‘You have done well, grandson of mine.’ Seeing Christina’s eyes roll back into her head as her lids drooped shut, Septimus leaned over to take the china cup from her hands before they went limp. ‘To get her back here so soon, maybe you do not even need my spells.’
She had risen from her chair and stood behind where he sat, stroking his dark, clippered hair tenderly in adoration. She was so proud of him, he was becoming all he could be.
‘The snow?’ She enquired.
‘I implored the spirits to help me get her here.’
Nona nodded and walked away, signalling Septimus to follow her. First of all he was to carry her into the other room, where Alyona had moved her fortune telling table and mismatched chairs to the corner and instead lay a ring of smooth pebbles, each about the size of the palm of your hand. Gently he laid her on her side in the stone ring, smoothing the hair away from her face and allowing his fingers to stroke her throat and neck, to feel the blood pulsing beneath the skin.
He held a black and white photo of a young man, who looked a lot like Septimus except that his hair and clothes were from another era, leaning with his arms folded and one leg bent, propped against an old stone wall in front of a cottage in the bright summer sun. He leant over and placed the photograph inside the stone circle with Christina, while Nona placed white candles every few pebbles. Sep set about lighting them beginning to chant strange words as he walked around the ring.
Nona set about lighting incense and taking a black cloth bag from the table in the corner she reached inside pulling out small handfuls of a dark, almost burnt orange colour powder. As Septimus circled and prowled around Christina in the magical circle, his chanting increasing in volume, Nona followed him throwing clouds of the powder over Christina and into the flames, causing it to flash and explode.
Christina began to stir, her temperature rising gradually in line with the increasing speed and volume of Septimus’ chants. As her wriggle increased he pointed in turn to each of her wrists and ankles and shouted a command in an ancient tongue. Her body moved more and more, her hair began to stick to her face and neck, her clothes clinging to her as they moistened with her sweat. Now Septimus was almost leaping around the ring of pebbles and flame, roaring out the words in a frenzied ritual. In the centre Christina lay squirming against the invisible restraints that Septimus had conjured.
Suddenly her eyes flew open and fixated on the picture of the house, then on Sep. She was seeing him as she had seen him once before, as a face viewed through the flames. The eyes, the lips both human and wolf all at once. Excited at her awakened state he growled and threw his arms open. Naked to the waist, he too was sweating and he gleamed in the menacing glow of the fire.
Christina’s breathing grew ragged as she forced the air into her burning lungs, her skin had started to turn red from the heat that grew inside her. Her cotton shirt was almost translucent it was so drenched.
Septimus fought the desire to touch her, to feel the power that sweltered within her. He knew he couldn’t, he couldn’t ruin it all, he had to wait until the setting was perfect, when she would open herself up to him and offer all her treasures. He laughed at the thought. He could see the outline of her breasts against the light and she lifted her body off the ground in fits of movement, like she was possessed. How sweet it would be to take her now.
As his mind paced the outer borders of his self-control he stepped back before he lost it and leapt into the ring of pebbles. He sat cross-legged on the floor near Christina’s head and closed his eyes, continuing the rhythmic chant more quietly. Little by little Christina began to calm down. Her back didn’t arch so far off the ground and she didn’t gulp so hard at the air. Her temperature remained though, her skin was fiery to the touch. Her eyes closed once again and with that Septimus let the ritual die down, ending his chanting and ceremoniously snuffing out the candles.
He touched her wrists and ankles lightly, freeing her from her unseen bonds leaving her limbs to move naturally as she shivered feverishly. After pausing for a few moments, exhausted from the exertion, Septimus rose to his knees and gathered Christina into his arms before stepping to his feet and moving out of the room.
‘Bring her coat please Nona’
Nona followed him back into the sitting room and waited for him to place Christina back on the sofa before handing him her coat. He placed each arm in each sleeve and adjusted the garment so it sat right. She was not completely limp as before but she was not totally within her body again yet and so offered no resistance to his will. She should be able to stumble back to the car if well supported, which looked less suspicious to any bystanders.
Bending to kiss Nona’s cheek he pulled his own hoodie on, adjusting the hood. They looked at each other, pleased.
‘What did you put in the tea?’ He quizzed ‘Anything the doctor could notice?’
‘Rosemary, rose petals, mint, thyme, black tea, datura, lemon leaves, nutmeg, honey and spring water.’
‘She will burn up all the toxins from the datura on the way there, look how hot she is.’ They sniggered. He placed his arm across the small of her back and led her to the door, her legs barely moving but instead trailing along as they moved on his volition.
She writhed beneath her seatbelt in the passenger seat. She was groaning now too. Septimus reached over and smoothed the back of his hand down her cheek before digging into her pocket to find her mobile phone.
He grinned as he drove on the slippery but now quiet roads and scanned her phone book before placing the phone to his ear.
‘Sandy, hi Sep here.’ His voice was laced with mock panic. ‘It’s Christina, we got stuck in the traffic in the snow. She’s having a terrible fever. I’m driving her to the hospital now, she’s still not with it - she just keeps flitting in and out of lucidity. Could you call her boyfriend? I think he’ll want to be there…. Thanks, yeah I’ll tell him to call you when he knows anything. Yup. Bye’
Slipping the phone back into her coat pocket he cruised to the hospital despite the heavy snow. He waited at the hospital only until she was placed in the care of the medical staff. Then he disappeared into the night.