The hum of the engine slowly drew me out of my sleep although it wasn’t until we went around the turn and my body shifted throwing me into the door that completely brought me back. After looking around at the scenery which contained only trees I finally turned to my dad, “Where are we going?”
He glanced towards me then turned back to the road. I could see that he was still angry with my choice that I had made. “I cannot just sit back and watch you hand over your power.”
“Where are we going, dad?” I almost demanded from him now.
“I’m pulling an intervention,” My dad spoke with a tone that seemed to call for the respect as if he were on duty, “I’m taking you to the school that your mother went to when she left.”
“Dad, just take me back home so I can wallow in self pity until my birthday, and if I somehow survive Michael taking my power then I can live without worry again.” I tried to stretch the best I could in the cooped up SUV, but it didn’t seem to help my aching muscles from sleeping in it. When he didn’t answer me I tried again, “Dad, take me home so that I can spend whatever normal life I have left with Matt, Kate, and Mindy.”
“You are not normal, and you’re not even acting like a normal witch just giving your power away like that. Even when your mother wanted nothing more than a normal life she never once thought about giving her power away.” As he spoke I let the rage inside me take over and I used it to push on the break pedal bringing his vehicle to a screeching halt. “Ashley, you are going!”
Everything wasted away, and I knew then that I had expended too much energy after just waking up. As I drifted back off into the unwanted slumber I remembered what Michael had said. My effort to control him was working, but I never tried to. Did I? That was something that I didn’t even do in my future. Was this just a trick of his?
“Michael, don’t let me go. Keep me here. Keep me safe.” I mumbled trying to stay within his arms, but reality was starting to pull me out of my dreams. I wanted to stay there in with him. At least in my dreams I could have him.
“Who is she again?”
“Ashley Elizabeth Daisher.”
“Who is Michael?”
“Ask her yourself she is starting to wake up.”
I opened my eyes to find a girl with blonde hair flowing down over her shoulders, and she reminded me slightly of Mindy. As the fogginess disappeared I had seen that she was accompanied by a guy who seemed to be the jock type with short black hair. I moved back on the bed and stared at them just as they were staring at me. “How do I get out of here?”
“Trust me, before you go anywhere you might want to get a shower.” The girl scrunched up her nose at me. “Your dad said that you had been sleeping for sometime now, and you well look like crap.”
“How do I get out of here?” I asked as I moved away from them and crawled out of the bed.
“Door is there.” The guy finally spoke to me pointing to my right. “Take the next two lefts and a right. It will take you to the main entrance.”
“Thank you.” I hurried to the door, and entered out into an empty hallway. Doors lined each direction, but I listened to the guy and went left. My feet pulled me quicker and faster with each step. When I saw the huge doors open and the world outside of them I closed my eyes and went straight forward.
I was determined to keep them closed until I felt the sun on my face, but when I heard voices my eyes shot open. There directly in my path was a guy. He wasn’t even looking in my direction, but I could hear what he was saying, “But there isn’t even a redhead here at the school.”
“This is going to be good.” Another voice cried out in laughter before I could stop myself from crashing right into the man standing in my way.
When we collided together the force from me running knocked us both to the ground. I found myself staring into bright blue eyes. The grin stretched across his face as he placed his hands on my shoulders pushing me to the side so that I was not right on top of him. “I’m sorry.”
“Wow, how did you see that one coming?” The guy turned his attention from me to someone else. It must have been whoever was laughing as we crashed. I didn’t pay anymore attention to them as I got to my feet. I looked around at the yard surrounding me. My dad’s SUV was still here in the large oval driveway. Glancing back towards the door just to make sure that he wasn’t coming, I started back on trying to get away from this place.
My legs continued to pull me down the road when I heard someone calling out from behind me, but it wasn’t by my name, “Hey, hey you? Where are you going?”
I looked behind me to see the guy that I had just crashed into me jogging. Shaking my head I followed my feet. My surroundings changed into trees instead of the yard. I knew I was getting further away, but that guy kept insisting on following me. His words fell on deaf ears as I continued until I heard him yell, “Watch out!”
I didn’t know what he was talking about. The road in front of me was bare and there was nothing remotely near me for me to even watch for unless a tree was going to fall. I heard his words but I didn’t listen to them as I continued running. My legs pulled me faster as he yelled for me to stop.
Into nothing I ran and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was taken back a step or two, but I was able to gain my balance again before I completely fell. I stared out at the open road and tried again holding my hand in front of me. There it was like a sheet of glass keeping me from escaping. I beat against it with my palm a few times, but it wouldn’t bend. I stopped when I heard the guy finally catch up with me.
He was trying to catch his breath as he laughed at me, “It’s a barrier. Unless you get permission you can’t leave.”
I pressed my hand against it again, and looked in each direction trying to figure out which way to go. It looked the same through the trees so I just went in the opposite direction that the guy was standing in. I slid my hand along it as I went into the woods. It still didn’t seem to end, but I wasn’t going to give up. I had to get out of here.
I had already chosen my fate, and that was to give Michael my power. No amount of influence that my dad tried to force in my life was going to make me change my mind especially if Marcus had already put into his head that we were to be together. There was no way that I could love Marcus in any future now. Not after what he had put me through. As I pushed my way through the brush fallen on the ground I couldn’t help but wish that it wasn’t just a vision or whatever. I hoped now that it was true, and that he really did end my life and suffering.
I followed the barrier for quite sometime, and I looked back in the direction that I started. The road was gone, and it seemed that I was lost in the trees. I turned my attention back to the barrier, and that guy was standing on the other side of it. I could see his mouth moving, but I was lost in my own thoughts to even catch a word of what he was saying. I stared up at the sky wondering how far that it went up.
I took my eyes off of the sky as I continued walking still running my hand along side of me. This time I followed the tree tops trying to find just the right one that might be high and strong enough to hold me at the very top. I looked back towards the man that was watching me. I was going to ask him where it ends or if there was any way around it but he was gone. That didn’t stop me from continuing on my own though. Staring out into the forest beyond my grasped I wondered where I would go if I could actually get out of here.
I had to be home when I turned to give him my power. Placing both hands on the barrier I lowered my head, “Michael.”
“So who’s Michael, your boyfriend?” That guy’s voice found a way into my mind over my own thoughts.
I never once thought of Michael as a boyfriend. It just didn’t seem like the right word for him. It would never suit him. He was more than that and he always would be. I shook my head as I leaned against the barrier and brought myself down to my knees. “How do I get out of here?”
“Well, you could always jump, but I’m pretty sure if you don’t have any powers the landing will definitely kill you.” I anxiously looked up at the guy now whose arm stretched out showing me further down a clearing. Instantly with hope I jumped to my feet once again and ran towards the sunlight. “Hey I didn’t mean for you to… What are you doing? Are you suicidal? Slow down!”
As I carried myself through the trees I once again felt that feeling of being free again. The smile grew across my face and I yelled back at the guy without turning around, “Yeah, just a little bit.”
When I burst out into the sunlight I saw him standing just a few feet ahead of me. The sternness on his face reminded me of Michael when I begged for death but he refused to give it to me. I slowed down so that I didn’t collide with him again. I knew exactly what he was when he just appeared there.
I glared at him and began walking towards the edge that I seen just behind him. As I got near the edge I felt his force keeping me in place. It was as if the end of the world was directly in front of me and I couldn’t touch it. The hills stretched on beyond, but the edge brought with a demanding drop. I wasn’t close enough to see how far it dropped, but I knew the land didn’t start back for miles away.
“I’m not going back to tell Gran that I just let you jump to your death.” The man stretched out his hand to me, “Come back with me, and we’ll sort this all out.”
“Sort it out? No matter how I look at it my life is over and I would prefer it be of my own design not someone else’s. Just go back and tell them you couldn’t stop me. My dad would at least know that it is the truth.” I stepped back from him and the edge.
“But what about this Michael that you were wanting to get to? Don’t you think that he would care if you just jumped off a cliff?” He tried to understand me with the little that I had given him.
“I would rather die than to let him see me again.” I stood my ground against what he thought.
Suddenly just like Marcus had he appeared right beside me and grabbed a hold of my arm, “Come here.”
Like a coward I flinched with his grasped. I tried pulling away from him and once we arrived he finally let me go. After I had noticed that we were back into the building I pulled back my fist so that I could hit him, but I was interrupted by the shouting. As I stared at the doors in front of me the yelling was drown out by things crashing inside of them.
My eyes went directly to the guy who I was about to hit for bringing me here, but he was just shaking his head. Lightly he tapped on the door, and suddenly everything went silent inside. Opening the door just enough for him to peer inside he started talking to whoever was inside, “Hey Gran, the new girl just tried to jump.”
“Deal with her then.” A lady’s voice called out from inside the room, but it didn’t seem like an older voice to go with the name Gran. “Can’t you see that I am busy trying to defuse him right now.”
“Hey man, what’s up?” The guy started talking to whoever else was in there, but before there was an answer he slammed the door as something landed against the other side. Shockingly a smile was on his face, “First you run me over, then I have to chase you through the woods, now I have apparent suicide watch, and he tries to take my head off with a lamp. This day is starting to really suck.”
“Then just let me go, and I’m sure your day will get better since it all started with me.” I wanted to use whatever I had done with Michael, but I knew it would make me weak so I decided against it.
He got right in front of me and stared at me with his dazzling blue eyes. They seemed to shine so bright as if they were in the sunlight even though we were inside. When he leaned forward bits of his black hair draped in front of them reminding me of Michael’s when he would call me, except his eyes were green with pure white hair. I looked down at his lips which were still turned up slightly, “Not a chance.”
His posture changed vaguely, but the look on his face was still the same. He reached for my arm, and I backed away from him. There was no way that he would touch my skin again. I put up my hands to surrender, “Look, I’ll do whatever. Just do not touch me.”
“Very well,” He rolled his eyes at me. “Where is your room?”
“How should I know? My dad apparently brought me in when I was passed out cold.” In response to my answer he ran his hand down over his face and then beckoned me to follow him. As we walked I kept my eyes on his back. His hair was jet black and he had most of it pulled back into a ponytail. I watched as it bounced lightly against his dark red t-shirt.
He turned around to make sure that I was following him I assumed, “I’m Blyth and you are?”
“Blyth? God, your parents were cruel weren’t they?” I tried not to laugh at him, but it was hard to do.
“I am a warlock, remember? Nothing about my family is normal.” He stopped and turned towards me, “Now I am going to try this again. Hi, I’m Blyth. Welcome to the Bradford Art Institute of New England, and your name is?”
Now I felt like stupid for the way I had just acted. He was after all trying to be nice. I held out my hand to shake his, and tried to be nice back, “I’m Ashley. I’m actually really sorry. I’ve had a rough couple of days.”
“A rough couple days and you want to end it?” Blyth took my hand and shook it lightly. I was glad that he didn’t try to take me somewhere again. However it would be great if he could take me out of the barrier, but I knew that wouldn’t happen.
“When two seconds of your life turns into the next two years, then yes a rough couple of days trying to figure everything out.” Caution flashed through his eyes as he glanced back the way that we had just come from. I looked back down the hallway in the direction that he did, but I didn’t see or hear anything. Before I had a chance to look at Blyth again his hand grabbed my wrist and the world swirled away. “Sorry about that.”
Before I even looked to see where he took me I pulled back my fist and threw it as hard as I could into his gut, “Don’t do that!”
“Ah! What was that for?” Blyth let go of my wrist and backed away from me. As he moved I looked to find myself in someone’s bedroom. I was hoping that it was somewhere out of the school, but from the way the furniture was and the interior of the room, I knew we were still in the building. It was extremely different from the room that I had woken up in though. In this room instead of two of everything, there was simply just one. Bookshelves had lined one wall completely. It was full from top to bottom with books and CDs. I was surprised to see a TV and laptop in here as well. As I spun around looking at everything Blyth caught my wrist stopping me so that I was looking just at him, “Why did you hit me?”
“After getting drug around like that several times before you die, you start to hate it just a little bit.” I ripped my arm from his gasp before he had a chance to do it again. “Why are we here anyway?”
“Gran just warned me that all hell was about to break loose in the hallway.” He turned and walked over to a chest that was in front of the bed. After he sat down and rubbed his temples he looked up at me again, “I would have just taken you to your room, but since neither of us knows where it is that was a little hard. Was there anyone in there when you woke up?”
“Um,” I closed my eyes trying to remember exactly who they were, but they never told me. “There was some blonde chick and some jock looking guy with short black hair.”
“They paired you up with Sophie? That just doesn’t seem to suit you. Now I know why you tried to jump off the cliff.” A slight chuckle escaped his lips, but when he seen that I wasn’t he stopped quickly. “Come on, we’ll go get everything straightened out.”
I watched as he got up and headed towards the door. He opened it and offered to let me go out first, “We are walking?”
“Like I said I wouldn’t have done it, but she told me he was coming out.” He moved what little hair hanging in front of his face to behind his ear, “And as you heard he wasn’t in the best of moods.”
I finally started walking towards him and the door, “So who was that?”
“Just a vindictive old man that used to teach here. You won’t have to worry about him too much. He pretty much stays in that room when he does come, except for today. It seemed like he was on a war path of some kind.”
I couldn’t help but interrupt him as we walked, “Yeah, he was coming out to finish taking off your head.”
“True,” I looked over at Blyth staring at me laughing, “He doesn’t like me as it is.”
“So are you a student here too?”
“Me, a student?” He almost started roaring in laughter, “No, actually my family owns the place and I came back to help out Gran since a teacher left.”
I stopped right where I was and stared at him wide eyed, “You teach here?”
“If you want to get technical, I just sub.”
“How old are you?” I looked him over. He did not look old enough to have even finished college.
“Take a guess.”
“Twenty or twenty one at the most.”
“Works for me,” He grinned and started walking again. “I’m actually just a tiny bit older, but I like twenty one.”
“Wait,” I walked a bit faster to catch up with him, “How much older?”
I was afraid to ask, but with an answer like that and knowing Michael and Marcus were both over two hundred. I had to know, “Twenty six. Why, how old are you?”
“Seventeen, but you should already know that since I haven’t turned yet.”
Blyth continued grinning, “Well, you could have been younger. Some parents start sending their kids sooner than needed. Most however just wait for that break between high school and college allowing their children to master their skills before moving on in life. So really this is the most boring part of the year around here, for a school.”
We walked down the hallway in silence for awhile until I finally glanced out the window at the yard again. This time my dad’s SUV was gone from the driveway. He must be really upset with me if he left without saying goodbye, but then again I wasn’t really around for him to find me either. “How long do I have to wait before I can get passed the barrier?”
“I’ll get that taken care of when we switch your room, but I am only going to extend it to the town. I don’t want you taking off like I’m sure you plan on doing once you get the freedom.” He smiled at me, but I didn’t welcome any of it. “Look, give it a little bit, and I’m sure that you will like it here. When you turn you will have the choice to leave if you want, but as a minor you have to stay within the barrier.”
“I thought this was supposed to be a school not a prison.”
“Parents feel more at ease letting their young witches and warlocks here knowing that we have it. Plus how many kids going to normal schools say that they are prisoners as well.” He did have a point, but I would rather be at home going to a normal school just like everyone else. But as he continued walking he looked down at me with a devilish grin, “Tonight I will show you that being a student here has its advantages.”
“What are you talking about?”
“First let’s take care of your room.” As we rounded the corner I saw an office it seemed. At least that is what the door said. It looked just the same as the other doors that we had passed. When he tried to open the door, it was locked and he looked at me kind of funny, “Like I said being a student here as its advantages. Learning to open locked doors is one of them.”
When he opened the door and entered into the office I peered inside, “Are you allowed to do that?”
“I’m a teacher. I can do as I please.” He started laughing, “Hello, Mirena, how are you today?”
Before I could even ask who he was talking to, an older lady appeared in the office right beside him. “Blyth, get out of my office.”
“Mirena, don’t be cruel, I just need something.” Blyth turned to me standing in the doorway, “Come on in Ash. Mirena this is Ashley.”
I stay where I was as she turned to face me. I could see the age lined across her face making her look older, and the gray that was in her hair was less visible from the front. It streaked down the back of her brown hair. She smiled at me and turned back to Blyth, “Her father was quite strict about everything. You are not changing anything in her profile.”
“Where’s it at?” Blyth started looking through the papers on the desk, “Mirena, come on you know you won’t be able to stop me.”
I leaned against the doorway and watched as they bickered back and forth like siblings. It was almost comical when she tried to chase him around the office once he just let the folder appear in his hand. Once she had given up she sat down at the desk and asked for the papers so that she could alter what he wanted.
“I can change her room, but the barrier, her father was very firm on her not leaving the grounds.” She tapped her pen against the desk and stared at me. Not at me actually it seemed as if she was staring through me. “Blyth, I’m sorry.”
“Mirena,” he laid his hand on hers to seize the tapping, “Just to the town.”
She looked up at him and placed her other hand on his face, “He was quite certain about no one visiting, and her not leaving the grounds.”
A smile came over Blyth, “How about field trips?”
“Field trip? Blyth, you haven’t changed one bit have you?” Her fingers when from his face to lightly touching his hair in what seemed to be more of a romantic sense than just friends as I had assumed them to be. “I know your kind of field trips.”
“Good. We are taking one tonight.” She took her hand from his hair and starting writing in the folder. Blyth took her chin in his hand and turned her head to him, “Do you want to come?”
She slapped his hand away from her and turned towards me with a sentimental look on her face, “Blyth, you have a younger woman around to delight with your charm.”
Blyth’s eyes turned up to mine, “One of the advantages of being here.”
“Just remember, Blyth, she is still only seventeen.” Mirena said as she smacked his arm when he started walking away from the desk. Her eyes came back to me, “Don’t let him break your heart.”
I rolled my eyes, “A heart can’t break if it is already broken.”
“Nicely put.” Mirena said as she and my folder disappeared from the desk.
After she disappeared I turned my eyes to the ground. I wasn’t sure what kind of connection that was between them, but I was afraid to question it. Blyth’s voice caused me to look up and finding directly in front of me, “So who broke your heart?”
“It doesn’t matter.” I turned away from him and started walking down the hallway. I had no clue where I was going, but I hoped that he would get the point that I didn’t want to talk about it.
Blyth appeared right next to me, “I think it does. If I can crack into this broken heart, we might be able to fix this whole suicide mission that you have going.”
I couldn’t help but smile at his attempt, “My life is going to end whether I do it myself or not. Like I had already said I would prefer to end it myself first.”
“Well, then I am going to make sure you have some good old fashioned fun before it does end. So how long do I have with you before the end comes?” I could feel his eyes on me, but I kept mine straight ahead of me.
“Until I turn.”
“You plan on giving your power away?”
I groaned as I looked out the windows that we were passing again, “It’s complicated.”
We walked in silence again until Blyth finally stopped and turned to me, “Not that I am not enjoying our little stroll back to my room, but why don’t we find yours.”
I sighed as I looked down at his hand held out for me to take. I willingly placed my hand in his now that he wasn’t just going to take me without knowing first. I closed my eyes as the swirls began.