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February 26, 2024

Further into the Darkness 22

By Lydia Manx

Chapter Twenty-Two

Caleb really sounded excited by seeing his first werecat. But still I thought that he was remarkably composed given what he'd just witnessed and everything else he'd seen and discovered in the past few days and nights. The graphic change from human being to a were creature wasn't in any way for the weak of heart and taking into account the size of the werecat on our laptop screen there had to be lots of goo and flying muck that exploded off the human. Better to see such transformations in the supernatural world from a distance but still not exactly a PG rating. Hollywood movies had really done us a great service with all their horror stories and movies.

Caleb and his generation had grown up with gross over-the-top gorefests available in blood spattered TV shows and online cinematic movies found twenty-four/seven in the land of instant gratification. CGI had jaded the vanilla humans, pretty much anesthetizing them to gore and bodies being ripped to shreds in impossible ways. For that we supernaturals appreciated the total desensitizing of the masses. Caleb moved over from the laptop on the coffee table in the dark living room.

Eddie's body thankfully hadn't moved and was still covered. I had worried that the Enforcer's arrow had more spells than just death. A zombie with werewolf functionality wasn't impossible, but damn well undesirable from my side of the coffee table. Looking at the screen I saw that Cable was correct -- the big ass werecat he'd noticed was definitely trying its best to claw its way inside the house. The exterior door it was trying to breach was warded but one of the members who had poured out of the now vaporized SUV was moving his hands and shouting out spells from what I could see. I knew that nothing was completely unbreakable, even with my background in strong magic -- eventually it too could be broken. Or -- plain old logic dictated they could simply decide to blow a large hole next to the door -- it wasn't like they gave a flying fuck about the house. One of the other invaders came over and was obviously indicating the space next to the door clueing the magic caster into an alternative plan -- I avoided growling aloud fearing I'd startle Caleb.

Harry looked over to me asking, "Bethany, how much longer to you figure we have before they break down the wall?" A good question.

"Minutes, no worries, plenty of bugs and beasties are available in the backyard. Is that okay with you?" I felt obligated to ask. Afterall it was still Harry's little party and I wasn't up to taking any responsibility for his mess -- no matter how much I loved a good fight. I was trying but losing the battle with myself; I kept getting pulled into his games. Mentally I was already rewriting my earlier spell adding in the necessary phrases to pull in a few feral cats along with random coyotes from the nearby canyons to make things interesting. I had to love the vast southern California chaparrals with the numerous wildlife still running through the narrow sandstone passages and the dry, thick brush that hid the various animals wandering often unseen in the night.

It was then I saw Valerie sidle up to Harry, well inside his personal boundaries I noticed, and she whined in a pseudo sexy voice that resonated false to me, "Harry, you don't need her to do this. I have plenty of spells I can cast to keep us safe."

Involuntarily Harry chuckled before saying, "But can you cast the insect spell simultaneously as the beastie spell? Bethany can and has successfully used them both many times." His slight laughter cut Valerie to the quick. She was so damn sensitive.

Glaring at me she spit out, "Not yet. But it can't be that hard because she can do it."

It was all I could do to refrain from bursting out laughing myself. What a stupid, stupid, arrogant baby witch. I really wanted to zap her hard with a mute spell. But I resisted and simply smiled at her -- not even popping out my fangs but inside my eyes the promise of retribution danced. She met my eyes and rolled hers with exaggerated smugness. Oh, I owed her.

Harry looked at Valerie just a mere four inches from his body and over to my anger-filled gaze. He quickly did the math and to my relief said, "Knock it off, Valerie. You are just a witch a few decades old. Bethany has centuries of vampirism and generations of magic to her credit. She's far stronger than you'll ever be. Get ready to help Morgan grab the werecat and quickly get it down to the cage for Zach and Jasmine to handle as soon as Bethany gives you the okay. I told you to stop challenging her. Soon I won't care if she retaliates towards your constant digs. She's valuable to me -- you not so much." He simply stepped away from her and walked back through the hallway towards the library.

Caleb snagged up the laptop and we all followed. The pounding was much louder as we approached the library. Harry had continued into the library and to the pocket door in the back of the room. He called down to Jasmine and Zach inquiring about the two occupants of the cells in the basement. Morgan had started to come back up the stairs and said, "They are successfully installed inside the cells and we are ready for the final creature. Did I hear correctly that it's a werecat?"

"Yes, do you know any from the local clans?" Harry asked softly.

"No, but they are vicious creatures not easily subdued. You probably recall from the Lily Pond incident in Balboa Park." His tone was even and very serious.

I knew that Jasmine, Morgan and Harry had previously fought and won some battle they had at the nearby Park. From the little they had told me it was horrific even by our warped standards. I continued to pull the Earth magic into my reworked spell and concentrated on the 'beasties' as I called the various animals in the canyons to feed into my work. I was ready.

I met Harry's inquiring eyes and opened up our vampiric mind connection ever so slightly.

'Harry, are we sure this is what we truly want to do? The werecat might be pulled into my spell -- depending on its Earth magic connection?' I asked, letting him see in my thoughts my concern.

'Bethany, we have to strike quickly the crew is holding the line but if any more join the invaders it will be bad.' I had to love his understatement. I could see into his thoughts and the strategies he had in play. It really reminded me of my decades of being trained in warfare by my Master. The sorrow -- still fresh in my heart -- tainted my thoughts making them darker and more dangerous. I knew I would easily become, shall I say, less cautious? Harry's mind easily followed mine and he knew that deadly, erratic side of me. He'd witnessed the mayhem I had savored and the chaos I had joyously caused in the past.

'Harry, let's get this show on the road.' I shut our connection of minds with a whisper of sadness. I so missed my Master and the vampire bonds that I had taken for granted. Harry came from that part of my past and echoes of loss followed.

Knowing me, too well, Harry commanded everyone to stand ready. He said aloud, "Bethany is now going to start the spell. Zach, stay downstairs no matter what you feel or sense." He spoke very loudly with the strength and power of a leader -- he didn't need to use his vampiric control voice but the one he'd honed with centuries of control over armies and command of many Supernaturals. Caleb looked to me with wide eyes. I nodded to him not having the time to verbally assuage his worries. He stiffened with inner resolve and stood up -- ready to assist if needed. I wished that I had the time to explain to him that his human condition made him far more vulnerable than useful. I allowed him his illusions for now and prayed that they wouldn't be challenged or crushed in the wake of the coming hours.

Valerie said to Morgan, "I'll slam the werecat with a confusion spell then you snatch it, okay?"

Morgan threw her an arrogant glance and didn't bother to reply. He was intelligent enough to know that battles didn't always go as planned. Having tussled with werecats he was ready for anything, I gathered from his stance. Valerie's youth could be her downfall one day. I just hoped today wasn't that day.

I began the summoning. The insects from the front yard had finished with their task and the bodies of our attackers were nicely digested and no longer a mystery for anyone human stumbling upon our battle. The various insects were willing to join the ones I was summoning in the backyard from what I could feel in my power. They actually relished the challenge of more invaders to demolish. I knew as hive minds tended to do; they were growing stronger with their numbers increasing. I added in the flourish of the various beasties in the nearby canyons -- they too were desiring a conquest and a challenge to take on more than just small mice and other prey.

Unasked Morgan started towards the door that led to the backyard. He and Harry had obviously communicated how they were going to proceed. I allowed Harry to dictate the troops -- they were his however he needed them, not mine. I wasn't in the least worried -- my job wasn't mixing it up with the attacking horde -- not yet anyways.

The erotic pull of the Earth magic I was asking to help me in the battle was extremely strong. I had already tasted the power moments ago in the living room as we'd decimated the oncoming creatures in the front yard. The difference was it now was markedly stronger. It was a siren's call of unbelievable promise of rewards from the very Earth I wrapped into my spell. The lush Earth smells rolled over me was I summoned both the bugs and the beasties. I closed my eyes and let Mother Earth flow through me and outwards in pulsing waves -- a tsunami of sensual primal emotions flooded me. My vampire nature -- it usually rested inside me in the daytime -- pushed forward into me. I felt my fangs flowing from inside my mouth. My elongated teeth now sharp and deadly pushed out from my gums. I knew if I had opened my eyes they would glow from my rising vampiric power. The color would be sharper and my very nature would compel me to seek out any possible blood sources. Caleb, Valerie, Jasmine, even Zach would be potential prey -- willingly or unwillingly.

With more pull from the Earth, my centuries of witchcraft, as it was my very bloodline began to seduce my thoughts. Promises were being whispered to me -- feeding my soul -- brilliant sunsets, forests with wildflowers and exotic trees filled with life -- woods embracing my very heart -- tugging and yanking me from my vampire calling. I was at war with myself for myself. My fangs kept going in and out of my gums as the sides warred for dominance.

I felt rather than saw Harry come to me. His arms went around me and I heard Valerie groan at Harry's physical attention to me. It was deeper than just a touch. She knew it and wasn't able to stop much less stall Harry from his attention to me. I felt as if I was floating between my two natures. I had a choice and with Harry's strength, I pushed away from the edge. My vampire nature went deep inside; no longer were my fangs filling my smile. My heart was pounding as the witch blood sang out with the spell I was invoking. The power was resonating through out me and from Harry's embrace I knew it was felt by everyone in the basement.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2021-11-08
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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