Wiccan | ii

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Screams of horror erupted as the crowd dispersed for fear of reprisal against them. The man held his throat, blood, thick and red seeping through his fingers. The smell of it, the stink of fear bombarded Nerina but she did not move. He fell lifeless to the platform his guards helpless to save him. In the melee, the mother of the two girls was set free. She took the distraction to her advantage taking up the same knife to free her girls. When one of the guards tried to intervene his neck snapped seemingly of its own volition. This caused another eruption of screaming. With no one trying to stop them, they made their escape.

Nerina was spun about by the jostling bodies moving frantically to make their escape. When she whirled around to look in the direction of the man he was looking directly at her. She made a move towards him when her sight suddenly went black. Nerina stopped moving, her panic almost exploding to match the scene around her. He had struck her blind. Disoriented by her world going dark, Nerina found herself on her knees. She rubbed at her eyes but it was no good. A few seconds later her vision cleared and she was alone in the square. The lynch mob had all made off to the safety of their homes. The man too was missing.

On the platform the judge laid dead in a pool of his blood, deserted by his guards who could do nothing more for him. There were too many scents to know which had belonged to the witch. Nerina had not gotten close enough to mark which one was his. He hadn't wanted her to come close, striking her blind to make his escape. Thoughts of the man were soon replaced by the three women. She found their scent leaving the village, going into the thickest area of woods that surrounded them. Staying would have meant being taken prisoner again. The displays tonight would not be used in their favor. She followed them at a discreet distance to ensure their safety.

Nerina felt more than heard or smelt that someone was following her. The night remained calm except for the retreating footfalls of the women up ahead. The air was still with not even the slightest breeze moving through the trees. She felt the tingle on her skin before her movements became restricted and she became frozen. The witch. She struggled against the invisible bonds keeping her in place but she didn't budge.

He came from behind to stand in front of her. Using nothing but what seemed to be his mind he elevated her so she was now on eye level with him, her feet dangling off the ground. Before, he had been a good six inches above her. She tried to speak but there was nothing but silence. Her tongue laid heavy and useless in her mouth.

Among the mob she had barely taken notice of his features but now, with his nose basically touching hers she was forced to notice more details than she would have liked. His lips were a wicked sensual slash across his face. Eyes, deep-set and piercing, a shade between green and blue. The two colours shifting, becoming more then becoming less. His dark mat of hair was unruly with a single curl resting on his forehead. The man was handsome. Not in a prince charming kind of way but in a rough, chiseled, unrefined masculine sense. It annoyed her that she had even noticed. Nerina didn't bother to struggle as she stared daggers at him. He would have to release her, and when he did there would be hell to pay.

The man stared back at her, eyes roaming her face before they came back to meet hers. They remained cool and distant.

"Why should I not kill you right here?" the man asked his voice holding the brogue of the Emerald Isle.

"Do what you must," she answered defiantly her voice startling her. Her earlier protest had been nothing but her lips moving.

He said nothing for a second more. "I strike you blind and yet you pursue me. Not very smart."

Nerina laughed dryly still not struggling against her invisible restraints. "I was not following you."

"An easy meal then?" he said, looking over his shoulder in the direction the women had ran.

Their footsteps were distant now. Nerina hoped they would find safe passage to where ever they were headed. It looked as if she was going to be indefinitely indisposed.

"I do not feed on humans." Not that she had to explain her lifestyle to this oddly attractive man. She found herself attracted to him despite the current circumstances. Added to that he smelt good. Good enough to eat. Nerina berated herself mentally for that stray thought.

"Yet your pupils are dilated." He made this observation tilting his head to the side, a deliberate enticement to the pulse beating steady and warm in his neck. A smirk tugged the side of his lips when she glanced at that pulse and quickly looked away.

"Put me down, witch."

"Why follow if not to feed?"

Nerina didn't want to answer but she heard the doubt in his voice. It made her angry. Of course, he would assume she meant them harm. She looked him squarely in the eye when she responded. "I wanted to make sure they escaped safely. There are things in these woods that could hurt them just as much as those savages in the village."

Her answer had the man creasing his brow. It had been an unexpected answer. Slowly she was lowered to stand on her feet but she was not released from the bonds around her.

"The animal attacks."

"They were not animals and you know that as well as I do." They had been werewolves. With bears roaming around this area it had been easier to assume it was one of them than something of the supernatural variety. So far their irrational behavior was limited to witchcraft. It wouldn't be long now before it spread to other things. Hysteria was catching.

"A vampire who does not feed on human blood and sees to the safety of three women running for their lives in the woods."

"Stranger things have happened."

"That they have," he agreed at length.

Nerina felt the bonds slowly loosening around her as if they had not been there in the first place.

"Good night then." Like a gentleman he bowed.

At preternatural speed, she took off leaving the handsome witch behind. Witches weren't people to be trifled with and from the looks of it, he was a powerful one.

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