For this prompt, I delved back into the world of my serial. But not with my heroine this time. It’s just in that world. For those interested, here are links for the other flash fiction peices that are kinda connected/set in that world:
The Lies Begin
Lying in Wait
The Lies We Tell
And the link to the chapters of the serial
In this peice, I wanted to explore how other people’s magic began…manifested for the first time, and what happens as a result… And this was what came out of that…
Leaning back, I tilted my head, eyes closed against the brightness of the late autumn sun. I had fought against coming on this stupid ass picnic. I wanted to be out with my friends—not stuck out here with my parents, my sister and little brother. Even as Owen’s laugh echoed in the open space around us, I fought against the smile the kid usually put on my face.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my family. I totally did. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to spend time with them. I didn’t mind it, I guess. And Molly was leaving next week for college, so hanging out with her had actually been kind of nice. The problem was the way Mom and Dad hadn’t even asked if I had plans—which I had. Freaking important ones, too—intense green eyes, messy brown hair flashed in my mind, and my gut clenched, desire mixing with the anger churning—but those plans didn’t matter to them.
“You need to stop scowling, Squidge.” Molly flopped down beside me and nudged my shoulder with hers. “You’re going to scare the wee one.”
I flicked a glance toward her and rolled my eyes. Mom and Dad were running around with Owen and, damn it, the smile won.
“He’s not even paying attention to me, right now, you nag. And quit with the stupid Squidge, will ya?”
“Yeah, but it’s only a matter of time before he comes to his big ‘brudder’ and do you want to scar him for life?”
“You’re going to scar him before I do. You’re the one leaving.”
She sighed. “I know.” She sighed and leaned against me. “And you’ll always be my Squidge, so stop fighting it.”
I didn’t respond and we sat quietly for a while—Dad was holding Owen up to pick some mulberries from the trees on the edge of the field, and Mom was laughing, probably at his pudgy stained face. It was odd, being so much older than he was. Molly was eighteen, and I was just a year behind her, and Owen hadn’t come along until four years ago. I never asked my parents why there was such a gap, and I guess it didn’t matter. If Owen had been an accident, he was a happy one—for all of us.
“You’re mad at me,” Molly murmured. “That I’m leaving.”
“Not mad.” And I wasn’t. At least, not at her. Maybe at the situation. With a healthy dose of self-pity. After all, she was only one who knew my secret. Well, not anymore. There was one other person who knew, now. But Molly was the only one I could really talk to.
“You should just tell them,” she said—as always, knowing what was on my mind. “It’s not going to change anything. They’re still going to love you, and they’ll accept you.”
“Are you going to tell them about you?” I snapped. I wasn’t the only one with a secret.
She stiffened. “It’s not the same thing, and you know it.”
“They may toe the anti-magic line, Mol, but if they knew—”
“I’m not going to argue about this, again.” She wrapped an arm around my shoulders and rested her head against mine.
“Then, don’t push me to tell them I’m…I’m gay if you’re not going to come out as a magic user. You don’t get to give me advice you’re not taking yourself. Not the way this works.”
“Man, you’re cranky today.” She pulled away and stared at me then her eyes widened. “Oh my God…it was today, wasn’t it? You were going to go out with him, today.”
I lifted a shoulder and looked away. “Doesn’t matter.”
“Of course it does. Can you meet him after? We won’t be here much longer, so you can—”
“He’s leaving tonight.” I glanced at my watch. “Leaving in about half an hour—on vacation with his family until school starts. This afternoon was the only time he had to go out.”
“Oh, Squidge, I’m sorry.”
And I was nearly there in convincing myself it was. We’d already talked about seeing each other when he got back. It wasn’t as though anything was going to change in the next two weeks.
“Anyway,” I cleared my throat, “weren’t you supposed to be meeting friends about now? Big party, bonfire on the beach, tonight, yeah?”
“Yeah, but I don’t have to go.”
“For fuck’s sake, I don’t need you fussing over me. It’s the last chance you’re going to have to see most of them for a while. Go.”
“If you’re sure…”
“Go!” I repeated, playfully shoving her. “I’ll see you later.”
She stood, mussing my hair in retaliation before snagging her sandals off the blanket. She called out to my parents, who waved, before turning back to me.
“Least this family bit’s over, now. You have his number, right?”
“Yeah, I have his number.”
“So, text him. Flirt a bit. Just because you couldn’t go out today doesn’t mean there has to be radio silence until he comes back. Listen to your big sister. She knows what she’s talking about, and is about to do some serious flirting of her own tonight.”
With that, she started down the path along the woods, her dark hair and white dress blowing in the gentle breeze, her sandals dangling from her fingertips.
“Oh, tell me it isn’t with that jagweed Nick?” I called after her, shaking my head when her laughter was my only answer.
I shifted to get up but, suddenly, couldn’t move. My heart raced, and my breath caught in my throat as everything went black, Molly’s laughter still ringing in my ears. Then, even that faded. Replaced by crying. Molly sobbing. My throat closed, and ice filled my veins. I saw her…but not in the field. She was on the beach, stumbling along the waterline. Night had fallen, but the moon reflecting off the lake illuminated everything—every horrible thing. Her dress was torn, dirty, and her hair a wild mess around her pale face.
Rage roared as I saw the blood dripping from her temple down her cheek. What the hell had happened?
I tried to move, to call out, but I couldn’t. What was going on? It was like I was there…but not.
“Please,” Molly whimpered, stumbling and falling to her knees. Her fingers dug into the wet sand as she continued to try to get away… From what? From who?
“Lying cunt.” The snarled words were like a knife to my gut.
A large figure advanced on her, gaining ground, closing the distance between them.
“Filthy fucking magic user. You tricked me. Fooled me into wanting you.”
Nick. The guy Molly had been head over heels for the last several months.
“No, no. I didn’t, I swear I didn’t do any—” A scream cut her words off when he grabbed her ankle.
I wanted to look away but couldn’t as my sister was dragged backward, kicking and crying out. This couldn’t be happening. No way. This was some weird, fucked-up waking dream or something.
The sounds of splashing washed over me, and I, again, tried to look away, block out everything. Instead, the sight of Nick’s hands around Molly’s neck as he shoved her beneath the water’s surface filled my vision. Was now seared into my brain forever.
The whole time, as he held her down, Nick swore and cursed at her, blaming her for having to do this. And I just had to watch. I couldn’t do anything.
Just as suddenly as I was thrust into…whatever this was…I was sitting up gasping for air. I was tangled in something and began to struggle. I needed to find Molly, make sure she was all right. That’s all that mattered right now.
“Honey, stop, you’re going to hurt yourself.” My mom reached for something beside me. “I’ll just call the nurse in.”
“Mom?” I looked around frantically. What the hell? A hospital? “What happened?”
“You passed out and started convulsing. The doctors think it was some kind of seizure.” She smoothed her hand over my hair then cupped my face. “I was so scared, but you’re okay. You’re going to be okay.”
“Where’s Molly?” I demanded.
“Molly?” Mom frowned slightly. “She’s probably home by now. Dad went back with Owen once you were stable, and I tried to text her, but she didn’t answer. Her phone is probably dead; you know how she is.”
The indulgent chuckle did nothing to ease the tight coil of utter fear deep inside me. “She’s in trouble, Mom. I have to go. I have to go find her, now.”
I pushed against her, trying to get out of the bed. A man in scrubs walked in just as I was standing, despite Mom’s best efforts. Dizziness overcame me, and I grabbed the edge of the bed as I swayed.
“Hey, hey, now. You shouldn’t be up.” The nurse…or doctor?…rushed over and tried to push me back onto the bed, and I slapped his hands away.
He was fucking strong, but I fought against him. I yelled and screamed—I don’t even know if it made any sense, but I didn’t care. I needed to get to Molly before it was too late, before…
More people rushed into the room, and I cried out to my mom, who stood near the door, tears streaming down her face, hand over her mouth as they held me down and injected something into the IV attached to my arm.
“Find Molly…need to find her…” I forced past numb lips as darkness sucked me under again.
Two weeks later, I stood beside my parents as Molly was lowered into the ground. My entire body trembled as I looked out over the sea of people who had come to her funeral, and fiery fury battered every cell in my body when my gaze settled on Nick. He dared to come here, had the nerve to be part of the search for Molly when she hadn’t come home. Everyone else thought her drowning was an accident. But I knew. I knew the truth.
I couldn’t do anything about it now—my parents were watching. Watching so fucking carefully since I’d had my “seizure” and freaked out at the hospital. One day, though, they wouldn’t be. One day, there would be no one watching, and I would end him. I forced myself to continue scanning the faces—not wanting to raise any suspicions by staring.
My heart skipped a beat when I met sad green eyes. He’d texted me every day, and I hadn’t answered. Lost in my grief and swimming in my rage.
I’d been so naïve, stupid. Blind to what was happening right in front of me and what needed to be done. And as a result, my sister was gone. Taken from me.
Green eyes still intent on me—now concern shining from them—I had to draw deep for the strength not to react and to drag my gaze away—break the connection. As much as it hurt, I couldn’t focus on him, or what we could have possibly had together, anymore.
How much could change in two weeks?
Be sure to check out the other peices inspired by this month’s photo!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Paige Prince