Approaching Phoenix

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Chapter 18

It took me numerous days to look at them, but still I refuse to speak. I watched each of them as if there was a pane of glass separating our worlds. I was stuck in a darkened void unable to escape with the ring sitting in the bottom drawer of Blyth’s dresser. They must have either assumed with it being there that I wouldn’t know where it was or that it wouldn’t affect me. Now that I have turned three times it didn’t bind all my powers, but it created a dark horrid spawn that I could feel inside of me. Whatever spell Marcus had put on that ring he put some of himself in it.

It didn’t take me long to push the spell that Blyth had created inside of me to fear Michael out. It didn’t matter though. Looking at both Blyth and Michael caused my heart to break in to pieces. Each time one of them walked into the room I felt like I was dying again. Only with that pain I didn’t turn. I didn’t gain any more power.

Michael had brought my dad here once hoping that it would bring me out of this state, but it didn’t work like they had hoped. The only thing that would let me be me again was if they would just remove that ring. I was reminded of being trapped inside the hotel room for weeks alone. Not being able to eat, drink, talk, and even finding sleep was torture.

I don’t know what drove me to do it, but playing games with them became fun. Sometimes I would hit keys on the piano in the other room just to hear Blyth blame Michael for it. Then one day the crystal the Blyth was so determined to have me get at some point during my training as the Phoenix I had it follow him around. I would move things or just take things from here and put them in Michael’s apartment. In short I was doing anything to create conflict between them. None of it made me happy though.

With Marcus I was a bit more terrorizing in my threats. I had plagued his dreams and forced everything I was feeling into him. There wasn’t one ounce that had gone through me that didn’t touch him. He never had a minute’s rest without feeling needles under skin. His dreams were intimidated by the ghosts of his past. I made him watch Matt die over and over. I pushed him to kill the woman that carried his children. He watched as his children with that woman were burnt alive in their home, a home that he corrupted and ruined by his touch.

Matt I left alone. He never brought any pain on me that I could remember. He was the only one free of my games, and for that he was lucky. I had been waiting for my other fate of ours to resurface, but so far it hasn’t. There was no doubt that I would die in that one as well giving me another chance to turn again. It was in that last turning that I hoped to gain enough power to get out of this bed and cast that ring away from me. It had been days, but still nothing came.

I knew I had to get that ring out of the room or me. With it being so near to me I was powerless against it. It knew if I could move or speak then I would give it away. I don’t know what possessed Blyth to take it out of the air tight bag to begin with. I hated him for it now. Perhaps he thought that since I was turning so fast that he needed it near me so that I wouldn’t become dangerous. I felt my powers double and triple, but so far there was nothing that I couldn’t control.

I had tried to go home, but the ring wouldn’t let me. Even going as far as the next room was impossible. The only things that I had were my mind games. It wouldn’t let me call anyone. Torture them cruelly, but not talk to them. Marcus was going to pay by the time I get out of this hell. Perhaps that was the goal of his ring, to render me completely useless so that I couldn’t go after him physically. Maybe he wasn’t aware that I would be able to torture him so with just using my mind. Once he discovered who it is menacing him, it wouldn’t take him long to find me, I’m sure.

I didn’t know how long it would take Marcus to get to me, or for Blyth to get me out of this room. I was just lying here dying and they knew it. Still they refused to take me out. The dream of a shower would thrill me beyond anything in this moment. To feed myself would excite me more than any pain that I could inflict on Marcus. None of it would happen unless they got me out. I begged them with my eyes each time they came in, but to no avail they only thought I wanted something else.

The water began running in the bathroom. I focus on the sound letting the water run cold. When Blyth began cussing I wanted to smile, but nothing. Once he had the temperature adjusted again I turned it scalding hot. Still there was nothing, no feeling inside of me. Finally I just let the water be and tried to empty my mind.

My mind was clear when I felt Blyth trying to pull clothes from the room. Quickly I yanked them back. It turned into a battle for his clothes. My mind was sharper as well as my power. I won placing the clothes that he wanted on the bottom of the bed. He couldn’t pull them even though he was trying with everything he had now. Suddenly he began pulling more. He couldn’t have them either.

I could feel the ease from Marcus coming through now as he sat staring at the ocean again. No comfort would be found in the ocean. Not in the waves that he so dearly loved. No, they would pull him under. Drag him under in the rip tide. Let him swallow the harsh salt water. I want it in his lungs. He needs to feel the sting of the water inside of him.

More clothes began piling up on the edge of the bed. Pretty soon Blyth would have no clothes left to fight for. All of his clothing from every one of his apartments was now filling the bed. Rome, Italy; Seville, Spain; Bradford, New York; Nice, France; Glasgow, Scotland; his wardrobe was becoming quite slim now.

No, Marcus you can’t come up for air just yet. Your lungs aren’t full of the vile liquid that you love. You must be dragged along the rocky bottom once, no twice more. Feel the waves crashing in around you. Know that you can see the sunlight just above you feel the fresh air with your fingertips, but you can’t breathe it. Reach Marcus, reach but never breathe it.

Michael, what are you missing now? Oh dear the vase in the corner is gone. I hope it wasn’t expensive. Yes, grind your teeth and curse me down to Hell itself. Too bad I’m already there. Oh, wait your precious vase is here with me gold trim and all.

What are you feeling now? Marcus is what? Oh dear is your retched brother dying. It is only for the moment. As soon as he stops holding his last breath and lets his lungs fill I will let him find his way back to the beach. Wait for it, just wait for it. There. Now he is free for the moment.

“Ashley! Damn it!” Blyth threw the door open staring at his pile of clothes. “This isn’t funny. What the hell is that?”

Michael suddenly appeared right beside Blyth as I knew he would to claim his vase. “I won’t stand for this any longer. Sir, just let me end our suffering.”

“No!” Blyth placed himself between Michael and the bed. “You can’t do that.”

Michael tried to step around Blyth and glared at me, “She just kill Marcus again. I can’t take that feeling anymore. The pain of him dying is just getting stronger and harsher.”

“How do we even know it is her doing it? She just lays there. She doesn’t move anything other than her eyes.” Blyth moved letting Michael gaze upon my body, “Michael, if she was doing all of this how is it that she cannot even feed herself?”

“She wants to die,” Michael’s eyes dug through me as they had in my vision. He hated me now. “Just because she saved you from whatever happen last week doesn’t mean she deserves to live.”

He stepped around Blyth coming closer and his skin illuminated the space around him. I wonder. I forced him back, but pulled the light towards me. I wanted the spell off of his skin. Maybe if I could just pull it off and place it on myself I could have the power to get out of this bed. The spell was pulling his power with it therefore ending his life and I could see it leaving his face. If I could just take his power, well not his power, but the power of everyone else’s that he has taken, I would have enough to break free of this room. It would just be like Marcus, I could send it back along with his life attached to it.

I had my escape within my grasp when Blyth began shaking me, “You’re killing him. Stop it.”

His words fell on deaf ears as I rose from the bed. I let the contentment of the numbness take hold of me. Finally falling, no not falling, just leaving. I pulled myself to the living room with Blyth and Michael’s lifeless body following. I stretched as I landed gently on his couch. It felt so good to be able to move my limbs to actually move at all was a dream in itself.

As I looked down on Michael lying dead on the floor I closed my eyes forcing the spell back off of me and back into him. He gasped for air and I could almost remember that feeling of coming back to life. What a gift it was to be able to find life in a dead body. Michael would forever remember that first breath of life.

I stood up a little unsteady and forced my legs to push me around the room. The blood rushed through my body allowing me to feel alive again. An apple appeared in my hand as I looked at Blyth helping Michael up off the floor, “You know I would have fed myself if I was able to.”

Both Michael and Blyth backed themselves against the wall from me. I rolled my eyes as I let my teeth sink into the sweet apple. Stepping towards them they backed up further, “Do you fear me now that I can move again or are you afraid because I have turned three times now? Or is it because I was able to remove the spell and power from his body enabling myself to get out of that room with that damned ring?

I mean if you truly want to fear me I could take everything back and let him lie there dead keeping his power for my own. There is only one person on this planet that needs to fear me and it is neither of you two.”

Blyth looked back towards his bedroom, “You were trapped?”

“Yes,” I glared at him, “Have you ever been spellbound inside your own mind? I had the finest time of my life just lying there pathetically. I’m going to get a shower and I want that ring destroyed by the time I come back out.”

“What ring?” Michael questioned finding his voice again.

Blyth grabbed my arm when I walked passed him to get to the shower. “Are you talking about the ring that was in the baggie?”

“No, I’m talking about the Dark Lord’s ring and I’m sending you on a journey to Mount Doom to destroy it.” I scoffed.

Michael started laughing, “Well, I’m glad that she still has a wonderful sense of sarcasm.”

“That coming from the man who wanted to kill me just a minute ago. Something for you to keep in mind your body only has six lives left, but that is more than the others.” I glared at him seizing his laughter.

Michael narrowed his eyes, “What lives? Sir, what is she talking about?”

“Please just get that ring and destroy it.” I looked over my shoulder as Marcus landed on the other side of Blyth’s living room. I laid my hand on Blyth’s moving it away from my arm so that I could turn completely around to face the evil that was still forcing the salt water from his lungs. “When he’s done tell him to get his affairs in order by tomorrow morning, preferably his will.”

As I turned to go to the bathroom again Blyth grabbed my wrist harder than before. His eyes held pain and anger as well as his voice now, “I can’t let you kill him.”

“I already have, several times in fact.” I clenched my teeth together as I began pulling against his grasp, “Now let me go. I’m in dire need of a shower.”

Blyth’s hand refused to leave my skin, “No, I told you this is my fault. I will not let you punish him for what I’ve done.”

Swiftly and efficiently I used one of my dad’s self defense techniques. After wrapping my hand around his own wrist while he held mine I used my other one to lift ruthlessly on his elbow bringing it to a near breaking point. Blyth stood on his toes to try to release the pressure but I lifted further, “I want a shower.”

Michael began stepping towards us and my eyes went to his. It was Blyth who spoke though, “No Mike.”

Just as quickly as I had moved against him with his free hand Blyth reached over and pulled down on my wrist locking his elbow. He twisted it around turning me with it. I was not pinned between the wall and Blyth as he held my twisted arm between us. Trying to break out of his hold I lifted my free arm to elbow him in the ribs, but he caught my wrist twisting that arm up between us as well. His breath brushed against the hairs on the back of my neck softly while he spoke, “Ash, you need to control yourself, please.”

“If I couldn’t control myself I would not be pinned against the wall like this.” Finally Blyth let go of my hands and backed away from me. I giggled lightly to myself as I turned to face him. His heart was beating roughly and I knew where it was pumping his blood too. I reached out grinning and latched a hold of the belt loops on his pants. I closed my eyes listening to the sound of his heart racing even faster. I pulled him towards me and whispered, “It seems like you are the one needing to control yourself.”

I stole glances at Michael and Marcus before I released Blyth. There wasn’t much color in Marcus still even though he sat rigidly on the couch. Michael seemed to assessing the damage done to his brother and ignoring our little battle. Blyth’s voice caught my attention, “Alright, I’ll get the ring out while you shower.”

My fingers released themselves and my hands slid up around Blyth’s waist under his shirt memorizing the creases made by his muscles. I pulled him closer to me, “I want it destroyed.”

“Destroyed.”

My hands instantly fell from his body and I turned to finally get the shower that I had been dying for days to use. Before I reached the bathroom I forced each of their feelings out of me. I was free now and no longer needed to be attached to them.

A sigh of relief exhaled from my body as I shut the bathroom door, but it was halted by a hand. I turned to see Blyth looking in at me as sad as a little puppy dog. I tried not to smile in remembrance of those eyes being brown, “Ash, please don’t do any more harm to my sons.”

“I’m not doing it to hurt him. It is repayment for what he has put me through.” I admitted, “What is a few days of agony compared to two years?”

“But killing him?” Blyth questioned opening the door further.

“His heart only stopped three times. Once for killing me himself, another for sending Michael to kill me, and the last reason was for actually driving me to the point where I put a knife through my own chest.

Tomorrow I am going to break the spell. He’s on his last life so in case anything should go wrong I just suggest that he’s prepared. Michael has more than enough to spare.” I stepped towards Blyth causing him to step back out the door. “If you please don’t mind I would really enjoy a shower.”

Blyth nodded and left me to get a shower.

My eyes slowly rose on the mirror afraid to look at my scars now. I traced the lines with my fingers. It seemed that Michael had only run me through once with whatever weapon he had. One line stretched out from where Marcus had run me through with the sword. Two small lines below that one made from the two tipped weapon that Michael had used, and last was the line where I had drove the knife into myself.

I pulled my hair over my shoulder as I turned around and looked at the scars that Michael had put there. Every single spot where I had felt him stabbed me was there. There might have been more than what I had expected. My back was covered with the scars from the brutality of Michael.

I put on my shirt and headed out to face the world. Well, Blyth, everyone else seemed to have disappeared while I was taking my time in the shower. There was a rising cloud of smoke surrounding him as I entered the living room. I was actually shocked to find him smoking a cigarette and not his normal choice of inhaling toxic fumes. “I didn’t know that you smoked.”

Quickly Blyth stood up realizing my joining him. Once his eyes met mine they fell to the floor and he sat back down. “Tomorrow then?”

“Well,” I followed my feet and sat down next to him, “I can do it whenever, but you’ve all been waiting so long. I figured it would be best to do it as soon as possible, now that I’m able to move again.”

“Tomorrow then.” Blyth repeated himself with just the same amount of melancholy.

I reached across the couch and entwined our fingers together, “I thought you would be happier about this.”

“And I thought you would seem happier after your so desired shower.” Blyth squeezed my hand lightly as he brought it up to his lips, but still he didn’t smile. “Especially with the ring gone now.”

My free hand went up to rub my neck which held two scars itself. I swallowed hard fighting my own melancholy. I could do like Michael and cover the scars, but they were now a part of me. They however were placed on my skin out of malice from Marcus.

Blyth’s hand left mine and then he lifted my chin allowing our eyes to meet showing each other our unhappiness. “Do you want to go out with me tonight?”

“Where to?”

“I’m not sure yet, but I was thinking about going home.” His thoughts took him away from me. He didn’t leave the couch but as he leaned back his mind went somewhere else.

I copied him except I wasn’t exhaling a cloud, “I don’t really feel like going back to Bradford. No offense, but my last night there…”

Blyth sat up, “No, that’s not my home.”

“Spain?”

“No.”

Slowly my conversation with Marcus had come crawling back into my mind. If he was telling me the truth then I had the answer already. “Florence?”

Finally I could hear the smile in his voice, “Florence.”

“Then he was telling me the truth.” I turned my whole body now to face Blyth. “So are you really the Don Juan?”

Blyth chuckled lightly as he continued looking at the ceiling, “Officially Don Juan never existed. He was just a fictional character created for a play.”

“Yes, but it was said he was based on a real person.” I argued getting intrigued.

Blyth’s head slowly turned my way revealing a grin, his grin, “You really think there was a mask wearing romantic libertine back then?”

“’I charm my way into women’s beds or them into mine leaving them wanting more, never going for their heart.’ Those were your words, were they not?” I grinned back trying to strike just the right cord for him admit who he truly is. “I think there was something like you back then.”

“Something like me wearing a black mask stealing away to women’s beds.” Blyth’s fingers raised the hair on my arm as he let them softly move upward. “Why would I do something like that?”

“Why would you do it now?” I laughed pulling my arm away from him.

Blyth ran his hand the whole way up my arm and brushed the hair back from my neck causing me to shift uneasily. “I don’t wear a mask.”

I slid myself away from his touch and fixed my hair back over my shoulder, “But times were different then.”

Blyth’s fingers nearly made me crawl backwards over the couch as they began creeping up my thighs. “They most definitely were, but in all of my years I’ve never felt anyone quite like you.”

Suddenly Blyth had sent the same yearning that I had felt the other night right back into me. “Oh, wow.”

Now I did start moving back away from his hands as he started winding them around my hips. Every time that I pushed the feeling from my body Blyth intensified it and sent it back. There was no fighting him, even if I wanted to, when he pulled my body down to his. The only thing that I made sure of was that my shirt stayed on the entire time. He pulled and yanked, but his power did not match mine. My shirt never left my body even when he tried to run his hands under it to touch my skin.

We could have went on forever I’m sure, just teasing, pleasing, and releasing each other’s pleasures. I knew just as he did that we couldn’t continue on forever, but we were having fun trying. We would have gone on for much longer, but when I heard his voice I froze instantly just as Blyth.

“WHOA! Yeah, sorry.” Michael appeared and then quickly disappeared.

Completely horrified I looked to Blyth who dropped his head on my chest. I was shocked when he erupted in laughter. He squeezed me tightly and then let go still laughing almost hysterically now. When his eyes came up to mine he ceased, “I guess now there is another string.”

Still mortified I pushed Blyth off of me and got dressed. He might have thought it was funny, but I wasn’t a bit amused. I wasn’t even embarrassed. I just wanted to die in that moment, but then again that is what happened the last time Michael found us like this. Curling myself into a ball I turned away from Blyth and tried to become invisible. It didn’t work when Blyth’s hands started massaging my shoulders.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that he would be coming back.” I tried to shrug Blyth away from me, but his hands continued. “Wow. That’s got to be an incomparable feeling, having your old lover come in while messing around with his father. I guess the only thing to help diffuse this would be to remind you that it never really happened.”

“It’s not that.” I replied as Blyth’s thumbs started running up towards my scars. I jerked my body away from him and sat with my back against his couch. Blyth reached for me again, but I had blocked his attempts by creating a barrier just like I had done to stop Marcus from going after Matt. “Please, just don’t.”

“If it isn’t that, then what is it and why won’t you let me touch you?” Blyth’s head fell against my barrier in defeat once he realized he couldn’t get passed it.

I couldn’t believe that I had let myself get into that same situation again knowing what I had seen. Knowing that it was a fate, no not just a fate it was the fate. That was the fate that Mary had seen. Michael used my blood to kill Blyth. I know that Blyth was not the target, but it was from my blood that Blyth died. I was the reason that he had died.

Michael’s eyes forced their way back into mine. It was then that I realized why he was after me. It was just a memory now that I could revisit. I stopped it as he glared at my body on the floor. Black coals as dark as the obsidian of Matt’s eyes. I reached out to place my hand on him, but it went straight through. I wanted to know what drove him to kill me, but with the color of his eyes I knew. I had taken everything from them, and that is how they had no power near me when Blyth did. Maybe whatever drove me to that point in my life, whenever it was, I deserved to die. Blyth didn’t though.

I brought myself out of the memory and pushed it towards Blyth. There was no way to tell him what I had seen or why I was acting this way. He had to see it for himself. Blyth needed to know that I was the reason that he had died. Even though I could see that he was lost somewhere in the memory as I turned I apologized to him, “I’m so sorry.”

While he was seeing his own death I realized that I need to see my last one. I still had one death left to see. One more time to turn and I had to do it by tomorrow. I closed my eyes and waited for it to come.

“My love, come back to bed.” I started to turn from the window that over looked the garden where Matt had proposed when my eyes fell on the Eiffel tower in the distance. It was so beautiful, but then again most views from my apartments were. “Ash, please, come back.”

I tightened my robe around me trying to keep the cold death that was in his touch away from my skin. My eyes fell from the beauty around me to the death now embracing my waist. I wanted to undo his arms from around me, but I was afraid of his skin touching mine. It was a horrific frightening feeling touching his skin now that it was as cold as death creeping in.

“Seven years and you never told me.”

“Would you have believed me?” Matt rested his chin on my shoulder making me want to get away from even more.

Finally I couldn’t take him touching me and I used my powers forcing him away as I walked across the room from him, “Why would you wait seven years to tell me this? Why would you wait until we were married? I mean this is something that I should have known before I gave everything I was to you. So what happens now, I grow old while you stay eighteen forever. Don’t even say that you’ll love me when my hair turns gray and I become a wrinkled prune. How could you love someone when they become so old that they can’t even remember their own name?

Matt, when I’m fifty, or even just thirty, I could not look at you the same way that I always have. I love you, but love can only go so far when it comes to age. I will always love you, but that doesn’t mean that I can be with you if this is what our future holds.”

“Ashley, that isn’t what our future will be like. I waited these past seven years not only to show you what I truly was, but to make sure that you were the one.” Matt started walking across the bedroom making me back against the wall. “I needed to make sure you were the one that would love me always and forever.”

“But I can’t live forever like you.”

Matt smiled and changed his direction from me towards my nightstand. “We can change that so that we can live forever together.”

“Matt, you can’t even measure forever. How would I even know if I wanted to live that long especially with a man who has lied to me for the last seven years that we’ve been together?” I slid down my wall and sat on the floor trying to understand what he wanted from me, but when he picked up the phone, “Who are you calling?”

“My brother,” Matt turned around to look outside the window instead of at me, “Yes. I told her. Yes. About two hours ago. She’s sitting on the floor against the wall. I think she might be afraid of me now. Yeah, I see you. Alright.”

“Matt?” My voice was no more than a whisper now as I reached out for him. “Matt, help.”

The only thing I had in that moment was awareness. I could see and hear, but after calling for help which was futile when Matt didn’t hear me there was nothing else. I couldn’t speak or move. I was nothing more than a comatose human leaning against a wall staring at a man who just broke her heart. I had nothing.

Matt just ignored me as he quickly dressed and walked out of the room. I hoped that I was just in some kind of shock and that I would be fine any minute. It didn’t happen by the time Matt came back into the room. This time he was accompanied by someone. Mr. Baine?

“Ash, this is Marc. He’s my brother.” Matt knelt down beside me as Mr. Baine sat down a carrier which he had brought in with him. “Are you sure that she is okay?”

“She’s fine. The ring is binding her body from leaving and her mind from calling out for help.” Mr. Baine explained to Matt as he began putting on huge thick leather gloves, “She can still use her powers though.”

“Are you sure that this is going to work?” Matt questioned as he looked inside the carrier, “You said you’ve seen her do this for me.”

Mr. Baine pulled the carrier away from Matt and started opening it. “I promise you, if you want her for the rest of forever, I will make sure that it happens. Now get the gun.”

A loud grotesque hissing started from the carrier as Mr. Baine stuck his hand inside. Very slowly he pulled out a full grown black, brown and white calico cat. It snarled, growled, and clawed at Mr. Baine trying to get away.

Matt had come back into my sight with a gun trembling inside his hand. It was shaking worse than when had placed the ring on my finger. When he pointed it at me my body screamed trying to get out of its sights, but it was no use. My body was completely lifeless sitting there. Finally Matt pointed the gun at the floor. “I can’t do it. I told you I couldn’t.”

“Just shoot her once in the stomach. You’re not going to kill her. Trust me she will take the cat’s life.” Whatever Marcus said it was enough for Matt to bring the gun back up to shoot me.

I didn’t have any way to communicate other than my eyes. I pleaded with everything I had so that Matt would put the gun away. I tried to hide all the anger that I felt building up inside of me towards him at the moment. Matt squeezed his eyes shut and I closed mine for fear that he was actually going to do it.

“Just give me the gun.” I kept my eyes closed as I heard four distinct shots. I was grateful that there was no pain with them. I know that he had shot me, but no pain was almost a blessing. “Alright now take the ring and throw it out the window.”

“But…” Matt started.

“Matthew, just do it.”

I cried out in agony as Matt ripped the ring off of my finger. The bullets that had been callously shot through me still sat inside of my body. I could feel them inside of me as Mr. Baine lifted my face to him, “Just take the cat’s life into your body and the pain will be gone.”

Tears blurred my vision as he held the cat directly in front of me. He left me with no choice as his hand grasped my neck forcing it shut. I couldn’t scream for help or concentrate on anything other than the cat that he was forcing in my eye sight. So I did the only thing I could do. I did what my husband wanted me to. Looking into the golden eyes of the cat I found his life and took it for my own. The one thing that Matt wouldn’t know until was too late that these lives that I took would only be to torture him for doing this to me.

I was cruelly jerked away from my retribution and back into reality. Every bit of my anger and pain came back with me though. I was still fighting to get back into that fate as Blyth forced me to lie down on the couch. Quickly without warning my shirt came off and his fingers prodded at the two scars that were on me, one right beneath my collar bone and the other right beside my hip. As he pressed I fought his hands knowing that the bullets were still inside of my body. They hadn’t gone straight through like the knives or sword.

Finally the sound of the room came back as my eyes searched for the words that Blyth was saying. “He shot you. I can’t believe he shot you. He shot you.”

He continued repeating himself as he closed his eyes. When he did I pushed his hands from my body and sat up. I searched my mind wondering how he was able to see that Marcus had shot me. I sent him back into a memory, not take him into that with me. I didn’t find the answer before Blyth opened his eyes again and placed his hands on me trying to get me to lie back down.

I fought back, “I’m fine. Just stop.”

It was no use when I saw who he had called. Michael appeared next to the door and hurried over to the couch. Instead of fighting it I just fell back on the couch and closed my eyes. If Blyth had seen that fate he was no doubt worried about the bullets still inside of me and that is why he had call Michael.

“Not me you idiot, her. He shot her.” Blyth yelled louder than I had expected at Michael.

I opened my eyes when I felt Michael’s fingers touching the first shot below my collar bone. “When was she shot? These are just scars.”

Blyth’s fingers entwined themselves around mine as he lifted my hand to his lips. My eyes went to his as the confusion spread through him with a pain that I didn’t understand. “Seven years in the future. In a future that hasn’t happened. Matthew shot her.”

“No,” I tried to argue. He must have not seen it correctly. Marcus had told Matt to give him the gun. “Marcus did.”

I felt Michael pull the first one out which thankfully wasn’t painful at all. He must have been able to just make it disappear and appear in his hand instead of pulling it back out of the scar. Blyth let his forehead fall against our hands. “Ash, Matt shot you. As soon as you closed your eyes he pulled the trigger.”

“But Matthew is dead. How could he?” Michael questioned as his hand fell over the scar beside my hip. “Sir, I don’t understand how this is possible in any sense. Seven years in the future Matthew comes back and shoots her, but she holds only scars… Um, Sir?”

“I know Mike.” Blyth turned his head still keeping it held against our hands. “Not a word. But is it alright?”

“What?” I lifted my head to look at both of them, and try to understand exactly what they are talking about. Did Michael understand something about my fate as he was trying to figure it out? Why would Blyth say not a word? “What is it?”

Michael dropped his eyes and nodded as he continued trying to find the bullet in me. “Ash, I need you to roll over.”

Blyth or Michael didn’t leave me any option other to turn over when they had already done it themselves. I squeezed my eyes shut as Blyth ran his fingertips over the scars that Michael had put there. As soon as Michael had pulled the second bullet out, I could feel his eyes on my scars as well. “What are those?”

Blyth fingers fell from my back allowing me to roll over and curl into a ball. I hid my face from both of them. “They’re from you, Mike.”

“I swear I never touched her.” Michael began trying to acquit himself from the torture that I had faced. “Sir?”

It was with Michael’s last word that caused me worry. It was more than his voice, but the feeling around me. My eyes when straight to Blyth as he grasped for me, but his hand fell short. He fell against the floor with a terrifying thud making me jump up from the couch. I knew inside of me that he still had three lives left, but he was losing one. Blyth was dying right there in front of me. Was it because of seeing the fate with my blood eating its way through him? After all in all of my fates that I had seen everything that happened seemed to have literally killed me, and left only scars to show.

I ripped his shirt off to show me what was happening. I wanted to know if it was because of seeing it that actually ended one of his lives. There was nothing wrong with his chest. It was perfect as always, but Michael quickly lifted him on his side. Completely horrified I watched as Michael began pulling two bullets from Blyth’s back. Unlike me, Blyth had received the shots without scars, but the holes were there as well as the blood pouring out of them.

All the feelings that I had in that moment were washed away leaving nothing but tears. My bottom lip quivered knowing then why there were only two bullets in me when Matt had shot four. Blyth had somehow intervened and took two of the shots instead of allowing me to take all four. I wasn’t sure how it was even possible, but with one of his lives gone I knew it was.

I laid myself down on the floor next to him waiting for his eyes to open. Blyth lifted his hand off the floor and placed it on my cheek, “Don’t say your goodbyes just yet.”

Michael had let go of Blyth causing him to fall back on the floor. Blyth groaned in pain, “You don’t have to be so rude about it.”

“Don’t call me an idiot next time.” Michael growled back, “I might be a little more sympathetic about it.”

Blyth kept his eyes closed, but I could tell from the sound in his voice that he was getting better, “I never asked you to help me.”

I kept my eyes on Blyth but I could tell that Michael was backing away from us by the sound of his voice, “I know where your concern was. Was it before or after?”

“After, and if you must know it wasn’t me.” Blyth grinned now staring at the ceiling.

Michael’s footsteps had stopped leaving him right where he had appeared, “If it was after you should have used more precaution. I know you could have.”

“Oh, if you could only feel Heaven,” Blyth sighed as he let his hand fall down my cheek and to my shoulder to pull me closer to him. “There is no control or sense once you let it consume you.”

I laid my head on Blyth’s chest and wrapped my arms around his waist knowing that they were talking about us being together. I couldn’t force my feelings away from me anymore. Ever since that night when Michael had killed me I’ve been sending the feelings from me, but there was no cause for it anymore. I knew they were there from that fate, and they would always be with me.

“There is always control. You told me that.” Michael stated and then left.

I rose and fell with Blyth’s chest. His fingers fell through my hair, down over my back, and then he wrapped both of his arms around me. My tears still came even though I knew he was fine. I think I was more afraid of the feelings that I felt for him, even more so now that he had somehow placed himself in danger for me.

Blyth had taken us back to the bed. It was a lot more comfortable than the floor. He laid his lips on my forehead and held me closer, “It would be nice to know if there was some fate where our lives could be intertwined without an end.”

“I’m the same as you now. Who would end our lives?” I cringed at the thought of saying goodbye to him. “I would stay here in your arms until you send me away.”

“The fates are not that kind to people like me.” The sadness wallowed in Blyth’s voice, “Just stay here with me for the night. Don’t leave my side until it is time to say goodbye.”

I lifted my head to look into the eyes of blue, but they were closed. I ran my fingers over his face touching beauty of times gone past. He was older than time itself, but it didn’t wear any part of him away. A smile came over him. It was not the grin that he always had, but he seemed blissful though.

“Ash, you must know that these were not my intentions. I wanted to fill in the cracks of your heart with happiness and laughter, but it only seems that I’m going to create more. One such as me can only hope that someday you can forgive me of my choices that were only made this morning.

I was given a brief vision of what your future could hold. It wasn’t within anything that you have shown me today. I saw all of my sons together in enjoying life as a simple family instead of men broken by a father who was cruel. After my overwhelming urge to simply just stay there and watch them a radiant beauty took hold of me. There was a tremendous amount of love inside of your eyes as you watched them, but as I sat down next to you the pain inside of your heart was clear.” The tremors in Blyth’s voice shadowed my heart with the pain that he held. “It was like you knew I was sitting there right beside you again. You looked right into my eyes as the tears began falling from yours. I reached out for you, but it was only a vision. To my amazement you smiled as though you actually felt it. I just want to let you know that I will be there in that moment alone with you.”

I couldn’t stop my own tears from falling onto his chest. “You are speaking as if you are going to leave with goodbyes and futures that don’t hold you.”

“Forgive an old man’s ranting. I didn’t mean to harm you heart with my words.” Blyth rolled me off his chest and then leaned over me placing his lips on the scars over my heart. I watched as he lifted his face away from my chest hoping to catch a glimpse of his eyes. They stayed right where his lips just were. “Fire.”

“Fire, where?” My first thought was to his living room where he had been smoking, but I sensed nothing out of the ordinary. Quickly my thoughts ran to the school which seemed to be fine as well then to each one of his apartments. Nowhere near us did I sense any kind of fire. “Blyth, where?”

“The symbol over your heart is fire. If the two lines in the middle would have been one, it would have been heaven. It seems that you are my destruction and not my heaven as I had believed.” Blyth placed his lips once again over my heart and then he finally allowed his blue eyes to shine into mine. “No, you are my heaven.”

I felt Blyth stretching the lines together to create the heaven that he wanted. I knew right then that my scars would never disappear or be covered by magic. Blyth created heaven over my heart, and I would always make sure that it stayed surrounding it. “Will you always be my heaven?”

Blyth laid his head on my chest and traced the lines with his fingers. “Anything for you.”

We laid there for the rest of the night without anything breaking the silence. Since he had died the music stopped and he never started it again. It was peaceful knowing that he was content enough to allow silence in his life. For whatever reason he always had the music on he didn’t need it anymore.

As the sun started through the window I looked down at Blyth who returned my stare. His was more distressing than what I had hoped. “Its tomorrow.”

Blyth arms wrapped around my waist tighter and cringed at the thought, “Not yet.”

My fingers combed through his black hair bringing his eyes back up to mine. As he came up I was sure that our mouths would meet in our first kiss, but instead he kissed my cheek. His lips fell down to my throat. I would have thought that he was going to continue, but his head fell against my shoulder. It seemed that all of his strength inside of his body gave out and he laid there helplessly in my arms.

I was surprised at the music took over the room filling the beautiful silence. It was a surprisingly upbeat drum beat that came through me. Blyth got up off of me singing along with the song. Even though the beat was enough to make someone dance the words ate through my soul. “What’s this song called?”

Blyth turned and smiled at me, “Today is the day.”

“No, the song.”

“Today is the day. It just seems appropriate.” Blyth got up off the bed and started towards the door. Just before he left he turned and sang along with the words looking straight into me, “I want you to be free of everything.”

Even though the sun had come up here in Rome bringing a new day I glanced at my watch realizing that it was just after midnight at home. Yet, it was still considered a new day there as well. My eyes fell on the door where Blyth had just gone. I wasn’t sure why he was so upset about today being the day that I broke the spell. I honestly hoped that they would all be thrilled that the time has finally come.

I quickly changed and listened to the words of the song as it began playing over. I closed my eyes and pulled myself to their old home. I looked up into the cold dark sky above me. There were no stars or moon to help light up the world around me. Slowly I parted the clouds to illuminate just enough space around me as I brought Marcus and Michael to me.

Neither of them was dressed for the cold weather surround us, and I watched as they quickly shivered in the moonlight then cover themselves appropriately. Marcus lowered his head, “It is time then.”

Michael shivered again and looked around, “Where the Hell are we?”

“You’re home.” I motioned the light to enlighten their tiny little cabin just off in the distance. “Are you two ready?”

“The question really is, are you two ready?” Marcus’ eyes shot to mine with a chill that went farther than what was in the air. “I have to get Matthew.”

“Matthew again?” Michael’s eyes shifted between Marcus’ and my eyes. “Why is everyone so fixated on Matthew?”

Before I could object to Marcus’ desire to bring Matt into this he appeared right beside Marcus. Confusion struck him as he looked around at all three of us. Once his eyes fell on me he quickly looked back at Marcus, “It can’t be time. I haven’t done it yet.”

Marcus let his hand fall on Matt’s shoulder and looked at me, “She’s chosen a path of heartbreak instead.”

Although questions were wandering through my mind what they were talking about my attention was drawn to Michael who was slowly backing away from us. I stopped him and slowly let his legs drag him towards us. He was shaking his head in disbelief, “The dead don’t come back. I watched you. The dead can’t come back.”

While Matt made his way over to make whatever amends he could with Michael I zeroed in on the light over Marcus’ and Michael’s bodies. I knew that Matt was a key in all of this, but the only thing that made any sense to me was that the spell could take over his body instead of mine. It might not break like it was said, but be enough to bring him back to life. It would be something to keep his heart beating.

Without much of a battle I yanked on the spell and it came off their skin quite easily. The one thing I hadn’t expected was that they both fell to the ground immediately. I thought that pulling it off simultaneously would have kept them both safe, but it wasn’t. Now they were worse off than Matt it seemed. Quickly I forced it back giving them life again.

There was a lot of chatter between them as I turned around. I looked at my hands wondering what I had done wrong. I questioned myself on several different ways that I could do it, but if just pulling it off of them took their powers I had no answers. I turned back around to face them. I studied them cautiously as I tried to untie their powers from the spell. I lowered my head in defeat unable to differentiate between the two.

“I’m sorry.” I nearly collapsed to my knees in the inch of snow covering the ground beneath me. “I thought that I could.”

A sense of tranquility took over me as Blyth’s arms came around my waist and his voice calmly whispered into my ear giving me hope. “You can do this.”

“I tried.” I almost let the tears that were forming in my eyes to fall, but I held them in. “It would have killed them both.”

I closed my eyes and let the peace within Blyth’s voice take over me. “My Goddess, you are very powerful, but you are leaving out the key. Without the key the spell cannot be broken. The reason Matthew is the key is because there is something hidden within him that is keeping him alive even though his heart has stopped beating.”

I swallowed hard as my eyes opened and fell on Matt. Once he realized that I was studying him he stepped forward making it easier for me. I searched him over and over, but there was nothing special or noticeable that would help me find this hidden something. “I can’t see anything. Maybe I have to wait until my birthday and I gain my full power.”

Blyth inhaled deeply letting his chest press harder against my back. His hands began shaking as he held me. I turned around in his embrace and his eyes went straight to Marcus behind me, “Would that work?”

The despair entered his eyes as they fell into mine, “It would only just lead to worse cracks and pain in prolonging this.”

I ran my hand down over Blyth’s cheek, “How so?”

His arms pulled me closer to him as his cheek pressed against my forehead. His breathing slowed and I could almost feel his heart breaking within his chest. His hands caressed my hair as he placed his lips on my forehead. I pushed against his stomach forcing him just far enough away so that I could look into his face.

Once our eyes met he took my face in his hands, “It won’t break until you complete my son’s life. You must bring the spell from within him to the surface by allowing life to enter his veins again.”

“How?”

Blyth turned me from the pain swirling in his eyes to face Matthew, with Michael and Marcus standing behind him. His hand fell against my stomach holding me against him. “For my sons, all of my sons I would give anything. The one thing that I didn’t bargain for was to face my fears.”

Blyth’s lips fell upon my neck when I tried to turn to him, “Your fears?”

“Look at Marcus. He followed in my footsteps hoping to only gain a sense of acceptance and love. I refused him both and look at what he’s become. A cruel vindictive man who would kill the ones he loves.

Michael, I ripped out his heart just so that he would stop loving me. Since that day he refuses to let anything get close to his heart for fear that it will be ripped out once again. He also would take the life of anything without a second thought. Again another disturbed soul because of me.

My son, Matthew, I have wronged him in ways that can never be repaired. I loved him beyond anything else in this world, but he runs from me with fear. I cursed him whenever I refused let him become nothing more than a simple human. I let my own wants come before my sons and for that I’m sorry.

Today is the day that I will give everything that I have just to release them from me.” Blyth turned me from his sons to finally face the tears that were forming in the moonlight. “I was struck less than a month ago by a woman running away from the very same thing I feared. Love tears us apart and leaves us with nothing. It does cause the ones we love with the worst pain, and that is why we fear it.”

Even though Blyth held me in his arms I fell down to the cold ground praying and begging. I knew though inside of me that he would go through with it no matter what I said. He loved his sons more than me, and that I would just have to accept. I didn’t want to lose him, but I knew my prayers for him to stay wouldn’t be answered.

Blyth knelt down in front of me holding my face in his hands. “You wanted to end your life to spare the pain of anyone that could ever love you. I am willing to give mine so that my children can live in a world without pain cause by my love. You can see that my love only causes pain yourself. We both fear love, but want nothing more in life to hold it within our hearts.”

My face fell out of his hands to hide my tears, “I’m not ready to say goodbye. Not yet.”

Blyth’s arms pulled me into his chest, “It would only be worse if we waited.”

“Please, I don’t want you to leave me. Just say that you’ll always be with me in one way or another. You said you would be my heaven.” My body shook from tremors from my heart that he had touched with the love of his own. It felt as though he was beginning to rip out the love that I held for him away. I knew that this pain would carry no physical scar, but I knew it would always be there.

“My life and power may go to my son, but you will have my heart. My soul will not rise to Heaven or fall to Hell. It will be found surrounding your heart. That will be my heaven. Look at me Ash.” Blyth loosened his embrace and slowly I raised my eyes full of tears towards his. His hands fell down through my hair and my eyes closed releasing everything inside of them. He pulled me in and his lips fell softly on my eyes, “I promise I will always be with you. If ever you feel as I’m not look into the mirror and search inside of your own soul for me. I will be there.”

His lips fell upon mine giving us our first and last kiss. Our only kiss in this life was a kiss goodbye. I wanted to melt into his lips, but he stopped me before I could. “I wish you would have let me jump.”

“Forget about days gone past. It is time for you to look forward to the future.” Blyth smiled but it was not returned. He stood up and brought me with him. His eyes looked over his sons and then down to his hands which holding a simple piece of paper. I was shocked to see that they were trembling just as hard as mine. “Our future.”

I took the paper and held it to my heart, “Is this a way to get you back?”

Blyth closed his beautiful blue eyes and a tear fell, “No.”

He dropped to his knees and wrapped his arms around my waist and held me close. My fingers lingered in his hair for moments that seemed only to short to have. Once he rose to his feet again more tears came out of his crystal eyes. “I love you.”

“And I love you.” I forced out the words passed my heart that was now in my throat wanting to block any more words for fear they would be our last.

“Now I want you to look into my eyes and pull everything out. I want you to put everything I am into Matthew.” Blyth took a hold of his conviction and drove his eyes straight into me.

I choked on my words and nearly collapsed again into his arms. I didn’t want to be the one to end his life. To grasp his life inside of me and cast it away would kill me. My arms embraced him while I searched for my voice again. “I… I… can’t.”

Blyth firmly took a hold of me and forced me back away from his chest. “If you love me you will do this.”

This time as I looked into his eyes I dove inside of them as he wished. My power searched for his life through them, but my heart searched for his soul. I found the beauty of each in their brilliance. I could hear his voice inside my heart just before I screamed in regret against what I was doing. “I’m sorry I loved you.”

My voice rang out in the void that I was in and then was swallowed by the darkness. The life that was more precious to me than my own left Blyth’s eyes. I didn’t follow it as it was sent to his son. I hoped inside of him that there would be something left, but there was nothing as my body fell with his to the ground.

I stayed there with his body hoping for some miracle in the night to resurrect him. I pressed my lips against him hoping for a fairy tale wish to come true. Still nothing brought him back to me. My fingers combed through his hair removing the snow that was beginning to fall around us. Tears fell for the miracles that never came to save him from this death.

“Just love him. That’s what I said and you couldn’t even bring yourself to do that to save this pain. Just love Matthew.” Marcus’ voice cut through my agony and made it twice as great. I turned my eyes to him and I could almost see his amusement from my suffering. My rage built inside of me as I stood to face them.

Without thinking I took the spell from them and felt it shatter within my clutch. It would have been beautiful to watch as it fell like glitter falling with the snow, but I couldn’t focus on anything outside of the flames besides Marcus.

I threw him back several feet as I advanced towards them. Both Michael and Matt backed away from me, but my attention was drawn only to the man who was fighting to get to his feet before I struck him again. I could feel him trying to leave, but I pulled him back again and again. He wasn’t about to get away from the wrath that I held inside of me. I might have left him alone had he not spoken, but his words were just as sharp as the blade that he pierced into my heart.

I gritted my teeth and looked down to see the snow melting around me. The ground was emitting smoke from where my flames were scorching it. I shot out the flames from around me towards Marcus as he crawled away. When they never touched him I engulfed my rage and sent more.

Once they hit the barrier that Michael created my eyes went straight for his. He shook his head and started walking away. I knew that he wouldn’t allow me to hurt Marcus like I wanted to. My fire extinguished around me, but I continued towards Marcus. If I couldn’t kill him as I wanted that didn’t mean I couldn’t hurt him until I was satisfied.

I forced his body to the ground as I came up to him. Just before I was about to send all of my pain into him I heard Blyth’s words halting me. “I saw all of my sons together in enjoying life as a simple family. All my sons. Our future.”

I buckled next to Blyth’s body and ran my fingers again through his hair as I stared at our future. My body went completely numb as I stared at the words. I had thought about shaking my head in denial, but instead it fell against his chest. The paper flew from my fingertips into the wind. It didn’t matter though his words would forever be burnt into my soul. His soul was forever in my heart and his child was in my womb.

‘Name him Anthony Cesare Ternio.’


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