Chapter Nineteen

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The ritual circle was bigger

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The ritual circle was bigger. The sweet, rich scent of burning herbs stronger, the glimmer of candlelight brighter - like my magic, everything was growing. I'm sitting in the centre of the sports hall as Kira and Sophie draw the circle in the grave soil. I'm placing the objects into the ritual shrine, not in any configuration found in Sophie's grimoire, but in one that makes sense to me. One that makes the power lick and curl under my skin. The objects are a mixture of the ones Dad left at Mum's, his bloodstone pendant and a few other things that just felt... right. It was like writing a story, something I hadn't realised when Sophie had set up the last circle. This was my story, and I had to tell it my way. I added another addition - the skeleton arm from the museum, the stolen bloodstones in his palm.

"Wow... and I thought last time was traumatic." Kira whistles from across the room, flinching at the sight of my display. I glance across the room and smile at her.

"I know, but Dad says this should all mean something to me and..."

"A skeleton you brought back to life gave you his arm. What could have more emotional significance than that..."

"Kira." Sophie snaps. Kira mouths an apology and sighs.

"I know, I know... I never thought I'd miss the days when Lola was the strangest person we knew..."

Kira wipes the back of her hand across her forehead, wisps of blonde hair sticking to her skin before placing her hands on her denim-clad hips. Sophie is walking backwards, bent at the hips, tipping the soil from a hessian sack. She bumps into Kira, who jumps.

"All done!" She shoots up, beaming wildly as she glances between the pair of us. Kira shakes her head, but the love in her eyes softens the look of amusement in her gaze. It warms me from across the room.

The sports hall doors slam against the wall as they're thrown open and I hear multiple footsteps clamber into the hall.

"Dear lord, what the hell are we about to do?" Becca grumbles, folding her arms across her chest. Ros guffaws at the sight of the room, transformed from the most ordinary of spaces into something from a horror movie.

"Are we in The Craft, and nobody told me? That's so cool." Becca glares at Ros's gleeful expression. They wander closer to the circle, staring at the ritual space with wide eyes.

"We're going to kick some zombie ass," Ros says, nodding a touch too dramatically. "We are... right?" Her voice cracks slightly.

"We're doing nothing of the sort. There will be no kicking of any kind. There will be chanting, and that's it," Kira mumbles adamantly, stamping her foot as Sophie chuckles.

"We searched the school. There's no one left here. We're alone." Becca says, not taking her eyes off the circle. "Please tell me you didn't steal that arm from the museum?" She glances at me, biting her lip and I sheepishly look away.

"Thank you for helping me. I wish you weren't here. I wish you were safe, getting ready for prom, but... I think having you all here is going to really help with this. I really do." Ros grins and Becca raises an eyebrow.

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