The fire burned a brilliant yellow, orange and red. The room was dark, illuminated only by the light cast by the fire. My heart was beating wildly in my chest. I'd never done something like this before. I always knew I could do it if I tried. I just never had. Until now. Now, I sat in my darkened room, in the middle of my bed, my held in front of me, the ball of fire burning an inch from my palm. I have been sitting here for the past ten minutes, and I was surprised and excited that the fire had last that long. Mostly because I had the attention span of a gnat and couldn't focus on anything for more than a few minutes. Just as I was about to try and make the fire bigger, my door burst open and the light was turned on. Startled, I dropped my hand to my side but the fire ball remained suspended in the air in front of me. I looked towards the door and at the woman standing there. She had a Scarlett Johanssen-esque bob and she was wearing black skinny jeans and a grey frilly blouse with black pumps. Her blue eyes were focused on the fire. I looked at the emotions fleeting across her face. First confusion, awe, anger, then back to confusion, then anger and then nothing.
"Aunt Jo, you scared me," I said.
"Get rid of that thing. Are you trying to burn down the house?" Aunt Jo asked. I looked at the fire ball and then at her.
"I can't," I said in a choked voice. I had performance anxiety. That's why I had kept the door closed. Aunt Jo rolled her eyes and snapped her finger. The fireball disappeared in a puff of smoke and I fell back against my bed. I stared up at the ceiling. I lived with my aunt, only because I didn't want to live with my parents. It wasn't like my parents didn't love me or whatever; I just wanted to get away from my mother's scrutinizing gaze.
If it isn't obvious by now, I am a witch. I'm not a very good witch because I never practice my "craft". But I am a witch...unfortunately. I didn't ask for this and even though it was pretty cool sometimes, I didn't want it. I wanted to be normal. I wanted my monsters to be imaginary and ones that could go away with a kiss on the forehead and a few encouraging words. But I got stuck with the real monsters that never went away, no matter how many times my parents kissed me on the forehead and told me that I didn't have to be afraid of anything. It didn't work. I was afraid of my own shadow. I breathed deeply.
"Aren't you getting late for school?" Aunt Jo asked. She was my mother's sister and yes, she was also a witch. Every woman and the few men in my family were witches. There were a few things that were common in every pure-bred Harman witch. Pure-bred meaning she or in some cases he was a direct descendant of Genevieve Harman, the very first Harman witch. Every witch had red hair, had blue eyes and every witch had a sister.
Now, that's where it got interesting. Genevieve is known as the first Harman witch but she had a sister; a sister who was less powerful than Genevieve, even though she was a Harman as well. So I had many, many, many cousins who were direct descendant of Genevieve's sister; all of them red haired and blue eyed. All except for me and my sister; we were brunettes. And if that wasn't different enough, she was born on Genevieve's death day and I was born on her birthday. Imagine the curiosity and wonder over these two occurrences. Everyone in the family thought there was something extra-special about my sister and me because we were born on the two most important days in our family history. Yup, life was good.
"Sienna, I'm talking to you," Aunt Jo said again. I leaned up on my elbows and looked at her.
"Sorry, what were you saying?" I asked.
"Aren't you getting late for school?" Aunt Jo asked. I turned and looked at the alarm clock on my side-table. It was 7:45 a.m. and school started at 8:30.
"No," I said. I wasn't that fond of school. I didn't like going anywhere near a crowd. I couldn't tell if someone was out to get me or not when I was in a crowd. I preferred the sanctity of my house but I did like the outdoors.
"Yes, you are. Get dressed, Aria will be here soon," Aunt Jo said. I lay back on the bed and closed my eyes. Aria was my best friend and had been since we were five. I trusted her more than anything in the world. I got up from the bed and walked to my closet. I'd already laid out my clothes and I closed the door behind me and stripped out of my PJ's. I grabbed my black jeans and put them on, followed by a black tank-top, which was followed by a black cardigan.
I walked out of the closet and stood in front of my full length mirror. My mother had gotten it especially for me. It was antique and had a gold-gilded frame. I picked up my long black hair and pulled them into a pony tail, trying to look as uninteresting as possible. You would think that I would be used to all the attention and weird looks by now but nope. I was normal looking alright. I had black hair, a slight willowy frame and skin so pale, it was almost translucent. But the eyes were where it all ended. I had smoky blue eyes with dark rings around the irises. In short, witch eyes. My dad said that I was blessed by the fairies, which wasn't entirely impossible considering I was a witch and all. Even it wasn't true, I was still a witch and something had to be different about me. It just so happened to be my eyes, leaving me with no choice but to wear sunglasses at school.
I tried to hide myself at school, because I didn't want to be there. It was the last place I wanted to be. Teenagers have the tendency to judge other people based on their looks. Even though I was normal looking, I wasn't exactly normal. I was a pure-bred Harman. Yay.
"So how have you been feeling?" Aunt Jo asked from behind me. Aunt Jocelyn was my mother's younger sister but they might as well not have been related. Aunt Jo is cool and relaxed, when my mother is tightly wound and worried all the time. You couldn't blame her. With two witch daughters who really wanted nothing to do with their family heritage, I would be worried too.
"About what?" I asked. I stared at the mirror and wondered if there was any point in covering my dark circles. I tried to remember the last time I had slept. It seemed like ages. I was surprised that my brain hasn't turned to mush yet. I picked up my sunglasses from the dresser and put them on.
"About everything. How are you feeling?" Aunt Jo asked again. I shrugged. The downside to living with Aunt Jo was that Mom always asked her to talk to me. Though Aunt Jo owned an art gallery, she still had her degree in psychology which really helped when dealing with a teenager. Too bad I wasn't just a teenager, I was also a witch. No psychology textbook was going to tell her how to handle that, despite the fact that she herself was one as well.
"I feel fine," I said. I turned to look at her.
"Are you sure? You've been so moody lately and honestly we're worried about you," Aunt Jo said. I didn't ask her who 'we' was supposed to be.
"It's a character flaw," I replied. Aunt Jo took a deep breath and let it out. Talking to me can be very frustrating. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't that my family wasn't there for me to talk to and it wasn't that I couldn't connect to them. No, I had a very happy childhood and my parents loved me very much. The problem was that nobody knew what I was capable of as far as my powers were concerned so everyone walked on eggshells around me. I hated that.
"It's not a character flaw, Sienna. Is it the nightmares again?" Aunt Jo asked softly. I stilled at the mention of the nightmares. We were so not going there. I slid my feet into my black flats.
"I don't know what you're talking about," I said in an even tone. I walked to my desk and picked up my bag, and slung it over my shoulder. Aunt Jo followed my movements as I opened the door to my room and walked out. I was at the stairs when I heard Aunt Jo come out of my room and close the door behind her.
"Do you want me to make you breakfast?" Aunt Jo asked from behind me as we climbed down the stairs.
"Nope," I said. I made my way to the kitchen and putting my bag on the counter; I opened the fridge and took out the carton of juice. Forgoing the glass, I took off the cap and brought the carton to my mouth.
"Sienna, use a glass," Aunt Jo said. I rolled my eyes behind my sunglasses and brought the carton down, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. I put the cap back on and put the juice in the fridge. I turned around and grabbed my bag ready to walk back out of the kitchen but Aunt Jo stopped me by putting her hands on my arms.
"Sienna, we need to talk," she said. I looked into her concerned blue eyes and almost gave in. Talking sounded nice; but only in theory. The doorbell rang and I carefully stepped out of her grasp. I didn't like being touched, even if it was by a family member.
"I can't. Aria's here," I said. Aunt Jo took another deep breath. I stepped around her and walked out of the kitchen.
"Be careful," she called after me.
"Yeah," I said with a wave of my hand. I walked to the foyer and to the front door. Pulling it open, I looked at my best Aria Ackerman. I was crappy company to keep and I wasn't denying that but Aria never left my side. I told her everything; even the things I didn't tell my mother and aunt. I had a sister but we weren't that close, so I had given that position to Aria. She had shoulder length blonde hair and dark brown eyes that were always warm and friendly.
"Let's go before Aunt Jo decides to follow us," I said. I dragged Aria down the many porch steps and to her car. As I had taken to not sleeping, Aria had taken to driving us to school. We got in her green Mini and she made a U-turn, driving towards school. Aria kept shooting me weird glances while she drove and I looked out the window. Eventually, I had had enough and I turned to look at her.
"What?" I asked.
"What's wrong?" Aria asked.
"Aunt Jo wanted to talk again," I said.
"That a bad thing?" Aria asked. I shrugged. I didn't want to talk. I just wanted everything to be fixed. I didn't want the monsters to come after in the middle of the night when the lights were turned off and shadows played on the wall. I didn't want to have these conflicting end-of-the-world dreams that I have been having since I was a little girl. I had stopped having them for a while and I thought they wouldn't come back, until they did six months ago.
"What did she want to talk about?" Aria asked.
"My dreams," I said.
"You have to sleep to dream," Aria mumbled. I gave her a half smile.
"To sleep perchance to dream," I whispered. Aria chuckled.
"Sometimes, I think you're as crazy as Hamlet."
I looked out the window again. We were driving through a residential area, one that I knew by heart. We drove down the same road every day to get to school. We passed beautiful expensive bungalows, ones that didn't look all that different from my parents' house. But these weren't the houses that always caught my attention. I counted the numbers of the house until we reached the house that stood out like a sore thumb.
I sat up straighter when the house finally came into view. It was painted an ugly brown color and it was falling apart completely. The porch was falling in, there was a hole in the roof and the shutters were broken. I was surprised that the community hadn't demolished the house. But more than that, the house screamed darkness. Something terribly evil was going on in there.
"You know, my dad was saying that young girls have been disappearing from this area," Aria said. I nodded because I wasn't all that surprised. It was the house, it had to be.
"Stop the car," I said on impulse.
"What? We're almost at school," Aria said. I knew she wasn't going to stop the car. Aria was never late for school. She never broke the rules and she knew me enough to know that I was going to do something that the witch council would not approve of. I always did.
We were passing the house now and I turned around to look at Aria desperately.
"Aria, come on," I said.
"No, I know you're going to do something incredibly stupid and that scares me," Aria said. Okay, she wasn't leaving me with a choice. I focused on the gear shift and squinted. With my mind, I imagined the gearshift moving into reverse and putting pressure on the accelerator.
Aria gasped in surprise as the car started moving backwards to the house. When we were outside the house, I mentally pulled the gear shift into park.
"I hate it when you do that," Aria shrieked.
"You made me," I said. I took off my seatbelt and opened the door. I put one foot outside the car but Aria grabbed my arm before I was fully out. I turned around to look at her.
"What are you doing?" She asked. I could read the fear in her wide brown eyes.
"I'm going inside," I said, pointing towards the house.
"We are not going in there."
"Because in horror movies the people who go into abandoned houses are always the first ones to get killed," Aria whispered. She looked up and down the street like someone could hear our conversation. The street was deadly quiet.
"That's because they are idiots on spring break looking for a good time. We are witches, Aria. Nothing is going to happen," I said. I pried her fingers off my arm because I was pretty sure she was cutting off my circulation. I stepped out of the car and stood on the sidewalk. A moment later, I heard the car door open and shut, and Aria came to stand by my side. Together, we looked up at the abandoned house.
"You know this house was abandoned because of supernatural activity, right?" Aria asked.
"Just because our lives are like a Stephen King novel doesn't mean something supernatural is going to happened on every corner," I said. I hooked my arm into hers and moved forward. Aria dragged me back.
"What about those missing young girls?" Aria asked.
"Aria, there is other crime in the city. It isn't all supernatural," I said. I walked up the little path in the supposed garden and to the porch steps, dragging Aria with me. The porch steps groaned under our feet and the porch had many missing pieces. We carefully maneuvered our way to the front door. I swallowed hard and with one look behind me at the quiet street, I raised a hand and pushed open the door of the house. It swung open easily enough and Aria and I looked inside. I could see a staircase and a foyer and beyond that a living area and that's it.
"See, everything is normal," I said.
"Okay, I believe you. Now let's go back," Aria said. I could hear the fear laced in her voice. I shook my head and took a step inside the house. Light streamed in from the boarded up windows in slices. We walked further into the house and when we were halfway down the foyer, the front door swung shut behind us.
Aria spun around in horror.
"It's probably just the wind," I whispered.
"This is freaking me out," Aria whispered back. Our feet left footprints in the dust gathered on the floor with years of misuse. Aria pulled her arm out of mine and went into the living room. I continued walking down the foyer.
"It's so weird that the house is still furnished," Aria called out.
"It's like someone really abandoned it," I said. I stopped in front of a wall of photos. They were photos of a normal happy family; a father, a mother and a young daughter. All of them were smiling in the photos. It seemed strange that a family would just up and leave everything they had and move away.
I continued walking around the house and eventually, found myself in the kitchen. There were plates on the table like someone was about to have a meal. It was heart breaking. What happened to this family?
I jumped and turned around to look at Aria. She was standing behind me by the back stairs. I placed a hand over my heart.
"God, you scared me," I said. I looked around the kitchen again.
"Sorry, but have you had your fill yet? This place is creeping me out," Aria said. I looked at Aria and noticed the way her brown eyes darted around the kitchen like at any minute something was going to jump out of a corner and attack us.
"Yeah, let's go," I said. Aria's eyes settled on me for a second before they darted behind me. Her mouth formed a little 'o' and I frowned at her. I was about to ask her what was wrong when I felt something on my neck. Slowly, I turned around.
"Holy mother of God," I whispered.
"Actually, I don't think so," Aria whispered from beside me.
In front of us, stood a monster that I can only assume used to be the woman in the photos. Its skin was craggy and a pale yellow color and its eyes were empty sockets with maggots crawling out of it. Its teeth were black and there was a chunk of skin missing on its face revealing the skeleton beneath. In its hand, it held a butcher's knife. It growled at us and Aria and I took a step back.
"I told you to not come in here," Aria said. We moved farther back and the monster followed. It tilted its head to the side as if to listen to our footsteps but its eyes were trained on us.
"Can we not do this right now?" I asked loudly. The monster growled again and swung the knife forward, narrowly missing us.
"Aria, run," I said. Aria turned around and from the corner of my eye I saw her run to the staircase. That was enough time for the monster to reach out and swing the knife, slashing my upper arm. I yelped in surprise and watched as the monster bought the knife to its mouth and licked my blood of the edge. I shuddered in disgust but was incapable of feeling fear. My mind had frozen over. I couldn't think straight. I knew I should be running yet I was clued to my spot.
Before I had the chance to turn around and run after Aria to safety, the monster swung its arm and slammed me into the wall. My teeth chattered as my entire frame connected with the wall. That was going to leave a bruise. The monster was advancing towards me and I raised my arm and waved it towards the knife, knocking it out of its hand. The monster grunted and advanced towards me. I could see the staircase behind it and I knew I had to get to it. I took a deep breath and did the only thing I could think of to do. I pushed it. The monster didn't fall down but just stumbled which gave me enough time to run to the stairs.
As soon as my foot hit the first stair, adrenaline kicked in and I started running up the stairs. I saw Aria, who was running towards me now. But I didn't get a chance to reach the top because I felt something wrap around my ankle and pull. I fell down and my chin connected with the edge of a stair and my whole jaw rattled.
"Sienna," Aria shrieked from the top. I turned around and saw the monster climbing over me with another knife in its hand. It pulled back its arm ready to strike and I raised my hands to defend the attack. But the attack never came. I lowered my hand and stared up at the monster. Its face was contorted in anger and it wasn't moving.
"Oh god, Sienna," Aria said. I heard her climbing down the stairs and she helped me up and pulled me out from under it. She took hold of my hand and pulled me towards the front of the house with a strength I didn't know she was capable of. She flung the front door open and pulled me down the porch steps.
I blinked against the harsh light of the sun. After everything that had happened inside, I was surprised to see the street was so quiet. Didn't these people realize they were living amongst a monster? Who was to say that this house wasn't the reason all those girls were disappearing?
Aria opened the passenger side door of the Mini and shoved me inside. I think I was in shock because I couldn't really move my limbs. I saw Aria run around the front of the car and climb into the driver's side. She locked the car and laid her head back.
"Okay, so the next time I say we are not doing something, we are not doing it," Aria said. But I scarcely heard her because at that moment, I felt something strong pull inside me, pulling me towards darkness, towards a place I wanted to be but at the same time was terrified to be at.
"Oh shit," I breathed as my eyes closed and my body went limp.
AN: I hope everyone read the author's note. Anyways, this is the new beginning of the old story. I really hope all my old readers liked it and so did the new readers. Review and let me know what you guys thought. More chapters will be coming.