Best Witches Issue 15
Previous issues can be found on my author page.
As I paddled around the bend and seeing three people standing in the cave, their kayaks beached, I panicked. The light I had just created brought them into stark contrast, and every single one of them snapped their heads to look at me. Squeaking, I smiled and waved. In the same moment, a wall of magic erupted behind me from below the water to the cave ceiling. I heard Peyton’s kayak bump into the wall I had just created.
“Riley!” The two girls behind me screamed.
Peyton slammed her kayak paddle into the wall a few times before screaming again. I took a second to look back and shrugged mouthing the words I’m sorry.
“What are you doing here?” One asked.
“Who are you?” Asked another.
The third, the biggest and farthest back of the three, just crossed his arms menacing and stared.
I paddled quickly to try and beach myself on the shore of the cave, which worked, slightly. Then spent what felt like eons trying to gracefully get out of the kayak, which I failed at miserably. Finally, if I hadn’t been so terrified, I would have been incredibly embarrassed standing in front of these strangers as my kayak slowly made its way back into the water. I thought about going after it but just sighed and gave up turning my back on it. I took a deep breath, did a weird little curtsy, trying my best not to fall over.
“Well hello there, fair travelers.” I cooed trying to convey my best Julia Child impression.
The two who spoke looked at each other, then back at me with quizzical expressions. The big one just raised an eyebrow.
“The dagger is ours,” the smaller one said.
I made a guffawing noise. “Dagger? What dagger?” I blew out a breath ticking my noise with some of the hair that was falling in my face. The big one who was obviously in charge took a step forward, and I put my hands up in a peaceful motion. “Ohh, yeah the dagger. The one hidden in a cave, this cave. Yeah, that one. Yup ringing a bell now. Gotcha.”
Why in the world was I in here? They already knew I had magic since like an idiot I threw up the wall trying to protect the girls. It was a knee jerk reaction, and now I was sorely regretting it. This was dumb. I should just try and get back in the kayak and just paddle my happy little butt right on out of here. I did not need this dagger. Not this badly. These guys could have it.
Yet another part of me hissed, They will take it and cause harm. This dagger is yours. It is your birthright. Take it.
A bit of the ground under seemingly under where the three men stood started to vibrate. All four of us looked down.
“There it is.” The big man growled. His voice was like rocks grinding against each other.
Perfect. They didn’t even know where it was, and I showed up, and now they knew. Awesome. Go, Riley.
“Guys. Let’s talk here. Do any of us really even need this dagger? I mean it sounds pretty nasty. Couldn’t we just, you know, leave it here and forget it exists?”
The big one snapped his eyes in my direction, and the two others rounded on me as the leader started to incant spells over the ground trying to raise the dagger.
“Time for talking is over,” one of them said, coming closer.
I backed up until my foot splashed in the water. I could hear the screams of the girls behind me. I couldn’t let them in. They still had time to get away. These men would have to get in their kayaks to follow and it would spare the girls precious time.
My fear had been spiking, but suddenly a calm washed over me. I looked past the two men nearing me towards their leader. He was close to getting the dagger. I could see the ground jumping and roiling under his spells.
“You are right, the time for talk is over,” I said, not entirely sure why. Then I held out my hand towards the leader. It was as if this calm had taken control of my body, and the scared part of myself just sat in the back watching the show. I could see letters and words forming all over my arms like tattoos, coming to life, and coiling around me like snakes. Moments later there was an explosion, and the leader was blown backward almost losing his footing.
The dagger came flying straight into my open and waiting hand. There was another explosion. This time not of dirt, but of light, and lighting, and thunder. Vines of electricity lanced from the dagger I held to the three men. If this were a cartoon, you would have been able to see their bones through their skin. Yet here we were in the real world, and all there was, was the smell of burning flesh.
“Your sacrifice shall not be forgotten.” That same strange voice was emanating from me. I could feel the power radiating through my body, rattling my bones, lighting my nerves on fire. The talk with Bazo, the itching disappearing words of the book onto my skin in the car, all of it came flashing back.
“Well shit.” Was the last thing I said before I looked towards the girls. Dropped the wall of magic, and was ripped from the very realm of existence.
I’m not sure how long it was before I awoke. Yet when I came to the sounds of birds and the smell of the water hit my senses. Groaning I rubbed my head.
“Man girls, that was strange,” I muttered but realized I was not in the cave. It was bright out. I was on a bridge over a canal.
“How in the hell did I get to Venice?” I screamed. Startling the tourists around me to scurry away.
I pushed the heels of the palms into my eyes. I could feel a migraine coming on.
Thank you, Sean Eike, for the image this week.