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Twisted Ignorance [PUBLISHED PREVIEW]

Summary

This is the third novel in the Threatening Souls series.

Hatred and ignorance contribute to insanity.

The aftermath of the Massacre at the ICW facility had left each opposing side in shambles. The rebels had successfully fled, thus dividing the immortals into two separate sides: those that remained loyal to Henri Anderson, and those that crowned Melissa Young as their new ruler.

After having successfully survived the Massacre, Rebekah Jensen finds herself having constant nightmares about Melissa Young, much like she used to have with Roseway. Even though Mandy continues to reassure her that such nightmares mean nothing, she can’t help thinking that a greater threat is upon them.

Shortly after the two witches return from Ivanestible, Holly is kidnapped by the rebels and given over to Cody Robinson, Andre’s abusive father, with the hope that Andre will be lured to Barcelona, where her father will finally kill her. When Rebekah and Mandy decide to join Andre on such a journey, Rebekah begins to fear that her nightmares are justified—and that the threat of the rebels is greater than the growing threat of Henri Anderson.

Prologue

Her black locks framed her face perfectly—a flawless, pale complexion that resembled the material of porcelain. It was as if she were a doll, an unnatural thing of beauty that most girls strive to be but never reach. Cautiously, she made her way to the trial and execution of a human criminal, one who thought that it was socially acceptable to steal from his magical masters. She had no patience for those who blatantly disobeyed the rules that she had set in place.

As she approached him, who had a rope tied around his neck, he cowered at the sight of her. Reaching out, she traced a thin line down his cheek.

“So,” she began loud enough so that those who had gathered to watch the execution could hear her, “You thought that everything would turn out okay, that you would get away with theft.”

“My Mistress, my Queen,” said the criminal. “Please, I meant no harm by it. It was an accident. A misunderstanding. A—”

“Silence!” his Queen bellowed as she moved towards a lever. “Did I give you permission to speak? I don’t recall ever telling you that you could.”

“I meant no harm by it,” protested the criminal, changing his story. “All I took was one loaf of bread—what was needed for survival!”

“You stole from your masters,” the Queen said in a calm voice. “Such an act cannot go unpunished.” Then, she did what she originally intended to do. After charging him guilty of such a crime, she pulled the lever, which in turn opened the floor beneath the criminal. Thus, he was hung that very same day, and the crowd that watched his execution was dead silent.

And the Queen, the Mistress, Melissa Young, smiled the entire time.

Chapter One

At four in the morning on the eighth of February, Rebekah was pulled out of another nightmare that was centered on Melissa—the fifth one that she’s had in the two-week period. With the first one being on the plane ride home from the ICW, she didn’t think much of the nightmare before. But as the ones that preceded it involved some sort of variation from the first one, she began to deem that there was something more to them, some hidden meaning that she was unable to grasp fully.

Yet, she wasn’t a Foreseer—a human who can catch glimpses of the future in dreams. Therefore, her nightmares should mean nothing, but there was something about them that set her more on edge than the ones about Roseway. And the ones about Melissa have replaced the ones about Roseway.

Across from her were the bunk beds that her two older brothers slept in. In the dark, she squinted her eyes and saw that they were still asleep. Knowing that she would not be able to go back to sleep after having such a nightmare, Rebekah left her bed and snuck out of the bedroom that she shared with her two brothers so that she wouldn’t wake them.

The moon’s light was shining through the one window of the living room area of the apartment, illuminating all corners but the kitchen area. Rebekah stared at the crescent moon for a while as it sent shivers down her spine, but she couldn’t tell if such shivers were fear-based or due to the cold, early-morning air that often came with the month of February.

Going back into her bedroom, she peeled off her pajama attire in favor of dark denim jeans, a plain red shirt, and a black wool jacket. After slipping on a pair of leather boots, she exited her bedroom and proceeded to leave the apartment.

As she opened the front door a crack and peered outside, she hoped that she wouldn’t wake anyone up, especially her parents. After all, since she had returned from Munich, she had been kept under their constant surveillance. Even though their memories had been wiped of the attacks by the Bewitched and the magic use that had been caught on camera when Melissa and her rebel group infiltrated the ICW stadium and took Mandy, Rebekah knew that they still sensed that something was wrong. After all, Rebekah’s personality had kept changing the more she was exposed to the magic world.

In the long run, they had become overprotective of her for a reason that they don’t even know is good enough. “It’s just a hunch,” her mother had told her the day that she returned to them. Ever since then, the only two places that she was permitted to go were home and school.

Which meant that she only truly saw Mandy at school, a place that was so public that neither of them were able to discuss anything supernatural. This was especially true when Paige had officially moved to Marywood sometime last week and started to attend their school.

Constantly, she would hang around them.

Which was why Rebekah planned on heading over to Mandy’s early that morning and be back by the time her parents woke up. Since the school was hosting a mandatory Staff Development Day, she had the day off, which meant that her parents would be up later than usual.

Quietly, she slipped out of the apartment and made her way down the stairs before reaching the parking lot. Then, she broke out into a run as she turned left at the exit of the apartment complex and headed towards the wealthy part of Marywood.

Letting the streetlights illuminate her pathway, she continued to move towards that part of town, an area that was thought of as being the safest area of Marywood but made Rebekah shiver nonetheless. The wealthy part of Marywood was also where the members of Eternal Division lived, and since Rebekah had recently landed their leader, Jamie Simpson, in juvie, she was sure that they were all furious with her. At school, she became an even bigger target for them than Mandy or Holly ever were.

Yet, she also deemed that the fact that she had dated Jeffery Speirs a little at the ICW facility, someone whom Teri was attracted to, contributed to the constant harassment.

Within moments, she found herself standing just outside of the wealthy part of Marywood. With no further hesitation, she searched for Mandy’s house, hoping that Mandy would be awake enough to answer her door.

She knocked once and then twice before knocking a third time. At the third knock, she finally heard the door unlock before being pulled open. Standing in the doorway was Mandy, who was a disheveled mess.

“Rebekah,” Mandy breathed suddenly, which was mostly due to shock. “I thought that you were someone else.”

“Who would I have been?” questioned Rebekah as she pushed past Mandy and found herself in the foyer of Mandy’s mansion.

Mandy shrugged. “Someone immortal, I guess,” she said. “That’s why I didn’t answer it right away.”

“I thought that you were sleeping.”

Mandy shook her head. “My sisters have been keeping me up all night,” she explained.

“Sisters?” questioned Rebekah. Last time I checked, Mandy was an only child.

“Twins,” Mandy elaborated, but when Rebekah still wore her confused expression, she came to the realization that Rebekah knew nothing about these sisters of hers. “Didn’t I tell you?”

Rebekah shook her head. “Tell me what?”

“I thought that I told you and Holly in November, but I guess it had slipped my mind.” Mandy paused. “My mother was expecting twins in the beginning of December while we were at the ICW, and, well, she had them.”

“I see,” Rebekah commented. “And I suppose that they will be Foreseers, too?”

Mandy shrugged. “Possibly.”

“And where are your parents?”

“They packed up and left for a vacation the day after I had returned, telling me to look after the house,” Mandy explained.

To Rebekah, something about that seemed a little off, much like how her parents’ new overprotective practices were unusual as well. “Why would your parents leave like that? Why would they leave so abruptly?”

“It wasn’t abrupt!” Mandy argued. “I mean, I didn’t have knowledge about this vacation beforehand, but I’m sure that it had been thoroughly planned out ahead of time!”

“Mandy,” Rebekah said calmly, “why would they leave you here alone with your sisters, who are barely two months old?”

“I don’t know, okay?” Mandy turned her back on Rebekah. “Perhaps they just need some time alone.”

“Did they mention where they were going?”

Mandy shook her head. “It’s no big deal. It’s probably business. They’ve been known to make those kinds of trips every once in a while.”

To Rebekah, this situation still remained off, but she chose to let it slide. “What are their names?”

“I don’t know yet,” Mandy said. “My parents said that I can name them.”

Rebekah scoffed at that remark. They’re not coming back, she realized, but one look at Mandy told her that Mandy remained hopeful about their return. They know something, and they’re running away from it.

“I don’t know what to name them, though. Delilah sounds promising, but so does Hannah and Nicky and—”

“You seem to have no problem coming up with names for your characters,” Rebekah commented. “Name them after your characters.”

“Says the person who questioned heavily why my parents took a vacation,” Mandy noted as she led Rebekah through the house and into the nursery, where the two twins were in separate cribs that were next to each other. Then, she whispered, “And then, there’s the thought of middle names…”

Rebekah glanced at each infant, instantly noticing the appearance of curly, brown hair that rested at the tops of their heads. They look identical.

Mandy then pointed to the infant that was to the left of Rebekah. “This one will be Julia Fern Palmer, named after the main character of Bleeding Misery,” she declared before pointing to the one on the right, “and this one will be Serena Ross Palmer, named after the main character of my ICW short story.”

Rebekah still has yet to read all of Bleeding Misery, but she remembered the name Serena Ross from Mandy’s story that Jason had read aloud during the writing portion of the ICW. She remembered that that story had earned ten points overall.

“Shit,” Mandy suddenly swore, turning towards Rebekah. “Now, it’s a matter of getting them birth certificates, and I don’t know how to go about doing that!”

Rebekah raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Your parents never did that?”

“They told me before they left that they didn’t go to a hospital in order to give birth but rather had the twins in this house,” Mandy explained. “Considering the fact that the twins remained nameless until today, I doubt that they even bothered to get the proper documentation.”

“You know, I’ve never heard of an undocumented American with documented parents before,” said Rebekah as she fought the urge to laugh more out of pity than anything else. Shaking her head, she thought of Holly and Andre, who would be supposedly returning to Marywood today, and that was when it hit her. “I’m sure that Holly or Andre could manipulate the system and get their names documented easily.”

“Are you sure?” questioned Mandy with hope in her eyes.

Rebekah nodded. “I guarantee it.”

Soon afterwards, they left the nursery and crossed into the foyer and living room once again. Rebekah still found herself questioning Mandy’s situation and whether or not it would be a good idea to put her and her siblings into foster care once her siblings became documented. Instantly, she thought against such an idea, knowing that if that happened, there was a chance that she would never see Mandy again.

“So, why’d you really come here?” Mandy inquired after a while.

“Huh?” Rebekah was caught off-guard by that question. “What do you mean?”

“I know that you did not come here at four in the morning to talk about my situation with my parents and siblings,” Mandy elaborated. “Something else is on your mind.”

“Oh.” Suddenly, Rebekah remembered the real reason why she chose to venture to Mandy’s house at four in the morning. “I’ve been having variations of the same nightmare about Melissa Young ever since the plane ride from Munich.”

“Have you, now?” said Mandy. “Are they to the same extent as your Roseway-induced nightmares?”

Rebekah shook her head. “They’re more similar to each other than the ones about Roseway. I fear that they’re trying to tell me something.”

“Really? I haven’t experienced such dreams,” Mandy noted. “I don’t think they mean anything, Rebekah. Otherwise, I’d be having them, too.”

“But I can’t just ignore them,” Rebekah said. “Even if they aren’t foreseeing the future like yours, what if they are trying to tell me something?”

“I doubt it.” Mandy shook her head. “Your dreams haven’t shown you anything yet that was a part of reality, have they?”

Rebekah shook her head, instantly dropping the subject. Still, in her mind, she remained doubtful. She knew that her dreams could mean something more than just a way to pass the time by. After all, the dreams that she had while in Roseway had meant something deeper. Perhaps these dreams are being given to me somehow.

“Do your parents know that you’re here?” questioned Mandy.

Rebekah shook her head. “Why? What time is it?”

“It’s close to five.”

“I’ll get going, then,” said Rebekah as she made her way towards the front door.

“Wait.”

Rebekah’s hand barely brushed against the doorknob before Mandy uttered that simple word. Spinning around, she said, “What?”

Mandy took a step forward, her hands by her side. “I’ve been experiencing dreams, too.”

Rebekah raised a skeptical eyebrow. “You told me that you weren’t experiencing any dreams.”

“I said that I wasn’t experiencing such dreams,” Mandy corrected. “They’re not about Melissa Young. I have a feeling that they’re not about the future. I’ve been having them since the time that I had been taken by Melissa’s rebel group.”

“About?”

Mandy shrugged. “They’re about a witch named Hermione Rose and a Foreseer named Irina Sanchez. I mean, they obviously are about the past, but…why would be having them?”

Both of those names were unfamiliar to Rebekah—but that didn’t mean that they would be unfamiliar to the two witches that they knew. “Holly and Andre are due to return today,” she noted. “Ask them.” Then, she left through the front door and headed towards the apartment complex.

Chapter Two

The funeral was nothing special, and Holly found that she was incredibly bored. Nothing really excited her in Ivanestible, not even the opportunity to see the country and her cousin’s new apartment. For two weeks, she was either unpacking what Andre had brought over from Hermione’s old apartment at the castle—which Andre had suggested that they do manually for a reason that was unknown to Holly—or she was seeing the area that surrounded the castle. And that included the small village that was named Rhineshardt that rested about thirty miles from the castle’s entrance in the western half of the country.

Holly had no ties with that village. The village that Cleo resided in was also miles away—about a five-hour walk if magic was not used. Andre, however, did have a tie to that village, since she used to live there with her mother, and Holly remembered visiting the village as a child, the last time being when she was seven. But she still didn’t feel a huge connection with the village.

“Nothing’s changed,” Andre had noted when they had gone to the village for the first time a little less than two weeks ago. “I expected that it would have changed.”

Holly didn’t respond as she looked around the marketplace of the village. Afterwards, she remembered being taken to the same neighborhood that Andre had grown up on, staring at the house that she herself had not seen in years.

Upon seeing it, Andre said nothing at first.

“Why did you want to come here?” questioned Holly. “If I were you, I would do everything in my power to forget what had happened that night.”

“I can’t just forget, Holly. I find myself constantly thinking about that night when I’m alone and how it could have been prevented,” Andre told her cousin. “It was declared that the cause of my mother’s death was unfathomable, but over the years, I’ve come to realize that it might have been something that she drank that night.”

Suddenly, Holly’s curiosity had perked up. “What do you mean? What did she have?”

“I remember her vaguely buying a bottle of black tequila from an unknown merchant,” Andre replied. “Tequila isn’t black by nature, meaning that something had to have been put into it in order to make it black. When I had researched that night, other unfathomable deaths were caused as well in this same village.”

“Okay. So, your mother was probably poisoned somehow,” concluded Holly.

Andre nodded. “I think that she had been poisoned.”

Suddenly, a burning question made its way into Holly’s mind—one that she was hesitant to ask. “Umm…do you think it’s possible that…Cody could have poisoned her?” After she had asked that question, she waited for Andre to lash out. Surprisingly, Andre did no such thing.

She shook her head. “As much as it wouldn’t surprise me that he would do so, I don’t think that he poisoned her,” she explained. “To send a merchant to our village would hint at the fact that he would have had to make a temporarily alliance with a mortal magic user, something that he wouldn’t have done at the time. Not to mention the fact that he would have had to know exactly where my mother had taken me, and I doubt that she would have revealed that to him. Also, my mother wasn’t the only one in the village who had died like that. He only had a vendetta against my mother and I—meaning that she would have been the only one that had died. As much as…Cody…despises the magic users, he wouldn’t go through all that trouble to kill those that he had no attachments to.”

“Then, who would do so?”

Andre shrugged. “That merchant, obviously. Whatever faction she belonged to.”

At that moment, the conversation had died, and the two of them had left the village.

Back at the funeral, Holly found herself staring into the open casket of Olivia O’Connor as the memory faded around her. Even though she didn’t have a relationship with Olivia, she felt a little sad that someone from her old group had died in one of the most horrible ways possible. Since Holly had recently became a nomad and Andre left that group for the Royal Guard, the only three people who were alive and remained in the Solar Clan were Arizona and her two older brothers. Holly’s family was no longer a part of it, and neither was Olivia’s.

Andre went to stand by her. “She’s in a better place,” she commented.

“In a better place?” Holly reiterated. “Andre, she’s dead! She’s unable to be brought back! What place are you talking about?”

“Metaphorically speaking. I like to think that death is not an end but a beginning. It is a natural process, free from the insanity that comes with immortality,” Andre elaborated. “I envy those that have experienced it and passed through into the spirit dimension.”

“Like Ava?” Holly inquired. “But she’s still in our dimension.”

Andre gave a small smile. “That question proves that there’s still so much that I have to teach you.”

“What do you mean?”

Andre sighed. “There is, how you say, a parallel dimension where most spirits have the option of moving freely between this dimension and that one. Most choose to remain in that perfect dimension when they die, but there are others, like Ava, who don’t.”

“Why didn’t Ava move there?”

“Until last October, the spirits of Roseway were trapped in that suburb by Henri Anderson,” Andre explained, her smile fading. “Even still, I think that Ava and her mother feel like they have more ties here than in the other dimension.”

“Other spirits don’t feel that way?”

Andre shook her head. “Most want to move on.”

“It’s strange why they would want to leave everything behind them,” Holly said as she moved from Olivia’s open casket to the open caskets of the five human ICW participants.

“All human memory of the existence of these five humans has been wiped,” said Andre when she saw the dead clique participants. “That’s what Jason told us.”

Holly nodded. “I know. At least we can still honor them in a way, even though none of us really knew them,” she commented before stumbling upon the three mortal magic users who had died fighting in the Massacre. “And these ones as well will be honored.”

Andre steered Holly away from the open caskets and towards an empty table.  Together, they sat there as the funeral festivities droned on.

“Jason also mentioned to me that he’s temporarily giving us your parent’s old trailer until I turn eighteen, and then, he’s going to sell it,” Andre said after a while. “I want to know how you would feel about that.”

Holly shrugged. “I wouldn’t care either way. I mean, I would still get to go to Marywood freely.”

“Yeah, but,” Andre paused briefly before continuing, “that means that you wouldn’t be attending that human school anymore. I would be pulling you out of it.”

Holly nearly choked. “Are you serious? What about Rebekah and Mandy?”

“They’ll survive just fine in that school by themselves,” Andre said. “It’s not like we’re going to completely abandon them, but you do realize that once we return to Marywood, I’m pulling you out of that school right away.”

Holly gasped slightly. “Why so soon?”

“You’ve missed about three months of school. Rather than having your mind focused on human studies as you make up all that missed work, I’d rather have you focused on your magical studies,” Andre explained. “In the long run, Holly, the work that you had put into the human schooling system will do nothing for you.”

Holly sighed, defeated. “Yeah, I understand your thinking. But Rebekah and Mandy—”

“Will still be able to see you,” Andre concluded. “It’s not like I’m telling you that we’re leaving Marywood permanently and never returning.”

“I know,” said Holly. “I understand.”

By the time the funeral was over, the sun was high in the sky, indicating that it was about three in the afternoon. Briefly, Andre and Holly returned to Andre’s apartment.

“I think that we should head back to Marywood now,” Andre commented. “I mean, since it’s still morning there, and that will give me a chance to take you out of that school today.”

“Right.” Holly took a deep breath. “Where to?”

“The trailer,” answered Andre. “Where else?”

Holly took another deep breath as she watched her cousin disappear through the familiar void that served as their gateway to other places. Then, she attempted to do the same, envisioning the living room area of her trailer as the sparks clouded her vision. Then, she found herself in absolute darkness for a few seconds that seemed like minutes before emerging into the place that she had envisioned.

Andre was already there, watching her with a curious expression.

“Okay.” Holly moved towards her cousin. “Now what?”

“We go to that school,” Andre replied.

“But don’t we need some sort of appointment?” Holly inquired. “I mean, you can’t expect us to just waltz in there and demand that—”

“We can with magic,” Andre said as she brushed past Holly. “Now, since you obviously know this town better than I do, please escort me to your school.”

Holly sighed in defeat. “Without teleportation?”

Andre nodded in agreement. “Without teleportation.”

“It’s kind of far,” commented Holly as she pushed open the door to the trailer and took a step outside with Andre trailing behind her. Not far from her location, she heard laughing that could only belong to the neighborhood kids. A sound that she hadn’t heard much of since before the issue of Roseway was resolved. As she turned towards her left, she noticed the group, who were all hunched over a fire. Just seeing that fire reminded Holly that it was rather chilly outside, even more so than what Marywood typically was during the wintertime.

Standing in the center of the group was Kyle, who met her gaze briefly before smiling.

“Holly!” he called as he moved towards her with the rest of the group watching his every move. “When did you return? I didn’t see you come back.”

“Just now,” Holly answered confidently as her body stiffened.

“Would you care to join us?” Kyle questioned.

Holly gave one nervous look at Andre before her eyes settled on Kyle again. “I’d love to, but—”

“But what?” questioned Kyle, but Holly didn’t need to answer him. In that instant, he noticed Andre—and his eyes began to narrow. “You have company.”

Holly nodded a little too quickly. “Yes. Yes, I do.”

“I see.” Kyle continued to scrutinize Andre distrustfully. “And why is she here?”

Holly glanced at Andre again, noticing that she was staring at Kyle as if she was going to put him under a spell. “Don’t,” she commanded, watching Andre’s concentration deteriorate. Then, she turned towards Kyle again and said, “She’s my new guardian.” Even though Holly knew that that wasn’t true yet, she knew that that was the only way to get Kyle to fully accept Andre.

“Your cousin is your new guardian?” Kyle asked skeptically.

“She’s old enough to be one!” Holly protested.

“Right,” said Kyle. “And what happened to your parents?”

Holly opened her mouth to speak but instantly closed it when she realized that the words that were being said were not hers. They were her cousin’s.

“Her parents have been terribly sick for the last couple of months, and it was only last week that they had finally passed away.” The lie sounded smooth as it rolled off Andre’s tongue to the point where Holly felt a little startled by it. “She’s now in my care, and I suggest that you stop your questioning.”

Holly watched Kyle’s distrustful countenance turn into one of pure rage—the opposite of what she expected would happen.

“You have no authority to tell me what I can and can’t do!” Kyle spat. “Especially whose name doesn’t fit the person’s gender!”

Silently, Holly gasped, expecting that Andre would lash out like she did when anyone brought up her name. However, she did no such thing and instead spoke in an icy voice that made Holly shiver.

“If you wish to see Holly again, you will drop the subject,” she said, which made Kyle’s red face turn white as his eyes went wide.

At first, Holly suspected that Andre was using some sort of obedience spell on Kyle, but after noticing that true fear was what made him silent, she instantly relaxed. As much as Kyle annoyed her at times, she didn’t want him to be put under a spell.

Kyle shifted his gaze from Andre to the ground. “Holly,” he whispered before speaking louder, “I’m sorry.”

“Why are you apologizing to me?” Holly wore a confused expression as Andre grabbed her arm and pulled her away from Kyle. When Kyle was no longer in hearing distance, Holly added, “Andre, he should be apologizing to you!”

“Forget about him,” was Andre’s response.

“Why?”

Once they were out of the trailer park, Andre stopped suddenly. “I don’t like the idea of you two seeing each other.”

“What?” Holly was flabbergasted. “Andre, we’re not dating!”

“But he likes you that way. It is evident to me that he likes you that way.”

“I know,” said Holly. “He kissed me before. That happened over a year ago.”

“Did he, now?” Andre sounded amused as they continued their journey towards the school. “And?”

“And nothing. I told him that I don’t like him that way,” Holly said.

“Good,” commented Andre, “because I forbid you to go out with someone like that.”

“You’re not even my legal guardian yet, and you’re already acting like you are,” said Holly, but even she couldn’t conceal the smile that crossed over her lips. “First, you decide to take me out of the human school system permanently, and then, you forbid me from seeing Kyle. What’s next?”

Andre did her best to suppress a smile. “Where are we heading?”

“Over here,” said Holly. For the rest of the walk, the two cousins were silent. Once the school came into view, Holly was glad that they had finally made it but felt confused when she saw that most of the lights were off.

“Is that the school?” Andre wondered.

Holly nodded. “I don’t know why some of the lights are off, though,” she said. “Give me your phone.”

Andre glanced confusingly at Holly before fishing her phone out of her pocket. “What are you doing?”

Holly didn’t answer Andre as she took the phone and searched for either Rebekah’s or Mandy’s contact information. Rebekah’s came up first, and she instantly sent a text: Why are some of the school lights off? Did something happen?

Surprisingly, the response came rather quickly: No. It’s Staff Development Day. No school. Holly felt herself relax as she showed Andre the text.

“Okay,” Andre said. “I guess I’m going to have to talk to your principal tomorrow, then.”

“I guess,” said Holly before another text rang.

Is this Holly or Andre?

Both, Holly replied.

There was a slight pause.

Does this mean that you guys are back?

Yes, texted Holly. I need to see you. Can you and Mandy meet us somewhere?

I can’t, came Rebekah’s response. I know that you guys and Jason did your best to wipe everyone’s memory of what happened at the ICW, but for some reason, my parents suspect that something happened. Therefore, they won’t let me go anywhere that isn’t home or school. I had to sneak out at four in the morning today just to briefly see Mandy.

“Shit,” Holly swore underneath her breath as she showed Andre the text.

Andre read the text briefly before saying, “Tell her that we’re heading over there.”

“Okay,” Holly said before typing out her response. Andre and I are coming over there. There is no way that your parents can say no to that.

Okay, but keep in mind that my brothers are here as well, and we…kind of…share a room now. Then, another message appeared: I’m in room 106.

They’ll just have to leave temporarily, Holly texted back before saying, “Okay, Rebekah now lives in an apartment complex that isn’t far from here.”

“Okay,” Andre said. “Take me to it.”

Do you even remember how stubborn my brothers can be? texted Rebekah.

Lol, Holly replied. On our way. Then, she handed the phone back to Andre.

In about fifteen minutes, Holly and Andre came across the apartment complex. After finding the correct room number, Holly knocked on the door with Andre standing behind her.

The door then was opened, and Holly caught sight of Rebekah’s mother. “Holly,” Katie greeted. “What a pleasant surprise.”

“Hello, Mrs. Jensen,” Holly said before motioning towards Andre. “This is my cousin, Andre. We’re here for Rebekah.”

“Of course; come in,” Katie said before giving a curt nod to Andre as she outstretched her right hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, too.” Andre eyed the hand for a second before shaking it. Then, she followed Holly into the apartment.

And there was Rebekah, who stood just outside what Holly presumed was her bedroom. “Hey,” she greeted before wrapping Holly into a hug, who hugged her back briefly before breaking the embrace. Then, Rebekah did the same to Andre, who surprisingly hugged her back. “Come,” she said as she beckoned for Holly and Andre to follow her into the bedroom.

The first thing that Holly noticed was that Rebekah’s two brothers were not there.

“I somehow managed to get them to leave for a little while,” Rebekah said as if she read Holly’s mind. “Is Mandy with you?”

“No,” Holly said as she shut the bedroom door closed. “I was planning on telling her to come here after we found our way.”

“I’ll do it,” Rebekah said as she whipped out her phone and sent a quick text. “After all, she’s currently home alone with her new twin sisters.”

“Twin sisters?” questioned Holly, who was intrigued.

Rebekah nodded. “Apparently, her mother had twins while we were at the ICW—and they’re undocumented. She didn’t have them at the hospital, nor did she name them. She said that Mandy could name them.”

This confused Holly, but she didn’t respond.

“I’m assuming that Mandy’s parents are currently not in town?” Andre guessed. “That they abandoned her?”

Rebekah looked questioningly at Andre. “How do you know that?”

“No parent would say or do that unless they were planning on leaving their children permanently,” Andre said. “In fact, I haven’t heard of any parent who would just leave their children alone in an empty house, but it doesn’t surprise me that they did so.”

“Well, don’t mention that to Mandy,” Rebekah commented. “She’ll deny it and get all defensive. Now, I was wondering if—”

As soon as she said that, the door to the bedroom opened, and Mandy entered the room. After closing the door, she went over to Holly and gave her a hug. “How are you?” she cooed.

“I’m fine,” Holly said before the hug was broken.

Mandy then quickly took a seat by Rebekah and asked, “What were you guys talking about?”

“I was just about to ask them if they would be willing to use magic so that your sisters can become documented,” Rebekah explained before directing her next statement at the two witches. “Will you do so?”

Before Holly could respond, Andre spoke—and she was shocked by Andre’s answer.

“No. It’s better if they remain undocumented,” said Andre, which earned her shocked expressions from the other three who were in the room. “If they become documented, there is a chance that the immortals would find out about them, and I don’t want them to know about a couple of infants who could turn out to be possible Foreseers.”

“But being undocumented is illegal,” protested Mandy.

“They’re infants. No one will know that they’re undocumented,” said Andre. “In the long run, this is better for them…and for you. You don’t want the immortals to start hunting you down.”

“But they already know about me, and they haven’t started to hunt me down yet,” said Mandy.

Andre sighed. “If they found out about your twin sisters, that would mean that they would know about two more possible Foreseers, making a total of three. Foreseers are already rare, and if they knew that there could be three living under the same roof, they would start to hunt you down.”

“Oh.” Mandy was instantly saddened by that fact. “I didn’t realize that. I won’t press the matter further, then.” She paused as she switched topics. “I also have another question.”

No one said anything as they waited for her to continue.

“What does it mean if a Foreseer is having a dream—or vision—about the past?” questioned Mandy.

She was met with more silence.

“What have you been seeing?” Andre inquired after a while.

“They’re all different, but they’re about this witch named Hermione Rose and this Foreseer named Irina Sanchez,” Mandy explained. “I don’t recognize those names.”

I do, thought Holly as she watched Andre become melancholy. Or at least one of them.

“That’s definitely from the past,” Andre said before she began to explain. “Hermione Rose was best friends with my mother and had gained custody of me after I had run away from my father’s farmhouse. She used to tell me stories about her Foreseer friend, Irina Sanchez, who had given birth to a child and years later was brutally murdered by a group of immortal nomads. To this day, no one knows what happened to that child.” She paused slightly. “Hermione Rose is also dead. I watched Henri kill her when he had attacked the Ivanestible castle. She had sacrificed herself for me.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t know that,” said Mandy apologetically.

“It’s fine. You were just being curious,” said Andre. “And I can’t blame you for being curious.”

“Okay,” Mandy said before falling silent.

Holly and Andre didn’t stay there long after that, and once they had finished catching up with each other, Holly and Andre left for the trailer park.

By the time the two of them returned to the trailer, the sun had already begun to set.

Chapter Three

“This is it,” Melissa whispered to her group of rebels as they appeared near Holly’s trailer in the trailer park. “Now, we observe.”

Her group nodded in agreement—Victoria, Kat, Rhiannon, and even Rosalie—as they patiently waited to observe. Melissa knew that Holly and Andre were currently out of town and due to return that day, and she was prepared to observe them and take note of which trailer was Holly’s. Near them was a group of people around Holly’s age who Melissa suspected also lived in the trailer park. How interesting.

“Melissa, what are we doing here?” Rhiannon questioned. “I mean, we can’t kidnap Holly yet! We need a plan.”

“I just want to observe which trailer is Holly’s so that we don’t accidently stumble into the wrong one!” Melissa snapped. “I was planning on doing the kidnapping tomorrow at night.”

“But what about Andre?” Victoria wondered. “What if she’s there?”

“Look, Cody said that he would write a note that he expects us to leave in the trailer for Andre to find,” said Melissa. “If for some reason Andre is there when we attempt to do the kidnapping, we take her out and tell her personally what the note practically says. If not—and hopefully, she will not be there—then we will leave the note somewhere in the trailer.”

The others said nothing as they watched the area. Within a moment, the door to one of the nearby trailers opened, and Holly took a step outside, followed by Andre. Upon seeing them, Melissa smiled.

They have returned.

And Melissa planned on enacting the kidnapping tomorrow at night, regardless of whether or not Holly was alone.

Then, Melissa watched as one of the neighborhood kids—a boy—called out Holly’s name and started to converse with her. Yet, Melissa paid no attention to the conversation but instead studied the boy’s physical characteristics carefully, committing them to memory. As soon as Holly and Andre leave, I have something that I’d like to say to him.

The conversation wasn’t particularly long, but Melissa could tell that the boy was agitating Andre. Then, the two mortal witches left, and when they were a safe distance away, Melissa made herself known to the boy with her group of rebels following closely behind.

“Hello,” she greeted as she flashed him a smile.

The boy looked at her skeptically. “Who are you? One of Holly’s rich friends?”

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am one of her friends. I have an interest in her, if that’s of any importance.” Melissa laughed slightly. “You seem to be rather protective of her. Tell me, what is your name?”

The boy said nothing at first. “Why?” he finally said.

Melissa’s smile vanished. “Answer the question.”

To the boy, Melissa’s voice sounded cold and threatening—and mainly out of fear, he revealed his name: “Kyle.”

Melissa’s smile returned. “Well, Kyle, something special is going to happen tomorrow night. For a while, I’m going to be taking Holly somewhere—and you will not interfere.”

“Where are you taking her?” demanded Kyle.

“Does it matter where I’m taking her?” Melissa paused. “The important thing is that I don’t want you to worry or try to stop us from taking her.”

“But…I was just reunited with her…” Kyle’s voice broke as his eyes narrowed at Melissa. “Who are you? What is your name?”

“Revealing such information to you could possibly get back to Holly, and I don’t particularly want that,” said Melissa. “My identity isn’t important to you.”

“Then, what business do you have taking Holly?”

“He’s asking too many questions,” Kat noted. “I think we should go.”

Melissa nodded in agreement. “You will not interfere, Kyle,” she said once more before retreating back to their hiding place. From there, they teleported to Barcelona and entered Cody’s prison.

“Why did you feel the need to talk to him, Melissa?” Kat demanded once they were in the prison.

“I didn’t want him to try and protect her,” Melissa said.

“Melissa, he’s weak! Insignificant!” said Kat. “We could have easily taken him out if the need demanded it.”

“I know. I know.” Melissa paused as she scanned the prison for Cody. “I just didn’t want to deal with him.”

Kat let the subject drop as they stumbled upon Cody, who was bent over a desk and writing something down on a piece of paper.

Melissa smiled upon seeing him. “I was just about to suggest that you begin writing the note to Andre,” she said as she moved towards him, placing a hand on his shoulder.

He flinched underneath her touch but did not look up at her. “I figured that it would be good to get it over with,” he said as he finally met her gaze. “Before the day comes when I finally get to meet my niece for the first time.”

Melissa had only recently told Cody about Holly, someone whom she was surprised that Cody had never heard of before. Cody did know that Max had a sister beforehand, but he was unaware that said sister had a daughter of her own.

Melissa removed her hand from his shoulder. “You know, it hadn’t dawned on me until now that there is a possibility of Andre being there tomorrow when we go after Holly. I didn’t know if you would rather have us go after her instead of Holly or—”

“No!” Cody bellowed. “She had already escaped you once when you tried to forcibly take her here. She needs to willingly come here. In a way, her cousin will serve as bait.”

“Okay,” Melissa agreed as Cody continued to write. Then, she slipped away from him as she went to rejoin her rebel group. “He’s writing the note right now,” she told them.

“So, it’s settled, then,” Rosalie spoke up—the first time she had said anything since the night of the Massacre, which startled Melissa at first. “We’re going to do something immoral.”

We’re not going to do anything. You’re going to stay here with me,” said Melissa. “Kat, Victoria, and Rhiannon, I want you three to travel to Holly’s trailer tomorrow night and perform the kidnapping.”

“What?” asked Rhiannon. “I thought the five of us were doing it together!”

In response, Melissa shook her head. “It’s evident that Rosalie will give us away if she goes, and I need to stay here in order to keep an eye on her. Therefore, you three are the best options.”

“Okay,” Victoria agreed. “We’ll do it.”

“Believe me. I would have liked to take part in the kidnapping as well, but I need to keep an eye on things around here.” Melissa paused. “When you guys go to perform the kidnapping tomorrow, place the note on one of the kitchen counters. Andre will be sure to find it if it’s out in the open like that.” Then, the group dispersed, and Melissa couldn’t help but smile that the plan was finally being set into motion.

Tomorrow night will be the start of a new beginning.

Chapter Four

Rebekah was freezing the next morning when she had finally woken up. Glancing around, she realized that her two brothers were already up, and she knew why that was. Today was a school day.

And she had slept in, much to her dismay.

Instantly, she scrambled into the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind her. I’ll have to make this quick, she thought to herself as she turned on the shower. I can’t afford to be late.

For five minutes, she felt absolutely rushed as she washed what she could. After dressing herself in jeans and an oversized jacket, she stumbled into the living room area of the apartment.

“Some things never change,” Nick commented as he studied her.

“Nick!” Rebekah bellowed as she glared at him. “Shut up!”

“What?” Nick said, getting up off the couch. “You’re always running late! This time, you’re even later than normal!”

Rebekah chose to ignore him as she went straight towards her parents, who were preparing themselves to take her to school. Since both of them held jobs at the middle school, she would often carpool with them.

“Are you ready to go?” Katie asked her, seeming to not notice her sopping-wet hair.

“Umm…right now?” The last thing Rebekah felt was ready.

“You slept in too late!” Nick bellowed as he and Mark went past her and exited the apartment.

Rebekah gave them one last glare before slinging her white backpack around one shoulder. Then, she followed her parents to the parking lot and took a seat in the back of their car. Surprisingly, they said nothing to her. They didn’t scold her for being later than usual nor did they attempt to strike up a conversation with her. Instead, they talked amongst themselves in a low voice so that she couldn’t hear them, making her overwhelmingly suspicious of them.

Once the car pulled into the parking lot of the school, Rebekah slid out of the backseat without waiting for her father to kill the engine first. She didn’t want to spend another second with them, for they had been acting weirder and weirder since she had gotten back from the ICW. Even though they didn’t particularly know what they were trying to protect her from, they still felt the need to protect her more than necessary.

Mandy was seen in front of the school, but Paige wasn’t around just yet. Smiling, Rebekah went to join Mandy in front of the school as they waited for Paige and Holly.

“Hi,” Rebekah greeted.

Mandy took one look at Rebekah’s appearance—which reminded Rebekah that her hair was still wet nor did she have any time to put on a little makeup. “You were running late this morning, weren’t you?” Mandy concluded.

Rebekah nodded. “Slept in too late.”

“Well, Paige isn’t here yet,” said Mandy. “I’ve been waiting here for about five minutes.”

“Give her some time,” said Rebekah. “There are ten more minutes before the first period is due to start.”

As soon as she had said that, she noticed the appearance of Holly in the distance—and she smiled. At least three out of the four members of our group will be here. Yet as soon as she noticed that Andre was next to Holly, she knew that something was up.

“There’s Holly,” Mandy noted, but Rebekah could tell that Mandy also sensed that something was wrong.

Soon, Holly saw them, and she abandoned her cousin temporarily as she ran towards them.

“You were waiting for me, weren’t you?” greeted Holly.

“You and Paige,” Mandy explained before elaborating a little more. “Rebekah’s cousin goes here now, too.”

“Oh.” Holly’s expression suddenly darkened. “That’s great.”

This confused Rebekah. “Holly, what’s wrong?”

Just then, Andre finally made her way towards them and clasped a hand on Holly’s shoulder. “Holly, we need to get going.”

“What’s going on?” Rebekah tried again, this time directing her question at Andre. “Are you taking Holly away permanently this time?” At that moment, any good mood that she had vanished at the thought of losing Holly permanently.

Andre shook her head, which let Rebekah relax a little. “I’m not taking her away permanently. That would be stupid and cruel.” She paused. “I am, however, pulling her out of the human school system.”

Rebekah and Mandy glanced at each other. “Why?” they both said simultaneously.

“I’m sure you both are fully aware of the two months amount of work that you have to make up. Tackle an extra two weeks to that, and you’re now looking at Holly’s situation,” Andre explained. “I want her to be more focused on her magical studies than her human ones, for graduating from a human school will get her nowhere and in the long run is a waste of time.”

“She’s right,” Holly said suddenly. “You two both have a future ahead of you in the human schooling system. I don’t, and sometime in the future, I will be leaving the human world behind me.”

“Holly,” said Andre before eyeing the others. “When is your lunch break?”

“Eleven thirty,” answered Rebekah. “Why?”

Just then, she saw Paige in the distance, and right after that, the first bell rang.

“Meet us outside,” Andre said before steering Holly away from them.

Seconds after, Rebekah and Mandy headed into the school building without bothering to wait for Paige, since they would be late otherwise. Paige will understand.

Then, Rebekah and Mandy went their separate ways, since they did not have the same class first period. For Rebekah, she had English with a teacher other than her father, since he only taught sixth and seventh graders. The one class that Rebekah wished Mandy had with her, for all of the former members of Eternal Division, with the exception of Jamie, shared that class with her.

And the three of them made it blatantly obvious that they hated her even more than they hated Holly and Mandy. Even though Jamie’s recent imprisonment had caused Eternal Division to break up, since they no longer had a strong and negatively influential presence, they still went out of their way to make her life miserable.

She was the only one they seemed to target. Even Mandy wasn’t harassed by them anymore.

Keeping her head low, she made her way to her assigned seat in the back of the classroom. If only my seat was in the front of the classroom, she thought to herself as she sat down. The shades in the classroom were down, allowing for very minimal light to seep into the classroom, thereby creating a rather eerie atmosphere.

Within seconds, a shadow came over Rebekah’s vision. Looking up, she realized that the shadow belonged to Teri, and she sighed. What now?

“Jamie wanted me to give you this,” Teri said, smiling cockily as she slapped a folded piece of paper on Rebekah’s desk. Then, she spun around and rejoined Sabrina and Sam, who kept glancing at Rebekah and giggling.

Rebekah resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she unfolded the piece of paper. Recognizing Jamie’s small, cursive handwriting, she began to read:

 

Which is worse, Rebekah? Being convicted of drug usage and theft or being accused of being a slut and a whore? At least I am protected within the walls of the juvenile detention center, but you? There is no protection for you, especially when the entire school finds out about the true uncensored version of what really happened between you and Jake, and then between you and Jeffery. News of that sort tends to spread fast—and I have no remorse with exposing that truth, since you exposed my undesirable truth. I suggest that you tread with caution.

 

Rebekah gasped slightly to herself, realizing that Jamie was referring to a rumor that her former clique members were going to spread. Normally, she would laugh off such an insult, but something about the way that Jamie wrote the threat made her uneasy.

She looked up right when the teacher entered the room and began his lecture before glancing at the note again. This time, something else was being written on the piece of paper. Below Jamie’s cursive handwriting that had been written in black ink came words in jagged lettering that were written in red ink. And the handwriting didn’t resemble Jamie’s one bit.

Once the sentence had finished being written, Rebekah read it silently to herself—and she fought the urge to scream.

 

Soon, we will meet again when there is no one around. When that time comes, I will gut you like a pig.

 

As soon as she had read it, Rebekah only knew that it was Johnson’s handwriting. As soon as she looked up from the note again, she saw Johnson lingering near the doorway of the classroom, clutching a knife. Yet when Rebekah blinked once, Johnson was gone.

 

~~~

 

“I don’t feel particularly well,” Rebekah told Mandy once they met each other for lunch. Paige was nowhere in sight.

“How so?” questioned Mandy.

Rebekah pulled out the note from first hour that she had stuffed into her pocket and showed it to Mandy.

“So, Jamie’s having her former posse spread a rumor about you,” Mandy concluded once she was done reading Jamie’s portion. Then, she pointed to the writing in red. “Is this Jamie, too? If so, I didn’t think she would ever have this huge of a vendetta against you.”

“That’s not Jamie’s handwriting.”

“Then, who—”

“It’s Johnson’s,” said Rebekah. “Rebecca Johnson’s.”

“Seriously?” Mandy was in utter shock. “She’s here?”

“Apparently.” Rebekah paused. “I barely caught a glimpse of her in my English classroom.”

“Oh, shit,” Mandy swore. “So, it’s not over yet.”

“Apparently not.”

Just then, Mandy grabbed Rebekah’s arm. “We need to tell Andre and Holly about this.”

“What about Paige?” Rebekah questioned. “She’ll wonder where we had gone.”

“We’ll find her later,” Mandy declared. “This is much more important.”

As Mandy led Rebekah through the double doors than led to the outside parking lot of the school, Rebekah whipped out her phone and sent Paige a quick text: We’ll meet you in the cafeteria later. Have something to take care of first.

Once Rebekah and Mandy positioned themselves in front of the school as they waited for Holly and Andre to show up, Rebekah got a response: Don’t come to the cafeteria. In fact, I’ll meet you where you are. Where are you?

Confused, Rebekah texted back, Why can’t we meet you in the cafeteria?

If you only knew of the horrible things people are saying about you, you wouldn’t want to be here, texted Paige. They’re saying that you slept with both Jake and some guy named Jeffery.

What? Rebekah was furious.

Is what they’re saying true?

What? Of course not! Rebekah paused as she tried to come up with a quick explanation. You know Jake, and Jeffery was someone whom I had met and dated briefly at the ICW. But I did not do what they’re accusing me of doing!

There was a slight pause.

Where are you? Paige wondered.

But Rebekah didn’t answer Paige. In that instant, she resisted the urge to chuck her phone against the concrete wall of the school.

“Rebekah, what is it?” came Mandy’s concerned voice.

“Jamie’s posse! That’s what happened! They told the entire school that I had slept with both Jake and Jeffery!” Rebekah fought hard to control her anger. “And now, Holly gets to leave our school for good while I am stuck dealing with this crap!”

“Rebekah, calm down.”

“No!” At that moment, tears began to spill from her eyes. “First this, and then Johnson’s threat! I’m scared to think of what will happen next!”

“Rebekah,” said Mandy as she pointed in a certain direction.

Rebekah looked to where Mandy was pointing and witnessed the formation of two separate masses of sparks. Wiping her tears away, she watched them dissipate as her gaze met Holly’s and then Andre’s.

And Holly was the first one to guess that something was wrong. Sprinting towards Rebekah, she wrapped Rebekah up in a hug and said, “What happened?”

“With Jamie’s consent, the former members of Eternal Division told the entire school that Rebekah had slept with both Jake and Jeffery,” explained Mandy, “thus hinting at the fact that she’s a slut and a whore.”

“You’re kidding me,” Holly said as she broke away from Rebekah. Glancing at Andre, she added, “Isn’t there any way that you can pull them out of school?”

Andre shook her head. “As much as it hurts her that someone would do this to her, she and Mandy both must remain in the human schooling system. It’s safe now that both Sarah and Melissa are no longer attending that school.”

At that comment, Rebekah couldn’t help but glare at Andre. “Our school isn’t safe!” Then, she walked up to Andre and shoved the note in her hands. “Especially when I receive notes like this!”

Andre skimmed it over before looking at Rebekah. “This is just a threat that Jamie gave you.”

“The top part is,” said Rebekah. “The bottom part sure as hell isn’t! Johnson wrote that, and I even saw her in my English classroom!”

Andre sighed before handing the note back to Rebekah. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I can’t pull you out of school. The only reason I can do it with Holly is because I am going to be her legal guardian.”

“Not even with magic?”

Andre sighed again. “Especially not with magic. Such an act would raise too many suspicions.”

“Great,” Rebekah groaned as she went to stand next to Mandy once again.

At that moment, Andre’s phone rang, and she immediately fished it out of her pocket. After reading it, she glanced at the rest of the group with a pale complexion. “The Royal Guard’s having a meeting tonight,” she said before looking at her phone. “This is kind of short notice.”

“You don’t have to go,” Holly said. “Tell them that you have other plans.”

“I can’t. I have to go.” Andre paused. “Rebekah, do you have room in your household? Just for one night?”

“What? No!” Holly bellowed. “I’m not staying with anyone! I’ll be fine on my own for one night. After all, you left Rebekah and Mandy alone for two weeks!”

“And besides,” Rebekah added, “I don’t think my parents would be too keen on the idea. We don’t even have an extra bed, so…”

Andre seemed taken aback by this. “Okay,” she finally agreed. “Just don’t do anything stupid with that group who lives in your neighborhood.”

Holly laughed a little. “I haven’t yet, have I?”

Andre smiled a little before saying, “I have to leave now apparently. I’ll be back tomorrow.” Then, she disappeared as she teleported to Ivanestible.

“I will be fine on my own,” Holly said before disappearing herself.

And that was when the lunch period officially ended.

Chapter Five

A knock sounded on Holly’s door an hour after she had gotten back from the school. For some reason, she felt startled by it, since Rebekah and Mandy were still in school at that time.

Nonetheless, she answered it, seeing that it was Kyle. This surprised her. At least Kyle can keep me company in my loneliness.

“Hello,” said Kyle. “I-is your cousin around?”

Holly couldn’t help but laugh at Kyle’s stammering. “She has a name, you know,” she teased. “Andre. And no, she’s not here. She won’t be back until tomorrow.”

“Oh.” Holly saw Kyle relax. Instead of questioning where Andre was, he asked, “Can I come in?”

In response, Holly took a step backwards, allowing for Kyle to enter her trailer. After shutting the door behind him, she turned to him and said, “You know. For what it’s worth, I’m glad that you’re here. Things have been getting pretty lonely.”

“I’m sure,” Kyle replied. “So, I heard that Andre pulled you out of that school that you used to attend. Why did she do that?”

“She’s going to try homeschooling me,” answered Holly, which wasn’t a total lie. “She doesn’t really trust our school system.”

Kyle smiled slightly as he took a seat on Holly’s couch and patted the area next to him. Taking the seat next to him, she returned his smile.

Then, they spent their afternoon and evening talking to each other about various topics. Even though Kyle annoyed Holly some of the time, she found herself enjoying their time together and even considered him to be a friend. And she was grateful for his company.

“Holly,” Kyle said suddenly when the sun had set, but he didn’t continue.

Holly looked at him curiously. “What is it?”

He returned her gaze, and any sort of happiness had left him as his eyes became full of sorrow. “I’m worried about you.”

Holly felt surprised. “Worried about what?”

Kyle took her hands in his. “I do care about you. Even if it may not seem like it, I want you to be safe.”

“Umm, okay,” said Holly, unsure of how to respond to his comments. “I’ll be fine. I have Andre.”

“Not tonight,” Kyle pointed out as he gulped slightly.

“Kyle, what is it?” questioned Holly, suddenly getting the feeling that something was terribly wrong.

“Holly, I tried doing this over a year ago, but I want to try again,” Kyle said. “Please let me do so. The time that we have together is limited.”

Before Holly had a chance to ask Kyle what he meant by that, he pulled her into him and planted a kiss on her lips.

And she didn’t push him away.

Andre doesn’t have to know, thought Holly as she pressed her hands against Kyle’s chest. For a while, Holly felt a combination of bliss and dizziness as her lips continued to move in a dance with Kyle’s.

Then, a crash was heard outside the trailer.

And just like that, the kiss was broken as Kyle scrambled up off the couch.

“Kyle, what is it?” Holly repeated the question before answering it herself when three separate sets of black smoke appeared just outside her trailer. “Kyle,” she warned.

“I know,” Kyle said. “I see them, too.”

Did he see them appear? Holly wondered, suddenly overcome with worry. “You…do?”

“You’ve always struck me as being different, Holly. Not just because of your choices to avoid my group or the people you choose to hang out with but because…” Kyle’s voice broke as he struggled to continue his thought. “I’ve been observing you for a while, now, and it’s all clear to me now.”

“What’s clear to you?” questioned Holly as the three immortal witches—who were now identified as Kat, Rhiannon, and Victoria—moved closer to her trailer. “Kyle, we need to hide.”

“No,” Kyle said firmly. “Look, Holly, I’ve pretty much figured out that you have abilities that most people don’t possess, and I’m okay with that.” He paused as he took a deep breath. “Now, those three out there, I don’t know what they want with you, but they did visit me yesterday with two others shortly after you and Andre left. Therefore, you should hide. They’re not after me.”

“What?” Holly found it difficult to comprehend what Kyle was saying. “They’re here to kill me?”

Kyle shook his head. “They said that they’re going to take you somewhere, and they told me to stay away when they came. But I can’t stay away and watch them take you knowing that I could have done something to prevent it.”

“Kyle,” Holly began, “there’s nothing that you can do. They’ll hurt you.”

“Perhaps they will,” said Kyle. “Stay here and hide.”

Before Holly had a chance to convince him to hide as well, he was already out the door of the trailer, gaining the attention of the three immortal witches. He was yelling at them, from what she could see. Scolding them. All in an attempt to protect her—and Holly deemed that if both of them made it out alive, she would give him a sincere chance and date him.

Then, she watched in horror as Kat took a step forward, said something to Kyle in response, and then hoisted his body up off the ground with her magic, channeling it into his neck so that it snapped easily as if it were made out of twigs.

Holly covered her mouth, willing herself not to scream. They killed him! They killed Kyle! her mind screamed. I have to hide.

After scanning the entire trailer thoroughly, she deemed that a teleportation attempt was futile. As close as they were, they were bound to see the aftermath of her spell and use that to track her. Seeing nothing else, she deemed that the only safe hiding spot was inside one of the kitchen cupboards underneath the counters.

She ran to the kitchen area of the trailer as fast as her legs would take her and shoved herself into one of the cupboards, closing the door behind her. Then, she stilled her breathing as the front door was bashed open.

And then, she began to hear voices. Her heart thrashed violently inside her chest.

“Didn’t Melissa clearly tell that boy not to interfere?” came the voice of Rhiannon. “Why would he disobey her like that?”

“I don’t know,” Kat said. “He won’t be able to interfere anymore, though.”

“That’s because you killed him,” Victoria pointed out.

Kat sighed. “I did what had to be done. Now, where is she?”

Quiet! Holly commanded her trembling body. They knew that she was in the trailer somewhere, and now, she realized that they would probably not leave until they find her.

“She is definitely somewhere, considering the fact that Kyle was here,” Rhiannon said. “She’s probably just hiding.”

“Holly,” Kat called out suddenly, “come out now, and we promise not to hurt you.”

Bullshit, Holly wanted to say to them, for she knew that they wouldn’t be here if their intention wasn’t to hurt her.

“She’s not coming out,” Rhiannon noted.

“Search every area of this trailer,” Kat ordered. “We are not to leave until she is found!”

Holly knew that the trailer was not that big, and therefore, they were destined to find her. After all, once she began to hear the opening and closing of the other cupboards and pantry, she knew that any chance of escape was futile. Again, the idea of teleportation came to her mind, but she instantly shook the idea from her head. If she did so, they would be able to sense her magic use.

She needed to somehow fight her way out of this situation if she wanted to live to see another day.

The anticipation was killing her as the immortals continued to slowly search her trailer. Slowly. The word echoed around in Holly’s head. They could have easily found me by now, and yet, they’re making their search as slow as possible as if they’re trying to kill me with fear and anticipation.

Once Holly realized that, the door to her cupboard flew open, and her eyes instantly made contact with Kat’s.

“Found you,” Kat whispered to Holly. “What did you hope to gain by hiding like that? What did you hope to gain by having that boy attempt to protect you?”

Holly said nothing as Kat grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the cupboard.

“I mean, you decided to hide in a cupboard instead of attempting the obvious: teleportation,” she continued. “It’s almost as if you wanted us to find you.”

“You would have tracked me,” Holly growled.

“Perhaps,” said Kat before turning towards Victoria. “Do you have the note?”

Victoria nodded as she placed it on the kitchen counter.

Note? Holly questioned in her mind as she struggled to wrench her arm away from Kat.

“To Andre, who is obviously not here,” Kat explained as if she had read Holly’s mind. “It’s from her father.”

What? At that moment, Holly resisted the urge to scream. The rebels had somehow made an alliance with Andre’s father, and now, it was clear to Holly that they were taking her to him. In order to free herself, she used her magic to push Kat against the wall. Instantly, Kat let go of her, and she ran towards the front door of the trailer. Yet, she didn’t get that far, for as soon as she had pushed Kat into the wall, an invisible force wrapped around her legs and forced her to fall on the ground.

In that instant, Rhiannon loomed over her, and then, she blacked out.

 

~~~

 

Holly woke up in a state of absolute panic. Not only did she have no idea where she was, but she also found out that she was alone in a cell. And there was absolutely no furniture in said cell.

Her entire body ached as she sat up abruptly, at first not remembering what had caused her such agony. And then, she remembered. The rebels had kidnapped her and incarcerated her inside this cell.

With this realization, she quickly rose from the ground and envisioned Marywood in her mind. As she closed her eyes, she willed herself to teleport there.

Nothing happened.

Distraught, Holly tried a different tactic. Instead of teleporting out of the cell directly, she decided to focus her magic on the cell door and will for it to open or for the bars to bend and break.

Still, nothing happened.

Whimpering slightly, Holly took a step back, suddenly fearing the worst. The rebels had taken her to her uncle’s prison in Barcelona, and within that prison, she had been silenced in order to eradicate any possible means of escape. If she were going to escape, she would have to think of a way that didn’t involve magic.

It wasn’t long before she began to hear voices. As they became louder and louder, she recognized one of them as being the voice of Melissa Young. The other one, on the other hand, was one that she did not recognize, for it belonged to a man. Is that my uncle?

She had heard plenty of stories about the man who claimed to be her uncle, mainly from what Hermione had told her side of the family. She remembered hearing about what had happened to Andre and feeling nothing but sorrow. Yet, she had never met the man, nor did she have any desire to do so. Now, however, she feared that she would finally meet him for the first time—and he would do to her a variation of what he did to Andre.

“We’ve successfully kidnapped her,” came Melissa’s voice. “Kat, Rhiannon, and Victoria came back with her earlier this night.”

“I see,” came the voice of the man whom Holly guessed was Cody Robinson. “And Andre wasn’t with her at the time?”

“No. No, she wasn’t.” Melissa paused briefly as she switched topics. “I thought that you’d like to meet Holly.”

“You thought correctly,” said Cody. “However, I would like to do so alone, if you don’t mind. After all, she is family, and I would like to welcome her properly.”

The way that Cody had said those words sent shivers down Holly’s spine. If this had been a normal family gathering, she would have felt calm and collected. But given the circumstances, all she felt was fear.

“Alright,” Melissa replied. “Tell me how it goes.” Then, her footsteps became softer until Holly could no longer hear them.

Holly backed further away from the barred cell door and clung to the shadows. Looking around the place, she realized that there weren’t any windows. Aside from light that had been omitted from the torches in the actual dungeon, there was no light in her cell, for there were no torches that were directly in her cell.

Suddenly, a figure crossed her vision, who stood just outside her cell door. With curly, brown hair and a decrepit facial expression, he glanced at her with his blue eyes and smiled. “Come closer,” he said calmly, beckoning for her to do so. “Don’t be afraid. I promise not to hurt you.”

Holly stayed rooted to her spot as her breathing became panicked. She said nothing to him and instead continuously stared at him.

“Holly,” Cody said, drawing out the syllables in her name for a second longer than necessary, “please come closer so that I can get a good look at you.” He outstretched his right hand through the bars of her cell. “So that I can meet you properly.”

Realizing that he wasn’t planning on going away anytime soon, Holly took a few careful steps forward before stopping. She felt his gaze study her and watched his mouth form an even bigger grin, and she decided to press forward. When she was close enough so that he could touch her, she stopped and bent her head low so that she could stare at the stone floor.

Cody’s smile vanished. “Holly, have your parents not taught you proper manners?” he questioned while continuously dangling his right hand in front of her.

Holly looked at him before glancing at his hand. Then, it hit her like a ton of bricks; he wanted her to shake it as if they were a couple of strangers meeting for the first time on the street. Hesitantly, she did just that as she stared at the floor once again. His handshake was firm, a lot firmer than she anticipated it to be, and she was glad when it was finally over.

“I see that I have a lot to teach you,” Cody mused, reaching out so that he could cup her chin in his hand. “For instance, look at me when I’m talking to you. And say something back; I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall.”

Holly opened her mouth but said nothing at first. At last, she brought herself to mutter three simple words: “Let. Me. Go.”

“Let you go?” Cody reiterated. “I’m afraid that that’s not possible.”

Holly pushed his hand away. “Let me go, or I’ll—”

Before she had a chance to finish her threat, Cody quickly reached through the bars with both of his hands and twisted her wrist so that she had no choice but to turn into him and have her back slam against the cell door lest she break her wrist. Crying out in pain, she attempted to fight him off, but any escape that she tried would result in a broken wrist.

Cody let go of her wrist with one of his hands and clasped it on her shoulder. Then, he leaned close to her ear and whispered, “You can’t possibly do anything to me. Here, you are powerless, trapped in a cell with no magic to help you.”

At this point, Holly stopped fighting him. “What do you want with me?” she said through gritted teeth.

“You are of no importance to me. Yet, Melissa claims that you are the key to luring Andre here,” Cody explained, blatantly amused. “Is that true? That she would come all the way to Barcelona just so that she can rescue you?”

“So, I’m only bait for Andre,” Holly stated.

Cody let go of her just then, and she quickly spun around. “I wouldn’t mind bonding with you, however. All those lost years of not knowing who you were. All those years that I lost of Andre’s life. I wish to gain back what I’ve lost.”

“How to you expect to do that?’ Holly breathed.

“You will be my storyteller,” Cody explained. “Periodically throughout the day, I will visit you, and when that happens, I want you to tell me stories about your life. More specifically, I want to know about the time period after Andre ran away from me.”

Gasping softly, Holly backed away from Cody. The last thing she wanted to do was reveal to him anything about her life or Andre’s. At that moment, Cody left her, and she was forced to spend the rest of the night alone in her cell.