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Authors: Cate Tiernan

Dark Magick (9 page)

BOOK: Dark Magick
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“Hmmm,” I said. I didn’t trust Bree anymore. Before, she might have done the same thing to Robbie, but now I couldn’t help wondering how her involvement in Kithic had affected her actions.
“Yeah. Hmmm.”
“But the making out worked?” I asked.
“Worked fabulously. Hot, hot, hot.” He couldn’t help grinning at the memory.
“Okay, I don’t need to know,” I said quickly.
I took a minute to think. Was Bree capable of using Robbie for some dark purpose, or was she just toying with him in her usual way? I didn’t know. I decided to take a chance.
“Well, my advice to you is,” I said, “just make out with her. Don’t talk to her about your feelings. Not yet, anyway.”
He frowned. Outside the car, we saw Cal crunching toward us through the leftover snow, his breath puffing like a dragon’s. As usual, my heart lurched when I saw him.
“Hey, I
her. I don’t want to use her like that.”
“No. My point is, let
like that.”
“Like a boy toy?” He sounded outraged, but I saw a fleeting interest cross his face.
“Like someone who knocks her off her feet,” I pointed out. “Someone who gives her something she can’t get from Chip Newton or anyone else.”
Robbie stared at me. “You are
” I heard admiration in his voice.
“I want you to be happy,” I said firmly.
“I think, deep down, you want
to be happy, too,” Robbie said, unfolding his long frame from the backseat. “Hey, Cal,” he said, before I could respond to his remark.
Cal leaned into the open door. “Getting out anytime soon?”
I looked at him. “How about you get in, we take off, and just keep driving until we run out of gas?” I checked my gauge. “Got a full tank.” I was only half joking.
When I glanced up, I was startled by the look in his eyes. “Don’t tempt me,” he said, his voice rough. For a long moment I hung there, suspended in time, pinned by the fierce look of desire and longing. I remembered how it had felt, making out on his bed, touching each other, and I shuddered.
“Hey, Cal,” said Ethan from the sidewalk, waving at us as he went into the building.
Cal sighed. “Guess we better go in.”
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.
Cal and I joined the other Cirrus members at the top of the basement stairs.
“Talk about brutal weather,” said Jenna as we walked up. She hugged her Nordic sweater closely around her, looking ethereal. I wondered how her asthma was lately and if I could use my tools to help her breathing.
“It’s not even officially winter yet. This is the third-coldest autumn on record,” Sharon complained, and snuggled closer to Ethan, who looked pleased. Hiding a smile, I sank down on a step, and Cal sat next to me and twined his hand through mine.
“Oh, this is cozy,” said Raven’s voice. Her dark head appeared over the staircase, followed by another dark head: Matt’s. He sat down on a step, the picture of guilt, and she stood there smiling down at us, the Wicked Witch of the Northeast.
“Hi, Raven,” said Cal, and she looked him up and down with her shining black eyes.
“Hello, Cal,” she drawled. “Having a coven meeting?” She didn’t bother lowering her voice, and some students walking past glanced up, startled. And this was Bree’s new best friend.
coven going?” I heard myself ask. “Everything okay with Sky?”
Raven’s eyes focused on me. Her silver nose ring glinted, her full lips were painted a rich purple, and I was struck by her presence: she was bizarre and luxurious, silly and compelling at the same time.
“Don’t talk about Sky,” Raven said. “She’s a better witch than you’ll ever be.You have no idea what you’re up against.” She stroked two fingers along Matt’s smooth cheek, making him flinch, and walked off.
“Well, that was fun,” said Robbie when she was gone.
“Matt, why don’t you just join Kithic?” Jenna said abruptly, her jaw tight.
Matt frowned, not raising his eyes. “I don’t want to,” he mumbled.
“Okay, we only have a minute,” said Cal, getting down to business. “We have a circle coming up this Saturday, our first in two weeks, and I have an assignment for you.”
“I’m sorry, Cal, I won’t be here,” said Sharon.
“That’s okay,” he said. “I know you have plans with your family. Do these exercises on your own, and tell us about it the next time we see you. Now, one of the basic platforms of Wicca is self-knowledge. One of my teachers once said, ‘Know yourself, and you know the universe,’ and that may have been overstating it a bit, but not entirely.”
Jenna and Sharon nodded, and I saw Ethan gently massaging Sharon’s shoulder.
“I want you to work on self-imaging,” Cal went on. “You’re going to find your personal correspondences, your own . . . what’s the word? I guess
sort of comes close. They’re the things that speak to you, that feel like you, that awaken something in you. Objects or symbols that strengthen your connection to your own magick.”
“Not following you here,” said Robbie.
“Sorry—let me give you some examples. Things like stones, the four elements, flowers, animals, herbs, seasons, foods,” said Cal, ticking them off on his fingers. “My stone is a tigereye. I often use it in my rituals. My element is fire. My metal is gold. My personal rune is—a secret. My season is autumn. My sign is Gemini. My cloth is linen.”
“And your car of choice is Ford,” Robbie said, and Cal laughed.
“Right. No, seriously. Think especially about elements, stars, stones, seasons, and plants. Define yourselves, but don’t limit yourselves. Don’t force anything. If nothing speaks to you, don’t worry about it. Just move on to something else. But explore your connection to earthly things and to unearthly things.” Cal looked around at us. “Any questions?”
“This is so cool,” said Sharon.
“I already know your correspondences,” Ethan told her. “Your metal is gold, your stone is a diamond, your season is the post-Christmas sale season . . . ouch!” he said as Sharon clipped him smartly on the head. He laughed and raised his hands to defend himself.
“Very funny!” said Sharon, trying not to smile. “And your element is
and your metal is
and your plant is

“I don’t smoke anymore!” Ethan protested.
We were all laughing, and I felt almost lighthearted in a way that I hadn’t since Hunter—
The first bell rang, and suddenly the halls were filled with students swarming to their homerooms. We gathered our various belongings and went our separate ways. And I wondered how much longer I could take this inner darkness.
After the school bell rang at noon, I waited for Cal and Mary K. by the east entrance. It was snowing again. Footsteps sounded behind me, and I turned to see Raven and Bree heading toward the double doors. Bree’s face hardened when she saw me.
“So, what are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?” I blinked in surprise as the words left my mouth. Two pairs of dark eyes locked in on me as if I were glowing like a neon light.
“Um, well, gee,” Raven said. “I guess I’m celebrating a day of wonder and thankfulness in the arms of my loving family. How about you?”
Since I knew her loving family consisted of a mother who had too many boyfriends and an older brother who was away in the army, I guessed she didn’t have plans.
I shrugged. “Family. Turkey. A pumpkin pie gone wrong. Keeping my cat off the dining room table.”
“You have a cat?” Bree asked, unable to help herself. She had a major weakness for cats.
I nodded. “A gray kitten. He’s incredibly adorable. Totally bad. Bad and adorable.”
“This is delightful”—Raven sighed as Bree opened her mouth to speak—“but we really must be going. We have things to do, people to see.”
“Sky?” I asked.
“None of your business,” Raven said with a smirk.
Bree was silent as they thumped down the stairs in their matching heavy boots.
A second later Mary K. ran up to say she was going to Jaycee’s and Mom had said it was okay, and then Cal came up and asked if I could come over and of course I wanted to. I called Unser’s Auto Shop and canceled Das Boot’s repair appointment. Then I followed Cal to his house, where we could be alone.
Cal’s room was wonderful. It ran the whole length and breadth of the big house since it was the attic. Six dormer windows made cozy nooks, bookcases lined the walls, and he had his own fireplace and an outside staircase leading down to the back patio. His bed was wide and romantic-looking, with white bed linens and a gauzy mosquito net looped out of the way. The dark wooden desk where he did his homework had rows of cream-colored candles lining its edge. I had never been in here without envying him this magickal space.
“Want some tea?” he asked, gesturing to the electric kettle. I nodded, and we didn’t speak, enjoying the silence and safety of his room.
Two minutes later Cal put a cup of tea into my hand, and I adjusted its temperature and took a sip. “Mmm.”
Cal turned away and stood looking out the window. “Morgan,” he said. “Forgive me.”
“For what?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.
“I lied to you,” he said quietly, and my heart clutched in panic.
“Oh?” I marveled at how calm my voice sounded.
“About my clan.” The words had almost no sound.
My heart skipped a beat, and I stared at him. He turned to me, his beautiful golden eyes holding promises of love, of passion, of a shared future. And yet his words . . .
He took a sip of tea. The pale light from the window outlined the planes of his cheekbones, the line of his jaw. I waited, and he came close to me, so that his shirt was almost brushing mine and I could see the fine texture of his skin.
Cal turned toward the window again and pushed his fingers through his hair, holding it back from his left temple. I caught a glimpse of a birthmark there, beneath the hair. I reached up and traced its outline with my fingers. It was a dark red athame
just like the one I had under my arm. The mark of the Woodbane clan.
“Hunter was right,” Cal went on, his voice low. “I am Woodbane. And I’ve always known it.”
I needed to sit down. I had been so upset when I first found out about my heritage, and Cal had said it wasn’t so terrible. Now I saw why. I put down my tea and walked across the room to the futon couch. I sank onto it, and he came to kneel at my side.
“My father was Woodbane, and so is my mother,” he said, looking more uncomfortable than I’d ever seen him. “They’re not the Belwicket kind of Woodbanes, where everyone renounces evil and swears to do good.” He shrugged, not looking at me. “There’s another kind of Woodbane, who practices magick traditionally, I mean traditionally for their clan. For Woodbanes that means not being so picky about how you get your knowledge and why you use your power. Traditional Woodbanes don’t subscribe to the council’s edict that witches never interfere with humans.They figure, humans interfere with us, we all live in the same world, not two separate universes, so they’re going to use their powers to take care of problems they might have with humans, or to protect themselves, or to get what they need. . . .”
I was unable to take my eyes off his face.
“After my dad married my mother, I think they started to go different ways, magickally,” Cal continued. “Mom has always been very powerful and ambitious, and I think my father disagreed with some of the things she was doing.”
“Like what?” I asked, a little shocked.
He waved an impatient hand. “You know, taking too many risks. Anyway, then my dad met Fiona, his second wife. Fiona was a Wyndenkell. I don’t know if he wanted a Wyndenkell alliance or he just loved her more. But either way, he left my mother.”
I was finally getting some answers. “But if Hunter was right and your father was also
father, then wasn’t he half Woodbane himself?” This sounded like some awful soap opera.
The Young and the Wiccan.
“That’s the thing,” said Cal. “Of course he was. So it made no sense for him to persecute Woodbanes. But he seemed to have a thing about them, like Mom said. An obsession. I wondered if he blamed my father—our father—for what happened to his parents and their coven, for some reason, and so decided to get all Woodbanes. Who knows? He was unhinged.”
“So you’re Woodbane,” I said, still trying to take it all in.
“Yes,” he admitted.
“Why didn’t you tell me before? I was
about being Woodbane.”
“I know,” he said, sighing. “I should have. But Belwicket was a different kind of Woodbane, a completely good Woodbane, above reproach. I wasn’t sure you would understand my family’s heritage. I mean, it isn’t like they’re all evil. They don’t worship demons or anything like that. It’s just—they do what they want to do. They don’t always follow rules.”
“Why are you telling me now?”
At last he looked at me, and I felt the pull of his gaze. “Because I love you. I trust you. I don’t want any secrets to come between us. And—”
The door to his room suddenly flew open. I jumped about a foot in the air. Selene stood there, dressed beautifully in a dark gold sweater and tweed pants.
Cal stood with swift grace.“What the hell are you doing?”
I had never heard anyone speak to their mother this way, and I flinched.
“What are
doing?” she countered. “I felt—what are you talking about?”
“None of your business,” he said, and Selene’s eyes flashed with surprise.
“We discussed this,” she said in a low voice.
“Mom, you need to leave,” Cal said flatly. I was embarrassed and confused and also worried: no way did I want to get in between these two if they were fighting.
BOOK: Dark Magick
7.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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