The Beginning of the End
Season one- Spring
In this time
In this place
A curse that binds
Is now erased
Magicks to those who are to stand
Protecting all the ones they can
The Darkness now will walk free
As it will, so mote it be
Redwoods National Park, California
The candles set around the circle and as the child stepped to the edge of the large stone clearing the flames burst to life. Her innocence bloomed with wonder as she sat in the clearing of the forest relishing her new ability. A secret she hasn't shared.
Her mother would be worried, her father would be mad. This trip was to be about the family but she knew more than she had been told. He was leaving them after they broke the news to the others. She knew this, not because she heard them talking, not because she was told. She saw it happen before it happened. The shadow man told her only she could stop it.
Not wanting to lose her family, the small child did what the man in the shadows said to stop this change. She brought the candles, cleared the circle and said the words. Only then would they be together.
With her rear on the ground, her legs tucked to her side she played with the flames. Growing them high, up to the top of the trees then down to barely a spark. The giggles of excitement bubbled through her filling her with the thrill of her new gift. She could control the flames with a thought. Something she never imagined would happen to her.
A witch, she had to be. At ten years old the small girl knew she was different. Things happened around her, especially when she was upset. She had no control over the new gift but here in this circle, in the forest she'd seen in her head, she had to work to master her power.
As her mother called for the young girl to come in, she jumped up looking around the circle, nervous that she would be in trouble if she was caught. The candles died to hiss on the wicks and the small girl stepped back to gather her things. Tripping on a root of the big redwood, she fell back and scraped her hand on a sharp rock just inside the circle.
The ripped skin on her palms bled with a single drop hitting the earth, inside the clearing right at her feet. A sudden punch of power rippled through the air, swirling around her as she watched the drop of blood soak into the soft bed of moss at her feet.
Her body twitched, the power roared in her ears while her blood pulsed loudly. Her head fell back and she stared blindly up to the sky, her body lifted just slightly from the ground to her toes as the wind began to stir around her. Arms pinned at her sides, taunt and controlled, her small body lit with a red glow as the wind cyclones around her rotating faster.
Suddenly all control was gone, everything around her closed in, a black fog rolled towards her through the trees. The child's blue eyes turned black and her blonde hair flew back over her shoulders as the wind whipped around her. The candles lit with the wind and the girl turned to the center of the circle.
Her soft innocent voice chanted the words she'd never spoken, a voice in her head telling her it's time. Blood from the innocent has broken the curse and now as the black dog of the demon tickled her feet the beginning of the end is at hand.
"With this blood my gift to you
The time has come to collect what's due
Fire and wind will show you the way
Earth and water won't hold you at bay
Within this circle I am the key
As I will so mote it be."
The wind rushed through the trees, sending her tumbling to the ground. The earth shook, as the ground seemed to change in color and texture. The hard dirt became a sticky tar, surrounding the child and holding the girl in place. Her body slowly sank into the pit. Her fear only fueled the demon that emerged. Slick and black as the tar from his hell, his body stretched out of the earth to the sky, for it had been centuries since he last saw the sun.
The candle flames rose with a wave of his hands, and seemed to flicker with his breath while the lightning struck the center of the circle. The girl crumbled to the ground, losing her fight, sinking deeper into the beasts hold. The wind howled hungry and harsh around the circle. The rain fell like sharp shards of glass, piercing everything it hit. The earth trembled so hard trees around the circle fell. The candles flame grew, lighting up the barrier and circling around him as a bold hearty laugh filled with madness and glee roared through the trees. His offering is accepted as the demon feasted on blood and bone. His time for reckoning has come.
Northern Arizona University
It was all going exactly as I hoped it would. I got word that the scouts were here, wanting to see me play. It's my big break to show them what I can do. I've dreamed of this moment since the first time I picked up a bat. How many times did I pretend that the winning hit was mine? How many times did I pray for the chance to be something bigger, better than I was?
I guess dreams do come true
The bases are loaded, I'm up to bat with a full count on the board. This is it, I'm in my element. I'm at my best when the pressure is on. Looking over at the bench I see the guys hanging on to the chain link fence. Anticipating the next swing of the bat. Fingers are laced through the fence, faces eagerly waiting for my next move as I step back to the plate. Taking a couple practice swings, I kick at the dirt, tap the tip of my bat on home plate and shimmy my ass down into position.
"Good luck, baby!" I heard my girlfriend yell as I took a practice swing.
We've been together for six months now. Still she gets possessive of me when I play. It doesn't occur to her that players have a following of eligible ladies for us to choose from at a moment's notice. Not that I would do that. I'm a nice guy most of the time.
She doesn't seem to believe me anymore. The girls have gotten to her on more than one occasion. Now my girlfriend makes her point clear regularly by marking her "territory," namely me, every chance she gets.
It's getting old
This is it. The pitch I've been waiting for. I can feel it deep in my bones. The pitcher eyes his catcher, shaking off pitch after pitch until he gets the one he wants. The one I'm going to send out of the park.
"You're done, Asher. He's gonna take you out." The catcher trash talks once again to me.
"Then he better take his best shot." I'm ready to slam this ball over the back fence and run.
The ball is released from the pitchers hand. It's a fast curveball. He tricked me with this pitch earlier in the game. Not this time. Keeping steady, my eyes are on the ball as I swing hard. I can feel the electric shock down my arms as I made contact right in the sweet spot of my bat. I saw the bright flash from the sky, at the same moment I heard the roar from the crowd. It was then I realized the ball was in ashes at my feet.
My arms tingle with energy, zapping through my veins and pulsing through my body. My fingers are numb and my lips are prickling. There's pin and needles throughout my body and I think I can see a white glow where my hands are gripping the bat. It's almost like I'm filled with power. Lightning is all I can think. It must have hit me right when I hit the ball.
But wasn't the sky clear?
It's only then I feel the opening of the light. Inside me and around me. I can hear the buzzing of the bees, I can see a hummingbird slowing down by the back fence. That light, that glow spreads through me, fills me and opens with a warm knowing of the earth, the life all around me. Even all the people that are around, I can hear them, I can feel each one, but I only hear them in my head, and then I know what is to come.
The voice in my head yelled out and I looked around thinking it was someone in the stands. But the crowd was silent staring at the darkness rolling over the hills and coming our way. A darkness I soon learned to fear.
The wind kicked up, blasting through the trees and stirring up the dirt into little tornadoes over the field. The storm moved in fast as the warm spring sun clouded over by the darkness. It moved around me, breathed on the back of my neck and tempted me to follow him into the unknown.
The rain hit my face but it was more than just a bit of water. It stung, burned my exposed skin and seared through my clothes. Hot as fire, cold and sharp as shards of ice ripping at me like a vicious battle with a God. I held my ground at home plate hoping to see what had caused this anomaly.
But the ground rocked as everyone rushed around in confusion, running for shelter as fast as they could with no mind for anyone but themselves. My girlfriend screamed my name so loud, sounding frightened and panicked from behind me in the bleachers. I turned fast but could only watch her face, one second there the next gone to dust. Blinking frantically to make sense of what was happening, and I froze.
The ump starts yelling at us to get off the field. He pushes at me to get to the dugout. Again and again we bump into each other as I hurry in, some of the others are running out in search of safer ground. One by one I see my friends, teammates and opponents disappear into the darkness as if they are swallowed up by the beast. Curling into the corner of the dugout I hide from whatever is here.
The screams in the wind haunt me, the flashes of hot white flames burn behind my closed eyes and the earth shudders and shakes under my feet, knocking me to the ground and frightening me to near death. I've never seen a storm like this.
Then the sky rumbled loud and angry overhead, those slivers of hot white rain turned red as blood. The fury of the storm grew more intense. I've never seen red rain, or this kind of light spectacle in the sky before. I don't think I want to see it again. The darkness rolled through the park. Trees were silenced, the air stopped moving, thickening with moisture making it hard to breathe and then there was nothing but black silence.
St. George Utah
The library was the only place I could go to study. My family, as loud and obnoxious as they are, won't leave me alone for an hour to get my work done. This final, if I ace it, could get me into the medical school of my choice. One more semester and I'm there.
"Mira, we're closing early today. There's quite the storm heading our way." The librarian whose known me since I was a baby tells me. Great, I won't get my quiet here either.
I've worked incredibly hard to get to this point in life. My mom has had it hard raising the four of us on her own all these years. We all pitch in, cooking and cleaning, driving each other around and paying the bills that never end. But we have each other and that's what counts.
I should get home to the other's and make sure everyone is okay. Packing up my books, darkness sneaks into the room. A thickness to the air is making the dark seem to feel heavy like there's life in it. It's as if the lights are blocked out, I'm surrounded by darkness and can't see my hand in front of my face. Cold eerie fingers of dread creep up my spine. I can't see a thing. Although I've spent a good portion of time here, I don't know my way that well. Raising my hands out in front of me I stumble trying to make my way out.
"Mrs Rowland! Hello!!" Calling out is a hallowed sound with no echo I would have expected. Like I was yelling into a bottomless tunnel with no answer to my call.
Taking a few steps with my pack on my back, I can just barely hear the scurrying behind me. The sounds of multiple creatures crawling in my wake. I think of rats, snakes and those creatures that hunt in the dark. Whispers I can't understand, are close by. In the distance are hisses of those things coming near, and seem to edge closer to me.
I have images from horror movies in my head playing. The Birds that kill, the rodents that eat the bodies, the undead that come to life. Shaking the theater out of my head, knowing I need to stay grounded in reality. The undead won't come to life and nothing will be eating this body.
The fine hair rises on the back of my neck and I stop to listen and find my way. Nothing. Just a darkness that I don't understand. There's no light from outside, no emergency lights, no power at all. Moving forward, I find my way through a maze of shelves and carts of books and low tables for studying leading me to what I believe is the entrance.
I can hear books falling behind me. Hitting the floor and knocking into things. Carts tumble over and there's crashes in the dark as a wind begins to filter into the building. I can hear a breath close by, I can feel a presence closing in. It's not a comfortable feeling, more like I'm in trouble.
I don't risk announcing where I am this time. I'm certain that I'm not alone in this darkened mass. I hear the wind then, jumping as something is rammed against a window. The heavy low howl of the wild wind calls pushing the front door wide and the cold air angrily swirling in.
I can feel the wind whipping against me but I still can't find the door. Reaching out I touch the wall and ease my way along the bricks. I've never been scared of the dark, horror movies and ghost stories don't frighten me but this strange darkness has a heaviness to it. One that only tells me it's wrong.
Wrong to be here, wrong to stay in the dark alone
Feeling my way along the hot bricks, I trip on something, a book probably, on the stairs and tumble my way down to the foyer. There's a hiss and a burn on the palms of my hands. A wetness on my skin that I can only assume is blood.
"Well that's great." I mutter wiping my hands on my jeans. I'll bandage them up later.
I find the cool glass of the front entryway and press my hand to the glass. There's a glow out there, coming closer to the door. It must be someone with a flashlight or something. I can't imagine anyone driving in this storm. The rumble of thunder is loud over head and the lights over my head suddenly flash on and off. Sparks begin to fly around the concrete and burn into glass as I huddle in a ball for protection.
I hear the screech of metal against metal, I feel the power of the impact hit me, flow through my body zapping my eyes blind. Heat surged through me, filling me, opening a door that was locked deep inside. Once opened the knowledge was a wave of potent dominance not to be resisted.
I was powerless to move, fearful of what was happening even knowing in my bones that it was meant. Something bigger, something stronger was filling me in a way that would make me have sight, strength, knowledge of my role once fully developed.
It also knocked me on my ass and made me sick to my stomach. Kneeling down, my head hung as I reached for the glass I saw it inside me. That light of this storm, a gift to protect me from what's to come.
For that single brief second I swear I saw a figure in the darkness. Larger than any man, and darker than the blackness surrounding me. The lightning flashes again and there's fire on the street. A white ball of fire that explodes as it makes contact with the asphalt.
"Holy shit!" I can't leave and I can't stay.
Curling into the corner against the glass and metal wall, I take my only protection from the storm and whatever is lurking in the dark. Making myself as small as possible I hide and feel that power of electricity flow through me again. My body lights up like I've got bright white Christmas lights all over me. Then it slowly calms to light blue flames in my hands before it extinguishes itself out.
The Darkness is here