I wasn’t sure exactly how long it had been. Days, weeks, and months all seemed to blur together, and I’d stopped keeping track of the sunrises and sunsets. I knew it was somewhere around the one year mark since I ran away from Silver Oak. I’d only known this because while I was passing through a small town during the night, I’d seen fresh newspapers stocked ready for the morning and caught the date.
One year passed since I killed my friend, three hundred and sixty-three days since I turned sixteen, and developed the powers I was not supposed to have attained.
I couldn’t define what the powers felt like. It was like I had this tremendous energy inside me, and sometimes the energy became too much to handle.
If I didn’t release the power, it would become intolerable, as if I was being submerged under a heavy substance, and breathing became impossible — a little like drowning.
I recalled the things my parents would tell us; they’d often say if you couldn’t control the powers, they became too overpowering, and that’s why some ended up abusing the powers. They failed to control the extreme pressure and energy build-up. They were also seductive.
I’d watched one member of our coven succumb to them, one of the elders. We were only supposed to use our powers when needed, never for menial tasks; however, he ignored that rule.
I watched him age rapidly, and by the time he was thirty, he looked as if he was in his seventies. He became frail and weak, unable to teach or train his young son, Sam. He eventually died eighteen months before the attack on Willow Lake, when he was just thirty-one.
I found myself ever thankful my father always included me in Zach’s training. Even when we had no idea if I would develop powers, and then when I didn’t, my father insisted I joined them.
He said it was important I understood the powers and their capabilities. One day, they would leave the coven to Zach and me. One day it would be ours to rule, the way he and mother had commanded it, whether or not I had powers.
The first few months had been nothing short of hellish, though.
Zach could put his training into practice, and his powers came gradually. Mine came all at once and unexpectedly.
I had to piece together the rules, the dos, and don’ts from slightly scattered and vague memories. I had to handle the full force of them, unlike the others who’d have them develop and grow over six years.
I’d contained them just enough to get by without being caught. Occasionally the red static would appear when the pressure became too much, or my emotions ran high, but all I would have to do is cast a minor spell for a limited release.
I’d spent my time living in the forest, taking shelter as I had before I found Silver Oak at night. I hunted small animals for food and took water from small rivers, pools, and lakes whenever I saw the chance.
Night in the woods was a deadly time. During the day, the only supernatural creatures you’d come across were those like me — Warlocks, or Witches, in my case. However, I was almost sure at this point; I was the last one alive from my coven.
However, at night, that’s when our enemies came. The Vampires and the ones we feared the most, Wolves.
There had always been friction between all supernatural creatures for as long as our history existed. However, mostly, Warlocks and Vampires found common grounds as long as we stayed out of their way and off their lands, they left us alone, mostly.
That couldn’t be implemented to all, like the Vampires who’d attacked my home. Some couldn’t allow for bygones to be bygones and felt they ruled over all supernatural creatures.
However, Wolves were the worst. They took no prisoners, nor did they care. Human, Warlock, Vampire, it didn’t matter to them. If they were hungry, and you dared step near a pack’s ground, you may as well serve yourself up on a plate.
I removed the key from my pocket as I approached the old cabin I’d previously fled from. I hadn’t been back here since I escaped Silver Oak.
In my panic, confusion, and grief, I ran into the forest in the wrong direction, and that night, I had run until I couldn’t run anymore. I had taken me almost a year to find the small cabin again. The forest had been far more vast than I’d ever realized.
The sun was setting, and I had to get inside. I knew from before there was a Wolf den just a few miles away from here to the west. I could stay here until I figured out what I would do, but I couldn’t risk being out, while the Wolves prowled, hunting for their next meal.
I went to put the key in the door, however, the key no longer fit, as if something had changed the lock. My eyebrows furrowed together and after a few more attempts, I gave up, waving my hand over the lock and unlocking it with magic.
To my horror, the realization that someone had changed the lock came into reality, someone had been living here.
The double bed that had once been my parents was messy and rumpled. Two cups were resting on the table, and a dirty plate was in the small metal basin in the small kitchen area.
I studied one of the empty cups to find it was empty, but there was reminiscent of red markings on the insides.
I looked around the small room. Whoever had been here before, were not here now. Perhaps they’d moved on, using the cabin for a little shelter, or at least, I’d hoped they’d moved on at least.
I was setting myself down when the front door of the cabin flew open, causing me to turn to the door quick enough to create a little whiplash.
My hairs stood on end when I saw a woman with long flowing chestnut hair and golden brown eyes stopped there looking at me wide-eyed.
With a deep growl, she spoke, “Oi, who the heck are you?!”