Chapter 1

130 2 8

The sky was not supposed to look like that. Sunset had been an hour ago, and yet the sky was lit with a mosaic of colours. Hues of reds, purples, pinks, and greens coated the air above like psychedelic northern lights. Jessica stared up at the colours until her neck began to cramp. It would be mesmerizing if it did not set off a sense of panic in Jessica.

A tingling sensation spread cascaded down from her heart and into her arms like raindrops of energy until it concentrated in her fingers. Her own magic was reacting to the power in the air. She tensed her fingers to reign the energy under control.

Only powerful magical spells could cause a natural phenomenon like what was lighting up the night. Considering the magnitude of what she was witnessing, it had to be something astronomical – and any magic that amassed that reaction from the natural world was almost undoubtedly malicious.

She was part of a small handful of people in the city, or around the world, who knew what those colours really meant. It was her duty as a Beata, a balance keeper of magic, to investigate the strange magical occurrence.

Since she didn't know anything about the spell being cast, she would have to try and track the energy itself. Jessica focused on the magic rushing through her body like blood and willed it to pool in her hands.

Droplets of golden light, like sparkling fireflies, pulling themselves free from the skin of her palm. They coagulated together and molded into the shape of an arrow. It hovered above her hand. She kept it close to her chest with her fingers curled slightly inward to protect any passersby from the sight of the tiny light.

The arrow spun, flinched back and forth in multiple directions. It was unable to settle on one location. Jessica frowned, her heartbeat quickening slightly. Despite the sporadic movement of the guiding light, it did seem to focus on the south.

Jessica began to jog. She continuously checked her palm as she ran to see if she was going at least slightly in the right direction. Maybe. Her confidence was continuously dropping as she twisted her way through the city.

Toronto was huge and full of scattered suburbs, each with their own sense of identity. She was still learning her way throughout the metropolis. The plain concrete buildings of her street morphed into apartments of aging red brick, weeds decorating the lines where brick met the earth.

She slowed to a walk and checked the guiding arrow in her palm again. The stupid thing was still sputtering in confusion. There was too much power around and the arrow couldn't settle on the source of the energy. Her heart pounding from a mix of adrenaline and concern, Jessica closed her hand into a tight fist to dissipate the arrow. It would run her in circles if she kept up this pace. Time to think of a new strategy.

Jessica stopped around the next corner. There was a man down the block who was waiting in front of an alley between two of the edifices. An icy flush settled over her skin. Even though a streetlight illuminated the man from behind, Jessica knew in an instant who it was.

Damien Crowe. His tall broad frame cast a startling shadow that stretched all the way to Jessica's feet. Second in command to Connor Crowe, the leader of a group of witch hunters that called Toronto their territory.

She began to slowly back away. The witch hunter pulled something from his pocket and examined the circular shape in the palm of his hand. Jessica's hopped dropped. If he was checking his magical compass, then it was too late for her to slip away unseen. Damien's head turned sharply in her direction. His gaze locked in her in place.

Her muscles tensed. If it was just him, maybe she could get away cleanly. Except witch hunters never travelled alone. Damien motioned to the alleyway without taking his eyes off of her. She heard the distant sound of voices rise up and grow louder.

Demons at the DoorstepRead this story for FREE!