The other girl smiled at her and walked into another room. She came out with a coke and some chips.
"Here," she said approaching Jazlyn. Jazlyn looked at her warily but took the food.
"So, who are you people?" she asked opening the coke. She pretended to be less nervous than she actually was and walked past them to plop down on a couch.
"I'm Jenna," the girl answered, "and this is Mathew."
"Yeah, that's what Shane said."
She looked at them suspiciously. She suspected that they were going to help kill her. Things worse than death crossed her mind, but she stopped herself from thinking that way.
"We're not going to kill you," Mathew said sincerely, his eyes taking on a pleading quality. She tried to believe him. It would be so much easier to just accept what he said. Something held her back, however.
"If only there were another way," Shane mumbled.
"Shut up, Shane. It's been done now deal with it."
Jazlyn felt a sudden, strange sense of déjà vu. It was almost as if she had seen all of this playing out before and already knew the outcome. Not that it would do her much good in the present. She wouldn't remember it until it actually happened. At least that was how it usually worked. She had to close her eyes against the feeling. She hardly ever had such strong flashes.
"Are you okay?" Shane asked, concerned.
"Yeah," she said automatically.
"No, you're not. You're pale."
"I said I was fine," she said through gritted teeth. She wasn't going to let these complete strangers see how insane she was. An uneasy silence pervaded the room.
"I told you she was the one," Shane whispered.
"The one what?" Jazlyn asked through gritted teeth.
"Well it's really hard to explain," Jenna said trying to dodge the question.
"Try," Jazlyn said in a hard voice. Suddenly another flash hit.
The circle of magic,
The circle of night,
Screams in moonlight,
Thirteen number the Catalyst
Called as one by our mother, Rage
The thirteenth our last hope to exist
Uncertain of side 'til the final stage
Within the circle of magic shall she stand
To choose the side that she defends
The time of darkness is at hand
The spirits cry out as deepest night descends
The circle of Magic,
The circle of Night,
Screams in the light.
She didn't realize she'd been speaking out loud until she opened her eyes and saw everyone staring at her.
"Where did you learn that?" Shane asked looking a little pale. Jazlyn shrugged and tried to decipher the meaning behind the poem.
"How could she know that, Shane?" Jenna asked fearfully.
"I don't know."
Jazlyn looked between the two of them, confused.
"It's from one of the ancient works sacred to us," Mathew explained. "It's written in a very complex language that few can translate. That's why we were so surprised that you knew that passage."
"Shit," she said even more convinced that she was having a very strange hallucination. It was completely possible that she was really in school right now acting like a wacko. Then again, did people who were hallucinating ever really think they were hallucinating? She quickly stopped trying to figure that problem out.
"I know you're probably really frightened-" Matthew began only to be cut off by a bitter laugh.
"Frightened? No, not really," she said sarcastically.
"Look, there's not anything we can do about it. We had to find you. We have to help you choose."
"Help me choose what?"
"We have to protect you," Shane corrected. She was silent at that. She couldn't remember the last time someone had believed they needed to protect her from anything. She'd been Jazlyn, the disturbed smart kid, for so long that anything else seemed strange. She sat there silently until Jenna whispered something to Shane.
"Jazlyn, we want you to meet some people," he said smiling gently as if she were an animal that was about to bolt.
"Why?" she asked suspiciously. She was pretty sure that she didn't want to meet any more members of this cult even though she had begun to get over her fear of these three.
"To help you decide. The others are here already."
"To help me decide what?" she asked exasperatedly.
"Come," he said walking toward the door. She had absolutely no intention of following him, but she found her feet moving anyway.
"What the hell?" she muttered still trying to make her feet stop moving. He led her outside and through the woods surrounding the house. At any other time she might have stopped to gaze at the dark beauty of the evergreens mixing with the skeletons of the other trees, but at the moment she was too scared to think of anything but death. She tried again and again to make herself stop, but it was futile. She began to wonder yet again if it was even marginally possible that they were who they claimed they were and were forcing her through the woods with magic, but she disregarded that as crazy. She also struggled with the more plausible theory that she was hallucinating.
"We'll be there in just a minute Shane said kindly. Images of sacrificial altars flashed into her mind. This was definitely not comforting. They stepped into a clearing, and the air seemed to almost vibrate for a moment before returning to normal. Well, that wasn't strictly true. It was almost the same, but there was something that was different about it. It was almost as if the air had become tangier. The twinge of danger that it seemed to hold frightened her even more, but at the same time it was comforting since it made her feel a little bit less insane.
"Shane, greetings," a girl said walking towards them with a regal air as if she'd been practicing it for years.
"Hello, Denora," he replied smiling broadly. More figures stepped from the shadows, but they were dressed in differently colored cloaks that hid their faces from view.
"I see you've brought a guest with you. Am I correct in assuming that you have succeeded in your quest?"
"Yep," Shane said proudly.
"You mean you sent him on a quest to kidnap me?" Jazlyn asked indignantly. She knew it probably would have been better to keep her mouth shut, but the combination of so many stressful things had conspired to make her brain slower than her mouth.
"Not exactly," Denora said clearly aggravated.
"You got in the car of your own free will!" Shane argued heatedly, color tingeing his cheeks.
"You looked like my mother! What the hell did you expect me to do? No, Mom, I won't get in the car with you. Why not? Well, you might happen top be a strange dude who can change forms. You could just look like the woman who gave birth to me. That would go over really well."
"Um…" Shane said unintelligibly.
"Shane! Jazlyn! We got here as soon as we could," Jenna said panting as she and Mathew ran into the clearing panting.
"Will someone please tell me just what the hell is going on here?" Jazlyn asked beginning to become angry. If these people were going to kill her in a sadistic and vicious manner they should at least have the courtesy to do it quickly.
"You already know about the thirteen and what you must decide," Jenna pointed out.
"Yeah…" she admitted.
"So you have to choose between two sides. Good and evil, obviously," she replied as if speaking to a small child.
"The passage didn't say good and evil," Jazlyn pointed out.
"What else would it be talking about? I mean, good and evil have fought for so long, and there's bound to be an ultimate battle sooner or later. I guess we'll be the ones who decide which side wins."
"I thought I decide."
"You decide for the group. We'll follow you, but technically it's all of us."
"Which side do you want to win?" Jazlyn asked.
"Good, of course," Jenna answered rolling her eyes.
"Of course. Only one question; how can you tell the difference?"
The twelve looked at each other, each searching for the answer in another's face. None of them had the answer, though. Therein laid the problem none of them had yet been able to solve. It was a simple question really, but none of them had actually formed it into a verbal query. The question was: exactly what was good, and what was evil?
A/n: It's a bit longer than usual. Sorry for the lack of updates, but I hope to update more now that I've moved all of my writing over to my laptop. Now, being the last person I am, I can sit in bed and write. Lol. Please review. Constructive criticism is always welcome!