I’m trapped between here and the afterlife. My penance, I’m sure, for a life that included a multitude of sins.
It’s a world of nefarious beings, those unworthy of instant judgment. I don’t understand why my judgment could not be decided instantly. I should be tortured for eternity for what I’ve done.
I anticipated a fire so atrocious that I would burn perpetually. I envisioned a never-ending torturous existence.
“I wish I’d just rot or burn!” I throw my arms up, then look around and wonder if the Ragers will descend from the sky and take me. My words ring hollow in the air as I drop my arms in surrender. “Hell would be a welcome retreat.”
Mufasa watches my theatrics.
Purgatory. This world between worlds. A grey, blackened, lifeless place. Spirits wandered, waiting to cross over to their final destination. The ones, who haven’t finalized their journey and were still in an indeterminate state, are easy pickings for any necromancer.
I can feel the tug. It pains me to the core. It’s Carina of course, beckoning me to her. I loathe her. Her will was strong. My body freezes in agony. Each time she pulls, I resist, seeing how long I can hold her off. I’m not ready to go at this moment, even though I know that world is much better than this one. I test my limits.
A necromancer’s slave. The last thing I expected to become when I crossed over. Her pawn. A plaything to do her bidding. I hate every minute of it. Almost as much as I hate this place.
It hurts me greatly to travel back and forth between worlds. It makes me long to stay there, but I know it’s not possible. I hold steadfast, forcing myself to think of things other than the summoning so she cannot control me.
The pull eases. Carina will be pissed when she feels the resistance. I know I’ll pay for it, and I don’t care.
“You think after all the errands I’ve done for Carina, that she’d give me a break?”
Mufasa looks back at me and shakes his head. “No, my friend, you’ve only added more wrongdoing to your list.”
Mufasa looks at me, his dark eyes downcast. “I understand how you feel Luke.”
“I do know there is a way out of here.” I grab Mufasa by both arms and force a smile. “I’ve heard Carina talk about it when she summons me.” I let go and swing around on my heels. I’m excited thinking about it. “She thinks because I’m here that I have no options.” I take a step, and then wheel back around. Mufasa stands there staring at me wide eyed, as if I am a man possessed. “I will find a way.” I shake my head, press my lips together, and look in the air, as if the answers will drop from the sky.
“I’m certain you will.” Mufasa says as he reaches over to touch me on the shoulder, concurrence on his face. His hand touches my ragged white shirt. Then, reluctantly he pulls away as if he senses he’s invaded my personal space.
I look at him, curiously, and appraise him. Mufasa is a tall man, with broad shoulders, striking black eyes, black hair, and light brown skin. The most evident quality about him is the way he carries himself with such confidence. He wears the black suit he that he’d been buried in.
“I don’t know how much longer I can take this,” Mufasa says. “I have some amends to make. If there was a way to go back and undo all the wrong I’ve done . . .” He looks away, deep in thought.
He presses his hands together fist like in prayer and bows his head. “I have sinned in the worst way a man can. I am an unworthy man.” He begs me with his eyes to agree, but I cannot. I know my human life was worse than he could ever imagine.
“Every man deserves forgiveness.”
“As long as you’re here, you have no options. It’s only when you are in the human world that you can do something, and let’s hope you can before the Ragers come for you. Maybe doing Carina’s errands are your way out of this place, my friend.”
We turn to look toward the others who stand in an indeterminate state, waiting for conclusion. They gather in groups and speak amongst themselves. There is only the colorless sky, the black, cracked ground, and the soulless passage we’ve been ensnared in here.
“I’m sick of being a puppet.” I look around. “There is nothing here.” I sweep my arm in a circumference. I am becoming an empty void, blank and uncaring. “I must find a way to escape the soulless journey I’m ensnared in and end this torturous nonexistence.”
“How did you come to be here?” Mufasa asks.
“I lost my life to something I didn’t understand. Maybe this is my deserved end.” My tone is hard and angry. I turn and walk away, avoiding what I don’t want to say. Mufasa follows me. Walking on the hard, blackened ground is tiresome. There is nowhere to go. I stop and face him again.
“I was a vampire.”
“A walking corpse and a vacant shell of a human.”
Mufasa frowns and his eyes narrow. “How did you…” He stops and looks at me shocked. “You were?”
“Yes.” I can tell Mufasa is hesitant to say the word.
“Was it horrible for you?”
“Yes and no.”
“But how did you become this thing?”
“My nights were spent sleeping in the stench and squalor of the streets after gratifying myself on cheap prostitutes and drugs. I became a person of low moral fiber. My family disowned me, having tried to pull me from a degenerate lifestyle. I couldn’t be fixed. I was a broken man with no hope of ever having a life beyond the foulness of the streets.”
Mufasa listens earnestly. I look at him wondering if he has questions. My eyes turn downward again while I finish my story.
“One night, my life changed forever. I was laying in my own vomit in a cardboard box in a filthy alleyway when a woman attacked me, bit me, and gorged herself on my blood until I was almost dead. Rage and heat filled my body. I was sick for days. I stayed in that cardboard box writhing in pain, and waiting to die. I thought it was the end of me.”
“That is a horrible thing.” Mufasa’s brow furrows and his mouth hangs open.
“When I finally felt well enough to leave, it was daytime and I wasn’t able to. The sun felt like a thousand hot needles piercing my skin. Finding myself able to walk around only at night, I longed to quench my thirst with human blood. I could smell it everywhere.
I was a loose end, but at least I could be someone’s lifeblood. I wouldn’t kill to survive, no matter how great the thirst.
I longed for death, wished for it, and then waited for it to come.”
I crawled into a darkened culvert under a bridge to die. That’s when another vampire found me, and ended my suffering by ripping my head from my body. This is how I ended up here.”
“But you didn’t kill anyone. You were a victim. I don’t understand.” Mufasa rubs his head.
“Yes but I was a vampire.”
“It hardly seems fair.” He says, frowning. “I’m sorry that you have come here with the rest of us.”
“I deserve it. Don’t feel sorry for me friend.”
Mufasa pats my back. The way friends do when they understand each other. He’s the only friend I have now.
I feel a nudge. I resist. I wonder if this is the destiny of all vampires. Surely, I’m not the only one to experience the misery of being a necromancer’s slave. Maybe this is the role of all supernatural beings after they leave the human race.
A black shadow eclipses the sky. Three black winged angels descend and land silently close by, disturbing our conversation. They are the Ragers. Their dark presence is a frequent occurrence in this world. It chills me to the bone, and I know they are not from Heaven. They constantly thin out the flock. These giant angels have large teeth, long, and sharp nails on their hands and feet like eagle talons. Their arms and legs, although human looking, are a grayish color. Their faces are magnificently sculptured, white, and stone like, as beautiful as Michelangelo’s’ ‘David’.
Quickly, they focus on three individuals, and everyone watches as their large black wingspan encloses every inch of the spirits they have come for.
We can’t see what’s happening. They take them and ascend quickly upward, disappearing into the blackness that lay beyond the dull sky. We all watch in silence, never knowing when our turn will come. I can only guess that it’s not a pleasant relocation.
We return to our conversation once they’re gone.
“And you, Mufasa. How did you come to this place?”
“I’m here awaiting judgment. I found out my wife was unfaithful to me. She and my daughter have surely gone to heaven.” Mufasa pauses, his face showing the strain of his hurt. He chokes out the words, “I murdered them—my family.” Then he turns his head away in shame.
I shrug my shoulders as if it doesn’t matter now. He feels relieved enough to continue. “My anger was out of control. I couldn’t live without them so I…” Mufasa raises his hand and aims his finger inside his mouth simulating the action of a gun with his hand. “I’ve done such horrible things.”
I watch his face contort in anguish. “That’s a sad story.” He is a man in turmoil. “I’m sorry for your loss.”
I place my hand on his back for comfort, but in this place, there really is no such thing. It’s acknowledged as a kind gesture nonetheless.
“Yes, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the Ragers come for me too.” He looks at me sorrowfully, and his shoulders slump forward. “Maybe I should just let them, rather than hope there’s a way out of here.”
“Don’t give up hope, my friend.”
Mufasa’s story saddens me, and it’s easy to have compassion for him.
Mufasa decides to walk around, and I watch him as he moves slowly away from me into the emptiness.
This is the time of day when I feel nothing. No sense, no pain, no desire, and definitely no will of my own. The only time I feel anything is when I’m pulled out of this incarceration and into the world of the living where I walk and perform like a puppet on a string. It’s only then, I feel the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, and hear the sounds of the people going about their busy lives. It’s only then that I’m truly distressed over the life I’d lost.
Why I’m stuck with this necromancer is beyond me. Carina is a cruel, despicable human, whose evil was as incomprehensible as my reason for still being here.
The draw sucks me in like a vacuum. One minute I’m here in a world where other beings drift, and then I’m in the human world. My body wretches and the agony sweeps through me, pulling at every bone and muscle in my body. It’s the most difficult part of the teleporting. It’s painful and even though it takes only seconds, it feels like an eternity of pain. I feel like I’m being dragged over a mountain and back again.
It takes me a few minutes to recover once I’ve arrived on the other side. My legs and arms are still aching from the travel, but they’ll feel better soon.
I become a human vessel awaiting her commands. It’s my old body, but mended now, since my life on the streets. There is no pain anymore.
Carina is sitting on the grass in her garden, surrounded by large oak trees and flowers, hardly befitting a woman of her substance. Behind her stands a large, expensive, stone home. She has managed to surround herself with wealth, no doubt from disreputable means.
She has a black silk cloth laid out with black candles lit, some unusual stones I don’t recognize, herbs in a large glass dish, and some small-sculpted metal piece she’s holding in her hand. It looks to me like a charm or an amulet.
She has long brown hair and unfathomable brown eyes. She breathes deeply as it seems to be an unpleasant task to her. She is wearing a dark but a colorful robe that flows around her legs and covers her feet.
At least in this world there is an abundance of color. I want to look around, but hesitate since I know she’s watching my every move out of the corners of her eyes.
I stand there waiting for my cue, to follow her commands again. I’m not permitted to ask questions, and I’m here to serve. I’ve learned that lesson well.
This place is much too beautiful for her black heart. A cemetery would be more fitting, and although she is an attractive woman, she is evil incarnate. I’m rendered powerless of spirit in this world, but just a slave to do her bidding.
Her desires are the essence of anger and revenge. Her casting causes pain and grief for the recipients of her spells. Dozens of times I’ve seen it done and I’ve helped cause the pain. It’s a profitable business for her. As if her talents weren’t enough, she capitalizes on it, and still keeps her hands clean by using me or someone else to do her dirty work.
She looks up at me, from my feet up to my face, and then she rises gracefully from her place on the grass. She walks over and stands in front of me, staring with a sideways glance, her eyes squinting and she furrows her brow in anger. “I summoned you!”
“I’m sorry, but the Ragers were there.”
“When I call, I expect you to come immediately.”
I nod, not wanting to provoke her.
“Would you like me to show you what I can do to you?”
I shake my head.
“Fine, then.” Her voice is a mix of anger and monotone. “Next time—be here when I summon you.”
I nod, so she believes I haven’t disrespected her. She never calls me by name and maintains a formal distance. There are times she looks at me as if I’m more than just a pawn in her game. There is a longing in her eyes that reminds me of when I was human and beautiful.
“I want you to obtain something for me.” She gazes into my eyes. I am spellbound already and cannot look away. “A young boy named Adam Goodwin has an amulet which I desire. The pentagram is very old with a broken point. You’ll find him in Winsome, near Salem, Massachusetts. He lives with his mother Sarah. Bring the amulet to me.”
Her eyes don’t leave me as she walks around me, surveying every inch of the property that she owns, while I stand there motionless. She squints at me suspiciously. She doesn’t trust me.
“Do not waste time. You remember the last time you took too long. Don’t make me hurt you—again.” Her hand reaches up to touch me, but she fails. The anger shows on her face, and she knows only her spells can do harm. It’s a senseless act when she reaches for me, and I know it only too well. A smile escapes my lips when she’s not looking.
My body remembers the pain, knowing her words carry such weight and power
“If he poses a problem, I want you to end his life. Do not return without the amulet.”
Carina chants a spell in Latin. She summons the elements with her hands in the air, her eyes close, and I watch as the candles flicker and burn without her lighting them. The stones that lay in front of her move about the black silk cloth. She continues her chant. I watch as the herbs in the dish rise up and scatter to the four winds. She clutches the amulet to her chest and then kisses’ it. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard Latin words used, and yet some of them are still familiar to me. She uses the words hands, life, death, slave, and wind in her verse. I need to remember more of my Latin words if I’m going to survive this woman and return from the other world.
I watch everything she does every time she brings me here. The way she holds her arms up, her eyes, and especially every detail in each spell she casts. She seems unaware that I’m so observant, or she doesn’t care.
Carina places no value on human life, and death comes easily for anyone she desires dead. People are pawns to her. It’s always about what she can take from them. I have tortured people while they lay in their beds at night. She provides the spell, and I provide the body. I enter bedrooms’ unseen. To take someone’s life is as simple as sucking the breath out of their mouths. I lean in carefully and gently position my lips on theirs and suck all the air out of their lungs until they no longer breathe. They don’t stir. Carina’s spells make it possible for me to complete her unusual tasks. I am a murderer many times over.
She ended the life of her father, from whom she inherited much of her money. Her father was not as difficult for her as he was for me. An elderly man, I watched him for several hours before I played my hand. She had told me specifically what she wanted done. I didn’t want to do it, but I was spellbound. As he walked to the edge of the stairs, I moved ahead of him, managing to block his vision just as he was taking a step down. Carina made me a shield that would blind a human when placed in front of his line of sight. He tripped, descending that first step, not feeling the footing. He tumbled down the long wraparound stairs, crashing into the wall, breaking bones as he fell. I could hear the cracking as he hit each step. He was not able to stop until he succumbed at the bottom. I stood there at the bottom waiting for him and looked at the man, damaged beyond repair, his neck clearly broken. His head hung limply to the side. His body was a twisted mess of skin and broken parts. I knelt down, put my ear to his mouth, and listened for his breath. There was none.
Carina finishes her incantation and looks at me unaware that I’ve been studying her.
She waves her arm in the air. “On your way now,” she says, as if she’s sending away a disobedient child. “I will be watching you. Don’t forget.” She turns her head, tilts it to one side, and glares at me in a way that I know evil lurks in those devious squinted eyes. I turn and leave, glad that I’m rid of her presence.
Departing on my quest for the amulet, I feel the lightheadedness of freedom again. Although I have another mission, I’m still free of the void that I’ve been trapped in and free of Carina for the time being.
I never think about how difficult it will be or what lay ahead for me in the task. The only thing I worry about is a fear of failure. The journey will take a couple of days. I can travel quickly; time and space not being a hindrance, but finding the child would prove more difficult.
I arrive in Winsome. I can move around from place to place without walking or by vehicle. It’s one thing I like about being a spirit. But, I like walking now. It’s something I’ve missed. It’s effortless to wander and explore, aware of everything around me. It’s difficult to watch life going on without me being a part of it. I long for it now, even though I so callously tossed it away before my death.
I walk along the small town streets, looking at the shops and the people who are busy with their lives. I pass by a small bank on the corner and look in the window. The day on the wall indicates its Saturday, July 14. I’m enthralled by the gestures of people greeting each other. The warm handshakes and the kind remarks are affectionate and sincere. The sun shines bright and it’s midday by my estimation. I watch the cars drive by and the children playing in the park. The trees are magnificent, and the sky is so blue I can’t help but stare at it. I wonder why I didn’t appreciate it all before. Watching the genuine enjoyment of daily life in the faces of the people that I pass by makes me envious and forlorn. It’s now out of reach, and I regret every single foolish thing I’ve done to end up like this.
I think about how carelessly I tossed away my human life. There was a time I was a handsome man, much sought after by the opposite sex. Walking on any street would have invoked stares in my direction, and the corners of my mouth would curl up at the edges in gratitude and pleasure from this. My street life destroyed my inherited good looks.
I can remember the prestige of being a highly qualified and renowned surgeon who drank and indulged a little too much. I made some unforgivable mistakes because my arrogance and self-absorption propelled me into a ‘God complex’.
Many times, I visited the gravesites of those I didn’t save. My conscience couldn’t take the agony of those terrible errors I made, and the lives I lost to my ineptitude. My vices got in the way of saving lives.
I know that’s when I fell. That was when I took to the streets. It was easier to run from my mistakes than face them.
I didn’t tell Mufasa many things. I was ashamed of myself, more than he could ever be about his own misgivings.
Now, walking the streets of this small town, I am invisible, and I find no pleasure in it, only heartache.
But, I’m not as stupid as Carina thinks I am. I will do her bidding, but I will also find the opportunity to change my fate. I’ve heard her talking on occasion about different spells when she thought I wasn’t listening. I’ve heard Carina discussing a ritual that would bring other world beings back from the limbo from where they are stuck.
The spell is not without hazard, I gather, and it originates in the depths of black voodoo magi ck. The amulet that I must retrieve is the key to opening the portal so dead spirits can return to the living world.
I have the ability to touch things, but only because Carina has invoked the power for me to do so. It’s the only way to retrieve the amulet.
I know my priority is to find the young boy. I am not without skills. Noticing a phone booth, I quickly grab the phone book, and flip through it with lightning speed to find addresses for all the surnames’ Goodwin. I stare at a single page and tear it from the book. There are only a dozen or so in a town this small. It won’t take long to check them all.
I arrive at each house and inspect them inside and out, looking for any sign of a young boy.
The second last house proves to be the right one. I stand behind a large pine tree, where I can watch carefully. I see a young boy riding his bike out of the driveway and down the street. He has to be the boy I am looking for. I do not intend to harm a young boy no matter how much Carina devalues human life.
In the driveway, I see his mother. She is a remarkable sight. Her short, choppy, red hair and sparkling green eyes appeal to me. She’s a woman I would have loved to meet as a human. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at a woman this way. I watch her intently; her movements are enchanting to me. She has milky white skin, and flawless features. She seems so graceful and that I’m reminded of a beautiful lily blooming. I find myself close enough that I can almost touch her, but barely. I’m standing right beside her, and she looks around, as if sensing something unusual but then shakes her head once quickly as if to snap out of it. Her eyes draw back to her son. I put my hand out to touch her, to feel her skin, and she flinches as though she senses a disturbance. Something draws me to her, unlike anything I’ve ever felt before, and I want to stay here and watch her forever.
I know Carina is growing impatient. She is toying with my mind. My body feels like it’s being poked. It’s uncomfortable. Thought implanting and confusion are part of her usual strategy to keep me from thinking my own thoughts.
Retrieve the amulet, I hear in my mind. It’s almost as much a chore for her, as if she had done this job herself.
I make my way into the house and into the young boy’s bedroom. Surrounded by his childhood things, the light from the open curtains reveals an ice blue painted room, a bed with a handmade quilt on it, a desk with a computer and sports memorabilia on the shelves and walls. Pennants above his bed remind me of my own childhood, filled with baseball and the memories of things families do together.
On his nightstand is a picture of him with his mother and father, and there hanging from the top of the picture with a piece of white satin ribbon is the amulet. I reach for it, and immediately feel the energy charge my body. The jolt causes me to step back, wondering what power this amulet possesses. I look at it closely, and turn it over. There is an engraving on one side with a name and a year, ‘Sarah Goodwin 1675’, and each of the five points on the other side hold a verse written in script.
‘Save the amulet of gold,
The power of the one to hold,
To unchain the bond for thee
Turn three times on rocks of old.
A soul to be set free.
The break on the amulet was clearly before the word ‘Follow’. I read it over again, trying to make sense of the verse and know Carina’s intent.
I sit down in the chair at the child’s desk and turn the computer on. I connect to the internet.
The pull hurts this time. Carina is getting angry. I need to work fast. I try to block her thoughts, and I’m sure she realizes I’m doing it.
I’m a bit rusty having not used a computer in some time, but it comes back to me easily. I am not without knowledge, I remind myself. A little research is necessary if I’m going to have an advantage with Carina and restore my life.
Releasing myself from this necromancer’s grasp is as vital as ending my existence. Either way, I’ll end it.
I key in ‘Sarah Goodwin 1675 amulet’, to start my search and am amazed that a multitude of websites appears. Scrolling through them, I search for something that includes the engraving on the back of the pentagram, and I’m elated when I found an obscure site with ancient texts deciphering the verse. I read it quickly and realize that it’s the key I’ve been looking for. Fear pierces through me. I’m worried that Carina will know what I’ve been doing. My hands tighten around the amulet, trembling. I know what I need to do, and I have to be swift in my plan.
I’m drawn to the living room where there is a silver engraved urn on the mantle of a white stone fireplace. It’s obvious that it is Adam’s father’s ashes. A picture of Adam’s father sits beside it. His mother enters the house again and stands in the hallway looking around as if she senses my presence. It’s odd and uncomfortable. I watch her eyes scanning the room. It’s only a necromancer or a powerful witch who can summon and see me.
My heart, which hasn’t beaten for many years, aches as if it’s longing to start beating again. My feelings are indescribable as I stand there frozen, watching her. My knees are weak and I have butterflies in the pit of my stomach. This is a new experience for me. This is the most fantastic sensation and I’m enjoying it.
I don’t want to leave and yet I feel my body surge again.
Damn, Carina, I thought. Damn you to death. It was a strong tug this time.
The amulet is definitely the key to my salvation. It holds power unrivaled by anything I’d ever seen Carina use while controlling the spirits. Keeping it from Carina will be either the death of me or a return to life.
Do I deserve a second chance? No. I know the answer before I even finish the question. Do I want a second chance? Yes. This is the easiest question to answer. Looking at this beautiful woman Sarah makes me want it even more.
Sarah Goodwin, I realize the amulet has the same name on one side. It can’t be the same person, and I look at the woman again curiously this time. The year is all wrong. An ancestor maybe…
“Who’s here?” She interrupts my thought process.
“I can sense you. I can’t see you yet. I need only call my powers to see who you are and what you want.”
She’s talking to me. I wonder if I can answer her.
“I’m here.” I answer, not sure if she can hear my voice or not, or if I’m just imagining the words coming out.
“What do you want?”
“I’ve come for the amulet.” I answer honestly.
“Who sent you?”
“A powerful witch named Carina.” I am surprised that we are able to talk although she still can’t see me.
“I’ve heard of her. Why does she want the amulet?” She walks closer toward me, unafraid.
“I believe to bring back the dead.”
“It only works on spirits such as you.” She walks around the room, her hands held up in front of her, palms outward, as if she’s blocking something. I watch her moving around but she still can’t see me.
“Is it your name on the back? I ask curiously.
“Then you are an old witch or a supernatural being.”
“I am something, but what matters is why you are doing her bidding.”
“I am her servant. I am stuck in the middle of both worlds awaiting justice, and she controls me to do her bidding.”
“She is an evil witch then.” I watch as she narrows her eyes suspiciously.
Sarah lights the white candle on the fireplace by pointing her finger at it. “You have led a tormented existence.”
“I deserve what I get.”
“No one deserves what you’ve had to endure.”
“How do you know this? You don’t know me.”
“Yes I do. I’ve dreamed about you. And I’ve seen signs that have shown me you were coming. I’ve been expecting you.”
I am speechless. But, I want to continue talking to her. This godly creature mesmerizes me.
“Now what?” I ask, afraid of how this is going to end for me.
“Give me back my amulet.”
“I can’t. She will torture me.”
“No she won’t. I will help you.”
“Let me have the amulet and you’ll see for yourself.”
The amulet drops to the floor making a metal clang as it bounces. Sarah picks it up and holds it to her heart. “I’ve had this since I was sixteen.” She smiles warmly, and I can feel my tension dissipating.
“She will find me and pull me back to her.” My voice quivers.
“What’s your name?”
She moves to the middle of the living room. “Stand in front of me Luke.”
I walk over to do as she says.
Sarah holds the amulet up to the ceiling in both hands; the white ribbon wrapped around her wrists and starts to chant the verse on the back of the amulet. “Save the amulet of gold, the power of the one to hold, to unchain the bond for thee, turn three times on rocks of old, a soul to be set free.”
She brings the amulet back down to her heart and says, “Turn around three times, Luke.”
I do as she says, unsure of what the outcome of this will be. She repeats the chant as I am turning around in circles. I stop after the third spin and wait.
When Sarah finishes the last of the verse, the white candle flame goes out on its own, I start to fall, and everything goes black. As my eyes open, I see her leaning over me, and her eyes light up like crystals. Her gentle hand is holding my face.
“Look in the mirror, Luke.” She points to one by the wall near the doorway. She helps me stand as I’m still weak from the spell. We walk over to the mirror together, and I can’t believe what I see. I gasp. My mouth is open, and I’m in shock. It’s me, in human form. My hands reach up to hold my face. It’s the face of the man I was before my life went bad. I wrap my arms around myself in elation. I can feel my heart beating again, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
“This can’t be real.” I look back at her. I’m stunned, surprised and euphoric all at the same time.
“It is.” She smiles. “It’s your second chance.”
I grab her and hug her as tight as I’ve ever held anyone in my life. “Thank you! I owe you my life.”
“No, you don’t, Luke. This amulet only works here on these rocks of old, and by only me. Carina wouldn’t have been able to use it effectively. Just promise you’ll do better this time around.” Her lips slide into a beautiful forgiving smile, and I smile back with sincerity for the first time in a long time.
“And, what about Carina?”
“Don’t worry about her Luke. We take care of our own.” Her eyes narrow but not in a devious way, more in a way that reminds me that some people deal with things in a smart way, thinking them through first.
Carina’s spells hold no power against the amulet, and as much as I want her dead, I’ve seen enough of death to walk away peacefully. My only regret is what has happened to Mufasa, and I will remember him fondly from time to time.
Sarah kept her amulet, and placed it back on her son’s nightstand. It was hers to begin with, and she had the power to use it for good instead of evil.
I decided to find myself a job, and stay in this small town for a while. Sarah was someone I wanted to get to know better. Having her as a friend would be a good thing in this world of witches, vampires, spirits, and necromancers.