Darkness shrouds

A mailbox flew at Chloe from somewhere off to her left.  She easily pushed it aside with her eyes, but it was enough of a break in her concentration to allow Saturday to slip away, out her sight.

Or to possibly conceal herself, Chloe grit her teeth and waited for the next attack.

Wary of her opponent, she chanced a glance at the road.  Traffic had stopped, but the screaming and wailing grew in intensity.  Chloe wished she could bring the fight away from the populated part of town, but she was in no condition to control a fight with the strongest in her coven.  She was actually wishing she could turn and flee, get the hell out of there and to the relative safety of St. Carter's Hall, where she might be able to get some help from some of the elders.

All around her, bright orange leaves danced among the limbs and threatened to fall to earth, but most stood fast, just as Chloe stood against Saturday, her jaw set and her fists balled up at her hips.  The sky directly overhead was a churning mass of purple and black clouds, yet the sun still shone brightly to the west, setting the foliage ablaze.

Chloe looked behind her because the unknown sent shards of fear up and down her spine, and she was sure that Saturday had somehow slipped behind her.  The unknown could kill her.

Nothing.  She was alone.

Except she knew she wasn't.  Saturday had lost control and had accrued too much momentum to give up now.  She was becoming more and more aware of her growing power with each passing moment, and the bloodlust grew as well.  Chloe knew Saturday was waiting out of sight via some cloaking spell, waiting for her chance to strike.

Chloe backed away from the road, her eyes still wildly scanning the area for signs of attack.  Behind her, on the ground mere yards away, lay Astrid's twisted body.  She was the youngest of the sisterhood, and she had showed so much potential, so much hope.  But in the end she stood no chance against Saturday's fury, and now she was probably dead.  Chloe wanted to check on the girl, to help her if possible, but fear clouded her thoughts and muddied her decisions.  She remained focused on her enemy, wherever she may have hidden.

From the corner of her vision, Chloe spied a wisp of blue smoke from behind a sagging old Birch tree.  She had no time to process this information, but she didn't try.  Instead, she let her survival instinct take over and allowed her body to twist and fall back just as a jagged bolt of blue lightning split the air and crashed into the ground where Chloe had just stood.  The concussion waves from the blast sent Chloe flying through the air until she landed and skidded to a halt next to Astrid's unmoving form.

She could not breathe, and tinnitus rang painfully throughout her skull.  Damn it, she could not fight Saturday; she knew better and yet still she got suckered into this duel.

Well screw that, she thought, there's only one way to survive this.  She gestured with her numbing fingers and instantly a black fog seeped from the ground and encapsulated both her and Astrid.  The Darkness Shroud might keep her invisible to Saturday just long enough to open a door to somewhere else.

From behind her, Saturday's voice screamed from beyond the safety of the Shroud, loud enough to echo through Chloe's bones, "Don't you dare run away from me, Chloe!  DON'T YOU DARE!"  Waved of anger penetrated the black fog and singed Chloe's hair, but she didn't notice; she was desperately working to save her life. 

A brief incantation spoken softly under her breath and a wishful crossing of her fingers, then Chloe grabbed hold of Astrid's limp hand with one hand.  With the other she gingerly rotated a baseball-sized rock sitting next to her a quarter-turn counter-clockwise, as if opening a door knob.  And then, miraculously, there was a door there, in the dirt, and it opened.

And Chloe and Astrid tumbled through.

The End

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