by Jane Doe
We set Sean down in the grass off the side of the road. I stood over the body of my big brother, still not allowing myself to process what had happened. The gashes across his neck and chest were unimportant. His skin was almost translucent, blending in with the muted colors of the grass so well that it was both beautiful and haunting. The way the moonlight streamed down onto his body, turning him silver, was a sight I’d never forget.
“I’m so sorry about Sean, Lola. I’m so sorry.” Holly’s shaky whisper came from behind.
Her voice was swallowed by the night, stolen by the stillness that surrounded us. I sank to my knees at Sean’s side, trailing my eyes over his dark hair and long lashes.
“What are you planning to do?” Holly asked.
The clear note of hesitation in her voice prompted me to turn my head in her direction. I scowled, confused as to why she needed me to say it aloud. A chill skated down my spine, one I ignored as I looked down at Sean once more.
“I’m going to bring my brother back from the dead.” I couldn’t look away from him. :
Holly gasped audibly, circling Sean and I until she faced me. She lowered herself to the ground at his side. Her hands were trembling, and the whites of her eyes were visible, large, and bright despite the darkness.
“Lola, you-you can’t do that.”
My head snapped up without my say. Crimson tinted my vision, my fingers tingling from icy cold.
What exactly did she mean by that?
“Yes, I can. You read the book, you know what Conjuration is and what it’s capable of. I can do anything. You knew this was my plan, Holly. I’m not seeing what the sudden problem is.” I laughed at the absurdity, but there was no warmth, no humor in it.
“You read the book too, which means you saw the part where it talks about what you’re tapping into to do these things.
Something like this, raising someone from the dead-you know that’s not the kind of power you want to tap into. It won’t let you go. Even now, it’s holding onto you.” Her eyes full of knowing, trailed down to my hands, to the dark veins that crawled up the tops of them.
My fingers twitched, joints aching and bones grinding against one another.
“You knew this was my plan, Holly.” I said carefully.
Holly shook her head, a small, panicked laugh sliding past her lips. “Lola, I thought your plan was to use my blood to find my mother by yourself. You wanted to keep your friends and family safe. That’s why you left them behind. Now, this-this I never saw coming.’
She stood from the ground, towering over Sean and me. With her hands raised, she took a step back, and then another. My fingers twitched, my brain fogging with every passing second until each thought was drenched in a thick mist that made it hard to focus.
“I shouldn’t have done this-I shouldn’t have agreed to help you. You need to talk to someone, Lola. I-l can’t do this anymore. Please, just take me back.”
She was taking back her promise to help me with this. She was leaving me to do it myself.
‘How dare she? We can make her. All we need is her blood. Just one tiny little drop. ‘The dark magic in my veins sang soothingly, gliding its icy fingers over my face and neck.
It was right. It had always been right. I should’ve never thought Holly would understand, that any of them would understand. How could she? After all, she’d been locked away by our father.
Spending an entire life without anyone—without friends or family. How could she possibly understand the bond barely registered the sudden temperature drop, or that I’d been the one to will it into existence.
“Lola, what’s going through your head right now?” Her teeth clacked together.
There was fear in her voice, wafting into the air the same way her breath did.
Knowing I had been the one to put it there felt good.
“You shouldn’t have done that, Holly.” I said darkly, succumbing to the siren’s song oozing in my veins. “Now, I’m going to have to make you. Now, you have no choice.”
A burst of magic exploded from my chest, spurred on by my thoughts. Holly’s yelp was swallowed by the night, her body jerked forward before being brought to her knees. I held her there with nothing more than my own will, rooting her in place where she’d once been.
“Lola, what are you doing?! Stop this! This isn’t you.” She begged, blue eyes bright and fearful, watering with every plea.
I stared at her, and even though some distant part of me knew who she was, I felt nothing for this girl. There was only unending cold, a bitter ice that covered my soul and held it in a soothing embrace.
There was no guilt, no pain, and no shame.
“You’re wrong, Holly.” I said, not recognizing my own voice.
From behind my half-sister, the Shadows crawled from the forest, slithering along the ground just out of sight. Holly thrashed, but I had her pinned from the shoulders down. Tears budded along her lash line before falling free. Somewhere deep beneath the ice, I felt a twinge of…of something, but it was just out of reach.
“Lola don’t do this. If you won’t think about yourself, think about Asher! Think about what this would do to him. I know losing your brother hurts, but do you think this is what Sean would want?!”
Another burst of magic and I wrenched her hand forward, turning it palm side
Bending her to my will was addicting, spreading the silky veins of darkness further up my hands. The part of me that cared was buried too deep, and no matter how much she cried out, her voice was smothered by the beautiful siren’s song.
“I think Sean would want to be alive. Why don’t we ask him?” I mused, flicking my hand in the direction of the Shadows.
One leachy tendril jumped up from the ground, slashing the palm of Holly’s hand. She let out a quick shriek, and the two of us watched as droplets of pure crimson began to bead along her skin.
The others on the outskirts began to writhe impatiently, scenting her magical blood and wanting to drain her dry.
“No, you will not feed from her. If any of you take so much as a single drop I will send you into oblivion.” I snarled, forcing them back into place.
With my magic, I tilted Holly’s hand and allowed the blood that pooled to splatter along Sean’s chest and stomach. It was bright against his pale skin, shimmering with a magic I recognized instantly.
I placed my hands on my brother’s cold, hard chest. Holly’s blood was searing, almost painful from how cold I’d become, but within it’s heat I could make out the electrical current of magic.
Bracing myself, forcing Holly’s pleas to the very background of my mind, I began. 1
Asingle thought, a mere whisper of intention, and magic swelled in my body.
Every drop, I forced into my brother’s lifeless corpse. I couldn’t remove my eyes from his face, couldn’t stop staring, waiting for the moment his eyes opened and life returned to them.
The first burst of magic I forced into him sent me spiraling into the darkness, but there was something different about it.
I craned my head, looking around, but it went in all directions. There was an emptiness that surrounded me, echoing though there was no sound to latch onto.
“He’s not in there, Lola. His soul is gone. Can’t you feel it?” Holly’s distant voice cried out.
‘We can bring it back.’ The dark magic hissed. Yes, we could.
I reached out with my magic, unfurling invisible arms that spread in all directions, delving past the thin fabric that separated worlds and into realms that I had no name for-that I didn’t know existed.
There was this warmth, this speck of golden light that I couldn’t see, but feel.
Somehow, I knew it was what I was searching for.
My bones began to ache from the cold, my arms growing heavy and shoulders stiff. Its influence was spreading, but I was so close.
“I shouldn’t have done this. I shouldn’t have done this.” Holly’s sobs grew louder.
A prickling sensation raced up my spine, an awareness that told me someone was here. That they were approaching. I snapped into my own body, my vision returning in a burst of detail and color.
Holly’s blue eyes were torn in two. Sorrow, guilt, and regret poured from them in tandem with her tears. Her lips trembled, making out three words that would haunt me to my grave.
“Please, forgive me.”
Ascuffle sounded from directly behind me, lifting the hairs along the back of my neck. I turned and my heart nearly seized as I realized who’s eyes I were looking into.
“You?” I gasped.
An excruciating pain encased my skull, stealing away my vision and the ground beneath my knees.
With that face burned into the depths of my mind, I fell into the open arms of darkness and let it swallow me whole.
Alpha Asher by Jane Doe
Author: Jane Doe
Native Language: English