Chapter Four: Practice with Monsters
Liz and I had been working on astral projection. We would meditate in silence then lay on our backs whispering "Spiritu, I Videre" two times. I could feel my mind drift for a moment before the world around me faded into view. I could see myself and Liz laying on the floor. It looked like we were sleeping peacefully.
There was a shimmer next to me and Liz appeared. We could see each only if we were projecting at the same time. Each practice we tried to get further from our bodies. My manager, Alira was able to stay in this form for hours and could go miles away. Liz and I were not that great at it yet. If we broke focus or got too far we were instantly pulled back into our bodies.
This time we managed to make it out of Liz's bedroom and into her kitchen. Only about fifteen feet or so, but the time before we barely made it out of her room.
We both shot up from the floor. "That was awesome!" Liz exclaimed.
"In a few weeks we should be able to make it down the stairs or maybe to the playground." I looked out Elizabeth's bedroom window. It overlooked the complex's small park with a mini rock climbing wall, two slides, and a tunnel. Next to it was the grassy hill covered in trees that I always crossed to get to Liz's place. On the other side of the park was the apartment office and the laundry matt. We liked to annoy people with our odd conversations in there while we did our laundry.
After more spell practice and singing to songs on youtube, I headed back home. The clouds covered the remaining light of the evening sky. Tall lamp posts lit the cracked sidewalks. Ares met me at the bottom of Liz's stair case. I scratched his head before we started through the apartments.
A group of people sat just under the light of the park, smoking and laughing as they talked. Ares took the lead and I lost sight of him as he trotted into the shadows of a broken lamp.
My heart skipped as I heard a hiss from ahead. "Ares?" I called out.
I could see a figure ahead. An elderly woman was leaning towards Ares. He fluffed out his tail and pulled back his ears.
"Come here little kitty," said the woman as she slowly crept closer to my familiar.
"Ares..." I patted my leg.
Ares perked his ears and darted to my side. He gave a low growl.
"Oh. Does that kitty belong to you?" The woman gave a crooked smile.
I cleared my throat. "Yes."
"You shouldn't let him outside, dear. It can be so very dangerous for a cat to wander the streets. I keep my cats inside. I could keep him safe." She took a step closer.
What a creepy lady, I thought to myself. "He's perfectly fine with me."
Ares hissed. My stomach flipped as the women took another step.
She smelled the air and her eye grew wide. "A witch!" She spat at my feet.
I stood there in shock. What is she? How does she know what I am? The woman grumbled. Her skin bubbled and her peach colored wrinkles stretch and twisted into a bumpy gray beast. The woman's snowy hair shrunk into a streak of fur on her head and down her back. Her bottom teeth grew into long, sharp canines that stuck up past her wide, ebony nose. Horns stretch from her head. Her eyes glowed yellow and her long tongue slithered from her jaws.
I trembled. I felt frozen as the creature reached out her grizzly-like claws and screeched. Ares leapt from the ground and sunk his claws into the creature's face.
"Ares!" I yelled, but as I reached out to pull him away, the monster swung her arm and sent me flying to the ground. All of the air was pushed out of my lungs as I hit the concrete. The horned beast peeled my cat from her face. Blood dripped from the scratches along her cheek and eye. She opened her massive jaws and dangled my cat above her like a worm for a baby bird.
I drew in a deep breath and screamed as I reach for him. My had burned as a ball of red light shot from my palm. It smashed the creature in her chest. She dropped my cat, who ran to my side. We watched as she keeled over in pain. She clenched at the gaping hole in her flesh.
"HEY!" A voice called from a window on a third story apartment. "Shut it, down there! I'm try'na sleep!"
I had looked up at the window, but as I turned back, the monster was already gone and droplets of blood smeared across the sidewalk and into the shadows.
I wasn't sure how I had done that. Only witches who had years and years of practice could do magic with no spells, symbols, or supplies. It must have been a fluke. yes a weird fluke...
We hurried home and locked every door and window. I pulled my magical books and found one on mystical beasts. It was wrapped in leather that was ripped in a few spots. Ares sat on my lap as I skimmed through the pages. I found a picture of the creature. Above the drawing it said TROLLS. I read on.
Trolls often live in dirty, crowded parts of cities. They feast on small animals, usually favoring cats. They have an incredible sense of smell and immense physical strength. Like most magical creatures, they can keep their true form hidden.
I spent the rest of the night reading about trolls, werewolves, faeries and different types of demons. I thought it was about time I knew what I might come up against in the future. Still, I couldn't get what happened out of my mind. Was the ball of energy really just a fluke?
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