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Authors: Aaron Gorvine,Lauren Barnholdt

Tags: #Teen & Young Adult, #Literature & Fiction, #Girls & Women, #Romance, #Paranormal, #One Hour (33-43 Pages), #Paranormal & Fantasy


BOOK: Oblivion
7.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


(The Witches of Santa Anna, Book Thirteen)

by Lauren Barnholdt & Aaron Gorvine

Copyright 2011, Lauren Barnholdt and Aaron

Gorvine, all rights reserved
This book is a work

of fiction, and any resemblance to any persons,

living or dead, is
entirely coincidental

Chapter One

The pain is unbearable, like nothing I’ve ever felt

before. It starts with a strange tingling sensation in

my face and quickly becomes prickly, like a hundred

needles are poking into my skin.

Reed’s put some sort of spel on me, and so I can’t

That’s good,
I think.
will make it easier for

me to keep from screaming out in agony.

Beside me, I can sense Raine is struggling, too. I

can hear her panting and gasping as the discomfort


Reed is practical y screaming now, his voice

projecting and echoing out across the amphitheatre.

I can’t understand a word he’s saying, but somehow

each syl able is sending knives through my body. A

sharp pain shoots up my leg, flares up my side, and

then final y settles at my skul , where it blossoms into

a headache that feels like a sledgehammer is being

taken to the inside of my forehead.

I want to puke.

I want to get away.

But I can’t.

Raine starts jittering and dancing beside me,

screaming with every spasm.

I try to find something, anything, to focus on instead

of the pain. I refuse to move around like Raine is

doing. No way I’m going to let this audience of

sickos think they’re beating me. Especial y Reed. I

won’t let him see me react to the pain no matter how

bad it gets.

So I think about the one thing—the one person—that

I’m doing this for.


I close my eyes and picture her face. Those brown

eyes. Her smile. The way she looks at me when I’m

making a joke, or when she’s making a joke in

return. I throw myself back in time to when we were

together during homecoming weekend. Those few

days of brief happiness when I could feel how right it

was for me and her to be with each other.

Somehow, the pain starts to fade into the

background. It’s a relief. But at the same time, a part

of me also knows that the end is near. In a few

minutes, I’l probably be dead. I know Reed has no

intention of keeping me and Raine around. This


“ceremony” is just a charade, a little show to

convince Natalia that he’s actual y trying to help us,

when in reality it’s simply the most efficient way to kil

us, while stil al owing him to come out looking like a

great guy.

I open my eyes. The sky has turned gray and is

spitting rain. Thunder rumbles and lightning splits

across the clouds.

And then my gaze is drawn to a commotion on the

stage, off to the right. There are about four guards

trying to keep someone contained. My vision is

blurry, and so I squint, trying to figure out what’s

going on. I get a glimpse of Natalia, her dark hair

flying as she thrashes her arms. She’s trying to get to

me. In fact, she almost gets free as I watch.

Somehow she knocks a few of the guards

backwards— maybe by using a spel , I don’t know.

We lock eyes. But before she can get away from her

captors, one of them raises his fist and strikes her

across the back of her head. She doesn’t see it

coming and the force of it drops her to the ground.

Then I get a look at who hit her. It’s Phelps, the guy I

pummeled the other day when he chased me

through the woods. He stares down at Nat with a

happy grin, like he just hit a homerun at Yankee


Reed looks over at them, distracted. He sees what’s

going on, and it seems to flummox him a bit. He

hesitates for a moment, and when he does, some of

the crackling energy is sucked out of the theatre. A

murmur ripples through the crowd, as everyone’s

attention is diverted to what’s going on at the side of

the stage.

I look back at Natalia, my stomach contracting with


What if that idiot kil ed her when he hit her?

She’s lying on the ground in a heap, not moving, and

Phelps is stil grinning down at her. It occurs to me

that maybe I’m going to die, but there’s no way in hel

I’m going to let them hurt Natalia. Of al the things

they could do, that’s the last thing I’l accept.

But what can I do to stop them? I’m tied to Raine,


I strain against my bonds, and as I do, a surge of

anger and hatred rushes through me. It’s like nothing

I’ve ever experienced before. I don’t even know what

it is exactly, but for in this instant it’s as though I’m

able to take in whatever energy is around me and

use it.

My body feels like a high-tension wire -- pure

electricity, strength, and intensity.

I wrench my arms, and the ropes holding Raine and

me together snap like they’re nothing more than a

couple of pieces of string. I’m up instantly, launching

myself across that stage. It doesn’t matter that Reed

steps in front of me. I knock him aside and he lands

on his ass.

For a split second I look down at his stunned face.

I told you I’d knock you on your ass, dickhead.

I continue across the stage toward the guards.

They’re al looking at me now with expressions of

shock. I can’t blame them, since I’m in shock, too.

But I don’t have time to wonder how I’m able to do

any of this. Al I know is that for the first time in a long,

long time, I feel strong.

When I reach the first guard, I literal y toss him off the

stage and into the crowd.

The other two guys hesitate, not sure what I’m

capable of. I just glare, since I stil can’t seem to talk.

Natalia sits up, looking dazed. Now the only one

between us is the guy who hit her in the first place.

Phelps. He takes two steps back, his face ashen.

I move forward, then grab him by the throat and

squeeze. He sinks to his knees, his face slowly

turning a shade of light purple. It occurs to me that I

have the strength to kil him, to actual y crush his


But I’m not one of them. I don’t just kil people for the

hel of it. Instead I toss him aside like a bag of

leaves, and he rol s into the corner, gasping and


The audience is up and buzzing now, some of them

moving toward the stage. A few of them are

clustered around Reed, and I know it’s only a matter

of time before they come after me. Raine’s

col apsed on the floor, not moving, maybe even


Reed stands up and stares at me, his face unable to

mask his hatred. And something else as wel . Fear?

Yes. Reed is terrified of me, terrified because he

didn’t plan for this, didn’t see it coming at al .

You underestimated me, buddy.

“Campbel , you’re not helping anybody, least of al

yourself!” he cal s out, starting to walk towards me

with a smile suddenly affixed to his face. Like he’s a

real y helpful guy now, like he wasn’t just trying to

murder me a few seconds ago.

I don’t respond. I
respond. Instead, I bend down

and pick up Nat, hoisting her over my shoulder and

starting to back away.

Reed glances back at the audience. It’s almost total

pandemonium now, with everyone looking around

and trying to figure out what’s happening.

And then noise starts coming from the forest.

Voices. Yel ing.

Some of the audience members are turning and

pointing away from the stage, toward the trees at the

left of the theatre. A few people scream, and there’s

a stampede as everyone tries to get away from

whatever’s coming. Suddenly, an explosion rings out

from nearby. I turn just in time to see a firebal

incinerate two people on the far side of the


I blink, disoriented, and watch as about twenty

people emerge from the forest, an actual phalanx of

soldiers. They’re dressed in strange black suits, like

they just came off the set of The Matrix. And they’re

absolutely destroying everything in their path.

Reed sees the carnage and cries out. He looks back

to me. “Get her out of here, now!” And then he holds

out his hands and an enormous blue bubble shoots

across the stage and toward the people emerging

from the trees.

I don’t wait around to see what happens next.

I start running as fast as I can in the opposite

direction, away from the fighting.

Natalia is slung over my shoulder, but she’s not

slowing me down. She doesn’t feel heavy at al , and

I’m running faster than I’ve ever run. Even faster than

the time I was going for the winning touchdown in

that game against Hol iston. That time I had three

linebackers chasing me, and this time I’ve got a

bunch of witches trying to incinerate me.

I blow through the trees. In the distance, I can hear

screams and explosions, like World War I I has

broken out.

“Cam?” Natalia says.

But I keep running, stil with no voice, stil unable to

answer her, determined to get us back to the car.

But I’m confused about which direction to go, and

whatever that thing was, that strange energy that

al owed me to break those bonds and get free to

help Natalia, is draining from my body.

After another minute of aimless running, I’m total y

spent. I drop down and let Natalia go. She’s

unsteady on her feet and her face is pale. Another

explosion shakes the ground. She gasps and I grab

her hand, motioning toward the forest.

“You stil can’t talk?” she asks.

I shake my head, frustrated.

“Hold on, give me a second.” She closes her eyes

and moves closer to me. I watch her forehead

wrinkle in intense concentration. I feel a warm bubble

up in my throat, and then a second of sharp pain in

my neck.

“Thanks,” I try, surprised when it real y comes out.

Nat nods in satisfaction. I look around. I don’t see

anyone, but who knows how long that’s going to last.

“And now we need to get out of here.”

“What the hel ’s going on?” she asks.

“One of the guards hit you and knocked you out,” I tel

her. “And while you were unconscious, there was an

attack. A whole army invaded the theatre and started

wiping out everyone in the compound.”

Natalia puts a hand to her mouth. “

BOOK: Oblivion
7.26Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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