Nail in Her Coffin (Devil's Witch Book 1)

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Chapter 36-The Ceremonial Signal

COLIN

I place the last white rose around my childhood friend’s head. Her face is no longer as pale as it was a week ago, color has already begun to return to her cheeks. Noctus didn’t admit it, but his efforts to heal her may have been a little more forceful than necessary. Her magic may have returned thanks to doing her agreement with the devil, but it is fractured.

Damaged and volatile, we can all feel it float around her. If only one of us had the sight, we would be able to see its tint and know for sure just what happened to it.

It drifts around me, making me wince when I step back. As if I pricked my fingertip on the thorn of the rose I just set down, only I didn’t. Her magic sliced me. I know she will be very disappointed in me and I would be too. I don’t want to lie to her.

But I must.

The coven managed to renovate the salon after the necromancer incident here we framed happening as a way to cover-up our dealings with fate. So here I am, reliving the memories of that awful night I killed her. Yesterday, the police managed to persuade a werewolf to believe he was in fact the necromancer and used the devil’s magic to hurt Valerie.

The coven has bought it and also bought that Valerie has been away on a business trip with me to represent our store at a company meeting. Only we never left Wixton.

The flowers I was assigned to lay out around her are long dead, professionally pressed for their dark beauty to be preserved for years to come. The police are outside the salon keeping watch, while the chief stands behind me looking over my shoulder and down at my victim.

Suddenly, her chest rises as she takes her first breath. A few dead flowers around her arms slowly creep up into the air, pulled by her magic awakening.

Then, with new life, she sits upright with a jerk. Valerie’s eyes burst open, her magic shredding through the flowers as they fall to the ground in a mess around her. Her hair floats wildly around her face.

The police chief steps back from her quickly, just as surprised as I am by her magical outburst. I do not follow suit and stand up next to him. Instead, I look down at her with new worry. Her eyes are not full of accusation, but agony as she sways to her feet to face us.

I want her to be angry at me and she’s not. I feel dirty all of the sudden and rather than swallowing my guilt, I swallow my pride instead and proceed to do my job.

“The coven made me afraid of you, Valerie. Please, forgive me. They made me become this radicalized...monster. I thought I was doing them a favor. Not anymore though, I called the police. I couldn’t tell the coven about this. I didn’t want them to know what I did to you!” I shout.

“I’m not mad Colin. The devil told me he did it, he used you like a puppet. Someone else though, someone else is working for him. Someone else is using the demons. I couldn’t stop him from turning me into this, he wants me to find demons. D-demons,” she spills out looking sicker than when I shot her in the stomach, her voice is so broken.

I can only imagined what she endured.

All her attention is on me, but all I can really focus on is the feeling of the spite-filled gaze of someone else. Someone else who I let down during this process, I must keep up my act to prove my loyalty. I have to.

It’s amazing though, how little she holds back knowing the vampires’ interest in the legend. She still trusts me, even after I killed her. How can she not see this for what it is? I’m not the innocent, clueless human she thinks I am.

I have finally found my place. The devil did not possess me when I killed her, it was my wholehearted desire.

It was my duty.

Things are going to be much easier than we had planned.

“Get away from her,” the police chief warns me in a harsh voice, as if we strangers to each other. Even if this is an act, he doesn’t need to be an ass about it. He can drop the attitude, we did it. Our fate has been sealed now, the devil’s on our side.

All thanks to Valerie and I.

So what if her magic is a little out of hand. It’s not like she poses any threat to him, us.

When I don’t listen, he grabs the back of my sweater vest and yanks me backward.

Her question comes off as a statement, “Are you afraid of me too?” Valerie says.

Thinking she’s talking to me, I raise my hand ready to make my case like I was told to if she were to bring up such a question. However, my hand is knocked down as the chief passes by me completely ignoring me.

Valerie will need to get a grip on her magic sooner or later. The coven does have a ward around this place now, after they learned about the fake necromancer that is. If she breaks the ward we carefully slipped in through, the coven will be here in a heartbeat and everything will be ruined.

“No, we aren’t afraid. Just calm down, Ms. Parway. I will call the coven and let them take care of him.” The policeman coaxes her, his words laced in concern.

“No! They can’t find out about any of this. How long have I been dead for? Everything in here was destroyed before, now it’s all...like nothing happened. Aren’t you afraid of me, this is what the legend predicted.” She tells him quickly and he stops an arm’s length away from her, just as she gains control over her magic.

The force finally stops blowing around in the salon and settles down into nothing as it returns to her. Finally, I’m able to relax and steady my breathing. It’s unnerving not being able to see magic.

***

Three vamps forcefully shove Colin onto his knees.

“Enough about the legend, you need to rest. We need to let the coven take him and handle the rest. We found the necromancer, only we were too late. You should let the coven know, I will call William McCaster and inform him of this. Hold him down,” Nick orders his unit.

It’s too painful for me to watch Colin get arrested, he admitted what he did to the police and it wasn’t even his fault!

“Stop!” I yell at them all and Colin looks up at me in panic.

“The only one guilty is the real necromancer, the one who used him. The devil did it, not him. Please, don’t get the coven involved in this,” I plead for my friend.

Nick looks up from his phone.

“We have to at least take him into custody, he murdered you. He may not have fully broken supernatural law, but his actions are declared unlawful by human standards which I am obligated to uphold,” Nick reminds me.

I bite my lip.

One of the officers walks over to Colin and begins writing down his information.

“How long, how long was I dead for?”

“A week. Although, according to my sources, Colin Wallace reportedly told the coven you were with him on a business trip,” Nick tells me in a clipped tone, his eyes not leaving Colin.

His officers finally loosen their hold on him and let him stand up. However, instead of letting him free they handcuff him and escort him outside.

I start to chase after them, “Hey! Where are you taking him?” I demand.

Nick grabs my arm and I turn to look at him, not bothering to hide my frustration.

“Ms. Parway, I don’t know what you went through, but the last thing you need right now is to associate yourself with him. Mr. McCaster, is already waiting at the station to hear Colin Wallace’s case,” Nick tells me.

My tight-lipped expression goes slack.

I quit pulling against him and go still, feeling deflated. Will, he didn’t even know I was dead all this time. So why didn’t he come here first to see me? Why did he have to go straight to the station instead?

“Please stop calling me Ms. Parway,” I tell Nick tiredly with a new frown.

Finally, I look up at him. Dark circles rest below his eyes, did he suspect something from the start? Did he think I was dead for good? He said he would follow me while I was being summoned. Who was I kidding though, he would have no way of finding me. Then again, he is my familiar so he may have felt a pull...

It makes me wonder what Colin did with my body during all that time. He must have hid my body somewhere, the salon is still running anyway. Why would he bother bringing my body back to the salon though and then call the police there? They must have thought there was a burglary or something from all the windows and glass that I shattered with my magic. All the windows are fixed now as if nothing ever happened.

I hate to think like the coven, but the only answer I have is that it must have been the devil’s doing.

I just can’t believe I sent those witches to hell.

What have I become?

“What do you want me to call you then?” he asks me.

No one else is in the salon anymore. The cops probably already have Colin at the station. I turn away from Nick, not having the time to spare to answer him.

Once the coven finds out about Colin, no one will get a say in what happens. Will can’t control the witches, their minds are already set. They can’t know about this, not until I get myself out of my new contract with the devil.

I run out onto the sidewalk and see how the sun is already setting, all the police cars are gone along with the last of my hope. A dog barks somewhere in the distance and I put my hands on the side of my head in defeat.

“I didn’t call them, but they will find out eventually. The sooner you tell them, the better,” the police chief tells me.

He didn’t call them?

“I’m so scared, Nick. I’m terrified of what I’ve become. I m-met the devil,” I confide in him.

He probably thinks I’m crazy.

My arms give in to the new anxiety taking control over my body. They shake at my sides and I cross my arms, wondering if I can really trust him anymore after what the devil told me. A stray tear drips down the side of my cheek as I’m frozen in fear, remembering the devil’s face as clear as day.

“You’re okay. You’re safe now,” I hear Nick say with promise somewhere above my head, while giving me a stiff hug.

I treat his police vest like my pillow and just lay my head against it, trying to forget about the devil and the awful new job he gave me.

Maybe it’s the giddy teen still stuck inside the back of my head that makes me giggle suddenly like a dumb drunk. I cover my mouth, but it does no good. This probably is me finally reaching my breaking point, mentally that is.

After another short burst of giggles, I hiccup and Nick pats my back not saying a word. My legs sway and I stumble backward, laughing like a lunatic and almost collapsing onto the ground. I use a light post to leverage myself to keep from falling.

I blink once and the police chief is right in front of me. His hand takes mine just as my giggles die out, my mind still muddled. I think I learned about this before, witches drunk on their own magic. My magic though, well, I managed to put it away. If it wasn’t, I would see it, but I don’t.

I look around me and don’t see anyone else out here that could be using any magic. What’s happening to me?

That’s odd, I don’t remember dying in this ugly long black goth dress. I stare stupidly at the long black lace sleeves of my new foreign outfit that looks like something I should have worn to Patty’s funeral.

I wasn’t wearing this five minutes ago, was I?

Still feeling drunk, I look at Nick and he doesn’t seem fazed at all by my weird behavior. He actually looks like he’s waiting for something. Maybe a ride? I don’t see his police cruiser around here.

Wait, where is here exactly?

We aren’t even outside the salon anymore.

“Pretty trees...” I giggle, nearly tripping over my new dress.

With a grunt, I fall onto the ground feeling my legs give out.

I look around at the knee-high grass surrounding me and pluck a piece. Nick bends down beside me and I catch a strange glow behind him, a trail of fire. Only the trail of fire grows, circling around us and lighting up the clearing in the woods we occupy.

In fact, it not only finishes a complete circle around us, but weaves between us in long lines too. Traveling around us, in the shape of a star. I sit up a little, unusually calm for witnessing such a strange phenomenon, in a strange place, with a strange man.

I lean back on my elbows and the police chief pats the top of my head looking content and stands back up. Then Nick turns to the area of the woods beyond the ring of fire around us. Strange, it almost looks like there are other people here. I think I can see the outline of them a ways away through the flames of the fire as they draw nearer and nearer from the woods beyond.

Well, whoever he’s looking at better have a fire truck because I don’t remember any water summoning spells from my childhood, I think to myself before deciding to lay back down in the grass.

Maybe it’s the smell of smoke that makes me sleepy. The moment my head touches the cold hard ground, I fall asleep.

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