The Gift Of The Elements

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The Nightmare

Chapter Nine

~Arabella~

About three-fourths of the way threw the night I switched out with Logan. I quietly unzipped the boy’s tent and shook Logan’s leg until he woke up. His eyes snapped open and he looked at me dazed for a moment. Then the corner of his mouth twisted in a half-smile.

“I was wondering how long you would last.” He said, whispering. “ I must say, I’m impressed, little bandit.”

“Oh?” I said as he climbed out of the tent. “You doubted my ability to sit in a tree and do nothing for hours on end?”

“I thought you would crack much sooner than this. Congratulations, you managed to last about six hours.” Logan said, plopping himself down by the fire. “Now go get some rest, we’re not stopping because you are too exhausted to keep moving.”

“Aww, that’s a shame,” I said with my voice dripping with sarcasm. “I was planning on staying up all night and dragging the whole group down with my complaints.”

“Just go to bed,” Logan said with a yawn.

I retreated to the girl’s tent and stuck my tongue out at Logan as I climbed inside. He responded by shaking his head at me and I zipped up the tent flap. Maya was already asleep on one half of the tent so I lied down opposite her. I felt my eyes get heavier and heavier and soon I fell asleep.

“Delphine!” A woman called out to me. “This is a bad idea! We don’t know what this thing is capable of!”

“We have to try!” I shouted back to my closest friend. We were in an abandoned office building in a dark room without any windows. “Those things are outside and they want to kill us! We have to ask him for help!”

“Are you out of your mind! Did you forget why he was banished in the first place!”

“Of course not! What he did was unforgivable! However, I don’t see any other options. I will either do this with or without you.”

“Well, I can’t let you do this alone.” The young woman standing across from me said with sad eyes. “But if anything goes wrong, remember this was your idea!”

There was a large table in the center of the room that we set my book of shadows on top of. We both took out our athames and started carving runes on the wooden table. I had just finished the rune of summoning when I heard a large bang from outside the door.

“They’re coming!” The young woman called out from beside me.

I pulled my book of shadows towards me and opened it to the next blank page. I started to scribble down a summoning spell just as the door burst open and six shadow warriors poured in from the door.

Shadow warriors were exactly what they sounded like. They were shadows that ranged from fifteen to twenty feet tall. Shadow warriors could not hurt you but they could surround you in darkness and alert others to your presents with their horrible cries. They can also change their shape and play tricks on you. There is only one way to kill them and that particular tool is not at our disposal at the moment.

“Quickly! Read this out loud!” I said pushing the book to my friend.

We started chanting and the shadow warriors let out ear-piercing screeches. We were halfway through the chant when something went horribly wrong. The door burst open and about twenty militibus stormed into the room.

Militabus were about four feet tall and didn’t look very threatening. However, you would be a fool to judge based on their appearance. Militabus may not look frightening when they are in there human stage. However, once they shift into there demon form they look completely inhuman and terrifying. Their main weapon is called an armis blade and it looks like a normal short sword with an engraving on the handle. ’Quod est voluntatis arbitrium in omnibus.’ It was the code of honor they lived by.

They charged at us with their armis blades and used them to fire a spell at us. I tried to dodge but was not fast enough. A glowing light blue orb hit me in the chest and I was left powerless.

I looked up at my friend only to find the militibus stabbing her repeatedly with their blades. My hands shot up to cover my mouth and in my brief moment of distraction, a shadow warrior sprinted up to me and plunged me into darkness. I fell to the floor with a large thud and the next thing I knew was a militibus standing over me with its blade raised in the air. He brought down the blade directly at my heart and the world went still as I took my final breath.

I jerked away to the sound of Logan yelling at the group to wake up.

Was that a nightmare? I thought to myself. It felt so real. I never met those people before so my mind had to just made them up. The one thing that stood out at me was what the lady in the dream called ‘the book of shadows’. It looked the exact same as the journal I was looking at the night before.

“Are you okay?” I looked to my side and saw Maya looking at me with confused eyes. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“I’m fine Maya,” I forced a smile. “Come on we should meet up with the others.”

Maya exited the tent first and I climbed out behind her. When we emerged Logan and Michael were already taking down the boys tent and Zackary was sitting by the now burnt-out fire, eating crackers. Maya joined him and I decided I should probably take down the girl’s tent.

I started taking down the pale-blue tent when I felt someone’s eyes on me. I spun around quickly, already drawing my daggers. I was scanning the nearby forest but it was early morning and everything was covered in shadows. I thought I saw one of the shadows move in between some trees but it disappeared so quickly I thought it was my sleepy eyes playing tricks on me.

I shielded my daggers and got back to work on the tent. Once I got it packed up I joined the others by the burnt-out campfire. Maya handed me some expired crackers and I listened in on the plan Logan came up with for today.

“We are going to follow the dirt-road North and we will either come across a dead-end or some buildings. Does anyone object?” Logan paused and looked around the group. “Alright then, grab the packs and let’s get going.”

Logan and Micheal grabbed the tents and I grabbed my ebony-colored pack with the strange journal inside. Logan and Micheal were walking side by side talking just out of earshot from the rest of us. If I strained my hearing I could make out a couple of words.

“...bandit…..the kids…….nice.” I heard Micheal say to Logan although I couldn’t make out the context of what he was saying.

Maya ran up to me and grabbed my left hand. Zackary was walking a few feet in front of us

“Whatcha doing~?” Maya with bright eyes.

“The same thing as you kiddo,” I answered her.

“How was your watch last night?” Maya asked in a bubbly tone.

“It was fine,” I said, still watching Michael and Logan. I wanted to know what they were talking about but they were way too far out of earshot now.

“I was lonely without you Ella!”

Just as I was about to answer I thought I saw another shadow move in the woods to my left. Maya saw it too and I heard her suck in a breath. I pushed her behind me with one hand and drew one of my daggers with the other.

“Logan, Micheal!” I called out to them. “Were being followed!”

They both drew their weapons and hurried to my side, dragging Zackary with them. The three of us made a protective wall in front of the kids. I stole a quick glance over my shoulder at them to see Zackary holding a small dagger with a shaking hand, similar to the one I saw Maya holding a few days ago. His free arm was around his sister and she buried her head in the side of his shoulder.

“How do you know we’re being followed?” Logan asked me with a dangerous edge in his voice.

“I saw a shadow moving in the woods,” I answered back, not taking my eyes from the tree line. “I saw the same thing back at the camp when we were packing up.”

“And you didn’t think to say anything?” Logan snapped in a vicious voice.

“Both of you!” Michael cut in before I could respond. “Now is not the time for this!”

He was right, we had more important things to attend to the moment. With one last angry look at Logan, I turned my attention back into the woods.

“Whoever’s hiding there,” Logan called out in a threatening voice. “Come out now!”

At first, nothing happened. The three of us stood as still as statues, staring at the tree line. Everything was quiet for a few moments, then out of nowhere, something jumped out at us.

Logan and I were about to attack when Michael called out for us to stop. It took me a few moments to realize why.

It wasn’t an adult with a weapon charging at us but a small unarmed child. It was a little boy with golden-brown skin. He was about five-feet tall and looked to be about Maya and Zackary’s age. He had a head of curly black hair and dark brown eyes. His clothes were dirty and torn and he was so skinny you could see his ribs. It was like he hasn’t been eating much at all.

“What the hell,” Logan muttered under his breath.

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