Death of a rose garden

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The second sacrifice

The second sacrifice

I grabbed my back pack and started ruffling through it hoping that I would find my magic disappearing book, give a very triumphant 'yes!' when it sat there peering at me from the bottom of the bag. I lifted the book out and just as before placed my right hand over the lock and felt it click open, and flipped it open.

The first page read Power and Control in a font that swirled around the page with such grace it was almost too difficult to turn the page on it. The first few pages were just very detailed on the definitions on what power and control were and how they were interlinked. "You can see this thing is old, no dictionaries back in those days." I said softly to myself sharing a small giggle but catching it in a cough realising how stupid my humour is sometimes.

"Power allows you to act in a certain way or gives you the ability to do some things, and this is achieved by many different manners of power. The different powers could include the following: The power of speech- Being able to empower people or encourage them to do certain tasks that they may or may not wish to do. The power of charisma- The ability to be able to manipulate a situation to your advantage or the advantage of your team. The power of strength- The ability to stay either physically or emotionally strong in difficult situations. The power of commitment and loyalty- Being able to make others or yourself stay tenacious to a task and never break pacts. There are many more examples, most of which interlink with other powers.

The connection power has to control is fairly evident. In order to benefit from power is to have utter control. If the individual does not have mental and physical control over themselves then they cannot do the same over others in a positive way. It is also easy to get corrupted by power and so if control is not practiced and put to effect the individual will be lost to self-absorbent tendencies. Individuals who receive this power tend to already have an egotistical look on life where they believe that the world owes them something. This is mostly from childhood events that have tainted them, but do not blemish them. They have a natural ability to control their inner turmoil to prevent their external environment being influenced differently.

However it is important to see the difference between control and manipulation. To control is to make sure there is harmony with not only the individual but the majority and the situation at hand. Whereas manipulation is more of a selfish notion where it only benefits the individual because you use something or someone in a skillful and mostly deceitful way."

I had engrossed myself into the book so much that I didn't hear Ricky creep up behind me and sit quietly on the edge of the fountain next to me looking over my shoulder at the book in hand.

"What are you reading? A really old dictionary?"

I could literally feel my heart jump out of chest. "Ricky! What the hell man? You know how I get when I'm reading." I gave him a death stare while I very unsuccessfully tried sneaking the book back into my back pack unnoticed. "Again I ask, what are you reading? I don't think there has ever been a book you haven't let me read as well. why so suspicious Lucy?" Damn, there was no way of getting out of this.

"Found it in the library, thought it might be a fun book to read. Looks old enough to hold some sort of wisdom." I held out the book for him to take, but in return he just gave it a confused look. "Problem Riccardo?" I asked with a smirk.

"No, it just looks so familiar... It looks like a book my Dad gave to me before he left, except his had like a cyan blue colour." He took the books so gently in his hands and turned it over and over again, almost as of he was making sure it was real.

I suddenly felt a rush of sadness take over me, like experiencing my father's death all over again, but at the same time it felt as if it had nothing to do about my dad. "Ricky? Are you okay?" Me talking must have shaken him from what ever thought pattern he was having and bringing him back to reality.

"Yeah, sorry, don't know what's come over me." I could see the disappointment in his eyes, or maybe it was dread.

"You sure? It looks like you going to start crying like a little girl any moment." I said in disgust to try get a smile out of him. It worked.

"You're such a pain Lucy." He said while trying to hide his smile.

"How did you even know I'd be here? Been stalking me now, is that the new trend?" I asked with mock horror. "Oh please, you always come here when things are tough. I know you too well." I thought about that for a moment and realised how true it actually was. "It's annoying when you're right, you know that?"

I could see the smile creeping back on his face again. "You're predictable that's why."

Not only did Joey know which buttons to push, but so did Ricky. "Who's the pain now? I'm so not predictable!"

Ricky just started laughing and stood up. "Come on Lu, Mom got your favourite ice cream and refuses that I open the tub until you're there. And you know you're favourite ice cream is mine too, so let's get going."

"Have I ever told you that I love your mom" I said with a smile and jumping up and getting my stuff together.

"Have I ever told you how predictable you are?" Again with a creeping smile.

"Don't Ricky, just don't..."

And we started walking back to his place with Black Lightning trailing next to me.

As we got to the door Mrs Barlow swung the door open and with a big smile on her face grabbed me into a bear hug. I just wrapped my arms around her and enjoyed the embrace and a good laugh with her before pulling away.

"Oh my dear I've been so worried about you all day!"

I stood there a moment with a confused look on my face. "Why? What did Ricky tell you now?"

Another laugh. "He just said you weren't feeling too well last night, that's why you left without saying goodbye." She look concerned through the smile. "I bet Ricky told you about the ice cream? Thought you needed a cheer up."

"You'd think my own mother would do things like that for me." Ricky said in a sulky tone. I just laughed at him.

"I love you enough, I have enough to share it between the two of you. Lucy is like my own daughter, so be nice!" She muttered while ushering us into the house.

So while Mrs Barlow went on with her work, myself and Ricky helped ourselves to a big heap of chocolate ice cream and drowning it in chocolate sauce. We really love our chocolate. We walked in silence to his room, enjoying every sticky mouthful of sickly sweetness.

"Do you still have that book by the way?" I asked with a mouthful of ice cream trying to act as if it hadn't been bothering me since he mentioned it.

He looked thoughtful for a moment, took another big mouthful of his own ice cream and answering back with a full mouth as well. "Should be here around somewhere. I'll check the shelf, you check the desk."

So I walked over to his desk to where a mound of papers and books were stacked next to his PC. "You really need to tidy up here, looks like Hades has been through here." He mumbled something rude back to me and I just smiled while riffling through the chaos in front of me.

Just as I was about to lift some books off the desk when Hades, the demon spawn cat according to Ricky, decided he wanted to make it his new seat. "Hey you stupid cat, you know I love you but please move." After a meow he jumped off and walked figure eights around my legs. "I don't understand how he loves you more than me. I feed the evil thing." Ricky sneered at the cat. "Maybe it's because I didn't throw him in the tumble dryer when I was younger." I laughed as he mumbled something rude to me again and carried on looking.

As I started getting bored with searching something caught my eye. A very neatly drawn circle with two dots on either side of it with a line through it all in the prettiest blue looked up from a piece of scrap paper. "Hey what's this?" I asked him while picking it up for closer inspection. He just gave a peek over his shoulder and carried on looking. "I don't know actually, just something I see in my dreams sometimes."

I felt my skin go cold. Please not Ricky, he can't be another one.

"Ah! found it. Pesky little book, it's like it's here sometimes and then it disappears." He seemed proud of his findings until he saw I hadn't moved an inch. "Hey, you okay?"

I did a little mental shake to bring myself out of the shock. "Yeah was just thinking. So let's have a look at that book shall we."

He handed the book over to me, an exact replica of mine except for the colour detailing. "I've never been able to open it though, that's why I was confused at how you had opened yours. How did you though?"

I felt like crying. "Give me your hand."


"Just give me your hand!" I said in frustration.

"Jeese okay, calm down. No need to get emotional about it." He stretched out his right hand to me.

"This might hurt a bit" I said more to myself than him, and before he could ask what I had said I grabbed his hand in mine. A small shock went shooting through my hand again but I wasn't the one pulling back in horror this time.

"What the hell was that?" Ricky in obvious shock.

Instead of saying anything, I took his hand in mine and flipped it over so his palm was visible. Just as I had suspected the exact pattern on the scrap piece of paper had appeared on his hand in a brilliant blue. I had to swallow the lump down to keep from bursting into tears.

Ricky didn't say anything for a long time, obviously trying to figure out what had just happened. He then tried wiping the mark off, becoming more frantic as he saw his effort were in vain. When he looked up at me with bewildered eyes i just smiled a weary smile and handed him the book. He looked at me, to the book and back to me again and with a reassuring smile from me he finally took it with shaky hands. He just stood there staring at the book, obviously unsure of what to do so I moved his hand over the lock and felt it unlock. Another surprise added to the pile for Ricky showed on his face as he flipped open the book to read the title page.

"Empathy and telepathy, what does this mean?" He looked at me with pure fear in his eyes.

"It means you're now part of Quinto círculo."

And I just burst into tears.

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