"…we repeat: if you are in or headed towards the Surrey area, turn around and leave as quickly as possible, there is a severe disturbance in the area that is highly dangerous to go near. Do not go outside unless absolutely necessary or to escape…"
"Y'know, this news anchor guy is really very repetitive," Grace commented.
"Good reception up here though," Lucy added.
As Grace used her power to carry the two of them to Surrey, they had decided to use Grace's smart phone to keep updated with the situation they planned to remedy.
"Should we put on our masks now?" Lucy asked.
"You can, it gets in the way if I fly at this altitude," Grace replied, "just don't drop my phone!"
"Yeah yeah," Lucy mumbled as she reached into her pocket where she'd crumpled a mask to hide her identity.
Between Lucy, Grace and Jo, they'd decided that if things like this were going to happen outside of London that their identities might want some kind of protection from the burning stakes. Lucy's favourite colours were black and green so she'd made one that had both of those that tied together the ideas of a Luchador and Marvel Girl. Grace favoured pinks and purples, so she crafted one that was so girly Barbie had her own accessory of one, it had an opening at the back so all Grace's long red hair could flow free.
Lucy pulled on her mask, her identity was hidden and she would now be referred to as 'Leech'. Jo and Grace had begged her to change her name; Lucy said she'd think about it. Grace's mask gave her the lovely identity of 'The Mindy' (Mind-y. Clever, right).
"I think we're getting close," Grace said as she looked at a small area with lots of dust and damage circling it.
"That's what she said!" Lucy grinned.
"You are so 13," Grace remarked "but jokes aside, we need to be ready in about 2 minutes."
As they landed, Grace psychically donned her mask also and the two of them turned a black, charred street corner, ready to face-off with whatever was causing all this trouble.
Upon their arrival, they saw the damage that had been done to the street. Trees had been brutally torn from their roots and tossed to opposing sides of the street, the tarmac of the road was either cracked, crushed or crumbling away, the buildings, houses, smashed through like paper, ripped from their foundations, with bricks and wood still moving from the force that did this. If it weren't for the lack of any kind of wind, anyone would've seen the aftermath of a hurricane, but those who were here would've told you a very different story.
It was huge!
It wanted to kill us all!
We heard the noises outside and then-!
It wasn't man or machine!
I had to take my grandchildren to the basement for safety.
I grabbed my baby and ran!
It was a demon! That was the devil's work!
I don't think I'll sleep again.
It was a monster!
There was nowhere to go!
There were guns firing and screaming!
My husband went out to see what happened early on. You seen him?
I just told myself to run, run fast and keep on running!
Well, I wasn't going to leave her there!
It took my little girl…
These were just some of the stories that were breaking out because of this. Grace and Lucy had no idea what had truly happened or what would happen because of it. All they knew was that they had to stop it. They had to stop this thing from destroying everything else in its path. It had already demolished most of the major streets, but now the question was; where was it?
The streets were damaged beyond recognition, but it was empty for any sign of life.
"Grace, scan the area," Lucy said.
Grace nodded. She placed fingers to her temples and closed her yes. She began searching the streets for mental activity, then she searched for physical activity, but she found nothing.
"Nada," she said "empathy?"
"I tried, there's too much emotion tied to this place," Lucy explained "I channel emotions through my body, I'm actually blocking it out right now, but I feel like bawling. Anymore and I'll be about as useful as blonde girl in a philosophy class."
"I think your analogies are getting more degrading as you get older," Grace remarked.
Lucy shrugged, neither accepting nor declining the statement.
The sound of destruction came echoed from around the corner and both girls sprang into action. Lucy ran down the street, preparing to turn the corner, whilst Grace went for an aerial view, rising above the houses to look for the threat. However, even above the houses, Grace could only see the remnants of destruction, as though the attacker had popped in, broke something and popped back out. Grace pulled out her phone, unlocked it and rang for Lucy.
Lucy had reached the corner and prepared to turn it when her phone began buzzing in her pocket. She pulled it out and saw the Caller I.D. for Grace. She accepted the call and placed the cold glass screen to her ear.
"What's happening?" Lucy answered.
"First, Bluetooth, should of thought of that a year ago," Grace said "second, nothing's there. I don't feel any kind of brain activity and I don't see any activity."
"That's impossible, there were no reports of any kind of transportation, the news guy just said that it came in, broke stuff and ran back out," Lucy explained "I'm gonna try and open the flood gates of emotion here, maybe that'll get us somewhere, but I need you to put ideas of control and calm in my head, OK?"
"All right," Grace nodded "I'm coming down."
They both tapped the 'End Call' button and, as Grace made her descent, Lucy closed her eyes and began to allow her empathy to start absorbing all the emotions surrounding her.
As she allowed the emotions to wash over her, her perception of reality began to waver. She heard voices, some were timid, some were screaming, most were afraid, some were angry or crying, some were lost and fighting. The brave and the fearful, the lovers and the haters, the living and the dead, all their emotions lingered and they were loud. Even those who were quiet seemed to be screaming straight into Lucy's mind.
Her body began to shake, her eyes rolled back, her mouth opened wide to scream from the pain, but she felt too much to release a sound. Her body was quaking and her eyes were white, her hair was twisting around itself and her chest heaved as if to convulse everything. She clawed at the ground and fell to her knees. It was though she was battling herself within her own soul.
Then, the shaking began to subside to shivers, her eyes closed ever so slightly and she began to take in deep, meaningful, if slightly infrequent, lungfuls of air. She could feel Grace's mental presence, sifting through the chaos and restoring some balance.
'Thank you…' even in her own head, Lucy's voice was shaky. Lucy began to take more control and soon, she was looking through all the emotions as they raced through her.
Lucy embraced the emotions more, feeling the fear and sorrow and anger as the faces of the people and the things they saw flowed through her. She began to see the destruction of the area; she first saw a flight of planes way up in the sky, they appeared to be old, then the person recognised them and so did Lucy. Junkers. Junkers Ju 87? German bomb planes? Was that what ha destroyed this place? But that was impossible, Grace had carried her and Lucy through the air and seen no sign of airborne activity. Also, if people piloted the planes then both Grace and Lucy should've been able to easily pick up on them when they tried.
Lucy let the flash go and began to study the others, but they were all so different. One had experienced an earthquake, another a flood, another had been attacked by giant wildlife creatures and several had seen a devastating fire erupt. However, not all of them could've been true, not all of them were possible and, from a simple walk down the forlorn street would tell you that it was impossible for them to have happened the same week, let alone less than an hour ago.
Lucy, in her confusion, was about to return to her consciousness when she suddenly felt a fiery chill course through her. It made her heart freeze, but her blood boil. She felt the icy touch of fear caress her flesh, but the raw flames of wrath tickles and lick at her bones, she then fell the bitter taste of revenge on her lips and the wet, bone-drenching fall of sorrow upon her. So much raw emotion would've destroyed Lucy's mind and body if she remained. The emotions clawed at her, trying to make her stay so they could curse her, but she tore away and returned to her awoken mind. She snapped back and she could feel her body drenched in sweat, hot and cold flushes jumping up and down through her and the fear and panic broke her control. She heaved and convulsed on the broken ground in front of her, she continued for a few minutes as Grace held her hair up and rubbed her back, whispering soothing words into her ear. She finished, wiped her mouth and began to breathe in deeply.
"Are you OK?" Grace asked, concerned.
Lucy couldn't answer, she merely shook her head as she continued to breathe deeply.
After a moment, Lucy felt well enough to speak and explain what'd happened.
"I saw it. Him," she said "what caused all this?"
"A demon? A warlock?" Grace guessed. Lucy shook her head again.
"A witch," she said "but he's not a bad witch. His powers must've just come in, but their developing way too quickly. I saw it when I tapped into his emotions; the fear, the panic."
Lucy held her hand to her mouth, trying to swallow whatever remained, desperate not to relive the experience.
"So, we're dealing with a new witch with new powers," Grace deducted "how did this happen though? Is his power just to destroy things?"
"No," Lucy breathed, she was beginning to regain composure "his power is that he can create things. The problem is that he's creating the effect of everyone's fears and making them believe that's what's happening. If someone's greatest fear is drowning, he's created the residual image that there's been a flood, but that person can see the flood happening. It's a bit complicated and I can't really- right now."
Grace nodded and rubbed her back again, connecting everything in her head. She sent out another wave, trying to locate this witch, but she still couldn't find anything. She tried searching specifically for witches that create, but still came up with nothing.
"I still can't find him," she murmured.
"What's your greatest fear?" Lucy asked.
"Uh…" Grace thought about it "probably…spiders?"
"Do you see any spiders around?" Lucy asked.
Grace looked around, searching for her fear, but not an arachnid could be found.
"Let me check something," Lucy said looking up at Grace. Lucy closed her eyes and focused. She began to journey into Grace's mind, trying to find something. Lucy soon came back, having found it "your greatest fear isn't spiders."
"Well," Grace said "it's not my greatest fear."
"Your greatest fear is not being able to use your powers to help people," Lucy announced "not being able to be a hero anymore."
Grace was silent as the truth dawned on her. Her greatest fear was losing her powers and not being a witch anymore. Which meant…
"He's creating my fear," Grace whispered "he's making it so I can't use my powers."
"Wrong," Lucy said, Grace looked at her confused "it's –cough- can I steal some energy please?"
"Oh, sure," Grace picked up Lucy's right and touched it to her cheek.
The rush began as Grace felt her energy, her feelings and some of her powers drain away from her. Lucy quickly retracted her hand and took a breath. She sat up straight and relaxed her shoulders slightly. She immediately looked healthier than she had a moment ago. Grace was still adjusting to her minor dip in energy, but she would be fine.
"Now, as I was saying," Lucy said, her voice now steady "he's not creating a place where your powers don't work. He's making you believe that they don't work and creating the effect that they don't work. If you conquer your fear of losing your powers, it'll have no effect on you. That or you find something your more scared of, but then that'll come true, so I don't recommend that."
Grace looked down to think about it. She knew now that there wasn't anything she was scared of more, but she didn't feel scared now. She didn't feel as though she was frightened of being without powers. Then she remembered something.
"But just a minute ago, I levitated to see if something was there," she said "my powers worked that way. How does that work?"
Lucy looked confused as well.
Grace jumped up. She thought she'd heard a voice, but Lucy was still deep in thought and all civilians had left a while ago.
There it was again. Grace asked Lucy if she'd heard anything, but she just shook her head.
"It's saying," Grace listened again "your intention?"
They both thought hard about what Grace was hearing and what it meant.
'…Intention of your power…'
They both snapped up at the voice this time.
"You heard it too," Grace said.
"I did," Lucy agreed.
"The intention of my power…" Grace repeated. They both thought again, then Lucy's head flicked up and her eyes were wide with ingenious.
"Intention!" Lucy said "That's it! Why did you levitate before?"
"To see what was happening?"
"So, we'd know what to do?"
"And what would you have done?"
"Attacked the guy terror- Ooh!" Grace yelped "Intention!"
"Yes!" Lucy cheered "your intention wasn't to help the people, it was to hurt the attacker! That's why it worked!"
"Yes!" Grace smiled, but her face then dropped again "Why exactly?"
Lucy sighed but explained.
"Your greatest fear is not being able to use your power to protect the people," Lucy said "but you weren't levitating to protect the people, you wanted to be able to punish the one doing this. So, your powers work if you're not using them to protect someone."
"Of course!" Grace said "it's so simple."
"Sure, it's simple after it's explained," Lucy mumbled, but Grace didn't hear her.
"So, all I have to do is use my power with the intention of hurting him?" Grace said, punching her palm.
Lucy waited eagerly, anticipating a sudden great revere of power. Grace looked to be focusing, but she suddenly opened her eyes and looked straight at Lucy with an earnest expression.
"I can't find him," she smiled, rubbing the back of her head embarrassed. Lucy almost fell from the sudden lack of tension in the air and looked at Grace with a look of bemused exhaustion. "I mean, he's just a witch who doesn't know what he's doing. I don't want to hurt him."
"Grace," Lucy sounded serious "look around. I know you don't want to hurt him, I can feel it, but if we're going to stop him you need to get mad."
"OK," Grace said, loosening up her shoulder "get mad. Get mad. Get mad. Get mad. Are you mad, bro?"
Lucy stared at Grace not amused.
"Come on Grace, there's anger somewhere in there, I know there is!" Lucy began plead "just let it out! Come on!"
Lucy closed her eyes, as if pleading with Grace telepathically.
'Get angry Grace! Get angry! Anger! Rage! Wrath!' she shouted the emotions in her mind, aiming them at Grace 'Just. Get. Angry!'
Suddenly, a supernova of pent up anger exploded and nearly knocked Lucy down. She was nearly overcome by the blast of pure wrath emanating from Grace, Lucy had to close her empathy off entirely, but she could still feel the heat of Grace's anger cocooning them both. Lucy couldn't find any other emotion within the furnace of Grace's emotions, as if they were all being converted into this white-hot mass of wrath.
'Grace!' Lucy called to Grace's mind 'Grace, I know you can hear me. You've got the anger, now find the witch!'
Grace must've heard her because suddenly, Grace sent out a massive telepathic wave, specifically designed to find the witch responsible for the damage. With the anger tied into the wave, Grace suddenly found what she was looking for. She locked onto the boy and burst from the ground upwards, then to the East. She fired away with such force, Lucy could feel it from the ground.
Lucy stood up and, with the remnants of power she'd borrowed from Grace, she pulled herself upwards, slowly but still she managed to move in the same direction without Grace moving too far out of range.
The boy wasn't far from the road, only a few streets over, but still Grace landed with such force that she might've broken the sound barrier if she'd continued her flight. Her mind was still locked on the boy and nothing was stopping her.
The wood of the fence snapped, shattered and moved away as she walked up to the gate. The front made the sound of wood yielding to the wind before it opened and a frightened, frail woman ran out.
"Stop!" she yelled "please! I know he's made trouble, but he doesn't know-"
Grace didn't even sense her presence before or after she was flung away into the bushes on the outskirt of the front garden.
The front door shattered apart and pieces of wood and debris was strewn across the front room. Grace stopped momentarily, re-evaluating the exact location of her target. She sensed his presence below her, in the house's basement.
Lucy was still landing and running over to the woman to check if she was OK. Meanwhile, Grace began tearing through the floorboards and opened up a hole in the ground for her to float down gently onto the cold, stone floor of the basement. Grace's eyes were cold and colourless as they scanned the room. She couldn't see her target, but he was there and she knew it. Grace whipped around and saw him, curled up into himself, tearstains down his cheeks and shaking. Grace could feel the pain and fear screaming at her.
'Please don't hurt me!' he was screaming 'I never meant to hurt anyone!'
Grace stalked towards him and raised her right hand by her shoulder, as though she were holding a glass whilst trying to be seductive. But there was no seduction here, only anger and fear.
Grace began to emit a powerful telekinetic force from her hand, it moved nothing, it was a simple blast of destruction bursting forth from her palm. Then, the power changed, her invisible telekinesis began to evolve, it remoulded itself and soon it became a light. A burning light that was certainly not the power Grace had become so used to using. For in the palm of her hand, there was a flame, it was small but it blazed like a bonfire. Then Grace narrowed her eyes and the small fire became larger and scarier, it became like a blade a flame that would not burn or set ablaze, it would simply melt through anything it touched without a fight.
Grace raised the flame up and began to drop her arm with a sense of finality.
"Grace! No!" Lucy leaped down the hole and grabbed Grace by the head "it's time to calm down!"
The process began again. The fire was extinguished and Grace's eyes widened in pain. She screamed as the power and the emotion and the energy was brutally torn from her body. The fire infused anger burnt through her body and into Lucy's and Grace screamed. She screamed and screamed with all her might, the agony of Lucy's power was to great to bear in silence and so Grace screamed! Lucy had to hold on for a lot longer this time, the anger had broken Grace's boundaries, she had been using a lot more power than she could've before and Lucy had to drain it out of her. Grace eventually stopped screaming, she opened her eyes and the green finally resurfaced. Lucy let go and placed Grace's unconscious body back onto the ground. But now the demon was within her and she had to release it quickly.
Lucy, with Grace's powers replenished in her body, flew out of the hole and straight out the door. Lucy flicked upwards and streamed straight up into the sky. She flew as she could, above the birds, above the planes, but she still felt to low. She flew higher above the clouds than she thought should be possible until she felt right. Then, with an almighty shout, she lit up. She unleashed all the light she could and the sky followed suit. The blue of the sky, the grey of the clouds were all illuminated and demolished by the pure white light of Lucy's raw power. Nothing could be seen by looking up, it only sought to blind anyone who dared. Even the sun, whose radiance allowed life to bloom upon the plant, seemed dim in comparison to the light that shone over the sky of Surrey. Lucy had begun her release and she could not stop. She felt all of Grace's anger being expelled from her body and she felt the relief. Lucy must've been releasing all that energy for a solid 20 minutes, but the light didn't begin to dim for another half an hour. Even then, it took a whole hour for the sky to turn blue again. When that finally happened, Lucy floated down, exhausted and deprived of oxygen, she began to float down.
When she finally touched the upturned ground of the Surrey house, the woman was back inside, she had her son on the couch, telling him everything was fine and that nothing bad was going to happen. Lucy stepped in and the woman tensed, but she soon relaxed when she remembered what Lucy had done.
"G-" Lucy stopped, almost revealing their identities "the other girl. With the pink mask."
"I left her down there," she said "I didn't know what to do with her! My arms just wouldn't move or-"
"I understand," Lucy smiled "I'll take care of her."
Lucy hopped down the hole and looked down to see Grace, propped up against the wall, barely conscious. She heard Lucy's descent and looked up, fear and desperation in her eyes.
"What happened?" Grace asked.
"It's a long story," Lucy said.
"With his mother," Lucy said "he'll be fine, but we'll need to bind his powers I think. His powers are too great and he doesn't have anyone to teach him how to use them."
Grace chuckled in a defeated tone "Maybe we should bind mine too."
"What do you remember?"
"Anger," she said "I didn't feel anything for a second. Then I heard your voice in my head telling me to get angry and…I did. Then, I just remember waking up here."
"You lost control," Lucy said "you'll learn how to keep control. You'll have me to help and Jo'll be back soon."
Grace nodded solemnly.
"You took my power for a bit?"
"Good, I can still help cast the binding spell, but you'll need to get us home,"
Grace chuckled again "Y'know for a second, I thought something really awful had-"
"You screamed," Lucy announced abruptly.
"When I took your powers," Lucy elaborated "you screamed."
"What does that mean?"
Lucy was silent.
"Lucy, what does it mean if I screamed?"
"Good witches don't scream," Lucy said "when I take powers. Good witches and mortals don't scream. Only…only evil does."
"…I see," Grace looked down, Lucy opened her mouth to say something but Grace interrupted "let's go bind his powers."
Lucy closed her mouth and nodded. They both went upstairs and into the living room where the woman still was. She leapt up and tried to carry her boy away, but Lucy got around and stopped her. She explained what they were going to do and, after some arguing and debate, she allowed them to do so.
The boy was sat cross-legged on the floor. He was about 13, Asian descent and clearly frightened. Grace stood behind him and Lucy stood in front of him, they linked hands over his shoulders and began to chant the spell Jo had written to bind the other child witches' powers when they began to grow out of control. They chanted in unison.
By the forces of the Body and of the Mind
The powers of this child we do bind,
Until the time and place for him we find,
We do displace his calling kind.
The spell was done and the white Triquetra appeared beneath the boy and the girls' smiled at the spell's completion. However, another Triquetra appeared, but this time it was yellow. The two symbols began to merge together and a flash of light burst forth and knocked Lucy to the far wall, but Grace remained where she was.
Nobody understood what had happened. But Lucy knew what still had to be done. With a heavy heart, she realised that her magic didn't connect with the boy's on the right level, like trying to communicate between two radios on different frequencies. She noticed that Grace didn't move though which could mean only one thing.
"Do the spell again," she said.
"What?" Grace said confused "if we can't do it together, how can I do it alone?"
"Only I got tossed," Lucy reminded "obviously, your powers are compatible. Speak to him on a, y'know, magical level."
Grace looked confused by nodded. She raised her palms above the boy's head.
By the forces of the Mind,
The powers of this child I do bind,
Until the time and place for him I find,
I do displace his calling kind.
Grace's purple Triquetra appeared on top of his yellow one. The two interconnected and the light flashed again, but Grace stood still.
The room was silent for a moment, there was no indication that the spell had worked or not. Nobody knew what had happened, but the question still hung in the air.
"Did it work?" the mother asked.
"I don't know," Lucy said "Did it work?"
"I don't know," Grace said, she looked down "Did it work?"
The boy looked up and grinned "Yup!"
Everyone smiled. It felt like such an accomplishment was made that it almost overshadowed the fact that both of these witches had caused very large-scale destruction today. Almost. It was clear to see at the back on everyone's mind, but nobody said a word. Grace looked down at the boy and knelt down to his level.
"What's your name kid?" she asked.
"I'm not a kid," he said, glaring "but my name's Xavier."
"All right," Grace went into her pocket and pulled out a piece of paper "you may find that magic keeps happening around you, so I you ever need us, call this number."
Xavier took it and smiled at her. He said thank you and Grace and Lucy made to leave.
Everyone said their goodbyes, but the two girls had to leave.
"OK," Grace sighed "how are we getting home?"
"Oh, you not driving?" Lucy joked.
They both laughed as Lucy picked them up to head home. They floated across the sky slower than they were used to, but they made it in good time.
However, back in Surrey, Xavier still had a problem. He had gone to his bedroom to sleep before he began helping the reconstruction of the town he'd inadvertently destroyed, but on his ceiling there was a mark. It was tiny and in the furthest corner of the room. It would never been seen if you weren't looking for it. But it was there nonetheless.