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Sleight of Hand

By Brent_Perry All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Horror

Blurb

An Urban Fantasy story suitable for young adults

Prologue

The air outside the run-down building perspired almost as much as it was making Sarah in this heat. She hated when Tom and Darrel decided to do stupid things for thrills. And this was one of their worse ideas ever. They were on spring break and were supposed to be enjoying their tour of Italy. Yet, as usual one of them came up with an “amazing” idea that was so stupid the other one just had to go along with it. She hated her brothers sometimes.

The thick vegetation that surrounded the building made it hard to move, and the closeness of it made it seem harder to breathe. It was as if the area was meant to keep people out. But then again, the area was heavily guarded by armed patrols. Sarah hated this place the longer she stayed here, and felt anxious about being present at all.

“We should so totally get this on camera!” Tom almost squealed with excitement.

“Dude!” was all Darrel responded with, but with just as much enthusiasm.

“Yes,” Sarah retorted irritably, “That way they have enough evidence to convict us for trespassing and to put us in a European jail. Brilliant idea, Tom. Why don’t we just call the cops ahead of time and tell them what we’re doing?!”

Both of her brothers turned and looked at her with slow frustration. She didn’t care. They were going to get all three of them thrown in jail, if not hurt. She could just leave, but if she wasn’t around to keep a close eye on her moron brothers, one of them might take things too far. If she needed to be the voice of reason and endure this escapade of idiocy, then Sarah would just to keep her brothers safe.

“Jeez Sis,” Darrel said in a morose tone, “always the buzz kill aren’t you?”

“Lay off her, Darrel,” Tom answered in mock protectiveness. “It’s probably just that time of the month for her and she’s venting on us since we’re the only men around.”

“You two are the furthest from men,” Sarah snapped back in anger at her brother’s vulgar reference to her monthly cycle. “Oh, don’t get me wrong, you’re definitely males. The proof is written in that dunce look you wear on your faces every day! But you two couldn’t be men if your lives depended on it.”

“You cut us deep, sister dear,” Tom replied, laughing and acting like he was wounded. He staggered backwards as if he was gravely injured, and then tripped over some sort of plant or debris on the ground. He fell forward, right through the condemned buildings front door. A peal of laughter burst out from Sarah and Darrel as their brother rolled inside. That was, until a gust of wind erupted out of the house. A sudden and hushed silence fell on the siblings as they waited for something more to happen.

“What did you say this place was again?” Sarah asked meekly.

“This is the would-be church of the infamous Aleister Crowley.” Darrel quickly responded, walking over to help his brother up. “This guy claimed he was some sort of wizard in the early 1900’s. The dude was addicted to all sorts of drugs and had orgies in the name of his faith from what I hear. Apparently the guy was a real nut job.”

“What I don’t get,” Tom said with a groan as he dusted himself off, “If the guy was such a whacko, then why is this place under such strict guard? I mean, I’ve seen less security at an airport.”

“Yeah,” Darrel said in agreement, “It was a pain in the ass to get past those dudes out there.”

“Which raises my question,” Sarah interrupted Darrel before he could add any more, “if this place is so ‘Off Limits’ then why in the hell did you guys want to come here in the first place? Even better, if you think this guy was so crazy, then why does this place interest you at all?!”

The brothers’ faces lit up with smug grins. They both looked at Sarah and then at the ground as if they were innocent of something. They obviously weren’t sharing something with her. These two were complete idiots, but they didn’t do random acts without a purpose. They had a hidden agenda besides the thrill of sneaking past armed security.

“Well, Sarah,” Tom began, trying to set his tone as if he was going to relate some epic tale, “It is said that the ghost of Aleister Crowley still haunts this place. No joke. It is said that when people get too close to the church, they can hear a voice calling out to them to come inside.”

“Well, if that were true,” Sarah replied skeptically, “you two morons just signaled for the ghost to come and get us with your head-over-heels act through the door. So do whatever it is you two idiots came here to do and let’s get the hell out of here!”

“Do, let’s!” a new voice rang out from the depths of the rundown building, “I’ve been waiting for someone to pass through those doors for a long while now. You lads are the first visitors that I have had in years. So, which one of you wants to help me leave this squalor and return back to the real world?”

A shriek broke from Sarah’s throat as the voice spoke, but she quickly quelled it. This had to be a joke her brothers were pulling. They managed to get one of their friends in here before they showed up with her. She turned to look at Tom and Darrel, expecting to see gleeful humor on their faces after frightening their older sister. She didn’t find what she was looking for. Their faces were white with what she could only guess was fear. A pit opened up in her stomach as her skepticism faded. Her brothers were far from decent actors, so she knew that the expressions painted on their faces were as real as they could be.

“No volunteers eh?” the voice asked out from the shadows. “Well, now I actually have to search you all for the best compatibility. I was hoping that one of you had an open enough mind for me to just stow-away in your psyche and take control when I needed to. Oh well, the hard way it is then.”

A swirl of air spun around them, and Sarah felt something dark enter her mind, She heard screaming coming from all around her. She looked to her brothers one last time and realized that it they were silent, both cowering in fear. It was her that was screaming. The only thought echoing in her mind was not her own and simply said, “Silly children…” And then all was black and empty.

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