“No!” Shay’s arms were yanked painfully back behind her as the rest of her body surged forward. It felt as if they were going to be pulled from their sockets.
Anna repeated the instructions to Aubree, and a look of robotic determination took over her features. Aubree turned to Shay.
“Aubree,” Shay reasoned, taking a step back as the influenced girl came towards her. “You’re stronger than this. You can fight it.”
But Aubree showed no sign of having heard a word Shay said. She swung a fist at Shay, and Shay ducked out of the way. The chains scraped along the ground behind her as she darted out of Aubree’s reach again and again.
Kendall was fuming. She looked like she hadn’t anticipated that Shay would move out of the way instead of standing still to be pounded on. Shay couldn’t be sure—and maybe it was a trick of the light, or the fact that she was simultaneously trying to dodge Aubree while looking—but it seemed like there were shadows on the wall that really shouldn’t have been there. They’d seemed to be gathering around Kendall.
“Anna,” she snapped, “get in there and hold her still.”
“Me?” Anna narrowed her eyes, and her expression said that she had no wish to go anywhere near Shay after she’d almost been pressed to death by her.
“Yes, you, you worthless parasite! Now, do it, or else next time that little witch attacks you, I’ll step in to help her instead!” The shadows swelled like a flame that someone had dumped kerosene on, and then just as quickly, they fell again.
The air where Anna stood rippled as she disappeared, and then strong hands clamped over Shay’s arms. They were pulled behind her back and forced together.
“Let go of me!” Electricity crackled over the surface of her skin.
Anna hissed. She twisted Shay’s one arm at a painful angle and applied pressure.
Aubree drew back a fist and slammed it into Shay’s jaw. Black bursts of agony exploded across the right side of Shay’s face. A metallic copper taste hit her tongue.
Shay screamed, and the green in her eyes seemed to burn. Her body trembled, and the voltage of electricity increased dramatically as if someone had twisted a dial to maximum.
Anna released Shay with a scream of her own.
“D*mn it! Do I have to do everything myself?” Kendall exclaimed. “Stay still!”
Kendall flicked her fingers, and a binding spell hit Shay with the force of a truck. Her body jerked, and her muscles locked in place. She could still feel her limbs, but they didn’t respond when she tried to move them.
Shay fought, but it was like tugging on a thousand pound weight that was glued to the floor.
Aubree’s knuckles were bruising and bleeding as she advanced on the frozen Shay, but she didn’t seem to notice while under Anna’s influence.
She struck Shay hard, and there was a crunch as she connected with Shay’s nose. Shay’s head turned abruptly to the side. She was like a Barbie doll. She could be moved into different positions by others, just not herself.
Blood spurted from her nose. It dripped down onto her lips and the front of her shirt. A small puddle of it formed at her feet.
The power was building inside of her like an unstable bomb. Shay was pushing at it in a feeble attempt to repress it, and it was pushing right back. She was being attacked. She needed to defend herself.
No! It wasn’t Aubree’s fault. Aubree was being influenced. Shay needed to remember that. She couldn’t hurt Aubree—
A punch in the stomach made Shay double over.
She stayed hunched; forced to stare at the drops of blood that fell from her face. She couldn’t hurt Aubree. Without her celestite, she had no outlet for her negative energy. She had to concentrate. She had to think. Think of the gemstone that she’d left off on.
Black opal . . . Bl—Bloodstone . . .
Another drop fell, splattering at her feet.
Blood . . .
It coated the inside of her mouth. She thought she would vomit if she didn’t get rid of the taste.
Pain . . .
It came from no specific place. Her whole body was screaming at her. She was throbbing and aching, and there was no comfort in the darkness because that hurt, too. She couldn’t take anymore pain.
Primitive instinct took over. She saw Aubree’s fist draw back.
Get away from me!
The power shot out of Shay like a supernova.
It shattered the binding spell and caught Aubree square in the chest. She was tossed through the air like a rag doll and against the concrete wall. She fell to the floor in a crumpled heap. She didn’t stir.
Shay sunk to the floor and sat back on her heels. Stains of red dotted her shirt and jeans. She felt drained in every sense of the word. Emotionally, mentally, and physically. She turned and heaved up her lunch into the pile of hay.
Her throat felt dry and sore, and lines of mucus and blood dribbled from her lips. She reached for the napkin to wipe it away.
“I think Shay would like some more water,” Kendall said to Anna.
Anna picked up the empty glass from the ground and went to refill it.
Kendall nudged Aubree with the toe of her boot, rolling her over so she could see the steady rise and fall of her chest. “She’ll be fine. You, on the other hand, look like sh*t,” she told Shay.
Shay glared up at Kendall from under wet lashes.
“Aw, don’t be like that, Shay. We’re just having a little fun,” Kendall said. She smiled proudly at her own cleverness. “I have so many presents for you. I really do hope you’re surprised. I’ve tried so hard to keep them a secret all this time.”
Anna returned with a full glass of water, which she set down next to Shay before darting back to Kendall’s side. If Shay had been able to, she would have fried them both then and there. But she needed time to recharge and then to catch Kendall off guard.
Kendall clapped her hands together. “Alright. What’s next?”
She sounded as if this was all a game to her, and Shay didn’t intend on playing along.
“Oh! I know!” Kendall said, as if the thought had just occurred to her, and turned to Anna. “We don’t want anyone to feel left out, so why don’t you and Elijah go get the others, and we can all have fun together?”
Read, Rate, Subscribe, and Comment
Author’s Note: There’s a Guinness World Record for “Youngest Author of a Best-Selling Series”. Alright, who’s ready to help me break a world record? Haha. But I really want to thank you guys for all your support and encouragement. I don’t know what I’d do without you.