Chapter One: A Missing Girl and the Anxious Threat of a Party

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Cassie Smith walked through the forest as leaves fell from the trees around her. Her hands were shoved into the pockets of her coat as she grew closer to the cave where the sorcerer ordered her to bring the bodies. She stepped inside the cave, spotting the man sitting on a jagged rock. Hanging near his makeshift campfire was the girl Cassie had kidnapped the previous night. The cave was damp, moldy, and smelled like death. The girl, Amber, was dead, and the man was bleeding her out for the spell they were readying. This was only the first step of a ritual that would last for the next handful of months. They had to make five more sacrifices on the first of each month if they were to complete the main aspect of the ritual.

"Hello, Thomas," she spoke quietly, alerting him that she was there.

The only thing she could visually tell about him was that he was an older man, probably in his late thirties or early forties with extensive knowledge of the magic that surrounded them; he was quite intelligent, and he had the full intention of completing his ritual. Cassie has never seen the man's face because he always made a point to keep his physical identity a mystery.

"Yes, Cassandra?" he sighed. 

She sniffled, "Do we actually have to do this?" she questioned. "We killed this girl last night."

He asked, "Do you want your father back or not?" He was flipping through a little spellbook that was bound in stained red leather.

"Yes, of course, I want him back, but I don't know if I want him back at the expense of innocent lives."

"Cassandra, I've told you this before. All the people in the sacrifice will be reborn. They will have no memory of any of this that happened. We will have the power to reverse time itself. You and I will change everything. You will get your father back, Cassandra. You have nothing to feel guilty about."

She whispered, "Do you promise?"

"Yes, I promise."

"How do I know you're not lying?"

Thomas turned toward her, his face shrouded by his cloak, "It seems, you'll have to trust me." He stood up from where he was sitting on the rock, headed to the body hanging over his fire, and sliced her open with a knife. Bloods and guts  leaked from the girl's body, dripping into the bucket he had propped beneath her.

***

Lucian Jefferson sat in the small coffee shop nursing a mug of hot chocolate in his hands. He wore a dark maroon sweater, and his feet kicked beneath the table as he read about spell-casting. Finally, autumn was in full swing. Outside the window of the coffee shop, Lucian could see the leaves fall from the trees like flames igniting into the air before smacking dead against the ground. Lucian pulled his hot chocolate closer to him with a song by The Smiths playing over and over in his head, driving him absolutely nuts. At some point, he gave up on reading, closed his book, and prodded one of the marshmallows in the mug of hot chocolate with his pointer finger. He took a sip from his drink. He couldn't focus on anything substantial at the moment.

For a while longer, he stared out the window watching as students like him wandered the village looking for some sort of entertainment. A girl he knew from class, Judy, wandered in the direction of the coffee shop. She had fire engine red hair and wore a sweater with a button-up red skirt, and she was toting along her girlfriend Melisande, but everyone called her Mel. Mel was quite beautiful with short blonde hair that hung down to her shoulders; she usually wore pink or purple skirts with graphic t-shirts displaying 90's cartoons.

The two of them entered the coffee shop, ordering a tea and a coffee. As soon as Judy spotted Lucian, she approached him with her drink in hand. "I didn't expect to see you here."

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