Epilogue: When the Fire Starts to Burn

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'Carmen?' Eric yelled over the roaring wind. He strained to keep his feet plastered on the floor; he bent his knees and lowered himself to keep his balance.

The Ripper only growled and took a step forward. On the spirit side, Justin watched helplessly as he could see Carmen in her human form – tearing apart from the inside. He could not feel the weather change, instead, everything was far too quiet. He strained to hear the words that those on the living side were saying.

'She has no humanity,' Abigail told them as her black robe flew around her, making it look as though she was taking flight. The witches behind her only appeared at every stroke of lightning, otherwise they were completely hidden by darkness. 'Allow this to be a lesson to the Marked Ones. Kneel before the Bamordor Coven and I will make the death of you quick and painless.'

Tiffany grabbed a chair and tried to throw it at the Ripper as she approached. The wind sucked it away from the café and out of sight, missing the Ripper completely.

The Ripper moved easy. It grabbed a table that was sliding across the floor by the leg and raised it above its head. It brought it down hard on Tiffany just as she threw her arms above her head to cushion the blow. The table knocked her and Annabeth to the floor. Annabeth was knocked unconscious.

Christina cried out for her. Susannah shot her a look. 'You are on our side, sister. Once your friends are dead, there will be no need to feel any sympathy. You will have no use for your humanity; Carmen's is long gone.'

Justin caught the end of Susannah's sentence from the other side. He ran to Christina, who now appeared normal on his side, and tried to get her attention. She couldn't see him. He wasn't strong enough yet.

The Ripper moved its attention from Tiffany to Eric. He was conflicted; he knew it was Carmen, but she was hungry for their blood. This confliction confused him in his crucial moment, and as he went to stab the Ripper with a broken chair leg, Carmen pushed him so violently that he flew across the room. He crashed into the wall behind the counter and fell behind it, landing on the floor that was littered with glass and wood splinters.

She turned to Logan. He tried to make his way to the supply closet but Justin's body was slowing him down. On the other side, Justin watched as Carmen walked closer and closer to Logan. The dead heart in his chest started to beat in terror that she would hurt him. He ran over the fallen chairs and tables, feeling less spirit-like as he neared her.

The Ripper raised a talon to strike Logan's back, but out of nowhere, the talon was brought down behind its back, and it was thrown to the floor. For a split second, Tiffany, who managed to find her feet, thought she saw Justin, but dismissed it when his body was still seen in Logan's arms. He managed to stumble into the supply closet.

Feeling stronger, Justin looked at his transparent hands in the hopes that he would be able to speak to one of his friends. His best bet was Christina still, and he ran from Carmen to where she stood. He stood in front of her, but her eyes were paying attention to the chaos that was unfolding. He waved, but she saw right through him.

He closed his eyes. His heart was slowing down, but he needed it to speed up if he wanted to be seen again. He thought about his friends, the danger they were in. He thought about his parents, possibly terrified at home with no clue where their son is. More than anything, he wanted everyone to be safe again.

Once he could feel his heart speeding up, he opened his eyes and saw that Christina was looking directly at him. 'Justin?'

'Shhh,' he told her, looking at the other witches. They remained in their hag form due to it being their true identity. They did not look at him. 'I need to stop this; how can I help stop this?'

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