Authors: Michelle Madow
It took Alistair a few minutes to find what he needed and begin preparing the room. He opened an Atlas to a world map and spread it out on the table. Alongside the map, he placed a smaller book with old crumpled pages. I looked at the page it was open to. The large font at the top said “Locating Spell.” He arranged four blue candles in a diamond on the table, explaining that each candle represented a point of the compass. Then he handed Chelsea a chain link with a large amethyst on the end, the point facing downward.
“This is the most important object in this ritual,” he told her. “You must hold it over the map when you say the spell. The crystal will harness your power and the energy of the object when you picture it in your mind. Once it has made the connection, it will show you on the map where the object is located.”
“There’s only one problem,” Chelsea said. “I don’t know what this ring looks like.”
“This is no problem at all,” Alistair said. “You and Lizzie will just have to hold hands during the spell to connect with each other. She will focus on the ring, and you will focus on harnessing the power to locate it.”
I didn’t particularly feel like holding hands with the girl who had cast a curse to kill me—even though we used to be best friends—but I would do it if it was the only way to locate the ring.
Chelsea held the chain with the amethyst on the end—which Alistair told us was called a pendulum—in her right hand so it hovered above the map. I grabbed her left. Alistair lit the candles, and the scent of blueberries filled the air. Drew didn’t have a part in the spell, but he was still sitting in the seat next to me, watching us.
“Are you ready?” Alistair asked.
Chelsea and I nodded.
“Chelsea needs to say the spell and focus on locating the object, while Lizzie pictures it in her mind,” Alistair instructed. “Picture it as clearly as possible, and recall any memories you associate with it.”
I clearly remembered the gold band with the garnets around the top, and flashed back to the memories I had of my past life when Drew gave it to me.
We were outside, next to the big tree on the field behind my house that I oftentimes went to read or draw. It was close enough to the house that it wasn’t a long walk, but far enough so the other trees blocked any views my mother might have had from the windows. She knew not to bother me when I went there. It was where I went when I needed time to myself.
Which made it the perfect place for Drew to meet me behind our parents’ backs.
It was the day of a huge ball at the Givens’ estate, and Drew’s parents were insisting he spend most of the night dancing with Catherine. Even though it was only for appearance’s sake, I felt jealous. Catherine and I had been close friends since we were young, and I hated how Drew’s family thought she was acceptable for him to marry, and not me. It wasn’t fair that just because Catherine’s family had a fancy title associated with their name, it made her “appropriate” to marry. She had done nothing to deserve it. On top of everything, my parents refused to allow me to break my engagement with James—Jeremy’s past self—because I couldn’t tell them about my relationship with Drew until he broke things off with Catherine.
I had planned to end it with Drew that day. I couldn’t imagine pushing aside the love I felt for him, but I couldn’t continue to live like that, knowing his family was encouraging the courtship with Catherine and that he was taking so long to do something about it.
I was even starting to question how much he loved me.
But when he took the ring out of his pocket and placed it on my finger, telling me he had ended things with Catherine before coming over, and that the ring was a promise of his devotion to me, I knew everything was going to be okay. I trusted our love. The ring represented how far he would go—even if it meant disappointing his family—to be with me. It was everything I wanted.
It was the happiest moment of my past life.
It was also the last day I would ever see, because the carriage accident that had caused my death happened that night.
“The pendulum is moving,” Chelsea said, jerking me out of my memories of the past.
“Which means the crystal has located the object.” Alistair brought his hands together in excitement. “Watch it closely—it’s swinging toward the spot on the map where you will find the ring.”
When Chelsea started the spell, she held the crystal an inch above where we lived in Pembrooke, New Hampshire. The pendulum now swung East, and Chelsea went along with the motion, allowing the crystal to travel across the Atlantic Ocean.
When the crystal was above England, it settled down.
“Is that it?” Drew asked.
“No,” Alistair replied. “It has determined the country. England. Now we need to get more specific.” He reached for the Atlas and lifted the pages, scanning the table of contents. He must have found what he was looking for, because he flipped through the pages, stopping at a map of England.
The crystal started swinging again, toward the Southern part of the map. It eventually settled above Hampshire County.
The same place where Drew, Chelsea, and I lived in our past lives.
“So the ring is in Hampshire,” Chelsea said. “What do we do now?”
“Simple,” Alistair replied. “You go there and get it.”
“We can’t just pick up and go to Hampshire,” I said the first thought that popped into my mind.
“Why not?” Drew asked.
I ran my hands through my hair in frustration. “A million reasons! First of all, we have school, and we can’t skip. Also, I don’t have enough money to buy a flight to England without asking my mom for help. And if I did ask her for help, I doubt she would be okay with going on a random trip to England.” I looked down at the map in defeat. “At least not in the next month. There’s no way I can get to the ring in time.”
“You’re not thinking this through,” Drew said patiently.
“Really?” I said, unable to believe how calm he was being. “It doesn’t seem like there’s much to ‘think through.’ But if you have a plan, then please, feel free to share. Because this is looking pretty hopeless.”
“I’ve mentioned before that my grandparents live in England,” Drew started.
“Oh, right.” Chelsea rolled her eyes. “The ones who conveniently decided to visit over Halloween and made it so you had to ditch me on the night of the dance.”
Drew looked at her in annoyance. “I didn’t make that up—they did visit that weekend.” Then he turned back to me. “More specifically, my grandparents live right outside of Southhampton. Which is in Hampshire County.”
“That’s great,” I said. “But I don’t see how that’s going to get us there in time, or convince my mom to let me go at all.”
“If you let me continue, I’ll explain.”
“All right.” I waited, hoping his plan was feasible.
“Christmas is my grandparents’ favorite holiday,” he said. “They love celebrating it with the family, and my mom mentioned that we might visit them over winter break.”
can get there in time,” I said. “What about me? I don’t want to sit back and hope you’re doing everything right. Not that I don’t trust you to do this, but it’s my future on the line. I want to help.”
“And I would love for you to accompany me,” Drew said. “We’re leaving the day after break begins, so we’ll have a week before the full moon to fix this mess. Then we can spend Christmas together, and you’ll be able to see England. You’ll love it there.”
When he put it that way—and when I stopped thinking about Death chasing me for a few seconds—the trip did sound romantic.
“I would love to go,” I told him, charmed that he had invited me. “But I’m not sure how comfortable my mom would be with my going to England with you and your mom. We haven’t even been officially together for a month, and our parents haven’t met yet.”
“Then your mom can come too.” His eyes brightened with excitement. “What better way for our moms to meet than by enjoying Christmas together in England?”
“This is all great,” Chelsea said. “But you’re forgetting something important.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“You need me there too, since you can’t get the ring to work without my borrowed magic powers helping.”
“Right.” And with that, my hope that this could work deflated.
“We could invite Chelsea and her dad to come along,” Drew suggested. “Since your parents are dating, it would make sense to include them.”
“I don’t know how things work in New York City,” I said, “But in Pembrooke, it’s not normal to jet off to England without a month’s notice. There’s no way our parents will go for it.”
“I might be able to help with that,” Alistair said, a plan forming behind his eyes.
“How so?” I asked.
“From listening to the three of you, it sounds like the only reason why this plan would fail is because your parents are unwilling to allow you to go to England with Drew.”
“Yeah,” I said. “But it’s a big problem. If our parents don’t let us go, then we’re stuck here, and we can’t get the ring in time. Without the ring, we’ll have no chance to fix everything. If we can’t fix everything, then …” I couldn’t bring myself to say what would happen if fate continued on its current path.
“And if your parents agree to let you go, then you can locate the ring in England,” Alistair continued, as if what I had said was insignificant. “This isn’t a problem. With Chelsea’s help, I can create a potion that will make your parents’ minds more open to allowing you to go on this trip.”
“Like a recipe to get them to go along with the plan?” I asked. “What are we supposed to do with it—dump it in their drinks?”
“Precisely.” Alistair apparently didn’t notice my skepticism. Or else he was trying to ignore it.
“I’m in,” Chelsea said. “Just tell me what to do.”
An hour later, the three of us were driving home from the mall, Chelsea and I each with a vial of clear potion in our hands. I played with the vial, not liking what I was supposed to do with it tonight. I had to put it in my mom’s drink before bringing up the England trip, to make her agreeable to the idea.
It felt like cheating. I didn’t want to take advantage of her emotions like that.
On the other hand, it was easier than telling her about being reincarnated, Chelsea’s curse, and Death coming after me. If I told her that, I had a feeling that instead of a trip to England, she would take me straight to the nearest mental institution.
“I hate that I have to do this,” I said, not taking my eyes off the vial in my hands.
“You know it’s the best way,” Drew said. “It’s either use the potion to get your mom to agree, or go behind her back.”
“I know,” I said. “But that doesn’t mean I have to like either option.”
“You’re definitely going to use it, right?” Chelsea asked. “You’re not going to chicken out?”
“I won’t chicken out,” I said, my voice firm. “Besides, I don’t have much of a choice. There’s no way my mom would be okay with this plan otherwise. I have to use it.”
Drew pulled into Chelsea’s driveway to drop her off, and I realized—too late—that it might look suspicious for us to come back from shopping without any bags. We must have gotten so involved with the plan of getting to England that we forgot about how our parents assumed we were at the mall for the Black Friday deals.
“I’ll text you after I talk to my dad to let you know what he said,” Chelsea told me as she got out of the car.
“All right,” I said. “And remember not to let him talk to my mom until I’ve confirmed that we can go, too.”
“Of course,” Chelsea said. “Talk to you soon.” She shut the door and hurried into her house.
“She’s certainly gotten more agreeable,” Drew said once she got inside.
“She’s not that bad most of the time,” I told him. “It’s hard to tell from the way she’s been acting recently, but there is a reason why we were friends for so long.”
“She cast a curse for you to die,” Drew said. Anger flared in his eyes, and he tightened his grip on the steering wheel. “And it’s going to work if we don’t do something about it.”
“We’re going to fix this,” I said with more confidence than I felt. “She didn’t know what she was doing when she cast that spell. If she knew she was sending Death after me, there’s no way she would have done it.”
“You think so?” He sounded doubtful.
“I know so,” I said. “She’s upset that you dumped her for me, but she’s not evil. She doesn’t want me dead. It’s why she’s helping us now.”
“None of that makes it so I’m not angry about what she did.”
“I’m trying not to think too much about that until we have this sorted out,” I said, refocusing on the vial of clear potion in my hand. “I just hope this works and gets my mom to agree to go to England.”
Drew lifted a hand from the wheel and interlaced his fingers with mine. “It will work,” he said confidently. “And if it doesn’t, you’re coming to England with me no matter what. I’ll buy you the plane ticket myself. We’re going to get that ring, and then we’re going to fix what Chelsea did. Your mom will be angry with you for going behind her back, but at least you’ll be alive. That’s all that matters to me.”
I nodded, knowing he meant it. If this potion didn’t make my mom more agreeable to the trip, I would have to go without her permission. I didn’t want to do that—I’ve never gone against my mom in such an extreme way—but I wouldn’t have a choice. If I didn’t get to England and find that ring, I wouldn’t live to see the next full moon.
Hopefully the potion would do the trick.
“Call me once you get an answer from your mom,” Drew said as he pulled up to my house.
“I will,” I said.
“I love you, Elizabeth,” he said, his eyes locked with mine. “No matter what, we will find a way to get out of this. We just found each other again, and I don’t plan on losing you anytime soon.”
“I love you, too,” I said, tears forming in my eyes. “Always and forever.”
“We will have that,” Drew promised. “Once we manage to fix this.”