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Chapter 24

Sarah turned to me and mouthed, “He’s coming,” before turning in the direction she’d been looking before. I stared in the same direction and saw Michael appearing from among the dense trees.

He wasn’t running towards us. He was prowling. Like a big hungry and ferocious animal. He moved towards us stealthily, looking like he was searching for his prey. He locked eyes with me and started coming my way. He was still several feet away from me so I knew I had time to read the spell before he was upon me.

I swiftly looked down at the spell book and counted to three in my head, trying to calm my racing heart and thoughts.

“Sarah said not to panic. It would mess everything up. Calm down. Calm down,” I whispered to myself.

“Alexia!” I heard Sarah scream. I looked up and saw Michael running towards me now at great speed. I screamed and dropped the spell book.

Instinctively, I tried to scramble away but instead hit one of the candles behind me. I put my hand out and stopped it from falling over. I looked back at Michael and saw that he had stopped right outside of the circle.

He growled at me but then hissed in pain. He tried to take a step towards me, but fell to his knees instead. He started to crawl towards me but something was holding him back, some invisible force.

I saw Sarah standing behind him, murmuring words, trying to stop Michael from attacking me by using her spells.

I heard Michael yowl in pain. He punched the ground repeatedly. His eyes were still on me, and they were glowing red. He dug his hands into the ground and pushed to get closer, but it was no use. Sarah’s force was more powerful. Michael hissed again and fell onto his side.

The pain was evident on his face. I looked back at Sarah and saw her face pinched tight with concentration. She was doing her job, and it was time for me to do mine.

I picked up the spell book and kneeling in the circle, I started to say the words. They flowed out of my mouth as if I had said them a million times.

“What was done was done

Be it now undone

By the light of the moon’s wane

Cleanse this soul of taint and stain

Let now this hurtful spell reverse

And lift from it this vicious curse

As I am now in this sacred place

Help thee return this spirit to its grave

With blood, candles, and scent

No longer shall this binding be

Free this spirit of its curse

Let its heart and soul be free

With blood, candles and scent

Let this evil spell reverse

Teach it mercy and let the soul be free

As is my will, so mote it be, so mote it be, so mote it be”

When I was done saying the incantation once, I lifted my gaze from the page and looked at Michael. His snarling and growling had ceased. He was lying on his side, his left hand resting on his heart.

He suddenly closed his eyes, and I saw that his body was strung tight, like he was having a seizure. A loud scream tore from his throat.

I looked up at Sarah, and she gave me a nod. She pointed towards the spell book and nodded again.

I looked down and remembered that she said I had to read it three times. I swallowed, close to impossible with my dry throat. Michael’s growling continued, and when I heard him say, “Kill you, Jessica” through laboured breath, I started to panic.

I quickly recited the spell a second time. While I was saying the spell, I could hear Michael’s growls and screams. He was obviously in pain. When I finished the spell for the second time, I looked up and saw Sarah just standing there. She was staring at Michael. I looked down and saw him lying there lifelessly. That was when I realized he wasn’t screaming anymore.

His eyes were closed, and he was lying limp. I started to stand up and Sarah’s voice stopped me. “No, don’t. You still need to say the spell one more time,” she rasped. Her voiced was quiet, and I saw her breathing heavily.

“But he’s already dead,” I tried to reason.

Sarah shook her head. “He isn’t. He is just unconscious, and the spell doesn’t work if you don’t repeat it three times. Hurry up before he wakes up. I can’t hold him back anymore. He’s weak but not dead. He can still kill you.”

I knelt back down in the middle of the circle while Sarah came closer to Michael. She stood right beside his unmoving body and gave me a nod to tell me to hurry up.

I looked back down at the spell book. I knew most of the lines now but I still read along, reciting the spell one last time. I didn’t want to mess this up. We were so close to ending this nightmare.

“What was done was done

Be it now undone

By the light of the moon’s wane

Cleanse this soul of taint and stain

Let now this hurtful spell reverse

And lift from it this vicious curse

As I am now in this scared place —”

I stopped when I heard a loud screech. I looked back up just in time to see Michael jump on Sarah, roaring in anger.

“You are right. I may be weak but I can still kill you,” I heard him growl in Sarah’s neck. Even though his face was pushed into her neck, he made sure to turn towards me so I could see his eyes. “I will kill you both,” he said in his rough voice.

“Alexia. Keep. Going,” Sarah said. I could see the fear on her face. Her eyes were closed tightly while her eyebrows furrowed in agony. Michael must have squeezed her because she cried out in pain. Sarah’s voice had obviously angered him.

I looked at her and when she opened her eyes, I felt the tears starting to build at the back of mine.

Her eyes were pleading with me, silently, to finish this.

I looked back down at the book and when I heard Michael’s angry growl and Sarah’s ear-piercing scream, I ignored them. I focused on the paper and continued the spell from where I’d left off.

“Help thee return this spirit to its grave

With blood, candles, and scent

No longer shall this binding be

Free this spirit of its curse

Let its heart and soul be free

With blood, candles and scent

Let this evil spell reverse

Teach it mercy and let the soul be free

As is my will, so mote it be, so mote it be, so mote it be”

When I finished, I closed the book but didn’t glance up right away. I was too frightened of what I would see. I was scared that the spell wouldn’t have worked and that Michael would still be standing there waiting to kill me. I was scared to see Sarah’s dead corpse.

I closed my eyes tightly and started to count my heartbeats. Counting my heartbeats always helped me to calm down. When it started to slow down, and my breathing matched my heartbeats, I opened my eyes slowly and looked up.

What I saw was not what I expected. Michael was lying on the ground, facing me. His eyes were open. At first, I thought he wasn’t dead, but when I looked closely, I saw that his eyes were no longer red. They were normal. They were brown. His face looked serene and calm.

The book fell from my hands. I was shocked. It had worked. The spell had worked. Michael’s curse was broken. I had broken Michael’s curse. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The realization was too much. I looked across from Michael’s limp body and saw Sarah’s body. She was lying there lifelessly, eyes closed and face peaceful. I could see blood oozing from her neck where Michael must have bitten her. It looked like a deep gash.

I felt something on my cheeks and put my hands to them. I realized I was crying. Still kneeling down, I put my head in my hands and sobbed.

I cried for everything that had taken place. I cried for everyone. I cried for the people who’d lost their lives. I cried for my mom and my brother. I cried for myself. I cried for Sarah, who’d spent all her life trying to protect people but had been killed anyway. And lastly, I cried for Michael. I cried for him because he had been robbed of a normal life. I cried for him because it wasn’t his choice to become a monster.

When all my tears had dried up, I blew out all the candles. I tried to stand up, but my legs wouldn’t cooperate. I was shaking hard from the adrenaline. I was about to sit back down when I heard my name.

“Alexia.” The voice was small. I looked back at Sarah. Her eyes were open, and she was staring at me. “Oh, my God.” I whispered.

She gave me a genuine but tired smile. “I need your help to get up,” she said. Humour was evident in her words.

I stepped out of the circle and ran to her side. “You’re alive.” I kneeled down beside her. I put my arm under her head and helped her to sit up.

“Yeah, looks like I’m still alive.” When I didn’t say anything, she asked jokingly, “What? Are you disappointed?”

“Of course not,” I sniffed. I hugged her tight, but when I felt her wince, I gentled my hold. From her awkward position, she tried to wrap her arms around me too.

When I let her go, I said with a smile, “I’m so happy you’re alive. I thought you were dead, and it sucked. I even cried for you.”

She patted me on the cheek and winked. “I’m not that easy to get rid of. I am a witch after all. I have more resistance than a mere human.”

She glanced at Michael and her expression changed to a sad one. “He’s dead,” she stated. I nodded and helped her to her feet. “He thanked us,” she said when she finally got her footing. Sarah was still looking at Michael.

“What?” I asked, confused.

“He thanked us for saving him. He had some humanity left in him after all. He didn’t want to do those things, but he couldn’t control himself. He thanked us for finally ending his existence. He is grateful,” Sarah said slowly. I saw tears falling down on her cheeks and she quickly swiped them away.

“How do you know?”

“He told me before he died and before I lost consciousness. I thought it was an illusion but now that I look at his peaceful face I know it wasn’t. He was a good man before he was cursed, and he wouldn’t have wanted to live like this. We did him favour, and he is grateful,” she replied.

I was too surprised to answer.

“He will reincarnate again. For the last time. But this time, he’ll come back as a good man. He will fall in love again, hopefully. He will live a good life, like a normal man. Michael will finally get the life that he deserves,” Sarah continued when I didn’t say anything.

She turned towards me and gave me a gentle smile. “C’mon, let’s go. I don’t want to bleed to death here. We’ll come back with others to bury him. He deserves a real burial.”

I nodded my agreement, and we packed all the candles and the book of spells into Sarah’s backpack.

“Here, let me help you with your wound. You’re going to bleed to death before we get back to town,” I said gently. I quickly ripped off the bottom on my shirt and motioned for Sarah to move her hair off her neck. I gently wrapped the material around the wound as Sarah hissed in pain.

“Sorry,” I whispered.

Sarah nodded. “It’s OK.”

When I was done, I tied her hair in a messy bun. With a final look at Michael, we turned around and started to walk towards where we came from. After some time, Sarah asked quietly “Have you had any memories yet?”

“Huh? What?” I asked, baffled.

“Remember what I said before? That you will retrieve your memories once you do the spell, although they will come slowly. So any memories yet?”

My eyebrows furrowed, and then I replied. “No. I haven’t gotten any memories back. Is that bad?”

Sarah shook her head. “No. As I said it will be slow.”

I was scared about that. Memories. Old memories. I didn’t want to get them back. From what I had learned, I was a real bitch in the past. I cursed a good man just because I hated his people. “Is it going to affect me? I mean Jessica wasn’t that good a person in the past. No offence, I know she was your friend, but she was a real bitch.”

“I’m not offended,” she replied with a chuckle. “And no, it shouldn’t affect you. It’s not who you are anymore. They are just memories.”

“OK, cool.”

“But they might hurt. The memories may be painful. Not physically, but emotionally.”

I nodded. I understood what she was saying, but that didn’t mean I was happy about it.

“Look! We’re almost there!” Sarah said excitedly. I looked in front of us and saw that she was right. I could see the lamplights of the town.

“Hurry!” I said, walking faster.

When we reached town, we breathed a sigh of relief. It felt good to be back here. The forest was going to give me the creeps for a very long time.

“I want to go see my brother and Xavier. And you need a doctor,” I said to Sarah.

She smiled and nodded. “Let’s go.”

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