let out a smile at me. He snickered.
At first I was embarrassed that he caught me but the cockiness in his snicker made me roll my eyes at that moment.
"Mason," Bah called him out, "You feel like you are above paying attention."
Mason turned back around. The look he gave Bah was somewhat chilling.
Immediately I wanted to shake him. Did he never learn his lesson? I watched as Bah crossed the room and got in Mason's face. I was almost sure he was going to make Mason squirm in pain.
Instead he put something in front of Mason.
I wasn't sure what it was he put in front of Mason until Mason picked it up. It was a knife.
"Because I said so. I'm going to use your blood as a part of a sacrifice."
"Why don't you use your own blood?" Mason came right back.
"Why don't you stop talking back and do what your told!" Brandon barked from across the room.
Brandon coming to Bah's defense was no surprise to me. I don't think it came to a surprise to anyone in the room at this point. Brandon looked like he wanted to get up and cut Mason himself at that point. He had this itching look on his face. Luckily for the peace of the room Brandon was across the room.
"I got this Brandon," Bah interrupted and turned back to Mason, "Cut yourself."
"I said...no. I never chose to be here. I never chose to cut myself every god damn day to do magic. What if this isn't what I want? The rest of these guys may be scared of you but I'm not. This thing that we are doing...it's not right."
"Leave..." Bah stated, "The door is open. All you have to do is get past that fog and you are home free."
"You are letting me walk into the fog?"
"Yes on the other side you'll find a road. You can hitchhike home. I won't stop you."
I could see the swelling of Mason's pride as he got up off the the table. I could see that there was no way in hell that he was going to let Bah get the best of him. Everyone watched and the look on their faces kind of said they didn't give a damn. Even Rio seemed like he could care less if his twin brother went into the fog and faced god knows what.
Mason was walking towards the door and I don't know what came over me.
Mason turned and faced me. His eyes looked at me and then back at Bah. After a few seconds his eyes came back to me again and they locked. I had stood up but I hadn't moved towards him. I wanted to though. I wanted to physically stop him from walking out of the room. Me standing up seemed enough though. I shook my head and he seemed to understand.
He turned back around and went to his seat.
When Mason got back to the seat he took the knife in his hand and he slashed himself. I was shocked however that he slashed across his wrist.
"Oh my god Mason!"
I ran over to him quickly taking. I found myself ripping at the scare pierce of fabric covering my torso in order to stop him. A few of the others jumped up as well. Mason's must had hit something serious when he cut himself too because the blood was spewing out a little bit.
When I got to him he seemed calm as can be.
"Step back Micko," Bah stated, "Let Mason make a wish."
Before I got to him I was stopped. I was actually stopped by Rio who had gotten up as well. Mason was just standing there bleeding and we were looking at him. Everyone had gatherd around him. He looked like he was dying at the moment. His eyes were rolling in the back of his head. He was swaying back and forth like he was about to lose consciousness. Then at that very moment something incredible happened.
The sun that was outside grayed.
There was a flash and we all ran to the windows. I pressed my head on the window and saw the weather changing right in front of my eyes. Rain fell from the skies in the most unnatural way possible.
"Did...did he do this?" I asked.
My mouth was dry as I thought about it. The rains didn't last long at all. It was a flash storm. The lightning cleared up and the sun rays came back out. When I turned back to look at Mason he was sitting there like nothing had happened. His wound was completely closed.
"Where'd you learn to do that?" Rio asked.
Mason shrugged, "I just made a wish."
I could tell by the look on Bah's face that he was shocked as well. He stared at Mason with this misunderstanding that the rest of us were looking at him as. Melody was the only one w***eally seemed enthralled by this. The rest of us just looked a little freaked out. My mouth hadn't completely closed by what the hell Mason had just did. The look on his face was so cool as well. It was almost like it was no big deal.
"To who?" Rio asked.
Mason shrugged. There was a silence as though we had all expected Mason to part the skies again.
The look in Melody's eyes seemed to break the silence, "You're amazing."
"You are all dismissed for the day," Bah stated.
I was shocked. It was early as hell in the day. This had been the earliest we had ever gotten released. Bah was the first out of the room quickly followed by Catalina. They were talking about something and it didn't take a rocket scientist to know they were discussing what Mason had just done.
I followed quickly behind. There was no way I would stay in that room if I didn't really have to. I found myself walking quickly out into the hallway and starting outside.
I found myself running but I wasn't sure who I was running from.
It wasn't long before I knew I was being followed. I had made it outside. The courtyard was usually empty but for some reason I yearned to be outside even if no one else was out. It comforted me in a way. It made me feel less claustrophobic.
"You hard to keep up with."
It was Mason.
"Didn't think you wanted to come along."
"I mean what was up with you in class today?"
"What you mean?"
"You were all staring at me and all that," he said, "You always get so weird. I told you I didn't have nothing for you didn't I?"
He was being cold again.
I sighed heavily.
"I was just daydreaming. I wasn't staring at you on purpose."
"Yeah right," he said with disbelief and smirked confidently, "It's already I am getting used to you staring at me all the time being weird. I can't help being so amazing... you know."
I rolled my eyes.
"Don't let Melody get to your head," I told him, "That's your real admirer."
Mason laughed. It made me sick really how Melody had looked at him in class. I could tell he had impressed her.
"Melody's pretty girl. She's make a good distraction from our little s***tty situation."
"Oh yeah?" he repeated seeming to only be half listening.
"Why do you keep saying that?"
"Well what makes you think I want to be distracted and what makes you think I give a damn about what Melody Atwood thinks about me?" Mason asked bluntly.
"I'm just saying Melody is a pretty girl..." I started off***gain, "That's all I was saying."
"Why don't you make it rain then and talk to her?"
"She's not my type," I stated and before I let the strange comment linger too deeply I quickly added, "Besides, I'm not the amazing Mason. I can't turn my blood in a thunderstorm."
"Have you tried?"
"No. That's not exactly what I do after Saturday morning cartoons."
"Come here. Don't be a p***y. I said I wouldn't hurt you again. Come here."
I walked over to him. He had that same confident cocky smirk on his face that drove me nuts in every way possible. I hated it and was attracted to it at the same time. When I got close his smirk had turned into an all out smile.
When I got close enough he pulled something out. It was Bah's knife.
"You stole Bah's knife."
"F***k Bah. He stole my life. I stole his knife," Mason snickered and cut the palm of his hand, "Give me your hand."
"What? F***k no..."
"You trust me?"
"This coming from the person who attacked me?"
"Yes. This coming from the person who attacked you and said he'd never hurt you again," Mason corrected and he had this tone of completely sincerity in his voice that made me believe everything he was telling me.
For some reason I put my hand out to him. He cupped my hand. While looking at me in my eyes I felt him stabbing my palm drawing a line with the knife the same way he had done his. The pain was sharp but very quick. I looked down at my palm and saw he was still holding it. That was when he took his bleeding palm and put it against my bleeding palm.
"This is disgusting," I said.
"For once in your life can you stop being a little f***g?" he laughed squeezed his palm over mine, "Ok now, I want you to listen...."
I shut up and listened. I could hear the wind rustling in the branches of the forest in the distance. I could hear slow, rhythmic breathing from Mason. I couldn't hear anything else though.
"I don't hear s***t."
"Shut up and close your eyes. Try to feel it. Come closer to me. Match your breathing with mine. Calm down and listen for it."
I got close and did what he said. I closed my eyes and I listened for a voice. I could hear more wind and I could hear more of his breathing. Soon I could hear his heartbeat as well. After his heartbeat I could hear someone. Yes...it was a voice. It was a voice!
When I heard the voice I could feel the presence of someone around me. I had felt the presence before. It was my sister. I knew it was her even though I had never saw her before. I could feel her walking up to me even though I couldn't really see her.
The first question was quick. What do you want?
The second question followed up. What will you give me for it?
I wanted rain.
I would give you blood.
There was silence and then I felt it. I felt a drizzle on my nose at first and right after that I could feel the rain immediately start pouring over me. This rain was different from the rain that Mason had sent before. This rain was only over us. Mason held me close and laughed.
"Really...you couldn't be more original with what you wanted?" Mason asked me.
The rain soaked us and I could feel myself laughing in it.
"Wait...wait this was ME!"
"It's all you," Mason said smiling.
The feeling of happiness came over me. I felt the rain all over my head and I could feel how happy I was. Why was I smiling so hard? Why was I in such a good mood? Was it the rain or was it the fact that Mason was still holding my hand and we were standing so close being rained on. He looked handsome in the rain. He was studying my face with a smirk as though trying to understand me. Hell I couldn't understand myself. I didn't know hwy I was laughing now in the rain. I didn't know why I was so f***king happy.
"You feel amazing now, Micko Boss?"
"Something like that. Thank you for this...seriously."
I was looking at him in his eyes. I was going to force us to share a moment here even if he didn't want to. We were still standing so close. The rain was falling on us so hard that we could barely talk or keep our eyes open. It was refreshing though. It was sexy as well to see the rain water fall all over Mason's muscular torso.
You are not alone.
I wasn't sure where the voice came from. It wasn't my sister's voice. It was another voice that I had never heard of before and it frightened me with the forcefulness of it's tone.
Before I knew it I turned back and looked around to realize that the warning was correct. We were not alone. When Mason's blood stopped mixing with mine the rain stopped as well. Mason didn't seem to notice it but I did. I noticed the people standing in purple gowns before he did. They looked like traditional voodoo kind of garb. The women had head ties and printed fabric around their waist. Them men had a lambskin over his shoulder. The purple ones belonged to the coven of the Talisman. I remembered that but I didn't remember much of anything else about these people.
"What's wrong?" Mason asked.
"Sorry tah' interrupt yah' romantic comedy," a girl said.
The girl seemed about a little older than us. She may have been in her mid 20s. I would give her about 25. She was very dark and by her accent I could tell she must have been African. She smiled at her own joke with a gap between her teeth. The others were all dark toned as well. Their eyes went from me to Mason then back to me.
"It's fine," Mason stated, "We were just leaving. Come on Micko."
"What's the rush fuh?" the one girl said and walked up to Mason.
She seemed to be trying to flirt with him. I didn't blame her. Mason was a very attractive man. She ran her hands through Mason's hair. There were two other girls with her and a grown man that started laughing as she did it. Mason seemed very on edge though and got defensive almost immediately pulling away from her.
"Don't f***king touch me b***h!"
"Oh my god," I immediately jumped in, "Mason calm down."
"That b***h f***king touched me. I don't know her," Mason said.
He had this look in his face and I could tell he was getting on edge. He had taken Bah's pocket knife out again and was holding it in his hand. He was clearly trying to threaten these people away. Whatever he did though made them start laughing all the more.
I quickly came forward and stopped them, "Look we don't mean no harm. We seriously don't. I"m sorry. My friend is just on edge."
Mason looked at me, "Micko you don't need to apologize for me."
I could tell I was stepping on Mason's toes now. The look in his eyes were intense. For some reason he was on edge and I had to trust him on it. I nodded at him. Maybe it was because they were laughing like a pack of hyenas or maybe it was the fact that Mason seemed so defensive. I knew that I should probably take more a of a supportive role now.
The man in the group smiled and pointed at me, "Was it you who made di rain?"
"No," Mason quickly said coming forward again and this time pushing me back, "I made it. You don't talk to him. You talk to me. You hear me?"
"Can you make fya?"
"Fya. Can you make it?"
"He means fire," I quickly corrected.
"Sure you can," one of the other girls in purple said, "Why don't you come wit us. Make us a fya. Burn down di forest."
Burn down the forest. They were ridiculous. If it was that easy to burn down the forest the castors probably would have done it a long time ago. It was clear the castors used natural magic. I remembered that from what Corey had explained to me. Then again it was a Castor coven who had the throne now.
Leave it to Mason however to not even get into any specifics. He shut them down almost compeletely, "Why the hell would I ever want to help you out?"
"We can make it worth your while," one of the girls said.
Was she trying to seduce him?
She reached up to get him again and the others laughed as he pushed her away. This time Mason looked serious though. I saw him cut himself I knew he was going to do something.
When he cut himself he dropped the knife on the ground and grasped his wound.
I quickly ran up to him to help him put pressure on his cut but I noticed something else. The pocket knife that he had dropped on the ground which was also tainted with his blood stretched out and it turned into a snake right in front of my eyes. It turned into a silver asp.
The asp slid towards the four purple clad voodoo priests. Whatever laughter and joy seemed to have been blown away almost immediately. The girls screamed. I could hear them cursing.
There were words that I did recognize though, "You pay fi dis! You'll PAY!"
By that time Mason and I were long gone though.
We hadn't stopped running until we got to our room. When I got in the room I collapsed on the floor. Mason quickly went to the door and locked us in. I was breathing so heavy. I hadn't run that hard since I was a kid in school. I could still see the eyes off the Talisman coven outside.
Mason and I exchanged looks when we were safe and broke out in laughter. I felt like a kid who had just got caught doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing or something. The laughter wouldn't stop even when Mason fell on the floor as well. Even as Mason and I rolled into each other we continued to laugh.
Even as we we faced each other in the middle of the floor.
I was the first one to get up. I was probably the only one who immediately thought it was awkward on the floor like that with him.
"That was fun."
"Did you see their voodoo faces when they saw that snake? You would think they were used to snakes!"
I laughed remembering it, "They had been laughing the whole time. It was a complete 360. Man I hope we never see them again. They looked PISSED!"
Mason smiled, "They don't seem so tough. I can take them."
"S***t you probably can. Were you and I at different lessons or something? How the hell did you become so strong so quick?"
"I listen to Genesis, even though I hate to admit it."
"His worst student is his best student."
"Don't tell HIM that."
"Yeah we wouldn't want Brandon to kill you."
Mason made his way across the room. I watched him intently. He was still laughing. I wasn't sure if he was laughing about what I said about Brandon or still laughing about our experience with the Talisman coven. He had a beautiful smile and seemed so handsome when he let his guard down. His teeth were pearly white. He had the slight dimpled that formed when he smiled. It made my heart heavy watching him.
"There you go being weird again," he said.
I looked away noticing that I was caught red handed.
"I wasn't staring."
"You do that to everyone?"
I was so embarrassed. My cheeks were growing red when he spoke to me. He didn't seem too serious but he didn't seem like he was all the way joking either. I hated how he would catch me staring at him like that. Why the hell was it always me who got caught in those kind of predicaments.
"So just me?" he asked.
"The other day were you praying?"
"You're not slick Micko Boss. Don't change the subject."
"There was a subject to this?" I asked raising an eyebrow, "I thought you were just being narcissistic."
"I was but that doesn't stop the fact that you were staring," he stated shaking his head and letting out a long deep sigh, "But yeah we can change the subject so you don't feel like a pervert. I am religious devoutly."
"Isn't this sacrilegious to even be here?"
"Very much so but I take God wherever I go...even here."
"When I do my magic sometimes I hear my dead sister," I stated, "Do you hear God?"
"No. I'm not Moses. I don't hear God Micko," Mason stated but then all of a sudden his face got serious, "No. No it's not God. I'm not sure who he is but he's not God. He's a horrible person and he is capable of doing horrible things. Was your sister a good person?"
"I didn't know her when she was alive. My mother never talked about her," I stated shrugging.
"Don't you ever wonder about the people on the other end of the phone?" Mason asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Religion is important for me. I know I'm not a good person but I know I'm not evil. I'm not PURE evil. Sometimes when I use magic though I lose that sense of morality I have and I feel like I am slipping into that. Don't you feel that way sometimes?"
I thought about the dinner table.
Bah told me not to tell anyone but I trusted Mason much more than Bah.
"The royal coven is afraid that one of us in our coven is going to sacrifice our soul," I stated.
Mason laughed for a moment but then stopped once he realized I wasn't laughing with him, "Wait...you're serious..."
"Yes. They said someone who studied Divinity told them that one of us is going to sell our soul."
"They didn't say. They don't know."
"Is that even possible?" he asked, "I understand sacrificing birds, goats and blood sacrifices. How does one sacrifice their soul?"
"They call it opening the black gate."
"Does Bah know?"
I nodded, "He told me not to tell anyone."
Mason shook his head, "See...that is what is weird about all of this. Why would Bah tell you not to tell us? If he wanted to prevent something like that shouldn't he let us all know so we wouldn't go down that path?"
"Yeah, it's kind of fishy."
"Bah is weird man," Mason continued, "I don't trust him. Everyday we do this I feel I just feel like we are losing a little bit of ourselves. Personally...I think that is what Genesis Bah wants. He wants all of us to lose our humanities. He wants us to sacrifice our souls."
We had fallen asleep early that night to catch up on some much needed rest. At first I thought it was a dream. I didn't think it was possible for someone to scream like that in person but when I woke up I realized it really was a nightmare.
It was Mason!
"Mason! Are you ok!"
I jumped off the bed and turned the light on. He was in bed. His skin had this roasted red color to it. He looked like he was burning and he was jerking in pain. I didn't get it. It was coming out of no where actually. He was screaming!
"Get it off me! Get it off me!"
"There's nothing on you Mason!"
"GET IT OFF!"
Before I knew it I found myself running down the corridor waking everyone up. I just need help but I didn't want to leave him. I was panicking. I didn't know what to do. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I was banging on all the doors that I recognized getting help.
When I ran back to the door I had managed to wake up the entire coven. I wasn't sure where Genesis slept but Catalina ran off to go get him.
When Genesis finally came back to the room Mason had fainted from the pain. I had ice over him but nothing seemed to work. I hated the fact that I was the one panicking while his own brother was just standing there and acting more like a innocent witness to all of this. Rio was acting like I was bothering him by having woken up him at this time of night.
"What is wrong with him!" I panicked shaking,
They had gathered in my room and were studying him. Catalina moved me out of the way and was trying to make him comfortable. His skin was literally the color red at this point. I had never seen anything like it. It was a deep dark red as well and looked like parts were turning purple.
Genesis looked at his body, "He's been hexed."
Catalina was fluffing his pillows, "Maybe he was playing with a magic that backfired."
"He was showing off yesterday," Rio stated.
Catalina nodded, "What do you think Genesis? Sacrificial magic you think...?"
"I was with Mason all day yesterday," I stated, "He didn't do anything crazy."
"Did you run into anyone yesterday?"
"A talisman coven," I remembered, "They wanted us to help them through the forest by making a fire. Mason refused and kind of...well, he turned a knife into a snake that attacked them."
"He did what?" Bah asked but then shook his head.
"Great..." Rio said and sarcastically added, "My brother is a real diplomat, ain't he?"
"Rio he doesn't need that kind of support right now," I shut him up.
"He brought this on himself," Rio argued.
I was beginning to really resent the way that Rio treated Mason. Mason did deserve it but still that was his brother and he was turning colors.
"This is serious. He could die. Did they get his hair?"
"No they...oh s***t," I said, "They did. I remember one of the girls ran her hand through his head."
"They made a doll," Catalina stated shaking, "Oh no."
"Oh no?" I said panicking, "What does that mean? Reverse it."
"It's not that easy," Bah stated, "Only magic can cure magic and sacrificial magic might not work against this."
"So what can we do?" I asked.
"Go find them," Bah stated, "I will try to keep him alive in the meantime but I need that doll."
Catalina started getting up, "I'll go with him."
"No I may need your help," Bah stated, "Melody will take you."
"Melody?" I asked.
I looked at the door. I hadn't even noticed the Atwoods standing there. They had been extremely quiet until now.
"In case things get ugly she knows enough to get you out of there but don't let things get ugly. The Talisman coven is located on the 9th and 10th floors. They are probably willing to forgive. Just give them what they want."
"And if they don't?"
"I'm sure you'll find a way. For some reason I think you have the motivation," Bah stated.
I wondered what he meant by that but I didn't ask. I didn't have time to ask. I started down the hallway running towards the steps without even waiting for Melody.
It wasn't until we were on the Purple floors that I realized she was with me. I think it was her heavy breathing behind me that made me realize her. We made eye contact but really didn't say anything. I didn't know much about Melody. Out of everyone in the coven she was the strangest one. She followed me down the hallway. There was a scent of incense in the hallway. It was heavy. It made me choke.
She reacted almost immediately, "You are way out of your league here."
She nodded, "I know. I think everyone does. You had that one moment where you turned the ravens into fruit but I suspect that was a fluke. Since then you've been nothing but dead weight. I'd think everyone thought you were that too. However I also notice that Victor and Angelica seem to really like you for some reason."
Melody was looking at me like she was studying me or something. I shook my head not really understanding what this girl was saying at this moment.
"What do you think?"
"I think you are weak," Melody told me, "I actually think you are the weakest one in the coven. Do you want to know what else I think?"
' The look on her face said it all.
"This isn't the time..."
"It is the time. I think the way your friendship with Mason is going to get him killed...if it hasn't already."
I had no idea where this was coming from but her words seemed lined with intention. It made me shiver a little a bit when she talked to me. I found myself walking faster in an attempt to get away from her and ignore her.
We turned around the hall and saw someone standing there. He had on the purple robe of the Talisman covens. I could tell it was a man only because of his build. He had a mask on his face that completely covered him up. It was a creepy goat mask. At that point I wished I could have been anywhere else. I felt uncomfortable. He just looked at us.
Then out of no where he said.
It was almost as though he knew why we were here. The figure turned to the room adjacent to him and made his way in. The way he moved was something like a glide. It scared the f***k out of me. I hesitated on whether or not I should follow him but I couldn't sit around and look weak in front of Melody. I could just tell she was waiting for me to prove her right about me being weak.
The room was empty. The masked figure was standing up against the wall. It was dark all around me and heavy but it wasn't quiet in here. There were drums.
Where the hell did the drums come from?
I looked around but saw no one. There was no speakers. There were no live drummers. The sounds seemed so close and so loud! I had to have been losing my mind. I looked over at the goat mask. There was darkness in the cut out eyes of the goat.
I started, "We came for---"
"He'll die tonight."
My heart skipped a beat. I knew he was talking about Mason even though he had cut me off. I looked over at Melody. She was staring at me. Her silence was unsettling. Was she testing me? Was she observing me?
"I came to apologize for whatever miscommunication happened and to ask that your people undo whatever they've done to him."
"If we do something for you...you must do something for us..."
"Don't do it..." Melody said.
I turned to her. I didn't know where that was coming from but I realized now that there was suspicion in her eyes. That was what I saw. She was suspicious of my motivation being here and now she was suspicious of this Talisman coven. Her eyes were darting back and forth unnerving me.
"What do you want?" I asked the masked goat.
The drums stopped.
"If you want me to heal him you'll have to do what your people do best. A sacrifice."
"What would you like us to sacrifice?"
The sound of his voice was an eerie. It made me shake a little bit when I heard it. The voice rattled across the room and over the continuation of drums.
"I'll tell you when the time comes."
"No tell us now," Melody said.
"Shut up," I told Melody.
I didn't know what I was thinking immediately. I was sure Melody was so use to being in charge because she ran the Atwoods all the time. I wasn't an Atwood however. I stepped forward to the man.
At that moment there was only one thought in my head. I had to do whatever it took to save Mason. He was a part of my coven. He was...he was my friend...
"Give me a piece of your hair as collateral," the goat masked man said, "Then you leave and when you go back your friend will be back to normal."
"Don't do it," Melody said.
I looked at Melody. She had called me weak. The comment had run in my head at that moment when I had to decide what to do. The idea of being a weak person was what kept me moving forward and pulling out a piece of my hair from my scalp.
Questions raised in my head as I approached him. I wondered who it was this goat man wanted me to sacrifice. I wondered when he would come to me for me to make that sacrifice. I also wondered what was the reasoning behind this sacrifice. None of that mattered now however. At this moment the only thing that mattered was saving Mason.