Gasping for each precious breath, Sarah lay on the rock on her back, her head throbbing with pain. She wheezed, trying to fill her lungs but she felt like she was drowning.
With fists clenched at her sides, she turned her head, rolling it on the hard stone to find Fasia standing next to her smiling.
“Wh… What…” She couldn’t speak.
Fasia laughed. “You stupid bitch. You shouldn’t have run. I told you, all I need is that little piece of your heart. I don’t need the rest of you.”
Sarah’s eyes rolled back, her mind losing the ability to focus on anything. She thought about her parents. Picturing their faces before the accident with perfect clarity. Her mother’s smile as she played with her. Her father’s deep laugh. She thought of her grandmother. A strong woman, who never let her forget who her family was and how much they loved her. She thought of Lexi. What would happen to her? Would Axin still keep her safe after she died?
Then her mind took her to Axin. There was no doubt in her mind that she loved him, but she wished she had a little bit more time with him. To tell him how she felt, and to feel what it feels like to be loved by a man like that.
Jake flashed in her mind at the sound of his voice. Would he keep Lexi safe? Would he keep his word to Axin and do the right thing?
“Jardian! Where have you been?” Fasia’s viper like tone spat in the direction of the trees.
“Don’t do this, mother. Let her go. We can find another way to fix things here.”
Sarah gasped for every tiny bit of air, forcing her eyes open. Jake stood in the clearing.
“Oh, stop being such an idiot! Do you really think I want to fix Purgatory? Grow up!”
“So you lied to me? Again?”
Fasia spun with an angry huff. “Again? I can only imagine the lies my brother fed you. Probably had your weak ass eating out of his hand after five minutes!”
“Did you kill our family in Chile?”
“Does it matter?”
“It matters to me! Tell me the truth, for once in your life!”
Fasia growled, her anger radiating off her in dark waves. “Yes, I killed those useless idiots! They were pathetic! All they ever did was just sit in that mountain, hiding from the world. I asked them to help me. To get me out of Purgatory, but they said they refused to use magic ever again. So I burned them all! Weakness is failure, Jardian!”
“Jake! My name is Jake. What else did you lie to me about? My father? A pureblood Dragon that you killed so that I could live?”
Fasia sighed, “He had it coming. I needed a soldier, and he didn’t want to play nice. So I took his life and gave it to you. Now I see that was a waste of time and perfectly good dark magic.”
Jake stomped forward, getting within a few feet of his mother. “I won’t let you do this. I won’t let you unleash hell on Earth.”
Fasia laughed, the sound echoing off the trees around them. She raised a hand, twisting it in the air, and jake collapsed to the ground in pain. “And who is going to stop me? You cannot hurt me. I cast a spell on you when you were born to make sure of just that. No one else knows where we are.”
Sarah’s vision swam, but she saw the smile on Jake’s face. “You taught me well, mother. Everything I learned about magic, I learned from you. You are the best.”
Fasia puffed out her chest, her arms crossed over her chest. “Then you know what I will do to you if you step out of line. Now go and cut out her heart, and let's get this over and done with.”
Jake lowered his eyes to the ground with a nod.
Sarah’s heart sank and she let out a much-needed breath. Jake took his mother’s side, and she was on the verge of death. There was nothing left to do. Axin would never find her here, and no one else was brave enough to help her. It was over.
Jake came up to the rock, placing a hand on Sarah’s arm. He met her eyes… and winked. She frowned, wondering what he was doing when a shadow overhead caught her eye. Something big whizzed silently past them in the sky, too fast to make out what it was.
“Sarah,” Jake whispered, making her look at him. “Know that I am so sorry for everything that’s happened to you. Lexi is safe. She is with Nilu in the Shadow World where my mother cannot hurt her. So is your grandmother. They are safe, Sarah. It’s okay now.”
Sarah nodded; her throat raw from forcing in the harsh air of this place. She could die in peace, knowing the ones she loved would be safe.
She closed her eyes, picturing Axin’s handsome face. My only regret is not having more time with you.
“Now!” Jake cried out, throwing his body over her. Sarah threw open her eyes just in time to see a large tower of fire move through the trees, heading right for her. The flames turned the trees to ash, blowing away on the wind. It moved towards her and Jake, coming from the mouth of a furious looking dragon.
Fasia screamed as the flames washed over them all. Sarah shut her eyes but only felt the soft, warm caress of the flames licking at her skin. Smoke and ash filled her nose, making her cough out what little air she had left. The flames torched the earth around them, leaving nothing but ash, smoke, and the stench of burning flesh.
Sarah’s mind sprang with hope that Axin had come to save her. That he would help her, and she would get to be with him. But as darkness crept into her vision, her lungs no longer fighting to fill, she felt her life slip away. The darkness took over, and she couldn’t fight it anymore. She let it come, welcoming the relief from pain it brought with it.