Are You Kidding Me?

This little story was inspired by a prompt from Tomi Adeyemi’s site.  This was a fun story to write…


“Mykolas Balchunas,” a low voice said.

Mykolas whirled around and found a tall, beautiful woman standing at the door to the dining room.  In an instant, he knew who she was.  “Charlotte,” he said, stepping back from the counter where he’d been chopping vegetables for the day’s soups.  “You’re in prison,” he said, shaking his head.  “How did you get here?”

She chuckled softly and moved away from the door, striding across the room towards him.  “Did you think that a little prison could actually hold someone like me?” she asked, shaking her head.

At those words, Mykolas knew what she was.  It explained the viciousness of her attack on Konrad.  It explained why she was coming after him now.  “Stay back,” he said, holding out the knife.

Laughing, she lunged at him.  Mykolas didn’t think.  He simply reacted.  She fell back with an angry cry and Mykolas scrambled back from her, seeking space and an escape route at the same time.

Charlotte straightened and looked down at her chest.  The handle of the paring knife was pointing out from her chest, a spreading bloodstain around it.  She pulled the knife from her chest and smiled.  “Was that supposed to hurt?”  There was a taunting tone to her words as she spoke.

Mykolas gave a weak laugh and stumbled back a few steps, shaking his head.  He hadn’t actually expected it to hurt her very much, but he’d expected more of a reaction that he’d gotten.  “I… just figured it would prove that you were what I suspected,” he said, his voice tremulous.

She changed her grip on the knife, so that she was wielding it as a weapon and then stalked forward.  Mykolas gave ground quickly, all the while searching for some way to escape her.  He opened his mouth but she was holding the blade to his throat before he could make a sound.  Freezing, Mykolas met her gaze with wide eyes.

“None of that now,” she said, her voice soft.  She slowly lowered the blade, running the tip down his neck to the collar of his shirt.  She didn’t break the skin, but he could feel the coolness of the blade.  “What shall I do with you, little one?” she asked, as she stopped with the knife pressing against the threads holding the top button of his shirt in place.

Mykolas squeezed his eyes closed, struggling to find his voice.  She could kill him in an instant or she could do far, far worse and, at the moment, he was powerless to stop her.  “Please don’t hurt me,” he breathed, finally.

She chuckled softly and then Mykolas felt her tense.  His eyes flew opened and he saw Zack watching them with wide eyes.  He half-expected her to kill him or for Zack to turn away and run out the door he’d entered from.  Instead, Zack threw up his hands and the blade glanced harmless off an invisible barrier that was suddenly between Mykolas and Charlotte.

Giving another weak laugh, Mykolas increased the distance between himself and the woman.  Then, he began chanting.  He held out his hand towards her, his gaze locked on her.  “Spirit of wrath,” he said, his voice strained, “I name you.  I bind you to my ring.  Be sealed and trouble me no more!”

There was a shrill scream as Charlotte seemed to shrink in on herself and then she was drawn into the ring and vanished.  Her cry echoed a moment longer before the sound faded.  Mykolas crumpled and would have fallen to his knees, except that Zack caught him and helped him sit down in a nearby chair.

“Are you all right?” Zack asked, his gaze intense.

Mykolas felt tears sting his eyes and then hiccupped once before he covered his face with both hands and began sobbing with relief.  As his tears began to subside, he said, “That was… terrible.  Thank God you came in when you did!”

He rubbed at his face and looked up at Zack.  Just the expression on the young man’s face told him he’d lost fluency.  He gave a shaky laugh and nodded.  “I’m not hurt, just shaken,” he said, speaking the common tongue.

“Good,” Zack said, nodding.  He heaved a sigh and then stood.  Pacing away from Mykolas, he said, “I wasn’t even sure it would work and… what was I going to do if she turned on me?”  He turned back to Mykolas and said, “You sealed her?”

Nodding, Mykolas held up his ring.  “My sealing ring,” he said.  He lowered his hand to look at the ring.  It was made of silver and severely tarnished, but the seal at the center was still visible: a compass rose, with the cardinal directions marked with letters and diamonds at each secondary direction.  Tiny triangles marked the tertiary points on the compass and a circle of dashed lines lay in the background.  “There was a time that all Cross Families had them, but… most have been lost over the years.”

“Lucky for us you still have yours,” Zack said, ruffling a hand through his hair.

Mykolas nodded.  Looking up at Zack, he added, “Lucky for me that you came in.”  There was no way he could repay what Zack had done.  However, offering his thanks would be a start.


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