As I waited in the darkness things were different. I could feel the blows land across my back. Could hear the cackle of my demon. I could feel it’s struggle. And then out of no where it dug into me. I felt the claws dig into my back and rake across my skin. It fought to hold on. It was no longer hitting me, distracted. It was a dream – my dream.
It was an fleeting thought one I was surprised had never come to me in all the years. It was my dream.
The sun rose and the nightmare screamed and lashed out one final time. “Mine!” it yelled and blows landed simultaneously over my skin all over and my eyes popped open with a sudden gasp of air. I felt more the saw the thing on top of me launch off my chest towards someone. Alex. I sat up straight. I watched in horror as this black blur of fur and teeth and claws tried to hurt Alex. There was chanting somewhere in the room but my eyes were only drawn to the creature.
There was no moment of hesitation as I reached out and surrounded the thing with air and lit it on fire with another quick weave. It screamed. I made the bubble smaller. No one hurt Alex. I squeezed and burned it. The power inside me burned, it fought and I knew I should stop. Cold blooded killing always took a toll on my body. But I didn’t stop. It had tried to hurt Alex It had hurt me for years. This was revenge.
The bubble grew smaller and smaller until there was a pop, and the screaming silence. I felt weak. I was drained of what little energy I had from my nap. The anxiety and arguments weakened the balance, and then this. Before I knew it, there was nothing but blackness…
The blackness quickly lightened I lay on the ground in a dusty field. The rains looked like they hadn’t fallen in years but the soil was freshly tilled and it was waiting. I stood up and dusted off. I spun slowly in a circle and tried to get my bearings. There was a lone tree in the middle of the field, and beyond that were more trees and pond and a sky that looked like something out of a scifi movie. The sun was setting on the horizon but the sky was full of stars. I could almost swear I recognized something in the stars. Like a message or something, but I was standing atop the lone tree in the middle of the field. I hadn’t even realized I had walked the distance while I stared into the night sky.
The tree was strange, it felt more real than anything in the whole dream. It looked familiar. I placed my hand on the rough trunk and a pair of eyes blinked back at me. I jerked my hand away and stumbled backwards, but when I woke up I wasn’t lying on the dry dusty dirt of my dream. The bed was comfortable, and not at all the one I had fallen asleep in. I didn’t smell Alex on any of it. My clothes had been changed and I was in a strange room. I felt my heart race and my breathing quickened.
The panic attack started to set in and my mind was reeling. Where was I? What happened? Where was Alex? Was he okay? Though the last thought sent my mind in another direction. What had happened? Alex? But when I tried to say something my throat was dry.
In the onset of my panic I looked around, scanning for something familiar and there sitting next to the bed was a note. In Alex’s handwriting. It was almost a comfort except I knew deep down Alex was gone. I snatched the folded paper and opened it quickly.
No need to panic. Come out when you are ready. ~ Love, Alex
It was a simple note. His hand was steady. Not forced. But it didn’t help my heart racing. My chest loosened a little as I climbed out of the warm bedding. This wasn’t Alex’s bed. Hell I didn’t even know where I was. The first door I opened was a closet door. It was filled with women’s clothes and I knew I should know where I was. But the thoughts kept sliding away.
I found the door into the hall and was greeted with a series of pictures. Mostly kids, and in there amongst all the strangers was a little boy I once knew. I ran my fingers over the picture, and those blue eyes were unmistakable. Alex had been here. Memory started to return, this was a place he’d grown up. Or at least stayed part of the time. I closed my eyes and I could feel Alex around me. Smell him nearby.
“Hey Pretty boy.” His voice called out from down the hall. I opened my eyes to see his gorgeous blue eyes staring back at me. I couldn’t help but smile. I wanted to run and hug him and never let go. But I made myself walk. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face in his neck. “You’re alright.”
“Me, pretty boy, you’re the one who passed out. You had me worried.”
I shook my head, “I was fine.”
“You didn’t look fine,” Alex said as he navigated me around into the living room to sit on the couch. It was warm, he’d been here a while. “What happened?”
“You tell me?”
“You killed the thing. Kish and Kay said that it was nothing but ash by the time the fire burnt out. It sort of just fluttered to the floor. I was too busy trying not to panic because I couldn’t wake you up.”
“I’m sorry.” I shook my head. “It should never have tried to hurt you.”
“I’m fine. It’s just a scratch.”
My eyes immediately darted to the bandage on Alex’s hand. My heart started to pound again. It had hurt him.
“Nox, I’m fine. Are you okay? What happened?”
“I killed with my power. Being Cesari is different than being Magnus. But since I’m the only known Cesari to use his gift in the taking of lives it’s not a well known thing, other Magnus might face the same problem. But taking a life extracts energy from the person who does it. Theoretically, if someone were to kill a lot of people at the same time, you’d kill yourself in the process – or at the very least tap out your power and becoming tacet – or quiet. And not yourself.”
Alex interrupted, “It was hurting you, it had hurt you your whole life.”
“The magic doesn’t care that it was justified. It doesn’t care, it only seeks balance In taking a life not in the defence of my own life, it saps the energy required to remove life from me. So saving you was not in defence of my own life. When I killed the Dragon it was in defence of my own life. When I killed the bomber it was in defence of my own life. I don’t kill with the power I was given unless I have to. It’s easier to pull a gun.”
I smiled at Alex. “I just need to recharge. And I’m starving. There wouldn’t be any food around would there?”
Alex nodded. “Kish left some food just in case you woke up. You sit, let me get it for you.”