Chapter 4

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Evelyn woke the next morning in her own bed to the smells of coffee and frying bacon and eggs. Her body was still slightly sore, but in a good kind of way. It felt as if she had spent an entire day working out or hiking up steep trails. Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, Evelyn kicked out of the covers and pushed herself up to sit at the edge of the bed. Her shoes, socks and necklace had been removed, but otherwise she had been placed into bed with the clothes she had worn to dinner.

She stood up from bed and stretched, groaning with pleasure as she worked the stiffness out of her muscles. Absentmindedly pushing the curtains open on the window next to her bed, she studied her reflection in a large mirror Lenny had mounted on the wall behind her dresser not long after she had moved in. Sunlight flooded into the room and lit her face, making her bright green eyes almost glow as she looked herself over.

Other than bad case of bed-head Evelyn couldn’t see any outward effects from her unexpected channeling of energy the night before. Her cheeks were flush and she could see no bags under her eyes. It was a definite change from the last time she had tried to heal someone. That experience had left her run down and ragged for days. Evelyn shuddered at the memory, remembering the day the boy had pushed her down and tried to steal her necklace.

His name was Todd, fifteen at the time and the eldest of two natural born kids in her foster home. He didn’t like Evelyn, or any other foster kids his parents took in for that matter. His parent’s generosity towards foster kids was nothing more than an inconvenience, each one just someone else to compete with for attention. From the very first day he was mean to Evelyn, teasing her in the back yard or locking her in her room or closets when his parents were elsewhere. His younger sister Anna was no help either. Being only eleven she did what her brother told her and defended him the few times Evelyn tried to tell his parents what he did to her.

Not that it mattered. To Evelyn’s twelve year old mind he was a giant, someone to be afraid of and avoid. It didn’t take her long to retreat to the safety of the woods and seek out the comfortable companionship of her imaginary friend, Puck. He had followed her from home to home as long as she could remember. Only appearing for her, they would play games and he would tell her stories. Wonderful tales of where he came from and the magical creatures who called it home. He also taught her how to use her powers.

With his guidance she learned how to make friends with animals, heal broken plants and get young ones to grow. It was during one of these lessons that Todd followed her into the woods, curious as to where she spent her days. The spot wasn’t far from their house, still within shouting distance but hidden enough as to not be seen directly from the back porch.

Puck tried to warn her, disappearing into thick bushes just as Todd made his way within sight of the small clearing. He found Evelyn with a bird perched happily in one hand while a flower grew out of the ground and bloomed under the other, her necklace glowing with a bright, green light.

He charged at her, screaming at her to give him the necklace. Evelyn tried to defend herself, but against the older and much larger boy she stood no chance. He pushed her screaming to the ground and began to pull at the necklace. As much as Evelyn kicked and screamed she wasn’t able to fight him off. She grabbed hold of the stone with both hands and held it tight, but Todd had her pinned to the ground and was slowly prying open her fingers.

That’s when it happened. Puck dropped out of the trees just behind Todd, his skin bright red with anger. A single flick of his wrist turned limp, hanging vines into whipping and choking tentacles. Like a constricting snake attacking its prey, a single vine wrapped itself around Todd’s neck and pulled the boy off in a single and violent jerk. Evelyn scrambled to her feet to see Puck standing over Todd, his hand outstretched and grasping at the air like he was trying to squeeze an invisible cup. As Puck’s fingers squeezed at nothing the vine tightened its grip around Todd’s throat, turning his face and lips a horrifying shade of blue.

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