I stood frozen in horror. Still half-out of the passenger seat of Jack’s car, the door propped open in front of me like a shield. Even as the curse left my mouth, I recoiled with regret.
What have I done?
Everything flashed by my eyes in a surreal, disjoined super high-def series of images.
Jack’s arms went around his waist. Eyes wide, he crumpled first to his knees, and then face first onto the concrete.
Sarah Jane’s tumbled from the roof in a kind of out control, yet gliding, summersault. She hit the pavement beside Jack, a plume of black and white feathers burst from her body. I thought: that’s bad.
I never saw them coming, but the agents were on me in a flash of superhuman speed. Tengu grabbed my elbow, but his hand released quickly, as if slapped back by the shock that coursed down the length of my tattoo. Meanwhile, Furfur wrenched the car door nearly off its hinges to grab my other arm.
I should have been angry about being manhandled, but my eyes were still riveted to the pile of Jack and Sarah Jane on the ground, and my only thought was: don’t wreck his car. Jack loves his car.
Furfur’s grip was strong enough to pull me, stumbling, toward the building. Not certain where to touch me, Tengu grabbed a fist full of my t-shirt at the shoulder blade. I wanted to tell them they didn’t have to push, but I reflexively resisted. I think I was screaming; I know I was kicking. Tears streamed down my face. The words coming out of my mouth were desperate, clutching, and strange: “No! Are they all right? Let me go, let me go see them! Don’t let anyone step on Sarah Jane! Birds have hollow bones. Please, let me help them!”
Hannah Stone staggered out among the surge of people watching at the door to kneel beside Jack, her eyes full of accusation, as she checked for a pulse. Everyone’s faces held the same look, but I didn’t need to see in their eyes what I felt in my heart.
I was a bad person; I’d done a really horrible thing.
“Someone please tell me they’re okay,” I moaned as they tossed me into the interrogation room and slammed the door behind me.
It was a terrible place to put me, even though the agents couldn’t have known. It was in this very room I first met Sarah Jane and her gang of magpies. It was here that Jack explained to me about how magic worked, and how I wasn’t alone, wasn’t… crazy.
The interrogation room at Precinct 13 was nothing like you’d expect. There was no scarred and battered table in some ugly, smudge-white room, with some obvious two-way mirror and stale air.
Instead it was an open, semi-circular amphitheater almost literally crawling with philodendron shoots. At the center of the sloped stairs was a small koi pond and a large window looked out into a planted courtyard. It smelled moist and fresh and green and alive.
And I just wanted to die.
I pulled myself to my feet and tried the door. Damn it, locked. I shook the handle and then started pounding my fists on it. They had to let me out. I needed to see that I hadn’t permanently hurt either Jack or Sarah Jane. Because maybe it’d been just a concussion shockwave of magic—it was possible, wasn’t it, that I’d only knocked the wind out of them?
I banged at the door until my knuckles felt sore and raw. Sinking to the floor, I hung my head and cried.
My magic sucked so much.
I desperately wanted someone besides myself to blame for this. After all, I had no teachers. Where were my mentors who would show me the way of a witch? No one had ever taught me how to control any of it, ever, even after I nearly blinded Devon.
YOU ARE READING
Alex Connor thought that being the South Dakota Hughes County Coroner was going to be a boring cushy job. She didn't count on the fact that her first case would leave her with a magical, living tattoo and awaken her latent magical powers. Now she'...