The room looked like hers, only everything was grey and void of any color. The last thing she remembered was crying herself to sleep and then there was a glimpse of Graten and now she was here. Here she assumed is Purgatory. She needed to get home, but she could barely keep herself standing so her chances of calling magic was slim to none. She sat up on the bed and tried to call upon her magic and felt nothing in return. It was just as she thought. Her magic was depleted and that meant that Chase, Guin, and Jax were suffering as well.
“I’m such a selfish asshole!” she cursed to no one in particular.
How could she have let herself get this weak knowing that she had other people’s lives tied to her own? She couldn’t even remember the last time she saw anyone outside of the mansion. Anxiety seemed to give her enough strength to get to her feet and begin her search for the only person who could help her.
“He’s gotta be here somewhere,” she grunted to herself and she stumbled through the bedroom door.
She made it through the hall, down the staircase and was now headed to the front door, grabbing the keys to her car on the way out. She sent a silent thank you to the heavens for everything in Purgatory being the exact replica of her world or else she might be traveling on foot.
When she reached the porch landing, she almost collapsed, just barely catching herself with the railing. Her sheer determination drove her to stand again and finish her trek to the car. The roar of the engine eased her tension and she put the car in drive.
Dublin looked eerie and lifeless as she drove through the empty town, glimpsing in the rearview mirror out of habit. Graten’s home was one he created for himself inside of the building that was a brewery in her world. Her foot depressed the accelerator causing the engine to push the car faster down the beaten dirt road, her final destination finally within sight.
She looked around the vacant lot as she slammed the car in park and slid herself out of the driver seat. There was an immediate feeling of discomfort. She couldn’t see any movement as far as the eye could see and yet she had a feeling that someone was watching her.
“Maybe Graten knows I’m here,” she tried to comfort herself.
The ground crunched beneath her feet as she approached the front door of the brewery. The screech of the door as she opened it made her wince. It sounded like nails on a chalkboard and the sound raked her last nerve.
The building was dark, just as she remembered it from her last visit here. Down the main aisle and to the left is the room that Graten had made his home and that is where she intended to go. She made it mid-way down the aisle before that same eerie feeling of being watched came back to her. She brushed it off and continued on.
She knocked on Graten’s door and pulled the door open without waiting for a response, “Graten, you home?”
“Shit!” she cursed when no one answered.
She walked into the empty room and sat herself down on his loveseat. The little bit of energy she had mustered up had dissipated, leaving her weaker than she was when she had started her journey. She leaned into the oversized cushions of the loveseat and she drifted off to sleep.
A cool breeze flitted across Saraid’s face causing her to awaken. The source of the breeze now starring down at her with empty eyes. She had only ever seen a spirit once before and that was right before Graten had sent it out to be reborn. She felt a chill crawl up the skin of her back as the spirit lady reached for her. Saraid crawled to the other side of the couch and made her way to the door. The idea of sitting in the company of a spirit for an indefinite period of time was unsettling to her and she wasn’t going to stick around.
She left the room, slamming the door behind her, “Where the hell is Graten?”
She looked back at the door over her should and found the spirit following closely behind her. Saraid was unsure of what to do. She wasn’t strong enough to run and spirits can’t talk so it’s not like she can ask her what she wants. She turned to face the woman and shouted, “Leave me alone!”
The spirit blindly moved toward her, oblivious to the order it had just been given. Saraid turned her back on the woman and moved toward the front door as fast as she could. She chanced another look over her shoulder to see if she had gained any distance between her and the woman. She heard a loud THUD in her ear, and she woke from a daze in a pile of shattered wooden barrels. Her head was pounding and her vision blurry as she tried to make sense of what happened.
In the distance she could see the shadow of a figure drawing near and the spirit woman completely still beside her. Her only hope of survival depended on whether the shadowy figure could see her amidst the rubble. Of course, a glimmering spirit woman was a pretty obvious thing to overlook.
A spell came whizzing by her, just missing her by less than an inch. Whoever this was, they wanted her dead and she could think of only one person who could find her here besides Graten and her family.
“Come on, James. If you haven’t figured it out by now this isn’t a fair fight,” she shouted out to the man in the shadows.
His laughter was evil incarnate, “Fairness is not the top of my concerns, Whore.”
“There you go with name calling again. Only a weak man calls a woman out of her name and only a coward would fight an unfair fight.”
“Such big words for a witch with no magic,” he taunted her as he slowly advanced toward her.
“You can’t take me when I am at full strength and you know it. That’s why you chose to attack now. It’s the only chance you have of winning,” Saraid boldly shouted.
Another spell narrowly missed her, sending her falling to her side to miss it.
“The only thing of importance is your death. It does not matter if it is a fair death.”
“Yea, that sounds like something only a chicken shit would say!”
Apparently, she struck a nerve because his slow daunting pace had picked up to the speed of a brisk walk. She needed to put some distance between them, but she couldn’t move; she was still too weak.
There was a cold, near sub zero sensation in her arm. She glanced to her left to see the spirit woman grasping her arm and slowly disappearing as if she were being absorbed into Saraid’s skin. Her body shook from the cold as the spirit of the woman vanished within her body. She didn’t have time to dwell on what had just happened, James was getting dangerously close.
“What did I ever do to you personally for you to want me dead? The coven has fared better with me on the throne than it ever had with Lillian in charge,” she yelled out to the man now standing maybe five feet from her.
He sneered, “You and your whorish ways area disgrace to the throne and everything the coven stands for! The coven will be better off without you. They are just too blinded to see the truth!”
Saraid didn’t mean to laugh. It was really a hysteric reaction brought about by fear. She didn’t ask to be born a succubus and she damn sure didn’t ask to be bound to multiple people, but would she change it? Hell no. She loved her family and no psychopath like James could take that from her.
“So, you seek to sentence me to death for something that is beyond my control? I have no control over what I was born to be. Do you really think I wanted to be tied to anyone other than Liam? Or should I say Aaden since you successfully managed to take the most important man in my life from me?”
“Hey, I could have killed him when I saw I’m tied so conveniently to a tree, but I didn’t,” he stated arrogantly.
“The only reason you left him alive was to punish me. Well, congratulations you did it!”
“Nothing you have felt is sufficient. The only thing that is right is your death!”
She felt her breathing quicken and a feeling similar to shards of ice began to flow through her veins. She allowed herself to feel every bit of sadness and every ounce of anger that she had kept bottled up and she could feel herself begin to strengthen.
James raised his hand, preparing to blast her with yet another of his spells and Saraid’s hands instinctively moved to cover her face. When a few moments passed with no attack she chanced a glance in his direction.
“What the hell?” Saraid breathed to herself as she took in the sight of James, now frozen solid.
She wasn’t sure what had just happened, but she was grateful that it had. She knew there was no way she could have defeated him in her weakened state. One thing she was sure of was that James had to die. She wouldn’t keep living her life having to look over her shoulder, wondering when he would strike again. Not to mention that his death would most likely release Liam from whatever spell James had put over him.
The thought of getting Liam back gave her the strength that she needed to climb to her feet. She looked around the room, searching for anything to be used as a weapon. At her feet was a large splinter of wood from the barrels that had broken her fall. She bent down and grasped it in her hands, her knuckles white from the strain.
She approached him from the front and without a moment’s hesitation, she slammed that sliver of wood deep into his chest, sending his body crumbling to the ground in a pile of frozen pieces. The adrenaline had worn off, leaving Saraid to feel every bit of her exhaustion before she fell to the ground unconscious.