The Hunter Series - Penelope

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Chapter 6

The front door kept banging against the wall. The wind howling through the house. Tracey was worried, worried for her daughter, worried for the boy her daughter almost killed.

Why did she have to go through this alone?

Right now, all she needed was Leo, her husband. He would know what to do, he always did.

Tracey went over to Oliver, kneeling beside him to check if he needed to go to hospital. There was a deep anger within her, had she of known Penelope’s friends bullied her, she would never have let them into her home. She would have found another way to introduce the circle. A time when Penelope isn't so vulnerable to dark magic.

“Be thankful you get to live,” Tracey said. “Penelope won’t if we don’t find her soon.”

“What do you mean?” said Kristy, “It’s Oliver we should be worrying about. She nearly killed him!”

“Penelope can’t control her power yet. There must have felt some deep pain inside her to want to kill you, Oliver. If I had known how you treated her in school, I would never have let you come here tonight. None of you.”

“So it’s our fault?” Toby spoke up. “She’s going to be consumed by darkness because of the stupid things that happened years ago.”

Suddenly, the front door banged shut. They all jumped from their skins. Tracey felt a shiver down her spine as the sound of familiar footprints getting closer to the living room. Tracey held her breath for just a moment. Then, there was when a man standing in the doorway, tall, dark and handsome. He wore the black suit she always loved with his tie loose. He pushed his black framed glasses higher on the bridge of his nose and looked confused.

“What’s going on here?” He questioned Tracey.

“Leo! Oh, I’m glad to see you!” She said, shooting up from the floor and hugged the man tight. “I’ve missed you so much!”

“I’ve missed you too, darling.” He said, kissing her forehead. “I’m sorry to spoil this precious moment but what have I walked in on? Why was the door open like that?”

It took a few moments but Tracey to snap out of her dreamlike state of happiness long enough to explain the situation.

“This is bad.” He muttered.

“Why? What’s going on with her?” Sophie asked.

“It’s simple. Penelope will die unless she’s properly transitioned. Right now she’s drawing her power from black magic and that makes her so vulnerable. The more she uses it for her own gain, the easier it will be for the darkness to ensnare her mind and turn her heart black.” Leo answered her. “Where is she now?” Turning his attention to Tracey.

“She ran out the house,” Tracey said. “She could be anywhere by now.”

“Then we better go find her. All of us.”

My vision blurred as I ran as far as my legs could carry me. I sucked in deep breaths and felt faint. My mind burned from dark thoughts.

You’ll never be good enough to be part of them. Come to me and I will show you what it means to be a witch.

I could hear the voice loud in my mind. The voice was male, it wasn’t familiar. Whoever it was had the ability to communicate telepathically. Either that or I was losing my mind.

“Who are you?” I screamed. The people across the street gawked at me like I had escaped from a mental institute and kept staring as they walked away. I gripped my head, pulling at my hair, screaming.


Come to me, child. There’s no need to be afraid.

My feet switched direction and ran down another street, hoping the voices in my head would stop. The burning in my legs tried to force me to stop. I still ran… running so far. My head spinning. My breathing so fast I was inhaling more carbon dioxide than oxygen. Until my foot caught on a raised slab of pavement, twisting my ankle and falling to the ground face first, blood spilling from the open wound across my face and my nose. I laid there, unconscious and helpless.

My eyes opened and I laid in a hospital bed. The calendar on the wall was marked.

26th March?

Seven days?

There was many tubes plugged into my arms, I felt disoriented. My dad sleeping in the armchair beside the bed. There was a low beeping sound coming from a monitor. The door opened. Mum came in with a woman in a light blue scrubs and a stethoscope round her neck.

“Sweetheart, you’re awake!” Mum said, suddenly so cheerfully. She grabbed my hand, giving me a huge smile. There was a shimmer in her eyes. It dawned on me, she must have been worried sick for seven days. “You look so much better.”

“Where am I?” I croaked.

“You’re in a special hospital. A hospital for people like us.” Mum said, still grinning. The nurse beside the bed began checking the equipment.

“Hello, Penelope. My name is Lynda. How are you feeling?” The nurse said in a soft tone.

“I feel okay.” I answered.

“You must feel much better after what happened. We had to starve your body from the black magic you were consuming,” The nurse said.

“I don’t understand.” I grumbled.

“You’re a new witch. Each new witch has a ceremony with their circle. It gives them their own individual powers and destiny. In your case, when a witch hasn’t had this special ceremony, they can be consumed by dark forces because your mind is open. The ceremony gives you a shield, the ability to say no.” Nurse Lynda spoke as she continued checking me over. “You've fully recovered. You're very lucky. There are lots of witches who haven’t been this lucky. What you need to do, when you get home, is complete the transition. I don’t want to see you here again.” Then she winked at me.

My parents took me home later in the day. They were being extra careful around me. It was like I had undergone major surgery. Dad made the sofa extra comfy with lots of cushions and a super soft blanket. Mum made me a nice cuppa tea, leaving some biscuits on the coffee table.

“Dad.” I called after him.He stopped in the arch of the doorway and looked back.

“Yes, honey?”

“Can you tell Oliver, I’m sorry? I didn’t mean to do what I did. I want to apologise. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I wasn’t myself.”

“It wasn’t your fault…” Dad began to say but I cut him off.

“I know. But it needs to be said.”

He nodded.

When the next day arrived I felt more like my old self. There was a positive energy within me as I opened the curtains. The light brightened up my room. It opened my eyes to how bad I had been feeling. I picked up the rubbish on the floor and all over my dressing table. Then picked up all the empty glasses I've been hoarding and brought them downstairs. The hover hadn’t made an appearance in my room for months. Once I had made my bed, it felt amazing to have a tidy room. I felt happy.

Mum had made breakfast, bacon, eggs and toast. We sat at the table like a proper family.

“Hey mum, hey dad.” I chirped cheery, grabbing a piece of toast and taking a big bite.

“Hey honey. You seem a lot better today.” Dad said. “You finished your room? Your mum and I were wondering how much more rubbish you had up there.”

“It was long overdue, I admit.” I said, holding my hand over my mouth as I chewed.

“Before you start overdoing it, you need to be careful.” Mum said.

“Your mum’s right. While you were in hospital they took all the darkness out of you. It's a very dangerous procedure. There’s no way to know for sure when the darkness started to consume you. So, they had to take all the bad away. They haven’t taken any memories but when you look back, you no longer feel hurt by any of the bad things you’ve experienced. It’s to protect you until after the ceremony. If this shield cracks before we are able to complete the transition it’s fatal. It will shatter your soul.” Dad said carefully and calmly. “It must be completed by tonight.”

“So, not too much pressure then, huh.” I said, laughing nervously.

Around 3 o’clock, there was a knock on the door. The door opened, then muffled sounds, not being able to understand the conversation. A few minutes later, dad lead my old friends into the room. I noticed Oliver at the back avoiding my eye contact and staying quiet.

“They need to be here to help.” Dad said to me.

I nodded. “I understand.”

“I’ll be in the attic if you need me or your mum. We’re setting everything up for tonight.”

Sophie came to sit next to me. “How are you feeling?”

“I feel a lot better. Look, I'm really sorry for what happened last week. I didn't mean...”

“It’s okay, we’re sorry too. Look, we’ve all been talking and we never realised that we used to bully you. We were just kids. Sometimes, we took the joke too far. We certainly didn’t realise how badly it effected you.”

I nodded. “Okay.”

“We want to make it up to you, make it right.” Toby said. “Perhaps we can work towards starting again. Maybe one day we can put the past behind us.”

Kristy sat on the floor next to me. “Will you give us a chance?”

“We’re stronger together, right?”

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