Chapter 1: Ryleigh
Ryleigh’s footsteps pounded against the asphalt beneath her as she ran. The trail in the park extended endlessly, and she had been assaulting the asphalt beneath her for at least the last two miles. Her long, crimson red hair was pulled into a tight ponytail that swayed feverishly behind her as she continued to push her body to pursue the asphalt faster. She was wearing a blue sports bra with a pair of black yoga pants that made her pale skin vibrant in the sun. Her bright green eyes were fixated hard in front of her. Breathing behind her prompted her to pull her magic through her body, down to the soles of her feet. Just as quickly as the breathing had begun to reach her neck, it vanished. Ryleigh’s magic propelled her forward suddenly in a burst of a jump that landed her a few feet ahead of the person that was diligently following her.
“Ryleigh, we said no magic!” her sister’s voice yelled in frustration. Ryleigh grinned and turned around to face her sister as she ceased her running. Bailey’s crimson red hair had been pulled into a tight bun, her brown eyes dull with annoyance. Bailey stopped in front of Ryleigh with a scowl. She was wearing a pink sports bra with a pair of black yoga pants. Bailey was a few inches taller than Ryleigh’s five-foot frame, and her tanned skin severely contrasted Ryleigh’s pale skin. Aside from the signature crimson red hair of a Karizma daughter, the two girls looked nothing alike. And Bailey will need to dye her hair soon enough, Ryleigh reminded herself.
“That’s cheating,” Bailey hissed. “Besides, what if you got caught?”
“Relax, I checked before I did it,” Ryleigh said. “There’s no one on this trail for at least the next half a mile.”
“Sure, but when I do it, I get in trouble.”
“Because you actually need to be more cautious with your powers. Mine are bubbling like crazy with my birthday approaching,” Ryleigh said.
Ryleigh was turning twenty-three within the month, which signified that the warding spell that was protecting her blood from enemy detection would dissolve. Ryleigh and Bailey were the last two living witches that descended from the Karizma bloodline. Their ancestors had enacted such a warding spell on all that shared their bloodline upon birth, allowing them time to come into their powers and master their powers over the span of ten years; only the women in the Karizma bloodline inherited the magical abilities, and the abilities made their debut when the child turned thirteen, at the start of puberty. Their ancestors determined that ten years was enough time for the child to begin mastering her powers.
Maybe for a regular child, Ryleigh thought bitterly. Just before her thirteenth birthday, their parents had been killed in a car accident. Ryleigh and Bailey had been home with their aunt at the time when they had received the news. Since the nature of witches was seen more as a threat amongst the humans, witches never spoke of their nature with people that were not witches. Other than their father, no other human had known about the girls, and their mother had sworn him to secrecy with a spell to not reveal the nature of the girls for their own protection. Their aunt, their father’s sister, had no knowledge of what Ryleigh and Bailey were, and the powers that they possessed, which rendered Ryleigh alone when her powers surfaced. She was her own teacher; they had no other living relatives on their mother’s side of the family.
Any Karizma that had come into her abilities, and the warding spell dissolving after her twenty-third birthday, was deceased not longer after the spell ended. Ryleigh and Bailey had conducted research on their ancestors’ demises, and discovered that, not only did they come from a long line of witches, but they also came from a long line of vampire hunters. When a Karizma’s warding spell terminates, the smell of her blood saturates the hemisphere due to the amount of power that has been passed down from generation to generation. To other supernatural beings, such as werewolves and ghouls, this smell was repulsive. To vampires, while it was more than likely equally repulsive to them, it also made the Karizma bloodline an easy target for elimination.
Thankfully, Bailey still has two more years before I need to worry about her becoming a target, Ryleigh thought. Her and Bailey were two years apart. Bailey had just turned twenty-one, and Ryleigh had been increasing the intensity of their magical training sessions, as well as their physical training sessions. Magic is great but making sure that you can defend yourself if your magic should fail is a requirement, Ryleigh thought. Currently, Ryleigh was still besting her sister in both categories, but was determined to have her sister as fair competition before Bailey’s twenty-third birthday.
With the intensity of trainings increasing, Ryleigh was taking additional precautions to protect her sister as her twenty-third birthday neared. Ryleigh kept reminding her sister to dye her hair a lighter color, maybe a light brown to match her warm brown eyes. Ryleigh was going to do everything that she could to distance herself from her sister, similarities and proximity alike. Ryleigh had even gone as far as to get her own apartment, rather than to continue living with Bailey; if Ryleigh was going to become a target, she would be damned if her sister would be caught in the crossfire. Bailey had tried to protest it but had realized that was going to be one fight that she would not win.
“What does it feel like?” Bailey asked as she bent down to touch her toes to stretch her hamstrings.
“Truthfully? Like a nagging itch that I can’t stop even with all of the scratching I tend to it,” Ryleigh said. It was as if part of her magic was locked away with the warding spell, like it was restricted. I suppose it is, in a way, Ryleigh thought. Her magic had essentially been required to remain quiet for twenty-three years, it is ready to be known about freely. She knew that other supernatural entities could determine that her and her sister are witches regardless, something else that she had learned in her research. The power in witches altered the scent of their blood to a different smell than that of a human, something that other creatures could determine was the source of a witch. Each species smelled something different for each species; what a werewolf smelled for a witch’s scent would be different than what a vampire smelled for a witch’s scent, but would be different than what a werewolf would smell for a vampire’s scent. Ryleigh had also discovered that witches could see the aura of any living being that they came in contact with. Most humans’ auras were naturally a white glow, but it was also dependent on the mood of the human; if the human was upset, the white would be muddled with red, jealousy muddled the aura with green, and depression muddled the aura with blue.
Ryleigh had discovered other supernatural entities residing in Vancouver, Canada, with recognizing their auras. Any supernatural entity had a black aura; werewolves were a greyish black, vampires were an onyx black, and witches were a violet black. When Ryleigh had been old enough to understand aura reading, she immediately taught Bailey, and her sister had caught on quick. He few supernatural auras that they had seen in Canada, the girls had stayed away from. All of her comparison aside, Bailey was an impressive witch, and Ryleigh was proud. “I can’t wait until I’m twenty-three,” Bailey said.
“I can. Can we at least enjoy the fact that you are legally allowed to drink now?” Ryleigh smiled.
“Very true, and, with your new job, maybe you can get me a discount on drinks,” Bailey grinned.
Ryleigh had applied to be a DJ at a night club near their house called Knight Life. Bailey received enough financial aid being a college student to afford her apartment, but Ryleigh needed to pursue her own source of income to survive on her own. She had convinced the apartment manager to allow her to move in now, and that she would give him first and last month’s rent as soon as she could. Aside from a little magical persuasion for the agreement, she had meant every word of it; the pay at a night club was good, and she knew that if she dressed provocatively enough, a hot, female DJ could get a lot of tips.
“Speaking of,” Ryleigh said as she glanced at her watch. Two o’clock in the afternoon. “We should probably begin our two-mile commute back home. I have to try to get some sleep before work tonight.”
“What time is your shift?”
“Well, the club opens at nine, but the manager wants me there at eight for set up, and the club doesn’t close until three, but I have to stay until four for clean up.”
“Overnight shift? Sounds fun.”
“Well, at least I’ll get some good tips that way. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to see you off tomorrow,” Ryleigh said as she began her run back in the direction that they had come from.
“It’s okay, Rye, it’s just college,” Bailey responded as she fell in step with her sister. “I’m sure that I’ll be okay without my big sister’s blessing the day before,” she teased.
“You act like I still won’t say a blessing at your door before I go to sleep,” Ryleigh shot back. Blessing her sister’s safety had been one of the first spells that she had taught herself when she came into her magic, at the realization that she would not always be around to protect her sister. It was a very minor spell, especially when the bless is directed at a witch herself, but it helped put Ryleigh’s mind at ease about her sister. She had taught Bailey the spell as well, but Bailey had argued that she did not see the point in blessing her sister when her sister was already so much more powerful than she was.
Ryleigh’s head snapped in her sister’s direction as the air thickened around them, and heat radiated off Bailey’s skin. “Bailes, you shouldn’t use your magic,” Ryleigh warned. She stopped running suddenly as she eyed her sister.
“Come on, Rye,” Bailey grinned as she stopped beside her. “I just checked, too. No one is around for miles. Or are you afraid that with accessing my magic, I will finally beat your ass in a race?”
Ryleigh’s green eyes brightened into emerald fire as a grin played across her lips. She stretched out her magic as well and confirmed Bailey’s statement that they were alone. Why not? Ryleigh thought. She felt her magic light her body, her magic like lava running through her veins as she accessed it fully. Her magic pooled into her hands and engulfed her feet. Ryleigh sighed in relief; magic was like a muscle, it needed to be stretched more frequently than she allowed it. And it felt so good to stretch it, she thought. Ryleigh’s magic began to push her feet off the ground, hovering inches above the asphalt. The magic that pooled into her hand birthed itself into long, invisible ski poles, to add further momentum when she began her jumps. She felt Bailey’s magic hum against hers, and Bailey’s violet black aura pulsated brightly. “Shall we ski?” Ryleigh teased her sister. Before Bailey could answer, Ryleigh’s magic shot her into the air with her first jump as her ski poles cut through the air to propel her forward.