the first scene of
In the midst of magic

The steel walkway stretched long before Kara as she walked toward the very last cell. She barely felt the cool air fluttering through her golden tresses, nor the footsteps of her brother, John, who followed closely behind. The silver bracelet was cold against her wrist. Her heart thundered. Perspiration gathered on her palms. A piercing shriek echoed from the darkest recesses of her mind. The memory of shattered glass, of emerald flames thrust itself to the forefront of her recollection.

    They arrived at the end of the corridor, and her mouth went dry.

    “You don’t have to do this,” her brother said.

    She turned and looked up into his blue eyes.

    He stood before her, his brow creased, his broad shoulders encumbered with the weight of his armor.

    Kara swallowed. “Yes, I do.”

    “Are you sure?”

    She nodded.

    John hesitated for a moment, then punched in an access code on a keypad next to the door. It unlocked with a click, and he pushed it open.

    They entered the cell, and the door closed.

Sitting on a cot at the far end of the room, was a young woman whose knees were drawn up to her shoulders and whose wavy hair spilled over one side of her face. Her nose was softly pointed, and her thin lips were downturned in a frown. She glared at her. “What are you doing here?”

    “I came to say goodbye and . . . I’m sorry.”

    “Sorry? Is that all you have to say to me?” the prisoner exclaimed.

    Kara’s eyes misted with tears. “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you from yourself.”

    “Is that what you thought you were trying to do? I was so close to getting him back until you interfered,” she replied stabbing a finger at her.

    Kara flinched. “I couldn’t let you cross that line, Charlotte. I didn’t want you to become . . . this.”

    Charlotte leaped off the cot, her fists clenched. “I will make you pay for what you stole from me! I will get out of here, I will find you, and I will make you pay.”

    But Kara knew that wasn’t possible. The null crystals mounted in every cell and all throughout the prison stripped the inmates of their power. Guards patrolled the corridors and the perimeter, and surveillance cameras captured their every move. The bracelet she wore allowed Kara to retain her magic even in the presence of null crystals.

    “No. You won’t. Goodbye, Charlotte.”

She turned away just as John reached for the door.

    “I will burn you alive and reduce everyone you love to ashes!” Charlotte bellowed.

    Kara frowned and faced her again. “If you ever come after me, or anyone I care about, I will stop you.”

    “Oh, like how you stopped me from killing Anthony?” Charlotte replied with a chilling smile.

    Kara raised her hand, and Charlotte sailed backward into the wall.

    She grunted, her limbs splayed all around her, her feet suspended above the floor.

    The air quivered with Kara’s magic.

    “Don’t you ever speak his name again,” Kara exclaimed.

    Charlotte’s laughter echoed off the walls. “I hope you look over your shoulder everywhere you go. Whenever you see fire, you will see my face, and hear my voice. Let my words be burned into your memory. I will raze everything you love to the ground, and I won’t stop until the bones of your loved ones are ashes at your feet.”

    The two women glowered at each other in silence.

    “Kara, that’s enough,” John said touching her arm.

    After another long moment, Kara dropped her hand, and Charlotte’s feet hit the floor. “Let’s go.”

    She turned and walked away just as Charlotte said, “I’ll be seeing you . . . friend.”

    The door slammed shut behind them.