Reckless Magic (Page 17)

“I think he would leave me for her,” Kiran said softly.

“I didn’t realize you two were a couple,” I smirked, satisfied with my insult.

“Oh, you think that’s funny do you?” Kiran laughed out loud and then reached over to tickle me. I stumbled in the dark, trying to get away from him but tripped. Electricity began to steadily hum underneath my skin as I took Kiran down with me, falling to the ground.

He sat up and shoved my shoulder gently with the palm of his hand. I could tell he was getting ready to say something but suddenly I felt a surge of electricity that I could barely control. I slammed my hand over his mouth, every one of my muscles on edge.

We had been walking for a while, maybe thirty minutes and we were pretty far from camp. We had come to a dead end of sorts as our path was blocked by a tall cliff and wall of boulders. We would have had to change directions to continue on our walk.

The energy abruptly surging through my blood warned me that we were not alone. I hesitated, wondering if maybe Seraphina or one of her minions followed us, but I usually could recognize the level of electricity brought on by another Kingsley student. The pulsing energy I felt now alarmed me of a greater danger.

“Lilly, Talbott get down!” I half whispered, half shouted. They obeyed instantaneously, and I was surprised they didn’t ask any immediate questions.

“What is going on?” Kiran wiggled out from underneath my firm grasp, talking at full volume.

“Shh,” I whispered with force. “I heard something, or felt something.... something is definitely not right,” I was as confused as I sounded. The hairs stood straight up on my arms and the back of my neck. I didn't know how, but I knew something was terribly wrong.

“You’re right,” Kiran’s voice had softened to a whisper now and he crawled into a crouching position. “Talbott do you feel that?”

“Yes I do. I think we should get you back to camp,” Talbott was suddenly next to us, along with Lilly. His arm rested protectively on Kiran and he had positioned his body in front of him. I was surprised to see that Lilly had also taken a defensive crouch blocking Kiran’s rear.

Electricity began rushing through my veins, sending my senses reeling. At first the sensation made me nauseous, but I adjusted quickly. The very first awareness I noticed was how vivid my eyesight became. Everything around me sharpened into the clearest image, as though I was in the middle of daylight, only more intense. I could see everything now, every animal hidden up high in the trees, every insect crawling, and every speck of dust on the ground.

The electricity pounding through my veins was intense, but it was also focused. Every one of my senses was heightened in an unnatural way: my sense of smell, my sense of sight, hearing, touch and even taste. I felt another sense as well; although it was unfamiliar and unidentifiable to me, I knew it existed and I was suddenly aware of how to use it.

My sixth sense, as it were, was hypersensitive to the physical nature of the world outside of myself. I could feel everything move around me. I could feel the leaves move in the trees from the light breeze, and the rocks crunch under oncoming feet. I felt the moon in the sky and the stars that were millions of light years away. I felt the center of the earth pulsating with the rhythm of the universe.

And then I realized that we were not alone. The change in my nature was a result of other people surrounding us. I could “feel” distinct entities making their way towards us, trying to be discreet. Each individual carried their own dissimilar electrical field, warning me of their approach.

“Someone’s coming!” I whispered fiercely, but by the tense and crouched postures of my friends, I knew they already realized this. I could feel the negative aura of the oncoming force. Whoever they were, they meant us harm.

Before we could react, we were surrounded. Five hooded figures stood surrounding us, faces all masked. If it were not for my heightened sense I would have assumed this was another practical joke, but the focused energy surging through my veins told me that this was a very dangerous threat. The heat in my blood readied me for battle, and I barely recognized myself.

I looked at Kiran; he stood to his feet, arms wide, and ready to fight. Adrenaline pumped through my bloodstream, allowing me to feel no fear, but did nothing for my confusion. I glanced at Talbott and Lilly and to my surprise they had both taken the same stance as Kiran. I had no idea who these people were, but realized a fight was imminent.

Lilly stood with her back facing Kiran as if to protect him from a rear attack. She looked miniscule alongside Talbott and Kiran. Even our attackers were large and tall figures. Although I couldn’t be for sure that they were all men by the way they were dressed, but if I had to have guessed I would have assumed they were.

I positioned myself in the protective circle with the rest of my friends, unsure of what I was capable of. I would do anything to protect these people, but if push came to shove, I realized I was going to be the one that needed protecting. I mimicked their stances, hoping someone would shout out instructions.

The fight would happen at any moment, of that I was sure. The only thing we were waiting on was for someone to make the first move. I considered rushing one of the men in black, but decided it was probably too risky and definitely too stupid.

We stared at each other for what seemed like an hour. I had never witnessed a fight except on TV, and although I expected for them to pull out guns or some other type of weapon, nothing appeared. They clearly pursued us, but I was unclear of how they would begin their attack. Instead of a weapons fight however, something so unexplainable happened that I could only stand there staring at all of those around me, mouth opened wide.

The cloaked figures had surrounded us on every side. We had our backs towards each other, in a protective circle around Kiran. The tension was thick and my muscles twitched in anticipation.

Finally the first move was made; it was like nothing I had ever seen happen in my life. One of the masked men jumped forward into the air, seemingly trying to hurdle over Talbott to reach Kiran. Although the jump at first appeared impossible, as soon as his body was lifted off of the ground he inexplicably transformed into a mountain lion. My mouth dropped open and I shook my head frantically, unwilling to believe that what I thought I saw actually happened.

To my amazement though, instead of getting torn to shreds, Kiran met him in the air, forcing him to the ground underneath him. They were not alone for more than a millisecond before Talbott jumped into the wrestling match pounding the human turned animal until he bled.

I hoped that this was the end of it, but there were four other cloaked beings surrounding us and I had an ominous feeling this fight was far from over. Two more of the strange men immediately transformed into similarly dangerous animals to assist their friend; one a bobcat, the other a leopard. Snarling, growling and biting, they attacked Kiran and Talbott over and over. I watched, with disbelieving eyes at a fight that seemed doomed.

The animals ripped into their skin, biting, clawing, tearing away pieces of flesh, but I never saw blood. I used my heightened sense to search for the terrifying sight of torn and bloodied flesh but could not find it. My stomach lurched at the sight of Talbott and Kiran in a battle for their lives, but I remained a bystander unsure of how to help.

My mind refused to process what I could feel was reality around me. Lilly let out a battle cry of her own, jumping into the air and turning herself into a tigress. Her animal form maintained her petite size and the vibrant red color of her hair, but her claws and teeth had suddenly become the most ferocious weapons I had ever seen. She joined the fight, tearing and biting the other animals involved. I covered my mouth with my hand, unable to move, paralyzed by confusion.

Kiran threw the mountain lion off of him with such an unimaginable force; the animal was thrown at least thirty feet away. Quickly the animal, once a man, was back on his feet taking three quick bounds and jumping back into the fray. Talbott was desperate to keep the animals away from Kiran, throwing one, and then two off of him, but they were persistent, always returning with even more vigor.

The two remaining masked men remained men, but were none the less dangerous. They joined the fight as well, uprooting trees and hurling large boulders at my tiring friends. They had yet to touch anything however, accomplishing it all with what seemed to be just an outstretched hand.

The fight was creating a clearing of its own in the once crowded forest. Trees and boulders were constantly hurled at my friends, some finding their mark; some stopped midair and dropped to the ground by a mere glance from Kiran. The only problem was that the animals continued to attack him, making it impossible for him to see every obstruction coming his way. My friends were being beaten to death and I still stood there helpless.

I swallowed the bile rising in my throat and I couldn’t help the feeling of panic washing over me. I had been forgotten, a simple bystander to the unreal destruction happening all around me. My tired and outnumbered friends were frantic to win their survival but the attacking men seemed even more bent on their demolition.

My blood was hot with electricity surging through my veins, my heart beating wildly out of control. My fingers and muscles twitched with the desire to join and my senses heightened to a crystal clear state. I inhaled deeply of the battle around me and I realized that I wasn’t helpless.

And then it dawned on me. The energy coursing through my veins must be the same force with which these men were using. Its very nature sharpened into a treacherous weapon by their presence. I could feel anticipation mingled with bloodlust as though the electricity itself were a life form. I had never felt more empowered as the electricity I had tried to oppress for so long rushed through my blood giving me a sense of strength I had never experienced before.

I forced my mind to focus on the fight, appreciating that all of my senses were already finely in tuned. I watched as mammal ripped flesh from mammal, and masked men performed feats of strength that should have been utterly impossible. Kiran and Talbott seemed to possess the same power that the two remaining humans did; the landscape around us was ripped to pieces as they tried to destroy one another.

I tested my own strength with a nearby rock. I willed it to be lifted into the air with my mind and the small bolder obeyed easily. I decided the course of destruction and the rock flew through the air crashing into pieces against a small tree. Again I tested my strength with the same tree, ripping it out of the ground and lifting it easily into the air; its limbs and roots hung precariously over the two standing strangers. With a thought, I dropped the tree onto them and watched as they were crushed beneath it. I heard the revolting crunch of bones breaking as they were buried beneath the branches.

The men did not give up however, and threw the tree off of their mangled bodies scrambling to their feet, bones completely restored. My mind refused to believe what my senses had already accepted as reality. Again I tested my strength, electricity building with every mental movement.

Merely thinking of a basketball sized boulder, I lifted it with my mind, the energy growing even stronger and hurled it with all of the mental power I had at the nearest shrouded figure. Everyone had written me off, clearly I had been frozen by fear, but as terrifying as my new found powers were, I was the only hope we had for victory.