Read an Excerpt:
It’s the last week of January and the new school semester since Christmas break starts tomorrow at Virtus Academy. Nat and all her friends, except Alex, have already moved back to their dormitories. Nat is brushing her teeth, getting ready for bed when she suddenly feels like she’s falling. A moment later, her surroundings change, and she finds herself in a dark alleyway. Nothing makes sense, and she jolts around with labored breathing, trying to understand what is going on. When she turns around to her other side, she spots Alex and momentarily forgets her anxiety. Running over to a hunched Alex, she hugs her and is so distracted that she doesn’t notice the four guys in the alley with them.
“What are you doing here?” Alex winces in pain, struggling to straighten up.
Using her toothbrush, Nat taps the ring she’s gifted Alex. “Someone must have missed me a whole lot to get me here,” she jokes.
The good news is that the protection spell she had Sheila help her put on the ring works. If Alex ever needs her badly enough, she’ll appear.
“Crap, it worked! So that means…” Nat looks around further and finally takes in the situation. “I guess you’re still having trouble making friends.” Throwing down her toothbrush, she gets in front of Alex, who’s badly bleeding from cuts on her face, and the arm she holds that seems disjointed.
“Nice outfit, girl.” One of the guys speaks sarcastically.
“This is your backup?” Another speaks, pointing at Nat before they all laugh.
“Remind me to take you shopping.” Alex picks up her fallen blade, and it elongates into a sword as it recognizes its owner.
“What!? This is comfortable and my pajamas. I was going to bed.” Nat keeps her eyes on the guys who are starting to approach. She cannot believe Alex is choosing right now to insult her.
“What do you need to be comfortable?” Alex turns fully toward Nat with her face scrunched up. “Did you sprout something since we were kids?”
“No! Can you focus before we die, you asshole? Boxers can be unisex.” She tries to defend herself, but Alex just scoffs.
Nat, annoyed, blasts Alex to the furthest point of the alley and decides to take on the men herself. It looks as if Alex softened them up enough for her to handle alone anyway.
Two of the men reach her before the others. One throws a punch at her face while the other tries to punch her abdomen. Nat is light on her feet and spins away from the one aiming for her face and shoves him into the other male before she uses her magic at the remaining attackers.
“Instead of attacking young women to stroke your egos, maybe you all should go to the gym.” She blasts one with a scar on his cheek into a wall knocking them out before she is blasted herself. In complete shock, she did not keep her guard up, she grumbles as she slowly gets back up to her feet. Nat blocks another blast of magic as she parts her feet for better balance. Nat sends a few blasts back, but her adversary blocks them all. Nat should have known these men were not mere humans if they were able to beat up Alex.
Nat is so preoccupied with the witch that she fails to deflect the attacker on her left properly, who charges her with his clawed hand in the air, ready to come down on her hard. There was little for her to do, so she stopped shielding herself from the witch’s attack, so the attack would knock her away from the attack that would be the deadliest.
The impact of the witch’s attack does the trick and sends Nat backward. The claws of the man from her right give her a nasty gash, nowhere near the damage which would have been inflicted if she did not think quick on her feet and use the witch’s attack to save her own life.
“Alright, playtime is over.” Nat lifts her hands and moves them hastily in front of her creating a linkage of pentagrams all while beads of her blood float into the amber symbols. She sees the shock on the witch’s face, and it makes her grin before she locks her fingers over each other, bends her arms inward, then thrusts her arms out, causing the spell to wrap around the first body, and the man explodes.
Nat moves her arms until everyone is dead. One black eye and a gash on her arm later, Nat walks over to Alex, who is hunched over.
“I should leave you here. I can’t believe you got back without telling me. How long have you been back in town? Tomorrow is the first day of school back from break.” Nat places her hands on her hips, letting Alex suffer for a bit more before she attempts to heal her.
Alex stands straighter, leans her head back against the wall behind her, and closes her eyes. “I forgot how much you love to bitch and moan.”
Nat is opening her mouth to respond, but promptly stops when she spots a smile creeping on Alex’s face.
“I missed it.” Alex turns her head and smiles so charmingly even with her face all beat up, Nat’s walls break.
“Ugh, I can’t stand you.” Nat shakes her head and starts to heal Alex’s easy wounds, then wraps Alex’s good arm over her shoulder and helps her to stand off the wall. “We’re too far from the dorm or my house for me to teleport us both.”
“And here I thought an overachiever such as yourself would have become a pro by now.” Alex coughs then halts her steps taking time to take deep, ragged breaths.
“Hey, that month was our break. I can get us near the school gates, but it might knock us out if I use all of our energy combined. Or worse.” Nat struggles to keep Alex upright.
Alex struggles to stand on her own feet as she pulls her good arm away from Nat so she can grab her cellphone out of her pocket. Nat watches as Alex makes a call, trying to keep her upright by the waist. “Julian, are you on campus? Good, sneak out with Olivia and come find me by the gate…just do as I asked, Olivia, will be able to track us. Yes, us, bye.”
Nat arches a brow at Alex before focusing her mind on the school gates. Once she has that clear in mind, she works on syncing her magic with Alex.
“What’s taking so long?” Alex grumbles.
“You, that’s what. I’m trying to find your source, but you’re too weak.”
“You’re a weirdo.” Alex sighs exaggeratedly.
Nat finally syncs successfully and teleports them. They land hard a few yards away from the school gates.
About the Author:
Jamila A Stone lives in Washington, D.C with her two dogs. Jamila is driven to tell stories without censorship and for the continued creativity in the world of literature. As an African American woman, she understands the lack of opportunity persons of color have to let their artistic creativity be seen on equal platforms, so she created her own publishing company called Black Glory Publishing House. She thinks not just of herself but of the current and future of literature namely increasing the diversity and inclusion within the literary community.