Keeper

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Chapter 16

Alex watched as Cassidie hit the ground and she felt a slight pain in her chest. “Cassidie!” she breathed brokenly.

“At last,” Vincent grinned wickedly.

Cat, Stef, Gabriella and Mike were gathering around Cassidie’s body and Alex climbed down to join them. Vincent opened the book and began chanting an old spell. As the words were being read, dark clouds and fast wind formed. The five fiends looked around fearfully as a kind of vortex swirled up and began changing everything. The trees grew bare and spindly looking, the grass died and in the distance, the buildings went to ruin.

The wolves’ howls went up and Vincent called, “Come, my siblings. Let us take our place as rulers of the world.”

The wolves raced out of the clearing in all directions and when it had cleared fully, the five teens sat around their fallen fiend and bowed their heads.

“Cassi, I’m so, so sorry.” Alex said thickly.

“We all are.” Stef added.

“We couldn’t save you.” Cat murmured.

The monsters stayed immobile to mourn the loss of their fiend. Footsteps jostled them fifteen minutes later and they were instantly on alert. The bushes rustled for a moment before a dark brown wolf appeared; he had a green stripe going from his nose to his tail, which was between his legs. Alex dropped to four paws and stalked forward cautiously.

“Who are you?” She demanded.

“It’s me, Alex. Jake.”

They all snarled at him. “You have some nerve coming back here!” Caitlin hissed.

“Especially since you’re with that black monster.” Stefan growled.

“I know my dad can be a bit harsh sometimes, but-.”

“Your dad!” Gabriella exclaimed.

“A bit harsh?” Mike snorted.

“He killed Cassidie!” Alex shouted.

“Well actually she staggered and fell-.” Jake said slowly.

“Only because he pushed her!” Alex roared.

“Yeah, but it was still an accident.” Jake gulped as soon as the words left his mouth.

“Accident?” Alex stared at him incredulously. “He killed her, pushed her to her death, and it’s an accident?”

Alex’s large, red paw closed around Jake’s throat and squeezed. “Listen to me, Jacob,” she snarled lowly. “Your dad killed my best friend and it was no accident. It was pure, cold-blooded murder. Got that, Jay?” Jacob nodded furiously and desperately gasped for breath as Alex continued squeezing his neck, his paws desperately pulling at hers to no avail.

“Alex!” Cat shouted. ”Killing Jake won’t bring Cassidie back to life. It will just cause more people to get hurt.”

Just as before, Cat’s words hit a nerve and Alex dropped Jacob. “Look,” he coughed. “I know what my dad did was wrong, but I want to help you cats. We have to get the book away from him so Alex can cast a spell-.”

“Why me?” Alex interrupted.

“Because none of the rest of us studies witchcraft. Now, you’ll cast a spell and we’ll cage my dad.”

The others gathered back around Cassidie’s body and, after a brief hesitation, so did Jake. Alex cried softly as she stared into Cassidie’s wide, purple eyes. She had always been enchanted by the purple; the underlying sparks in them always made her feel warm and safe. Cassidie’s smiles, though rare and usually small, were always the brightest she ever saw.

There’s so much I wanted to tell her and now I can’t.

Alex stood and ran into the woods, sobbing. She wasn’t sure where she was going, but she had to get away from Cassidie’s lifeless body. Running to the city, Alex stopped dead in her tracks; the city was in utter chaos and not the kind she had grown to like through her eight years of living as a Goth.

Cars and buildings were on fire and monsters were running, terrified, in all directions. Vincent’s wolves were throwing large, broken objects at the buildings, causing them to go into even more ruin.

The monsters that couldn’t get away fast enough were caught and taunted, having their children torn from them and their belongings taken. The males were being beaten and the females were being dragged off as their children cried out for them to come back. Infants were abandoned in the street, toddlers were left to wander around and children and teenagers tried to help their parents in futile.

Winged… things were flying overhead, dropping rocks onto the already destroyed buildings and adding more to the chaos by frightening young kids. Looking up at the sky, Alex couldn’t find blue or even black; there was nothing but red.

She began walking warily through the streets, taking in the destruction. “I’m not worth this.” The purple wolf whispered. “But because of me, the world is ruined.”

Heading to her broken down cave, Alex made her way to the kitchen. Lifting the nearly invisible latch, she climbed down into her secret shrine where she kept her most sacred witchcraft objects. Glancing around, Alex spotted the thing she was looking for on a high shelf. The box was still there after all this time. It had intricate carvings and patterns on it, but what was inside was much more valuable. Inside was a necklace with a cat’s head pendant. The eyes were set with emeralds and the nose was an amethyst while the teeth were set in with topaz. It was a charmed necklace that could enhance one’s magical power tenfold.

It was Alex’s most prized possession because Cassidie had given it to her as an eleventh birthday gift. Putting it on, Alex felt the power rush through her and she set her jaw. Running on four paws back to the forest, Alex had one thing on her mind: Avenge Cassidie.

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