While Brian and Jordan are talking with Chase and Marissa, Chase mentions the scene in Temple of Doom where peoples’ hearts get ripped out of their chests. This makes them wonder if it might actually be possible. If so, how can they safeguard themselves against it?
Brian gave him a glower. “You think that a bullet proof vest would really do anything against a magical attack?”
“Have you checked the Encyclopedia Magicka?” Marissa asked. “That’s been very helpful in the past.”
“I hadn’t thought about it until you mentioned it,” Brian admitted. “I can’t think of everything.”
“Though you act like you do,” Chase snipped.
“Oh, lighten up, Finley! Once again, acting like a sullen child.”
“I’m older than you are by a couple months.”
“Then act like it! Jesus! We need your help.”
“Now, you need me?”
“You’re still part of this Circle until the ceremony,” Brian stated firmly. “As such, I’m asking for your help. You might be a pain in my ass, Chase, but you’re smart and intuative. And Marissa is good with charms and spells.”
“Maybe we should help our new Circle instead.”
“Enough!” Jordan bellowed. “You are being such a big baby! Instead of looking at how badly your feelings are hurt, or how much your balls ache, you should be looking at what we can do to protect ourselves. Not just our Circle, but all of them. If we can figure out something, we will be helping everyone. You’re so selfish and focused on yourself, you can’t see past your own—dick!”
Chase stared at her. Jordan wasn’t prone to such outbursts and it took him by surprise. Marissa and Jordan both glared at him, giving him the same tight lipped frown.
“I, for one, don’t want to die because you’re acting like a three year old with a temper tantrum,” Marissa said. “Where’s your copy of the Encyclopedia?” she asked Brian.
“I have a copy on a flashdrive. My laptop is on the dining room table.”
Jordan got the computer and he took the flashdrive off his keyring. Booting up the computer, he plugged in the drive when it was complete. The familiar cover popped up on the screen and he clicked on it to open the book.
“What should I look for?” he asked, fingers poised over the keys.
The four teenagers exchanged a look. None of them knew exactly how to conduct a search.
“Look for key words first,” Jordan suggested. “Like heart, punch, ward.”
“Or,” Chase said, leaning forward eagerly. “Just look for, how do I keep from getting my heart ripped out?. I’ve found the most information when I ask exactly what I want to know.”
Brian took his suggestion and typed in his question. To his shock, and horror, an entry showed up: Ward to Prevent the Killing Hand.
Shivering slightly, he clicked the link and started reading aloud. “The Killing Hand is a mere rumor these days. There is no record of it being used in more modern times, though some of our earliest records, dating back centuries, mention this spell. Many believe it is a legend, or an exaggeration, the method has been enumerated—though not in this text. This book shall not touch on how to do perform this horrendous practice, for it is considered an abomination among our kind. However, since the Dark are not inclined to follow our rules, we have a counter-measure, a ward, to dispell this maneuver. Below are the directions.”
He didn’t read the instructions aloud right away. Glancing over them, he shook his head. “I thought that summoning the Peddlar was the most complex ritual I’d ever seen, but making the wards for this—just about impossible. I can’t think of a single one of us who has the skill for this.”
“Someone needs to try,” Marissa said. “Because now that we’ve been talking about it, I feel creeped out and terrified all over again. I don’t want to learn how to do it, but I sure want to know how to protect myself.”
Jordan agreed with her. The girls took the computer to the dining room table and pored over it, trying to figure out what would be needed. When Jackie and Maribelle came back down, they asked for their help, leaving the boys alone. Neither Brian, nor Chase, had a facility for wards, charms or tokens. Instead, they sat in tense silence. Knowing he had to say something, in an effort to help his friend, Brian spoke.
“I don’t want to lose you two,” he said quietly. “Not just because it would weaken us, but because you’re my best friend. We’re more like brothers. Over the last couple years, I’ve come to depend on your strength more times than I can count. Not just in the Circle, in everything.”
“You’ve got a weird way of showing it.”
“Be fair, dude. If you were in my position, you’d do the same thing. If I were having trouble with Jordan and you were in charge, and it put us all at risk, how would you handle it? Please tell me, so I can make this right.”
Chase leaned forward, head on his hands. “Honest to God, Brian. I don’t know. I know we’re a mess and I can’t see my way out of this hole I’ve dug myself into. I’m angry, hurt—horny,” he added very quietly. “Frustrated, furious….”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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