Tormented

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Her Place

Leo

Nathan fucking Reeves.

Salem has been hanging out with Nathan Reeves? Perfect. Just perfect.

The guy is a prick. Not to mention he ‘dabbles’ in dark magic—it can literally change your entire personality.

Dark magic is something very few fully understand, including me, but the gist of it is that some are born only having access to dark magic and others who aren’t can find ways to access it. To access dark magic is to give up a piece of your soul.

Nathan and I used to be friends until I found out he was using dark magic. His excuse was that just because it’s dark doesn’t mean it’s bad. Then his personality shifted. He started picking fights, ditching classes, smarting off at the school staff.

This new professor that’s taken Hawkes’ place—I’m pretty sure he uses dark magic, as well. He may be revered for his magical practice and teaching skills, but the guy is definitely bad news… and now Nathan is his TA. Makes perfect sense.

I wonder if Salem only has access to dark magic, and that’s why she doesn’t use it. When she mentioned earlier that she’d physically hurt people that she cared about, I fleetingly wondered if she was the witch who massacred the whole town of Hollowbrook and then immediately pushed the thought away.

I’m sure she’d be offended at the thought.

No doubt Nathan was attracted to the darkness in Salem, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was right about her using dark magic before. You can sense that there’s something horrific in her past, not just by what little she tells me, but also by the way she carries herself. She’s withdrawn, tucked into herself, heart and soul. I never imagined that I’d be romantically interested in her, but not only is she beautiful and smart, but she’s a mystery—one she seems to think once figured out, will make me hate her. I can’t see that happening. I have this strong desire to know everything about her. I need her to let me in.

I walk through the front door of my condo, Ezra perched lazily on my couch. He grins mischievously.

“Have fun in the Deep South?” He drawls in an overdramatic southern accent.

“Cleaning up your mess is always a privilege,” I respond snidely. “I knew there was a reason you were back in town.”

Ezra is a fuck-up. That’s the nicest way of putting it. For some reason, my mom and his dad, have left me in charge of cleaning up after him—meaning covering up his murders. I dispose the his victims’ bodies, magically erase evidence. Like Salem says she has no control over her magic, Ezra has no control over his blood-thirst. Seeing so many lives taken… it haunts you.

This time Ezra made a huge mess. Not only did he not cover his tracks at all, he already had detectives investigating the homicides in multiple counties he’d terrorized on one of his binges. So, of course, I had to go clean up a pile of bodies for the last couple days.

In the vampire world, this is a huge blunder. One punishable by death. Like with witches having multiple covens and a handful of ‘schools’, the vampires have their own covens, all of which the leaders agree upon covering your tracks. They don’t want angry humans coming for them.

His mistakes were a big reason he was kicked out of Hallewell. He nearly killed a few students that attend the human University right outside of town.

Ezra’s mistakes being covered up is punishable as well. By me cleaning up after him, we’re basically allowing him to wreak havoc on the human population in mass quantities.

Of course, in the witch world, punishment isn’t death, it’s the painful method of stripping you of your powers. Turning you into a human for most is a punishment worse than death.

However, for whoever did massacre Hollowbrook, the penalty would be immediate execution. That witch is far too powerful to be stripped.

“They aren’t messes,” Ezra jokes. “They’re masterpieces. Don’t you appreciate good art?”

“What you do is disgusting.”

“You know who I’d bet tastes amazing?” He slurs.

“Stay away from Salem,” I warn, not even looking at him as I walk into the kitchen, grabbing a water from the fridge.

“How do you know I haven’t tasted her already?”

My fists clench, and my heart sinks. “I’ve you’ve touched her, I swear I’ll kill you.”

“Calm down, lover boy. I haven’t touched the little witch. I even took care of her for you.”

“What are you talking about?” I demand as I plop down angrily next to him on the couch.

“I took her to dinner—didn’t she tell you? Oh, that’s right. You can’t take any human things with you when you go dispose of bodies and whatnot—can’t be traced, can we?—so you couldn’t call her. It was lovely, I think we had a great time.”

I glare at him.

“I really did watch out for her,” he tells me more seriously. “I think I owe you that much, at the least. I made sure the witch ate, and stayed to herself, and didn’t get abducted or anything. Now, Nathan… I couldn’t stop that particular occurrence. They didn’t hook up, though, so I think you’re good there.”

“I feel like he’s interested in her for more than just a fling.”

“Nah, most guys are just out for an easy lay—not a lifetime commitment.”

“That isn’t what I mean. I think he’s up to something. I don’t know how to explain it. Like I just get a bad vibe. He reeks of black magic and he just happens to be interested in Salem? I just find it suspicious.”

“You get bad vibes?” Ezra laughs. “I think you’re overreacting, man. I have very few good bones in my body, and I can tell you he’s not that bad.”

“I think you’re wrong.”

He’s up to no good. I can just tell. When he was around her earlier, he looked at me as though he knew something I didn’t. Like I was insignificant and he could have Salem if he wanted her.

“How do you even know he’s interested in Salem? Maybe they really are just friends.”

I get up from the couch, contemplating it. There was just something about the whole situation that left me feeling off.

“Salem doesn’t have friends.”

“Well, she has you. Aren’t the two of you a little more than friends?”

I shrug, not wanting to admit anything to him. I’m not sure exactly what he thinks is going on with me and Salem, but I won’t confirm or deny. The less he knows the better. He may be my step-brother, but he can’t be trusted.

“Mmm,” he hums sarcastically at me, eyebrow raised.

I roll my eyes. “I’m going to take a nap before I go out later. It’s been a long couple of days,” I say, glaring at him.

“Where you going?” He asks suspiciously.

“Her place.”
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