Sisters of Midnight:Dark Moon
Author: Kimberly Diaz

Chapter 10
Chapter 10

Chapter 10

“You don’t have to go to school today, you know.”

“I know, but if I sit around here anymore, I’ll go crazy with boredom.”

My mom kept me home all day Sunday, despite my protesting that I was fine and wanted to go to Nick’s. “He’d want you to get some rest too,” she argued. I resisted the urge to tell her that I thought I knew what Nick wanted a lot better than she did. She suddenly seemed ten years older to me, more like a mother than ever. She was starting to get overprotective too, afraid of something happening to her only daughter.

“Come right home today,” she made me promise, looking relieved when Nick showed up to drive me, knowing he would keep me out of trouble.

I sat down in the passenger seat, surprised to feel how much I had missed him after not being able to see him the day before; I had already gotten used to being with him on a daily basis.

He looked casually gorgeous in some faded Levis and a USC football t-shirt. I tried to relax as I breathed in the musky scent of his skin. “Why do I feel like this is my first day at a new school?” I joked, trying to act nonchalant. Inside, I was a nervous wreck. My eyes darted around the student parking lot, looking for a familiar vehicle.

“I don’t see his truck.” Nick read my mind. “He probably knows how much trouble he’s in so he’s staying away.”

Nick and I walked up the stairs to the main building where we were instantly surrounded by classmates, as if we were celebrities. Some people offered sympathy. Others, mostly guys, complemented Nick for kicking Tony’s ass at the dance. I was sure I had done the right thing by deciding to press charges.

We turned down the hall where my locker was and I smiled, seeing my friends waiting for us. I hadn’t seen them yesterday either so we didn’t get to do a binding spell on Tony. My mom was watching way too closely for me to get away with anything.

Someone stepped out in front of us before we reached the others, blocking our path. It was Brock, Tony’s best friend who was just like him. Cyndi was with him, the way her arm was snaked through his making it obvious that she had found Nick’s replacement. Who better than Tony’s best friend since Tony couldn’t be found. I knew she was just trying to save face by acting like she could care less that Nick dumped her so publicly. Nick, whose arm around me tightened when he saw the couple, tried to side-step them.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Brock snarled. Where Nick was lean and muscular, Brock was meaty and huge, reminding me of a bulldog. He scared me as much as Tony did but Nick refused to let Brock’s size intimidate him.

“This is a school, we’re going to class.”

Cyndi looked at Brock and then back at us accusingly. “So Faith, I heard you sent the cops after Tony yesterday. His parents are out of their minds with worry since they haven’t seen or heard from him since.”

I shook my head in disbelief at her insinuation. “Then I’m sure the police told them he was probably on the run because of what he tried to do to me Saturday.”

Brock took a step towards me. “Maybe you were asking for it. We all saw the way you were dancing with him at Jana’s Friday.”

“You probably missed the part where they kissed, Nick,” Cyndi added. “They put on quite a show, making out in front of everyone. They were most likely picking up where they left off when you found them Saturday. She’s trying to play the two of you against each other.”

“Don’t listen to her Faith,” Nick tried to calm me as I squared my shoulders and stepped up to her, preparing to defend myself against the verbal attack.

“Nick already knows about that Cyndi. Tony knows what he did was wrong and I’m sure that’s why he disappeared. So you can try and play like I stole Nick away from you, but we all know that’s not true. He wasn’t even really your boyfriend.”

Cyndi was outraged for a split second but recovered nicely, the crowd around us to consider. “Maybe, but we certainly did some things couples enjoy doing, right Nick?” She flashed him a secret smile.

He looked at me apologetically, saying softly, “That was before I knew Faith wanted to be with me.” He looked back at Cyndi. “It’s kind of funny how you said she wasn’t into me when you offered to talk to her for me last year.”

She had lied to him about me? Then she went after him knowing he felt something for me. I had felt a pang of jealousy when he didn’t deny that there had been intimate moments between them, but reminded myself that it was only because I’d never told him how I felt until last week. If I had, he never would have been with Cyndi in the first place.

I touched his arm. “I understand. I’m just sorry you had to waste your time with her before I decided to be honest with you.” I looked at Cyndi defiantly. “I hope you find with Brock what Nick and I have.”

I knew I was being a bitch, but Cyndi deserved it after the way she lied to Nick, knowing the entire time how much I liked him and it sunk in that she had issued the ultimatum to Nick about the scholarship knowing he felt the same. I expected more than the insult she gave me. “You witch!” she shouted.

“Maybe,” I replied. “But you’re only making yourself look even more foolish.”

“She’s right,” Nick agreed. “I’m with Faith cause I want to be, not because I’m being blackmailed.”

Her hand came out to slap him and I responded with lightning quick reflexes, grabbing her wrist before her hand connected with his cheek.

“Don’t touch him!” I warned before I released her.

“Or what, you’ll put a spell on me?” she mocked.

“Isn’t that what witches do?” Emily spoke up from behind us. Tracey and Rachel positioned themselves on either side of us. Ryan was with them and stood behind Nick.

“What’s going on here?” We all looked down the hall at Mr. Nichols who was approaching quickly. Emily went to slow him down.

“You two are gonna pay if Tony gets in trouble,” Brock warned.

Nick’s green eyes narrowed. “Yeah, well I hope he rots for hurting my girl like he did.”

Brock would have hit him if it weren’t for the two other teachers approaching. He grabbed Cyndi. “This isn’t over,” he promised and they stalked off, Cyndi glaring at us murderously. All signs of a fight over, the teachers went back to their rooms.

I shut my eyes and released a deep breath.

“Are you alright?” Rachel asked.

I nodded, surprised. “Actually, yeah. It felt really good to put Cyndi in her place. I did the right thing by reporting Tony and I refuse to let anyone make me feel guilty for it.”

“Good,” Nick said. “Because you shouldn’t.” The others said goodbye as they went on to their classes. “Faith, I’m sorry about Cyndi.” Nick turned to face me.

“Why should you be sorry?” I asked him. I knew he was thinking of what she said about the two of them.

“You have to know, I never so much as kissed her after I thought we had a chance-”

I couldn’t let him continue. “Nick, stop. I meant what I said. Whatever happened between you two that was all before; it doesn’t matter now.”

“It matters to me. My actions made her believe there was more between us then there really was and now she wants nothing more than to hurt you because she’s known for a while how I feel about you. She just never expected me to figure out that you felt the same. She’s treating you like this because of me.”

I faced him with determination. “Nick, weren’t you just telling me I shouldn’t feel guilty? Well, neither should you. Cyndi’s hate for me goes back a lot father than that.”

“I just hate seeing her blame you for me not wanting to have anything more to do with her.”

My eyes challenged his. “Do you have any regrets about us?”

“No!” he answered instantly. “You know you mean everything to me.” One look in his eyes and I knew it was true. “The only regret I have is all the time I wasted when we could have been together.”

“Then she can’t hurt me, not with her words.” I ran my hands up his muscular arms and he opened them to hold me. “Cyndi’s not used to rejection. It hurts when you think the person you love doesn’t love you back.” I remembered that all too well.

“I know. I never want to feel that again.”

“You won’t,” I promised, pressing my cheek to his chest.

The first bell rang and I cursed silently. His arms tightened around me. “I wish I didn’t have to let you go.”

I felt the same as he did. I could face anything as long as Nick was beside me. So much had happened the last three days and he had been with me for all of it. I hadn’t prepared myself for the reality of being back at school. “Meet me for lunch?”

“And the others?” he asked.

I shook my head, I needed us to be alone. “Just us.”

A kiss was my answer. I was about to walk away when he grabbed my hand. “Faith, wait.”

“Yeah?” I smiled up at him.

“If you see Tony, or if anyone bothers you, come find me.”

I reached a hand up to touch his cheek. “I will.” The smile stayed on my lips until he walked away and I was hit by a wave of uneasiness. What if Tony cornered me at school somewhere? Would I have a chance against him now that I was sober? I didn’t want to find out.

Luckily, Tony wasn’t at school. I made it to history where Nick and I sat together, Tony’s seat had a noticeable void. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the empty chair. It was too hard to concentrate on the aftermath of World War II when I felt like I was in the middle of World War III.

Nick drove me back home as promised, settling in with my mom and I while we ate dinner and watched a movie. She had taken a few days off so I wouldn’t be alone. Saturday night had really taken a toll on her and she was being extremely motherly. So much, in fact, that Nick and I were not given any time alone. At eight o’clock, I feigned a yawn. As much as I wanted Nick to stay longer, there was something that needed my attention. Nick was being almost as overprotective as my mother. He promised to get me for school again and my mom gave him an approving smile.

I walked him to the door and he traced my lower lip with his thumb before kissing me tenderly. I pulled away reluctantly, not wanting to get too carried away while my mom was nearby.

“Your mom won’t be in the car with us tomorrow,” Nick whispered, letting me know he understood.

I shut the door and went back to finish my homework. My mom was on the phone and when she hung up, there was a distressed look on her face.

“What’s wrong?”

“The hospital just paged, There was a huge pile up on the freeway and they need me to come in.”

I didn’t let her see how relieved I was. “I’ll be fine,” I told her. “I think my body’s telling me to catch up on my sleep. They need you more than I do right now.”

“I don’t want to leave you alone, who knows how long I‘ll be.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep my phone next to me and the alarm set.”

Thirty minutes later, Rachel, Emily and Tracey were sitting in my room, preparing to do a binding spell on Tony, to keep him from harming me, Nick or my friends. The last thing I needed was an herb from the garden in our back yard. I opened the drawer where I kept all my tools, looking for my athame to cut it. The spot where it normally rested was empty.

“Guys, where did you stash my athame and garter when you brought me home Saturday?” I remembered that when I removed my shift to change in the bathroom that night, I hadn’t had to take off my garter.

Emily frowned. “I don’t remember seeing it on you when Nick carried you in the house. But I know you had it on at the ceremony.”

Tracey and Rachel looked confused too. “I don’t recall seeing it then either. Do you think you left them in Nick’s car?” Tracey asked.

I shook my head. “No, he would’ve given it back by now. Plus, I didn’t see it in there and I rode with him twice today. A feeling of dread washed over me. “I think I lost it when we did the summoning.” As I said it, I knew without a doubt I was right.

“Please be joking Faith,” Rachel begged.

“I wish I were. I’ll check with Nick just to be sure.”

It was a long shot. If I did lose them in the woods, I had no choice but to go back for them. I didn’t want my stuff falling in the wrong hands. I reluctantly dialed Nick’s cell.

Hey you,” he answered. “I thought you’d be asleep by now. Is everything alright?”

I tried not to let him hear the panic I felt. “Yeah, I just needed to know if I might have left anything in your car the other night.”

“No, and I cleaned out my car yesterday in the afternoon. Why?”

“I just misplaced something. I’m sure it’ll turn up.”

“I’m surprised your mom’s letting you talk on the phone this late.” He was teasing me about her sudden over protectiveness from this evening.

“She got called in. There was an emergency.” His silence gave away his concern.

“She left you alone?”

“It’s ok.” I realized my mistake. Nick would not understand what we were doing. “Tracey and the others came by for a girls night in, to keep me company.”

“Why doesn’t that make me feel less worried? Are you behaving yourselves?”

I loved the light flirtatiousness in his voice. It reminded me of why I fell so hard for him to begin with. “Like always.”

Tracey rolled her eyes at the others and I stifled the laugh that almost spilled out. “Stop,” I mouthed silently at them. “They’re threatening to hang us up so I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Sweet dreams,” the tone of his voice sent a flutter through my stomach.

“Good night.”

When I snapped my phone shut, Emily spoke. “You’re going to make us go back for it, aren‘t you.”

“Make, no. But if anyone finds our stuff, we’re dead. No one’s supposed to go out by that old house.”

“Which is why the kids at school have been daring each other to go out there for years,” Tracey replied.

“Right. So do you want someone to find any of our tools?”

“Hell no!” Emily countered.

“Guys, I had to beg my parents to let me go out in the first place,” Rachel said warily. “And they only let me because they thought your mom was home. I’ll get in trouble-”

“You’ll get in more trouble if they find out what we were doing Saturday night,” Tracey pointed out.

“Ok, but just so you know, I hate this.”

“We have to hurry, my mom will freak if she comes home and finds me gone.” I knew it was risky but it was a risk we had to take. No one could ever find out about Saturday.

I programmed my home phone to forward any calls to my cell, so if my mom called, she could reach me. I grabbed a sweatshirt to wear on the way out, set the alarm and we left, taking Tracey’s car so mine would be in the driveway.

“If it’s not out there, I don’t know where it could be. It should just take a minute or two if we all look around.” I had brought three flashlights and the moon’s glow was plenty bright.

We were walking in a huddle with our lights, still uneasy from the events of two nights ago. We followed the narrow dirt path that led to the remains of the house. The dirt still showed footprints from when we had been out there.

“Look!” Tracey’s voice was urgent as she swung her flashlight around to shine on the ashes from the fire.

I trembled. “What do you think it means?” There in the charred mess of ashes was one clearly defined symbol. It was a perfect match of the mark on my skin after the summoning-an ankh.

“Let’s just go.” I was terrified and saw the others were too as we all moved quickly, shining the lights around to look for the missing tools.

Crack! The sound echoed loudly in the silent woods. It sounded like the snapping of a twig. There was another crunching noise. Someone was coming through the other side of the trees! I heard a distinct footstep. A muffled scream came from one of the girls as Emily motioned for us to find a weapon. I couldn’t move. What if whatever was coming was the thing from the fire?

No! There was no way I could deal with that again! Emily was trying to pull me in another direction but my feet were rooted to the ground.

“Faith, it’s me.” The deep voice came from the pines.

“Thank god, it’s just Nick,” I said raggedly. He appeared in the clearing as I calmed the other girls.

We both spoke at the same time. “What are you doing here?”

I recovered from my near scare. “We came to look for what I lost out here Saturday, before someone else finds it. How did you know where we were?”

“When you called me, I got worried because of what happened the last time you and your friends were at your house alone. I was already out at Ryan’s so I decided to come check things out, make sure you were alright. When I got to your street, I saw the four of you taking off in Tracey’s car. I stayed behind you for a minute, thinking you were going to get a bite to eat or something then you turned in this direction and my gut told me I should follow you.

“Look what we found, Nick.” I was more than relieved that he followed us. I shined a beam of light on the ashes and heard his indrawn breath of surprise.

“It looks just like…” he trailed off, not sure what to say.

“Just like the mark on my body,” I finished for him.

“We should go.” His defenses were up as he moved to my side.

“I know, I was hoping to find my missing tools from Saturday before anyone else did, but we haven’t seen them anywhere.”

I grabbed hold of his arm and he stepped in front of me protectively as we prepared to leave. Rachel had a death grip on my other arm and the five of us stuck close together, heading back towards the path. A chill of warning went up my back and gooseflesh crept over my arms.

I froze.

Nick looked back at me when he realized I had stopped moving. “What’s wrong?”

“Shh, do you hear that?”

A sudden burst of wind blew across the path, picking up all the loose dirt and fallen leaves along the way. I was reminded of Friday’s premonition as I listened to the sinister sounding gusts of wind rustling the treetops, the swirls of dirt and leaves growing, becoming a life of its own. Soon, it was so huge, it blocked the path, our only clear way back to the cars.

“Let’s go around,” Nick, taking charge, began to lead us in the opposite direction, behind the broken bricks and foundation. Rachel gave him her flashlight. “Be careful where you step, there’s a lot of fallen branches back here,” he warned.

There was no clear path, the trees becoming more dense, darker and fuller. I looked back to see the windstorm increasing in power, but contained to the clearing where we had done the ceremony, as if it only meant to stop us from leaving.

“We have to get around to the main road!” I yelled, struggling to be heard over the vicious weather. Somehow, I knew whatever was causing the storm would not be able to follow us there.

“Hurry,” Emily screamed from behind Rachel. “It’s coming after us!”

The wind whipped my hair around my face. It was getting harder to see where we were going because our eyes were partly shut to keep the dirt out.

Nick used his arm to shield us from the thick, pointed branches. I let him pull me along as my feet crunched over dead leaves and tried to avoid the rocks and fallen branches. I cried out as Nick stopped suddenly with no warning and I tripped over something hard, my flashlight flying out of my hands. He caught me, steadying me and spoke to all of us, trying to hide the alarm in his voice. “I think we should try another way?”

“Why not keep going this way?” Tracey asked.

“I don’t want to go back!” Rachel was almost hysterical. “That- THING-is after us!”

“Nick, we can’t be that far, we have to get out of here. We can climb over whatever it was I tripped on.” The gooseflesh on my arms returned. “I need to find my flashlight first. I can’t see a thing.”

Something evil was in the woods.

Nick shone his light straight ahead. All we could see was tree after tree. “You’ll have to leave it, use mine.”

I had already bent down to feel around where I heard it drop, bracing myself for any bugs or other creepy-crawly creatures I might touch. My fingers came across the object that had made me trip.

I gasped and pulled my hand back when I felt soft fabric.

Please let it be a jacket somebody left behind, I thought desperately. I reached back down, forgetting about the flashlight, and touched something cool, wet and what appeared to be matted hair. “Oh my god! Nick!” I stood up, hoping I was mistaken.

Tracey stepped forward with her flashlight. “What is it?”

“Faith, no!” Nick yelled. But I had already grabbed her light in one hand, holding the other up to inspect the wetness.

I cried out when I saw the blood.

 

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