Hey, S. M. Boyce here again. This is a continuation of the first 6 chapters of the Fairhaven Chronicles, a magical series inspired by west coast wilderness. If you haven’t read them already, be sure to check out the preceeding chapters first to understand what’s going on here!
Chapter 1: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-1/
Chapter 2: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-2/
Chapter 3: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-3/
Chapter 4: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-4/
Glow: The Revelations of Oriceran, The Fairhaven Chronicles, Book 1
By S. M. Boyce & Martha Carr
As she left the bank, Victoria held the notebook under one arm and savored the weight of the pouch in her palm. A few of the crystal tips poked her gently through the fabric, the gems shifting a bit with every step. Her mind buzzed, and she walked with her eyes on the ground, totally consumed by her thoughts. The bank’s tiled floor quickly became the concrete of a sidewalk outside. The heels of Audrey’s sneakers led the way and, after a few minutes, the concrete turned asphalt under her feet as they reached the parking lot. A gentle breeze toyed with her hair, but the pouch was all she could manage to concentrate on besides her overwhelming need to reach Santa Barbara. To find Fyrn Folly. To get answers.
Without warning, a chill ran down her spine.
Not fully understanding why or how, she knew something was wrong. Out of instinct and with no plan or idea of what was happening, Victoria ducked to the ground and pulled Audrey down with her.
A blaze of fire roared over her head and hit the side of a building, and an alarm went off somewhere nearby, screeching in her ear. A car alarm blared. Not far away, a woman screamed.
Heart thudding, Victoria scanned the parking lot. Cars. A white van. A dozen empty spots. And there—across the way, a familiar man with pointy ears stormed toward them, a nasty grin on his face. He wore a new suit today, one without blood.
He lifted one hand, and another swath of fire sailed toward them. On impulse, Victoria lifted her arms to protect herself, and once again the shield appeared before her. It was larger this time, big enough to protect both her and Audrey as the flames rained onto the metal. The handle in her palm began to heat up, searing her like a hot stove, and Victoria cursed under her breath.
“We may never get another chance to kill him,” she said, gritting her teeth as she strained to keep the heavy shield in position.
Audrey nodded and pulled the gun out of her backpack. After fumbling with the clip for a moment, she managed to shove it into the base of the handgun and cocked the weapon.
Victoria eyed Audrey. “How the hell did you know what to do?”
Audrey grinned. “You and that woman were taking forever to put back the empty deposit box, so I looked up how to load this kind of gun while I waited for you two. I’m shit at it, though.”
“Better than me. Shoot that asshole.”
Audrey smile wavered, but only for a second. She frowned with grim determination and, just as the flames subsided, lifted the gun above the shield. Pausing for only a second, she opened fire. The recoil kicked her backward, and she stumbled.
The sound of gunshots by her ear reminded Victoria of sticking her head in an iron pot as a child and banging on it with a metal spoon. Her ears began to ring almost immediately, and she couldn’t even hear herself cursing.
Luak stumbled, and the blaze of fire stopped. Victoria peeked over the shield as he staggered backward, hand on his chest. A hole in his sternum pumped fresh red blood. Falling to his knees, his mouth moved as if he were yelling something, but Victoria couldn’t hear anything except the incessant ringing in her ears. She wanted to take this moment, to use it to her advantage, but the ringing seemed to mess with her balance. Her shoulder rammed against a parked car, and the shield disappeared from her grasp. Suddenly lighter, she fell onto her palms.
Audrey screamed, and the gun shook in her hands. Luak grinned, his hand outstretched, and it didn’t take much for Victoria to figure out what he was about to do.
“Throw it!” she shouted.
Audrey tossed it into the air. Seconds later, the weapon exploded. Shrapnel shot every which way. Victoria grabbed Audrey and pulled her to the ground, lifting her hands over her head and hoping against hope the shield would appear. The magic in her arm granted her wish, and the heavy weight of the shield pushed against her arms and shoulders. They huddled close, debris smacking the shield with the force of hail.
And, once again, the shield disappeared on its own.
“Christ, I wish I could control that stupid thing,” she muttered, glancing around the parking lot. She tried to stand but once more fell, her head reeling from the explosion. Skin still hot from the shield, she was surprised when her knuckles brushed something cold—a metal coil. She blinked herself out of her daze to find the burned remnants of her parents’ journal. All that was left was a large “O” on a piece of the cover that had blown several feet away. Although the pouch of crystals had slid under a nearby car, not a single page of the journal had survived.
“You goddamn bastard!” she shouted.
Without thinking, not caring what happened next, Victoria charged him. His gaze shifted from Audrey to her, and he lifted his hand as he had so many times already. But Victoria didn’t care about being burned. She cared about stabbing him. Making him bleed. Making him beg for mercy that wouldn’t come.
A dagger appeared in her hand, made from the same brass-like metal as her shield. A few clockwork cogs were embedded within the glistening hilt, and the elegant blade curved toward its tip. It was cool to the touch like a river rock, and its appearance derailed her completely.
Shit, this is new.
Her concentration lost, the dagger disappeared, and a hailstorm of fire crashed into her. She sailed back, skin singed by the flames, and landed hard against a parked car. Its alarm went off, adding yet another note to the chaos. She slid to the ground, nursing her arm as the world tilted around her. She tried to stand, but it was as if everything shifted to the left each time she tried. She fell against another car, head throbbing.
Everything that followed was a blur. Someone grabbed her. A car door slammed shut. An engine roared to life, and somewhere in the midst were sirens. Screeching tires. A man’s familiar voice cursing loudly. And then, finally, nothing but the soft sound of a pop song playing on the radio.
Victoria could barely think. She wanted so badly to shake off the wounds, to shake off whatever had happened to her. She wanted—
“Holy. Shit.” Audrey’s voice.
“What? What is it?” Victoria said, slurring.
“Your arms, Victoria! What the hell is happening to your arms?”
Vision starting to clear, Victoria stared down at her arms. They were almost black as soot, burned and charred by the flames. Blisters covered the skin like boils, but she couldn’t feel a thing. As she watched, the dark soot began to lighten to her normal skin tone. The blisters faded, smoothing away until her familiar skin covered her arm, not a scar in sight.
As the burns disappeared from her body, the ringing in her ears faded. It was as if her body had reset, returned to normal. Within a few minutes she sat up straight, bones cracking and realigning in her back. One popped into place at the base of her neck, sending a delightful shiver down her spine.
She flipped down the passenger seat visor and studied herself in the mirror. She looked good as new, save for the singed clothes on her otherwise perfectly healthy body.
Gaping, she just stared at Audrey, not altogether understanding what had just happened. Someone blared their horn, and Audrey corrected the car, arms locked and shoulders tense as she stared out the front windshield and drove through the Seattle suburb.
“We got lucky, Victoria,” Audrey said.
“What are you talking about? We lost him.”
“We lost—are you kidding me? I nearly lost you!” Audrey shouted, knuckles white from her grip on the wheel.
Victoria leaned back, surprised at Audrey’s tone, and she didn’t know what to say.
Tears filled Audrey’s eyes. “I thought… When that fire hit you, I thought…I really thought I’d lost my best friend, Victoria. Whatever this thing in you is, we don’t understand it. You can’t control it. And you cannot go after this guy again until you can.”
Victoria frowned. “Don’t you dare tell me what I can and can’t do!”
“Listen to yourself! You’re being an absolute idiot!”
“Hey, we didn’t die.”
Victoria groaned and stared out the window, not wanting to look at Audrey. As houses whizzed by a bit too quickly for a back road, her mind cleared. Guilt slowly piled onto her shoulders, weighing on her heart.
That had truly been reckless.
“I’m sorry, Audrey. I wasn’t thinking.”
“No, you fucking weren’t.”
Victoria rolled her eyes. “I already said sorry, Ma.”
Audrey grumbled nonsensically for a moment before raising her voice loud enough to hear. “We should get the hell out of this city.”
“What? But he’s here! I just need to practice. I’ll get the hang of it. I’ll—”
“No! Come on, V. I hadn’t seen this guy before, so I didn’t know any better. He’s deadly. He’s a killer, and he wants you. And probably me. He didn’t look very happy when I shot him.”
Victoria smirked victoriously. “Serves him right.”
“Look, V, I don’t think we should attack him again until we know more about what’s really going on,” Audrey said quietly.
Audrey smacked her palm on the wheel. “I’m serious. We need to get to Fairhaven. We need to find this Folly fellow and figure out what it is your parents discovered. We need information, not an attack plan. Not yet.”
Victoria sank into her seat and crossed her arms, staring out the window as she scowled. She couldn’t deny how badly their asses had been whupped back there in the parking lot. The more she thought about it and the more she stared at her now-healed hands, the more she had to agree. This was too much to process at once, and Luak had far more experience with magic and this world of Oriceran than either of them. They needed answers and information before they went after him again.
Armed with nothing but her hatred, some crystals, and a weird-ass magical artifact Victoria didn’t understand, they would find Fairhaven. Luak’s days were numbered…
…as soon as Victoria could figure out how the hell to kill him.
Read Chapter 6: http://oriceran.com/glow-snippet-6/
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