Tag Archive | Halloween

The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 2

the-man-who-wasnt-thereOctober 2013

Flames dripped from his fingers, spilling down his arm and onto the floor. A dribble of fire worked its way up to his armpit, setting fire to his shirt. Brian slapped at the flames, burning his hand.

“Ouch! Dammit! Ow!”

“Brian!” Maribelle Casey’s voice floated down the basement steps from the kitchen

“Sorry, Mom. I burned myself.” He stuck his fingers in his mouth, pulling them out immediately when he tasted the bitter herbs that covered them. “Gak! Blerg! Gross!” He rushed to the utility sink and rinsed his mouth. Running water over his hand, he hissed as the singed digits met the cold.

Soft footsteps trotted down the stairs. “What did you do to yourself now?” Jordan’s voice interrupted his pity party.

Brian held out his hand to her. Jordan took his damp fingers, whispered a couple of words and the pain stopped.

“Quit being such a klutz, Casey,” she said as she sat on the couch.

“Yeah. Fire isn’t my thing,” he replied, sitting next to her.

Jordan giggled. “Says my pyromaniac boyfriend.” She gave him a quick kiss.

Her lips on his stopped any further protest. She was right. Fire was his second best element, which he could summon at will. Controlling it, however, wasn’t as easy. The scorch marks on the cement floor and singed carpet, paid testimony to that.

“Your mom doesn’t mind you playing with fire in the house?”

He whirled his injured finger in a circle. “Protection spells all around. I might set fire to myself, but not the house.”

“That makes it so much better.” She gave him another kiss. Jordan pulled away when he started getting fresh. “Cool it, cowboy! Mom’s upstairs.”

“Sorry.”

The change of status of their relationship was new and neither of them were exactly sure what to do with it. Their experiences a year ago had shown them that they were destined to be together, but it didn’t make it any easier to deal with the fact. Constantly in one another’s company, working on their fighting skills, spell casting and charm making had brought them closer together. It was inevitable that they would take the next step in their relationship—that of boyfriend and girlfriend.

“What are you working on today?” Jordan asked, looking over the mess he’d made on the ping pong table, which served as his practice space.

“Summoning fire and controlling it—emphasis on control. I can summon fire just great, getting it to do what I want—that’s something else.”

Jordan flicked her wrist, twirling her fingers. Flames appeared over the table, dancing merrily. She made walking motions with her fingers and they strutted around the surface. No scorch marks or ember trails for her. The flames danced a few more minutes and quietly sank to nothing. Brian watched with envy and disgust.

“You’re trying too hard,” she said. “Not only that, you’re so concerned about not setting the house on fire, you’re not channeling your attention properly. We’ll go over to Chase’s and work in the swamp.”

“Trees catch fire, you know.”

“Shall we go to the old Winn-Dixie parking lot? No trees there. I don’t think that even you could set asphalt on fire,” she replied with disgust.

“No public places, you know that.”

“Kidding!” She hopped up, reaching for his hand. “Come.”

“What? Where?”

“We’re taking a break. You need to get out of the house and I need ice cream.”

Brian laughed, standing up. He pulled her close, towering over her. He’d put on a growth spurt over the last year and shot up to six foot three. Jordan had eeked out another half inch and stopped growing. It was no end of annoyance to her that she was still nearly a foot shorter than he.

“You can have ice cream, but I want something else first.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

Brian leaned over, grinning. Jordan stood on tiptoe. Their lips met and they exchanged a short kiss.

“Another reason to get out of the house,” he murmured.

They trotted up the stairs hand in hand, bursting into the kitchen. Their mothers sat at the table, talking and drinking tea. Brian smelled jasmine and ginger.

“We’re going for ice cream,” Jordan said. “Can we bring you anything?”

“Nothing for me, thanks,” Maribelle said. “Jackie?”

“No. I’m trying to be good, with the holidays coming. I always eat too much.”

Jordan smirked, tilting her head to one side. “I dunno, Mom. I think you could stand to gain a couple pounds.”

Her mother smacked her hand playfully. “Go get your ice cream. Are you taking my car?” She reached for her keys.

“They can take mine,” Maribelle said. “I still don’t feel comfortable driving, so it’s mostly Brian’s now.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 1

the-man-who-wasnt-therePROLOGUE

Part 1

September, 1713

Luminous Cayce stood on the front porch of his spacious home, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. The full moon sparkled on the water as it rolled by. Smoking his pipe, he was content. Nothing could equal the peace he felt when he communed with the water. Its power and majesty surrounded him.

A small sound behind him made him turn around. His eldest daughter, Evangeline, stood in the doorway. This was the night of her fifteenth birthday party. The guests had finally gone home and the servants bustled around cleaning up. Her father smiled, holding out his hand.

“How does it feel to be fifteen, my lass?”

“No different from fourteen, in truth. I suppose that will change.”

“No doubt.” He put his arm around her shoulders, holding her close.

She shivered in the chilly night air. Luminous removed his coat and set it around her shoulders. She thanked him with a smile.

“Mother is asking for you. She’s feeling ill.”

“Liza will see to her.”

“She’s asking for you,” his daughter’s voice held reprimand. “You need to see to her, Father.”

He kissed her brow. “As you wish, child. Do not be out long.”

“Not long, I promise. The water is so lovely, is it not? And the scents of fall in the breeze.”

Luminous smiled. “Yes, Daughter. Tomorrow, we shall have a talk.”

She nodded, turning back to the river as he walked inside.

November, 2013

Brian Casey has a problem—several, actually. As if being a super smart, self-proclaimed social pariah weren’t enough, he recently found out that he’s descended from an ancient line of Druids. In each generation, children are born with certain gifts. For his family and generation, he is the one. Brian was surprised to find out that several of his close friends also have these gifts. It was a shock to each of them, to find out that they wield unique, magical talents. Reaching majority at the age of fifteen, these chosen few become the keepers of the balance between good and evil. None of his contemporaries were prepared for the challenges they faced—fighting a legendary evil, Deidrich. Mr. D, as they call him, is so powerful, those who know about him don’t ever mention him by name.

After their epic battle with Deidrich, where Brian was very nearly killed, the chosen ones of the new generation, determined to hone their skills. When Deidrich returns, they intend to be ready.

December of 2012 was touted by some as being the end of the world. What Brian, Jordan and their friends discover is that it’s not the end, but a beginning. A whole new magical world, full of surprises, some of them good, some deadly, await them.

Being descended from Druids isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It means long hours learning the uses of herbs, the properties of stones and metals. It’s time spent practicing control of the elements. Some can call flames, others manipulate the earth, still others summon wind or water to do their bidding.

Brian has found out that in addition to his other abilities with the four elements, he is the Dreamer, a prophet who learns the future in his dreams. He’s also been told that Jordan, his good friend, is his intended wife. In fact, each of the eight has their counterpart in another member of the chosen.

Of all the things he’s learned about himself, Brian finds this the most difficult to get his mind around. He always thought when he met the right woman, he’d fall in love and marry her. Instead, he’s been told that his future is mapped out and nothing will change it. Not that he doesn’t care about Jordan, he does. He just would have liked a choice.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Conclusion

He Thought He Saw redAfter talking to the police, they go to Chase’s house to wait for news about Brain. Soon, Heath calls to give them an update.

“Doctor decided a tree root got him when he fell. It’s great what a little compulsion can do. Never saw anyone as good at it as Claude, except maybe Clifford. Everything okay there?”

Jordan told him how it had gone with the police. Her father chuckled. “See what I mean? Stick tight, I’ll be there soon. They’re keeping Brian overnight. Might keep Maribelle too. She’s a wreck. Miles is going to stay up here. I’m going to run him up some clean things, but first, I want to get my girls home.”

“We’ll be waiting, Daddy. I love you.”

“Love you too, honey.”

The news of Brian’s condition was greeted enthusiastically. Everyone cheered and laughed except Jordan. Her mother noticed how subdued she was.

“I thought you’d be happier than anyone.”

“I am, Mom. I almost lost him. He’s my best friend and he almost died!” She burst into tears.

“But he didn’t. You saved him with your quick thinking. We couldn’t have done this tonight without you and the others. You saved our lives.”

“Is he dead?” Jordan asked. “Mr. D. Is he gone for good?”

“I don’t know. Somehow, I doubt it. I think it will need a more concerted and organized attack to kill him—if he can be killed. But for now, he’s gone.”

Heath arrived and everyone went their separate ways. To save them from having to drive all the way home at that late hour, the folks from Louisiana spent the night. Andre and his parents were with Chase. Louisa’s family went with Marissa’s and the Sweets came to Jordan’s. Brian’s house was a crime scene, so Heath gathered spare clothing for Miles and Maribelle. There were a few of Brian’s things in the clean laundry. Jordan packed those for her father to take.

“Can I come too?”

“Sure, honey. I’m sure Brian will want to see you when he wakes.”

Brian looked pale and the skin was tightly drawn over the bones in his face. He had a warming blanket over him since his body temperature wanted to drop. He looked terrible. Jordan gave a little cry when she saw him.

Maribelle was in the bed next to her son. Miles sat on the one chair in the room. There were pillows and blankets in the oversized window seat. He accepted the clean clothing gladly, and went into the bathroom to shower and change.

Jordan walked over to Brian’s bedside. She sat on the edge of the bed. Heath pulled the curtain between the two beds to allow her some privacy. He talked quietly to Maribelle while Miles was in the shower.

Jordan took Brian’s hand, lacing her fingers with his. “Hey, you goon. Get better, okay? I still owe you a smack with the pillow.” She put his hand to her cheek as she leaned over and gave him a kiss on the lips. His skin felt unnaturally cool, frightening her. Jordan blinked back tears.

“We drove him off,” she said with quiet triumph. “Mom says he may come back, but he’s gone for now. Because of you. You were so brave—stupid, but brave. Why did you grab him? Don’t you dare scare me like that again! You’re part of me now. If anything happened to you….”

She rubbed her cheek on his hand again, kissing the fingers. With her other hand, she brushed his hair from his forehead. He was bruised up, but his color looked a little better. Jordan kissed him again, her lips lingering on his. Brian’s other hand rose, brushing her hair, as he deepened the kiss.

“Best way to wake up, ever,” he murmured. His eyes opened and he smiled. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Me too—you, I mean. I’m glad you’re all right.” She pulled back the curtain. “He’s awake.”

Miles heard the announcement as he came out of the bathroom. Laughing with relief, he carefully embraced his son.

“Is Mom okay?”

“I’m right here, honey,” she called to him.

“She got pretty banged up before you got there. Your mom fights like a tiger. She kicked some serious ass.”

“She sure did,” Heath admitted. “Jackie too.”

“But Maribelle’s condition….” Miles stopped himself.

“You mean her eyes?” Brian asked.

Miles blushed, gazing lovingly at his wife. “Uh, why, no. Your mom is—that is, Mom and I….”

“You’re pregnant?” Jordan laughed, clapping her hands. “How exciting!”

“I thought you’d been gone for months on end. When did this happen?” Brian demanded.

“Well, to be honest, I’ve visited a few times. You just didn’t know.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Misdirection. Even Maribelle didn’t know where I was the whole time, or where I’d been. But I had to see her. You’ll understand when you get older. You have to renew that bond.”

“It was the bond that saved you,” Maribelle said. “If anyone but Jordan had tried to raise you, it wouldn’t have worked.”

“But why?” Brian and Jordan asked together.

“She’s your other half,” Maribelle replied. “She’s been a part of you since conception.”

“I’m not really comfortable with this whole destined to be together thing,” Brian said.

“Get used to it, my boy. It can’t be avoided,” his father replied. “Believe me, I tried to play the field and date other women. Couldn’t do it.”

“Why?”

Miles took Maribelle’s hand. “Because no one else measured up. Once you’ve found your perfect match, there’s no competition.”

“We need to let Maribelle and Brian rest now,” Heath said. “Say good night, Jordan.”

They kissed quickly, saying good night. Jordan hugged Brian’s parents and she and her father left. As they were driving home, Jordan reflected on all that had happened in the last few days.

“Do you think he’ll be back?”

Her father shrugged. “I don’t know, honey. I don’t think he’s dead, if that’s what you mean. But for now, he’s gone.”

“We’ll have to be stronger next time. He almost killed us.”

“We weren’t prepared. But we’ll study and train.”

“Next time,” Jordan vowed. “We’ll be ready.”

THE END

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part 65

He Thought He Saw redAfter a tense few minutes, they finally dig Brian out of the ground, to find that he’s not breathing. Heath, Miles and Claude work on him, trying to heal him.

Jordan insisted on taking over the artificial respiration. She knew what she was doing, her father had trained her himself. As she waited for the doctor to do his compressions, she looked Brian over.

“His amulet,” she said. “Where’s his amulet?” She gave him the breaths before insisting that the others look for it.

Her father traded off with her so she could look around for Brian’s necklace. It was nowhere to be seen. Determined to find it, Jordan cast out with her mind, calling to it. She knew it, had touched it, it was part of her just as it was part of Brian. She saw it in her mind, deep in the earth.

“Zofia! Janus!” she called to the dogs. Touching their heads, she showed them what she needed.

The two dogs moved to the hole, digging quickly. Dirt flew several feet into the air as they sank deeper. Jordan stood beside them, moving the earth as they clawed it up. Soon, she saw a glimmer of metal. A few more inches and she saw part of the crystal. She hopped into the hole, digging with her hands until she had freed it.

“Got it!”

With the help of Andre, Chase and Sweet, she got out of the hole. She slipped the amulet over Brian’s head and kissed him on the cheek. His skin felt cold, clammy.

“Don’t you dare die,” she whispered in his ear. “You come back to me, dammit. You’re mine and I’m not letting you go. You gave me my first kiss. You have to be around to give me more. Besides, I owe you a whack with a pillow for that panties remark. Don’t you dare die, I have to get even.”

Jordan put the amulet close to his skin, right over his heart. She placed her palms on top of it. Glancing over her shoulder at her friends, she called them to her silently. Standing in a circle around Brian, they knelt down, taking hands. Chase was to Jordan’s right, Marissa to his left, then Andre, Louisa, Sweet and Ginnifer, who clung tightly to Jordan.

“Breathe!” Jordan commanded. “Breathe! Heart, beat.”

Mist swirled up from the ground, heading for Brian. It dove into his nose and mouth, expanding his lungs. Gasping, he started breathing on his own. His chest tightened under her hands and with a flutter, his heart started beating.

Moments later, the ambulance arrived. Paramedics strapped Brian onto a gurney and loaded him into the waiting vehicle. Dr. Beauchamps went with him. Heath drove Miles and Maribelle to the hospital, leaving the others to explain to the police what had happened.

“Let me do the talking,” Cliff Finley said as they waited for the officer to pick her way through the mud.

“Go for it,” his son replied. “Never saw anyone as good at Dad as talking himself out of a ticket.” He put his arms around Marissa, who shivered next to him.

The police and ambulance drivers had doled out thermal blankets. Each couple shared one, holding one another close as Mr. Finley talked to the sergeant who had been at Brian’s house. He wove some story about coming out here for a cookout when an earthquake struck.

“Brian must have been right on a fault line,” he said. “Sucked him right in. We dug him out, but he was in a bad way. Fortunately, we had Dr. Beauchamps here and another fellow who used to work as a paramedic. They got him squared away until the ambulance got here.”

“That’s quite a story, Mr. Finley.” She didn’t sound like she believed him.

“Well, maybe you’ll like this one better. We came out here to hunt a demon that’s been causing trouble around town. When he went back on down the abyss, he dragged Brian with him and we pulled him out by magic.”

The sergeant laughed, shaking her head. “Clifford Finley, you were always the best story teller in school. I swear, I don’t know how your wife puts up with you.”

“Cause I keep her laughing,” he replied. “Thanks for your time, Amy.” He took her hand, gazing into her eyes. “You know what went on here. It’s plausible and looks good on a report.”

“It’s plausible,” she murmured. “And looks good—on the report.”

“We’d best get these kids home to bed,” Cliff said. “Is that okay, Amy?”

“Yeah. Sure.” She sounded slightly dazed. “Yes, get the kids to bed.”

They loaded up in the vehicles and drove to the Finley’s house, which was closest. Everyone had hot chocolate and leftovers from the bonfire evening. As they were cleaning up, Jordan’s phone rang. It was her father.

“Hey, honey. Good news. The doctor said Brian’s going to be fine.”

“How did you explain the gore in his side?” she asked.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 64

He Thought He Saw redThey successfully wound Deidrich, but he keeps fighting. The last they see of him, he’s gored Brian and dragged him underground.

The other teenagers wandered over, staring at the place where their friend had disappeared. Their parents came up behind them. Putting their hands on the shoulders of their children, the parents moved into a ring around the churned up, muddy ground. Seeing what they were doing, Jackie and Heath joined them. Miles and Maribelle were too horrified to participate. Jordan sat beside them, clutching Maribelle’s hand as she wept.

A multitude of voices rose in chorus, chanting loudly. Jordan didn’t understand the words, but she knew the intent. They were calling to the elements to find Brian and bring him safely back. She looked around the circle for the first time, examining all the unfamiliar faces. Because of their positions in the group, she could make assumptions as to who they were.

The blond giant and his pretty wife were Marissa’s parents. The Finleys were there with Chase. A couple who looked like they’d just stepped in off the beach, clung to Sweet. A beautiful Latina and an olive skinned man stood with Louisa. She recognized Andre’s father from the film. He had his arm around a pretty woman with caramel colored eyes and a café au lait complexion.

They continued to chant. Nothing happened. The earth stayed closed. Brian did not reappear. Neither did Deidrich.

Maribelle screamed. Struggling free of her husband’s grasp, she flung herself on the ground beside Jordan. She dug wildly at the earth, her sobbing voice joining the chanting. Miles took her by the shoulders, pulling her into his arms. He spoke quietly, calmly and she turned her face to his chest, sobs wracking her body.

“No,” she whispered. “No!”

Jordan burst into angry tears. Standing, she kicked at the ground.

“You betrayed me,” she screeched. “I asked for your help. Instead, you took him from me! I hate you! I hate you!”

She took up Brian’s bo staff that lay where he’d dropped it. With both hands, she drove it into the hole she and Maribelle had dug. Words tumbled from her mouth in the lyrical language they used. Energy coursed through her, driving deeper into the ground. Her grief and anger fueled her as she searched for a flicker that would tell her if Brian was alive.

“You took him from me. Bring him back! Earth, Wind, Fire and Water, I command you to find Brian and return him to us—alive and whole! I demand with the voice of the trees and sun, bring him back alive. I speak with the authority of my kind—return him to me. Now!” She drove the staff deeper into the earth so hard it cracked. Holding the other half toward the sky, she chanted.

The others took up her chant, their voices weaving through and blending with hers as they summoned the elements. The earth shook, slightly at first, then harder. Water gurgled nearby, flowing nearer. The air whipped into a small dirt devil directly over the hole where Brian had fallen. A ring of multicolored flames burned around the depression, fueled by the water that trickled in and around it.

Gradually, a hole appeared. The earth contracted like a woman in labor. An outstretched arm appeared through the dirt, pale and still. The top of his head came next, followed by his shoulders, his other arm, tight to his side.

The men reached for him, grabbing him beneath the arms as the earth birthed him. They pulled him free. The hole closed, the fire went out, the wind died down and the water seeped into the ground.

Andre came back with blankets from his truck. Louisa got lanterns and Ginnifer brought a camp stove. Sweet summoned water and fire, lighting the stove and boiling water. Others came forward with herbs to add, each working eagerly to help the fallen.

While Heath and Dr. Beauchamps concentrated on Brian, the others checked one another for wounds, washing and binding them with clean cloth steeped in herbal mixtures.

Brian lay completely still, his face pale, eyes closed. Heath checked his airway and Dr. Beauchamps tried to get a pulse. His tight lipped face told them he hadn’t found one.

“Did you call 9-1-1?” he asked his son.

“Already done. It may take some time to get here. There was a lot of trouble in town.”

“I’ll do what I can, Maribelle—Miles.”

“We know, Claude,” Maribelle said quietly, gulping back her tears.

Between the two of them, Heath and Claude Beauchamps did CPR on Brian. Heath drew on the power of the elements to heal him, but saw little change. Others who had healing powers, joined him a Claude massaged his chest and Heath breathed for him.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 63

He Thought He Saw redThe teens and adults find themselves in a pitched battle with Deidrich and his familiars. He is able to call up creatures from nothing, using them as weapons against the others. Things take a turn when Deidrich turns himself into a huge, black buffalo.

The buffalo snorted, his focus switching to Jordan. Another evil smile twitched the snarling lips as he took her measure.

“I’m not afraid of you, Deidrich,” she yelled. Squaring her shoulders, she stared the beast down.

Brian crouched, ready for the charge he knew was coming. Jordan didn’t move. Her dark hair whipped around her head as the wind rose. Brian could see her speaking, her lips forming words he couldn’t hear. The wind whirled around her, growing stronger, moving determinedly toward Deidrich’s buffalo form.

The ground beneath the beast rumbled. Deidrich lost his footing as the earth undulated. The wind trapped him, bearing down on him as it spun and whirled. The earth rose, shackling his feet. Deidrich shuddered, snorting. The wind lessened and the earth receded. Jordan took a step closer. Brian joined her, taking one of her hands. His voice joined hers and the wind renewed its strength.

The birds and bats left off attacking the others, changing the focus of their attention to Jordan and Brian. A wall of fire sprung up between them and the pair of teenagers. It circled the birds, trapping them, squeezing in on them. The bats flew upward, scattering as the flames engulfed the birds.

From the woods behind them, a sparkling net ascended, trapping the bats in its glittering blue mesh. A hard tug brought them down as it tightened around them.

Brian saw his parents and Jordan’s rallying. The other teenagers joined hands in a line as the adults formed a circle. Andre took Maribelle’s hand and another wall of flames rose up and started moving toward the buffalo.

Other people joined the battle, surging out of the woods. Adults stepped into the circle, teenagers joined the line that now extended to Jordan and Brian. Boldly, Chase stepped forward, grabbing Jordan’s hand.

Deidrich’s eyes raked the clearing, taking in the details. His imps were crushed, his birds and bats gone. He was stuck in the buffalo form until the battle was determined. It would take too much time and energy to change. He had the choice to stand and fight or retreat.

The two impulses raged within him. They were strong and growing stronger by the second. His strength was diminished with the ending of his minions. With a snort, he lowered his head, drawing energy from the depths of the earth. The humans controlled elements, but so did he.

Stones shifted, earth rumbled, under their feet. Jordan lost her concentration when a hole opened in front of her. She lost her balance and fell several feet before Chase and Brian were able to pull her back up. With a thought, she sealed the hole beneath her, finding firmer footing.

“Earth elementals,” she cried. “Hear me! Don’t answer his call. Answer mine. He would use and destroy you. Look how his minions fared against us! Join me! Fight!”

Earth shifted slightly and Jordan felt energy from the ground swell inside her, filling her with the strength to do battle. Others around her felt the difference and she knew instinctively that the were also Earth Wielders.

Maribelle Casey struggled to her feet, calling on the water elementals. Jackie called to the wind. Brian’s voice rose above them all, calling fire to him. His body shook and he roared with pain as flames surged from inside him. They burst from his chest, blasting Deidrich like a furnace.

The water rose, forming another glittering blue mesh. It hovered above the glade. The earth rose around the demonic buffalo, trapping it as the fire did its work. Air whipped at the flames, feeding them to a blazing frenzy.

Brian’s hand slipped from Jordan’s. He walked closer to Deidrich, hands outstretched. He grabbed the horns of the buffalo, the fire still billowing from him.

Deidrich lunged. The ground beneath them opened as the water descended, hissing on the flames. The net fell apart before it reached Deidrich. The wind stilled, but the ground continued to rumble. With a groan, the earth shifted once more. Deidrich lunged, goring Brian with his horn. Together, beast and boy fell into the ground. The hole sealed itself, pulling Brian into the gloom.

“Nooooooooooooo!” Jordan wailed. Falling to her knees, she clawed at the dirt. “Brian! Brian!” Screaming and babbling, she dug with her hands, but there was no sign of the hole that had swallowed her friend and Deidrich.

Weeping uncontrollably, Jordan gasped. She couldn’t continue. Her strength was gone. Jackie rushed over to her, taking her daughter in her arms. Maribelle Casey crawled to the spot where her only son had disappeared. Miles came after her, cradling his arm. Heath Barrett joined his wife and daughter.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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He Thought He Saw – Part 62

He Thought He Saw redThey discover that Brian’s house has been attacked and the police are there. Instead of sticking around, they look for clues leading to their parents. They pick up a trail and follow the adults to the woods.

Deidrich stood in the clearing, surrounded by a variety of black, unsightly creatures that ranged from evil looking birds to stumpy, imps with horns. Deidrich swung his arms, hurling blue balls of energy at the huddled people. Janus stood with them, attacking any imps that came near.

Jordan couldn’t see Brian in the circle of trees. Her parents and his fought Deidrich alone. Shocked, she almost jumped out into the clearing. A voice in her head told her to wait. She gazed across the clearing and saw Brain in the trees. He held a finger to his lips, motioning with his hands. Instructions filled her mind and she knew exactly what he wanted her to do. She gave mental instructions to the others. They all walked silently away, taking up positions at cardinal and ordinal directions of the compass. Brian was to the north. Jordan moved to her right, directly across from his position, taking the south. The others deployed themselves at east and west, as well as northwest and southeast.

With a jolt, Jordan realized they were two short. They needed Chase and Marissa, but there had been no time to call them. She could only hope that the same message Ginnifer had received, had been transmitted to the Finleys.

The group in the middle was suffering. Birds and imps, directed by Deidrich, got past their defenses, attacking relentlessly. Their spells and wards did very little good. They were otherwise unarmed. Their clothing was minimal. Not only were the creatures damaging them, but the cold was taking its toll. Maribelle Casey staggered, an imp dragging at her leg.

When their members were in position, Brian sent the message to attack. Quickly and silently, they moved into the clearing, weapons ready. With a roar, Brian attacked the imp that was attacking his mother, beating the creature with his bo. The imp howled, letting go of Maribelle. She scrambled closer to her husband. He helped her stand and kicked another imp away.

The one on Brian, snarled, lunging for him. Brian jabbed it, then raised the bo for an overhead strike. The imp took the opportunity to jump at him, but Andre was there, swinging a metal staff at it. The end of the staff clipped the imp in the chest, hurling it across the clearing. Ginnifer skewered it with a katana. The imp burst with a shower of black sparks, leaving a little pile of ash behind.

The clearing became a blur of black creatures, spinning weapons and spells. It looked as if the battle was turning in favor of their small band. Attacking with renewed vigor, the humans rallied. Suddenly, the woods around them exploded with even more creatures. Huge,black bats with red eyes and long talons, swooped in, diving and slashing.

Ginnifer and Louisa went down. Sweet and Andre ran to them, swinging and smashing the bats. Maribelle Casey sat on the ground, her strength nearly gone. Miles stood next to her, doing his best to protect her with his spells and body.

Brian worked his way to his parents swinging and kicking, clearing his way. He sensed Jordan doing the same from the other side of the circle. When he got to his father’s side, he handed him another set of tonfa that he’d carried. Miles smiled his thanks, face grim as he faced another bat. This one dove toward the ground, trying to claw Maribelle. Miles smashed into the mud, grinding its head under his boot. It exploded and turned to dust.

In the flurry of bats, Deidrich had disappeared. Brian cast about, looking for him, as he battled the imps, birds and bats in their relentless attacks.

From behind him, he heard the sound of something large crashing through the woods. By the noise it made, and the way the ground shook, Brian knew it was at least the size of an elephant. It burst through the trees, bellowing. Blazing red eyes searched the group, halting when they got to Brian. With measured intent, the beast moved toward him. It lumbered on all fours, its coat long, tangled and matted. Like a giant buffalo, it had a heavy head, a hump on its back and long, curved, lethal looking horns.

Brian shuddered. The beast smiled. There was cunning and intelligence in the glare of its red eyes.

“Stay back, son,” Miles warned.

“No. You stay back. Take care of Mom,” Brian replied.

The bats continued to dive, but left Brian alone. As the rest of the humans fought the bats off, Brian moved closer to the buffalo. He circled so that if it charged him, it wouldn’t trample the others. Jordan saw what he was doing and ran after him. Brian sensed her coming and warned her off, but she ignored him.

“We’re stronger together,” she gasped as she got to his side.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes 

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