Authors: K.N. Lee
© 2016 K.N. Lee
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VERY FIBER IN Willa’s body ignited as she stood in the center of the spirit room. Lights danced along the concrete floor, illuminating her shadow as she set a flame above her open palms. What was once blue was now white as her irises transformed with the surge of power that emitted from her small body.
“What brings you back, Willa Avery, Grand Elite Caster?”
The voice seemed to come from the dark crevices of her mind, the ones that she feared above all. But this was important. She had no choice.
“Grant me the permission to make a kill,” she said, her heart pounding in her chest. She put on a brave face, but terror gripped her. It had taken her years to come to this point. She refused to let fear rule her for all eternity.
“You’ve already killed many,” the voice said.
Swallowing, Willa closed her eyes. “Not of my free will. You know that. I was Silenced. I don’t know how the vampire king of the West is so powerful to control
for so long, but you have to believe that I wanted no part of his devious deeds.” Just the thought of being controlled by that monster once again turned her stomach.
Her mind wandered to that dark place, the place where she fought to forget.
So much blood.
So many tears.
She cringed at the memory of scraping away at the massive doors that trapped her in a dark and cold dungeon for more years than she cared to count.
She sucked up her tears.
“Please believe me,” she begged, her voice coming out small and meek. Like a child’s.
“Am I forgiven of those sins?”
The silence that followed made Willa’s eyes pop open and dart around the empty room.
They had to understand that she was once a captured woman forced to do things she’d never do on her own. Guilt was what she woke to every day. Guilt was what she fell asleep to.
“We never blamed you. We see all, and we know the real evil that used you to carry out his will.”
“Lukas,” Willa hissed. The memories of what he’d done to her brought a bitter grimace to her pale face.
“Yes. We grant you permission to kill Lukas and claim his soul. One more and you will forever lose your title and Casting privileges.”
A smile came to Willa’s lips.
Images of slicing Lukas’ throat thrilled her. That smile faded.
There were only a handful of ways to kill a vampire, slicing their throat was not one of them.
“Thank you,” Willa said with a nod. Hope flooded her. She could do this.
“Go. Save your sisters. Kill the vampire.”
“I will. I swear it.”
An idea came to her, bringing a wicked grin back to her full red lips.
It was time to stop hiding.
Willa woke up to pitch black. Safe in her room, she sat up and rubbed her eyes. The spirits granted her permission.
She left her bed and grabbed her Caster book; the one passed down from her ancestors. Even though the fear of coming face to face with her captor and abuser once again frightened her more than anything, she was tired of hiding.
Lukas. I hope you’re ready
, she whispered, snapping her fingers to light the single candle on her desk.
ILLA, YOU HAVE to see this,” Zoe said in a whisper that broke Willa’s attention from her journal.
“Hmm?” The tone of her voice told Willa that her study of spells and formulas could wait.
Willa stopped twirling her long black hair and glanced up. Zoe stood at the door with her back to the crowded coffee shop. The pretty young woman with cocoa-colored skin and a curvy frame looked uncharacteristically tense as she watched something outside the glass.
She took a sip of her coffee. “What is it?”
,” Zoe said in a lowered voice as she waved Willa over.
“Blimey.” Despite her fear, the very mention of a vampire intrigued her.
Willa had seen vampires before. She knew them well. But this was different.
It was daytime.
The air felt thick as Willa shot from her seat and met Zoe at the storefront window. Her breaths quickened as they watched the slender woman step from her silver Mercedes parked along the busy street.
It seemed too soon for such an appearance. Willa swallowed as she glanced up at the sky, the sun’s light muted from behind the cloud cover of the overcast London morning. She bit her bottom lip and put her hand over her heart.
she thought as she watched the woman.
All of the patrons in Little Zoe’s Coffee Shop crowded in front of the window to watch the spectacle before them.
Willa scooted closer to Zoe, uncomfortable with the proximity of the other patrons of her best friend’s coffee shop. Each time someone touched her, a jolt of visions filled her head, showing her their thoughts.
Some were pleasant.
Most of the thoughts were not.
Warily, Willa’s eyes went from the short man whose arm pressed against hers as he ogled the woman outside to the morning sky. Visions of him sitting in an old recliner with a lazy cocker spaniel on his lap came to her. The smell of cigar smoke and whiskey accompanied the image, making her cover her nose. It was no use trying to mask the smell. She was thankful when it faded with the vision.
Sighing, Willa crossed her arms over her chest and chewed her bottom lip. She still had yet to find a way to exact her revenge on Lukas and save the other witches he’d imprisoned.
A gruff voice came from the short man beside her. “How do you know she’s a vampire, Zoe?”
Zoe took a picture of the vampire on her cell. “It’s not difficult, Mr. Craig. They just stand out.”
“We should make them wear something. So they stand out even more. I can’t tell them apart,” Mr. Craig said.
“Like the Jews?” Willa raised a brow. Having lived through countless wars, Willa was used to hearing such remarks. This was 2016 and humans still felt the need for a scapegoat.
His eyes glanced at her. “You know what I mean.”
“The Vampire Nation must have put their Sun Serum 99 on the market,” Zoe said.
Willa looked down to see Zoe uploading the picture to Instagram.
Willa’s brows drew in. “Stop that,” she whispered, nudging Zoe.
Nearly a foot taller, Zoe looked down at Willa with an amused smile on her mauve lips. “What? They don’t care! They love the attention.” Her hazel eyes left Willa’s stern face and locked on the beautiful woman with the porcelain skin and impeccable style.
Willa envied how the woman’s gray dress hugged her full bosom and slim hips.
“Look, she’s almost glowing,” Zoe said. “Sun Serum 99 must work.”
“Bloody vampires,” the short man said, shaking his head. “Won’t be long now before the world’s overrun with them.”
Willa glanced at him. She wished he’d shut his mouth. Only years ago people said the same thing about witches. Now they were everywhere, perfectly assimilated into the human culture.
Zoe gave Willa a concerned look. “We don’t know that,” she said. She lowered her voice. “You going to be okay?’
Willa nodded. She hoped she’d be fine. Everything was changing.
All she could think about was the prospect that the vampire walking toward the coffee shop could be one of Lukas’ spies. How many times had she moved in the last few years?
Mr. Craig wiggled his stubby finger at Zoe. “Mark my words. They’ll be serving our blood up at tea time, with scones.”
“Oh my,” Zoe put a hand on Willa’s. “It’s Lady Cavill.”
“It is,” Willa said in surprise. Her eyes widened. Lady Cavill was one of few vampires that were coming forward now that the serum was created and approved for use.
The world was about to change.
Zoe gave her hand a squeeze. “She’s coming here.”
Everyone stepped back, their eyes following Lady Cavill as she reached for the door of the coffee shop.
Mr. Craig clicked his teeth in disapproval. “What does she want with coffee? You let vampires make a habit of coming here, and I won’t be returning.”
“I’m sure that won’t be the case,” Zoe said. She fixed her long curly hair and straightened her dress and apron.
All eyes followed the stylish woman as she took off her hat to reveal long red waves.
Zoe let go of Willa’s hand and put on her usual bright smile as she approached Lady Cavill.
“What would you like to drink, Miss?”
Willa settled back into her seat and tried not to stare.
“Just a cappuccino, please,” Lady Cavill replied as she took off her leather gloves and put them into her Chanel purse.
“I’ll bring it right to you,” Zoe said.
Lady Cavill nodded and turned to find a seat amongst the contemporary design Zoe had spent almost two years developing.
Willa lowered her eyes.
Please don’t sit next to me.
Lady Cavill’s unearthly green eyes rested on Willa. She gave a little smile and chose the black table beside her.
The screeching of the chair’s feet on the slick floor made Willa shudder.
“I didn’t expect to see another celebrity when I left home this morning,” Lady Cavill said in a thick Welsh accent.
Her tight smile and the coldness in her eyes made Willa uncomfortable. She should have been used to such creatures, considering her former occupation. A Grand Elite Caster was sought for many different services. All forms of supernatural beings and humans turned to Willa and her sisters, desperate for one of her spells. But that life was over. She’d been in hiding since she escaped Lukas’ clutches.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Willa said, turning away. Her eyes darted around the crowded coffee shop to make sure no one listened to their exchange.
Of course, everyone in the shop listened, even if they tried to keep their eyes on their cell phones, tablets, and newspapers.
“Come now. No need to hide who you are,” Lady Cavill said. “Soon all creatures of the night will be free. I’d think you of all people would understand that. What you did for vampires all over the world is revolutionary. Don’t let me start on what you did for witches.”
Willa’s face paled. “Please,” she whispered when she turned back to Lady Cavill. Her blue eyes looked at the older woman. One mention of Willa’s presence in England would have Lukas racing to her.
Not yet. She wasn’t ready.
“Please, just respect my privacy.”
The lady’s smile faded as she nodded.
“Of course,” she said. “My apologies. I just commend you...for creating the serum. That’s all.” She put a thin, manicured hand on Willa’s shoulder. “Thank you.”
Willa winced but nodded. Painful memories resurfaced, making her feel ill. She turned away.
“You’re welcome,” Willa whispered. She clenched her jaw and glared at her journal.
You won’t be thanking me when I kill your precious king.
RE YOU SURE you want to do this? There are other ways. You don’t have to expose yourself,” Zoe whispered, taking Willa’s hand within hers. “We can find another way to make him pay for what he did to you.”
The warmth of Zoe’s hand was soothing, but memories of the pain and suffering Lukas had put Willa through sickened her. Her stomach churned at the flashbacks of blood, broken bones, and being locked away without any fresh air or sunlight.
The torture. The humiliation. The way he used to feed on her to make himself stronger before battle.
Willa came to the front door of her family’s estate. Night fell and the house was still empty for once as the staff and her family were devoted to setting up the back gardens for her engagement party.
Her smile faded when she opened it to see a stranger standing there. With long blond hair pulled into a ponytail at his nape, piercing green eyes, and a strong chin, he was one of the most attractive men she’d ever encountered.