“What?” I yelled as I jumped off the sofa. I stalked towards Sarah and glared at her. “Are you crazy?”
“No. You are the reincarnation of Jessica. I don’t know how this is possible because witches don’t reincarnate. Yes, we live for a very long time, but once we die, we never come back.”
I pushed my hands through my hair and yanked it. “You’re driving me crazy,” I spit into her face.
“I’m as confused as you are. I know for sure that you are the reincarnation of Jessica. You look exactly like her, except for the hair. She had ebony black hair. But your aura — it’s exactly like hers. I know you’re her reincarnation because of your aura.”
“I dyed my hair blond. My natural hair colour is black,” I said quietly. I was too shocked to say anything else.
“If you hadn’t, then you would be the exact image of Jessica.” She nodded sadly.
“Does he know that?” I asked. I was scared to hear her answer, but it was time that we laid everything on the table.
When she nodded, my legs weakened, and I sank down to my knees. “He’s seen you. He knows who you are, but I don’t know what he wants from you.”
“You need to break the curse,” Grant said urgently. He seemed paranoid and shaky. McAdams was quiet but I could tell he was thinking the same thing. He was looking at me like I was some alien, and he didn’t know what to do with me.
“It’s very dangerous,” Sarah warned.
“Are you crazy? This beast is out there killing people, and Alexia is the only one who can stop him. It’s dangerous, but she needs to do it. She has to do it,” Officer Grant argued.
“Stop!” I yelled and jumped to my feet. “Just stop. I can’t take this anymore. I need a break.” I was frantic. I needed to get away from them. Away from Sarah and the reality.
I walked over to the door and was about to open it when a hand stopped me. “You can’t go out there. This cottage is surrounded by a protective barrier. Michael can’t approach it and you are safe in here. If you go out there, you’re on your own and unprotected,” Sarah whispered.
I leaned my forehead against the door and closed my eyes tightly. “I need to be alone. Please. I need time to digest everything you just said to me.”
“I understand. Go to my room and rest for a while. We’ll talk in the morning,” she said gently. “The rest of us will settle as best as we can here in the living room. Michael can’t cross the protective barrier, so we are safe.”
I walked away from her quickly, like she was a virus and I didn’t want to get infected. The men gave me a worried look, but they didn’t stop me. I went into the bedroom and closed the door quietly behind me. I leaned against it and slid down the wall, where I sat hugging my knees. I closed my eyes with a defeated sigh.
I must have cried myself to sleep, because the next I knew someone was knocking at the door. I opened my eyes slowly, but had to close them quickly because of the sudden light. It was already morning.
I opened my eyes again, and I could tell they were swollen. When they finally adjusted to the light, I noticed that the curtains were pulled back and the windows were open. A light breeze was coming into the room, making it cool and pleasant.
I looked around and noticed that the furniture consisted of only a bed and a night table. They were different from the ones that had been there when Aric, Xavier and I had used this cottage as a shelter. Sarah must have refurnished the whole cottage when she came back.
I was snapped out of my thoughts by the knocking. Pushing myself to my feet, I opened the door. Sarah and the officers were standing there, staring at me worriedly.
I walked past them into the small living room. There was coffee and some pastries on the table. I looked at them hungrily, but first I turned to Sarah. “Em, I need the bathroom.” She nodded and pointed. I walked over to the closed door, and as I opened it, she said, “There’s an extra toothbrush, the blue one. You can use it.”
“Thank you,” I replied quietly and closed the door behind me.
I looked at myself in the mirror. I was close to unrecognizable. My face was blotchy and red. My eyes were swollen, and my lips were puffy from biting on them.
I quickly rinsed my face and brushed my teeth. After I was sure I looked presentable again, I went out to find Sarah and the officers sitting at the table, drinking coffee and munching pastries.
They were so deep in conversation that they didn’t hear me approach. When McAdams caught sight of me, he gave me a tight smile while Grant and Sarah followed his gaze. When they saw me, their eyes were full of pity, and it just pissed me off. I didn’t need their pity. I sat down beside Sarah and gave them a steady look. They seemed surprised that I was not breaking down crying. I had done that last night, but now I was ready for whatever I had to do. I was scared but the lives of so many people were in my hands now. I wouldn’t let them suffer and be savagely killed like my mother. I had to be strong for them.
I broke the silence. “What do I have to do?” I made sure that my voice was filled with confidence.
Sarah looked at me closely before replying. “In the past, I killed him by performing spells. He knew me and every time I would come across him, it would only anger him. My life has been in danger every time he was reborn, so the only way to eliminate him was to do a spell.”
“A spell that kills him?” I asked slowly, and when she nodded, I continued, “Is that how I’m supposed to kill him?”
“Yes, you would do the same spell that I’ve been doing,” she replied softly. I realized that since we’d met, she made sure that her tone was soft. It was as if she was scared of frightening me.
“But if it’s the same spell, why does Alexia have to do it?” McAdams looked at Sarah suspiciously, and Grant was frowning at her in confusion too.
She released a deep breath. “As I mentioned before, only Michael’s true mate can destroy his curse, and to do so, you need to kill him first. The next time he reincarnates, he will be human and will not remember anything, and if he dies then, he won’t be re-born again. The only way to kill him is by using that spell. Even though the spell is the same, it has different effects depending on who does it.” She was looking at me carefully. “As you are his true mate, the curse would be broken. That would be the different effect if you do the spell.”
I nodded my understanding and stood up quickly. “So what are we waiting for? What’s the spell? Let me do it now.”
Sarah shook her head sadly. She too stood up, but started pacing the length of the living room. “There’s a big problem, and that’s what I have been telling your friends. You need him close by to do the spell. In the past, I did another spell first that rendered him unconscious, so that he wasn’t a danger to me while I did the other spell. This time I couldn’t do either because I couldn’t find Michael.” Sarah broke off, and that was the first time I’d seen true frustration on her face. Her lips were pinched tight and her eyebrows were furrowed
“What do you mean, you couldn’t find Michael?” Officer Grant asked. His arms were crossed and he was leaning against the sofa.
“He’s making sure that he stays out of my way, so I can’t do either spell. He’s hiding from me,” Sarah replied tensely.
“So what you mean is that we have to find him, do that voodoo spell that would make him unconscious, then I have to do the other spell, that would kill him and also break the curse?” I wanted all the details.
Sarah was silent at first then she turned to me and nodded. “Yeah, that’s exactly what we have to do but it’s very dangerous. He is so powerful now, and he won’t give us a chance. He will probably try to kill us at first sight.”
I considered that for a moment. “We don’t know that for sure, and by the way you are a witch. You are powerful too.” I just wanted to get this done as soon as possible and be able to return to my brother.
When Sarah didn’t reply, McAdams stood up and came to stand beside me. “Alexia is a witch too. Well, technically. I think we need to give it a try. We should find him.”
I was unsettled by this idea, but I nodded my agreement.
Sarah, however, still looked dubious. “You don’t understand the danger you’re putting yourselves in,” she said in a quiet voice. “I want to be sure you all understand.”
Grant went to stand just in front of her. There were so many emotions written on his face. “Sarah, we know exactly what we’re getting into. Last night we witnessed one of our colleagues getting dragged away by that thing and by now Officer Pearson is probably dead. We saw Michael and we also saw how dangerous he is and exactly what he can do.” Grant sounded forlorn, but he cleared his throat and continued. “We are not giving up. So many people are depending on us right now and we have to do this. Please help us.” Now he sounded determined.
Sarah was quiet for some time. She looked to be deep in thought. Finally, she gave a jerky nod. “I agree. I’ll help you. It’s the only way.”
“Wait, before we go, I have a question.” I looked at Sarah and directed my question at her. “I’m confused about one thing. How does he reincarnate every time? I’m sure he just doesn’t appear out of nowhere.”
“Of course. He is re-born every one hundred years. I’m sorry but I don’t know exactly how it happens, I’m at a loss. But what I’ve noticed is that the women who give birth to him all come from a witch family. I guess that was part of the curse, but the curse was so messed up. Jessica put different spells together. And yes, the mother always dies in childbirth.”
When that particular information had sunk in, I had to sit down, because I was feeling dizzy. “This is messed up,” I whispered.
“It is. I didn’t understand before either, but I studied the pattern of each of his births. All the women come from powerful witch families, and unfortunately, the other witches can’t help either.”
“So the curse didn’t affect only Michael but other families too?” McAdams asked. He was quiet most of the time, and it was easy to forget that he was even in the room.
“In some ways, yes, it affects the other families too. I don’t know how Jessica got the spell so wrong. Instead of a spell, it turned into a curse.” Sarah answered. Her voice was laced with so much sadness that I wanted to go over to her and give her a hug.
“Maybe she knew what she was doing. You said she hated the witch hunters. Maybe she really meant it to be a curse. It was all her plan.” I voiced my thoughts quietly.
Everyone turned to look me. Sarah looked shocked by what I’d said, but the officers nodded. “I agree with Alexia,” McAdams stated.
Sarah shook her head violently. “No, Jessica wouldn’t do that. Yes, she hated the witch hunters, but the curse affects the other witches too. She wouldn’t hurt her own people.”
“Well, we’ll never know. She’s dead and what we have to concentrate on is how to get rid of Michael,” Grant said.
“OK, what about Alexia? I mean, how did she reincarnate?” McAdams asked curiously.
I looked at Sarah intently, so that I wouldn’t miss any piece of information. Was I really a witch?
“I don’t have the answer for that. All I can say is that your ancestors were members of Jessica’s family. Either from your dad’s side or your mom’s, I don’t know.” Sarah kept eye contact with me throughout her explanation, but I tried to keep my expression blank. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was panicking inside.
I stood up and moved towards the door. When I reached it, I turned around to face the men and Sarah. “I think we should go now. We can’t waste any more time. We know everything that we need to know about Michael. All we need to do is find him and render him unconscious so I can do the spell.”
As they nodded, I frowned and looked at Sarah. I had just realized that I didn’t know the spell.
“Sarah, I don’t know the spell,” I stated softly.
She nodded and gave me a small smile. “I have the spell book. I’ll bring it with me.” She turned away and went into her room.