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Here Be Monsters

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Cassie moved around her room with purpose. If she slowed down, her mind would begin to wander to the room – the room her mom grew up in – and then to her mom and then to her horrible death. Tensing her shoulders, she threw her head up. She refused to dwell. She refused to sit there sobbing like a little girl. She’d done enough of that back home… only she had a new home now. She had to start thinking of Chance Harbor as her home.

She continued to putter around her room, making sure to keep her mind off her sad situation. She thought about school and of making a good first impression and of not getting lost. Cassie tugged on her pajama shorts and walked into her bathroom to run a brush through her hair now that it was fully dry. She left the bathroom to grab a shirt, noticing out of the corner of her eye that her curtains were wide open.

She moved across the room intent on closing them when a flash of skin caught her eye. Across the street at the neighboring house, she could make out the profile of a boy her age dressed in an unbuttoned shirt. She looked up from his half naked body to realize he was staring back at her with interest. Realizing that she was barely clothed, she gave him a sarcastic smile before slamming the curtains closed.

She flounced on her heel, shaking her head at the peeping boy- ignoring the fact that she got an eyeful as well- and stripped off her bathrobe, slipping her t-shirt over her head. She looked up into her mirror and gasped in surprise. She whirled around to see her curtains wide open.

Suspicious, she moved to the window and peered out, but seeing no one (not even the boy next door), she closed the curtains for a second time. Maybe her mind was playing tricks on her. Maybe, subconsciously, she wanted to show off for the cute blond and her magic had opened the curtains without her explicit instructions. It had happened before.

Filing it away as weird, but totally normal, she stacked her extra pillows on the chair, turning when her grandmother came in to wish her goodnight. Cassie then climbed into bed, pondering on what her grandmother meant when she said that Cassie’s mother Amelia liked to count the stars. Perhaps she perched on her windowsill and looked up into the sky.

Flicking off her lamp, Cassie smiled as she settled into her bed. Hundreds of glow in the dark stars stared down at her from the ceiling. Cassie grinned in amusement but quickly that pang of happiness became one of sadness. She grabbed her phone off her nightstand and turned to the last picture she had of herself together with her mother. She smiled, remembering that day as tears came to her eyes. She set the phone down and mentally scolded herself. She said she wouldn’t dwell. She turned her head away from the stars, not wanting to cry, and tried to force herself to go to sleep.

The next day, Cassie woke up early worried that she would get lost on her way to school. She picked out jeans, a flowery top and a lace white v-neck to go over it. She grabbed a brown leather jacket to keep out the chill and stomped down the stairs.

“Cassie?” her grandmother called from the kitchen just as Cassie picked up her car keys, “Would you like some breakfast before you head off?”

“No thanks,” Cassie shouted over her shoulder, “I’m not much of a breakfast eater. Thanks, though.”

Cassie’s grandmother let out a sound of understanding as she continued to move around in the kitchen. Taking this as her cue to go, Cassie opened the front door and hopped into her car. Her grandmother had written down the directions to the school and within minutes, Cassie was there.

She tried to pay attention to the principal’s welcome speech, but zoned out. It wasn’t until the end when Mrs. Chamberlain introduced herself and said that she was friends with Amelia that Cassie snapped back to attention. Cassie felt a weird sensation in the pit of her stomach when the principal said that Cassie’s mother was very special to her. Cassie’s mind made a perverted lesbian joke, but her gut instinct said there was something weird going on.

Hastily making her excuses, Cassie bolted out the door and into the crowded hallway. She began to search for her locker when she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Scanning the crowd, she locked eyes with a boy who had been staring at her. Blinking, she quickly looked away in embarrassment. It was pure luck that the locker she turned to look at was her own.

She reached out and began turning the lock, but was unable to resist another peek at the cute boy behind her. Their eyes locked once more before he turned away and moved down the hall. Cassie looked down at her lock and began to tug on it, hoping it would open even though she was pretty sure she messed up the last number looking at the stranger.

“So, you’re the new girl,” a feminine voice interrupted her attempts.

Cassie turned to face a tall brunette with large eyes standing next to a small girl with curly hair. “Uh, yeah, that’s me,” Cassie smiled in a way that she hoped came off as more friendly than uncomfortable.

“You’re very pretty,” the girl spoke again.

The smile slid from Cassie’s face. She’d only been here an hour and she was already being hit on by the resident lesbian. She fidgeted uncomfortably as she tried to come up with a way to nicely tell the girl that she was straight and uninterested. Luckily, she didn’t get the chance to say anything as the two girls were already leaving.

“Try it again,” was all the tall brunette said.

Looking at the girl oddly, Cassie did indeed try the lock again. A shiver went down her spine as the lock easily opened in her hand. She turned to look for the girl again, but the duo had already disappeared into the throng of students.

“That’s Faye, resident bad girl,” a second feminine voice said, coming up from behind her.

“She’s convincing,” Cassie smiled, putting the weird occurrence out of her mind. She smiled as she listened to Diana speak, happy to have met a friendly face and agreed to go to the Boathouse later.

She had just walked into the restaurant when a voice spoke from behind her. She was getting really tired of people catching her off guard. “You’re Amelia’s girl,” a gruff male said.

Cassie turned around, “Excuse me?”

“You gotta be,” he spoke, completely ignoring her confused expression, “I see it.”

Sighing, Cassie agreed easily, introducing herself. She had been worried that all day she’d be called the new girl, but it appeared that her nickname instead was simply Amelia’s daughter. She stared at the man as he gave his condolences for her mother’s death. Something in his eyes said there was more going on than she knew. She started a conversation with him, but shifted uncomfortably when he confessed his love for her mother. Then he said those words…

“It was written.”

Shivers of recognition went down Cassie’s back. Those were classic words of magic. Maybe it was just a coincidence…

“Our families are written in the stars. We’re destined. It’s always been that way.”

Cassie felt a little bit of tension ease from her shoulders. Some witches still practiced divination but for most it was just an iffy magic used by fakes and frauds. She felt the rest of the tension ease when the boy she saw in the hallways earlier, Adam, made it obvious that his father had a drinking problem. She had been foolish to think there could be witches in Chance Harbor.

After a weird encounter with Faye, Cassie got back into her car with the intention of leaving, but the car wouldn’t start. Soon, smoke started pouring inside and Cassie couldn’t get out. As she started to choke, she tried to use her magic to open the doors, but instead, the engine burst into flames. Even more desperate, Cassie forwent magic, tugging harshly on the handles as her mind went back to the night she arrived home to see her house in flames.

Screaming, she begged to be let out. She looked up and saw Adam’s desperate face on the other side of the window. Suddenly, he turned away and began glaring at the flames. She looked at the flames before looking back at him, wondering why he wasn’t doing anything. Choking, she felt herself being jerked out of the car and swept into strong arms. Looking up, she realized that Adam had gotten her out of the car. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that the flames were out as well. Was it possible that he was a witch?

Later, after the police and firemen were sent away, she sat on the back of Adam’s jeep, wondering how to subtly bring up the subject, “I just don’t understand what happened,” she tried innocently.

“Car caught on fire,” Adam responded in a matter of fact manner, stating the obvious.

Realizing that she wasn’t going to get more, Cassie replied simply with a “Thanks for saving me.”

“Hey, are you okay? What happened?” Diana asked as she ran up to the two of them.

Adam swiftly stood up, “They think her engine blew.”

Cassie spoke up, trying to get to the truth once more, “No way. That was something else. You saw it. It went up in flames.” What she really meant to say however was ‘did you put the flames out? Are you a witch?’ Seeing that they weren’t paying her any attention however, she said that she was going to call her grandmother. Suddenly, their attention returned to her.

“No, you shouldn’t do that,” Diana spoke up, “Adam, why don’t you take Cassie home.” Adam nodded in agreement, but when Cassie protested, Diana insisted, “No, its okay. This is my boyfriend. He’s cool.” Cassie made shifted awkwardly as she realized she’d been crushing on a taken guy. She could have sworn that Adam had been giving off vibes of interest as well, but clearly she was wrong. This was proven when Adam coolly agreed with no hesitation and no sign of awkwardness.

As Adam pulled up to her house, she tried one last ditch effort to try and discover if he was a witch. “Maybe it was ready to go caput. I did just drive it a thousand miles,” she offered lamely.

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s it,” He jumped on the excuse without a moment’s hesitation.

Cassie internally smiled. He was kind of a terrible liar, “But the doors wouldn’t open.”

Adam took a moment before answering, “Maybe you…” He hesitated as his mind attempted to fill in the lie, “Maybe you panicked and you locked them when you meant to unlock them.”

Cassie couldn’t help the smile from spreading to her face. That was the worst excuse she had ever heard in her life. Now she was certain that he was lying to her, “No, the lock’s pretty straight forward. It only does one thing,” she teased, “And how did the fire go out?” she prodded at his story some more.

Adam shrugged awkwardly, “By itself.”

Cassie shook her head. This boy needed to take some lying classes or acting classes or something, “If you say so,” She grinned. She mentally made a note to play a game of poker against him one day.

She decided to stop poking at his story and let the conversation flow normally. She couldn’t help herself from bringing up Diana, but when he called his girlfriend very nice, she raised an internal eyebrow. That wasn’t a compliment one usually gave to the woman they love. Nodding, Cassie turned to leave not wanting to get in the middle of whatever kind of relationship Adam and Diana did or did not have.

She turned back when Adam began talking about his dad, trying to make excuses for his magic talk. Sensing that Adam was embarrassed about his father’s alcoholism, she interrupted, “He’s sweet. From where I sit, that’s a good thing,” she smiled at him kindly, “Thanks for the ride.”

Later that night, Cassie crawled into bed, more comfortable with the thought of sleeping where her mom used to. She turned out the light and stared up at the glowing stars. Allowing her eyes to lose focus, she smiled as the green stars faded into the bright white light of the real lights they portrayed. Closing her eyes, she felt the starlight on her face as she drifted off to sleep.

Cassie’s eyebrow rose in surprise as she surveyed the five people inside the abandoned house. Knowing that Adam was a witch, she had subtly tested Diana as well, trying to see if maybe Adam’s girlfriend was magical too. She was surprised when Diana brought her to an abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. At first, she wondered if she was about to be axe murdered, but when she entered a room behind Diana and found five people along with a bunch of magical ingredients, Cassie realized what was going on.

“Hi, neighbor,” a voice called from above. Cassie looked up to find the blond boy from next door perched high on a beam. Maybe that bit of magic with the curtain hadn’t been her after all.

“What are all of you doing here? What’s going on?” Cassie asked hesitantly. She knew they were all witches, but they had no reason to suspect her of the same. So why would they risk exposure by telling some random person they barely know? The others began arguing when Cassie interrupted. “Know what?” she asked suspiciously. Exactly what was she missing? Cassie rolled her eyes in boredom as Diana stuttered her way through a speech. Apparently Faye felt the same because she interrupted.

“Oh for God’s sake, spit it out. You’re a witch. You’re a full blooded, hundred percent witch. We all are.”

Cassie blinked at the bluntness of her statement, “You guys are saying I’m a witch.” She stated simply.

“Like your mother and her mother,” the quiet girl Melissa that followed Faye spoke for the first time. Cassie did a double take at her words. Her mother?

Diana nodded in agreement, “It’s all in here, Cassie. Each family has a book like this one; a journal that lays down each family line. I found mine-“

“Which explains her air of superiority,” Faye interrupted.

“The book contains thousands of spells. We’ve been practicing but without a full Circle we can only do really lame ones,” Melissa spoke again. Cassie wondered what she meant. That wasn’t how magic worked. Who exactly had been teaching these guys?

“Like open locked doors,” Faye offered.

“Or curtains,” Nick leered from behind Cassie.

“Or set cars on fire?” Cassie asked sarcastically.

“I’m sorry about that. I got a little out of hand,” Faye smirked.

Cassie grinned in amusement at the girl’s words before Adam spoke up and she returned her attention to him. “A complete Circle is six. One from each of the six families.” A familial Circle? It was hardly unheard of but to think that Cassie belonged to one of the families? That was crazy. Cassie knew her mother and her mother was not a witch. She had never met anyone more ordinary and human than Amelia Blake.

“You’re the sixth. You complete the Circle,” Diana said matter-of-factly.

“Now we’re whole,” Melissa finished.

“We have more power now,” Faye added on. Cassie internally took note of her words. It was always a good idea to keep track of the power-hungry one. Never knew when they came in handy.

“But there’s a ritual that will bind us,” Diana hastened to add, “So we can control our power.” Cassie took note of the responsible leader as well. Their words were crazy and she would need to know as much about them as she could.

“You are seriously messed up!” Cassie finally spoke up, angered. She turned to leave but Faye moved into her path. “Get out of my way,” she warned, feeling her magic build up in her body, ready to be unleashed in her anger.

Faye grabbed her arm, “Don’t pretend you don’t believe us. Deep down, you know it’s true.”

“What’s true is how crazy you are,” Cassie spat back. Magic was inherited, she knew that. But Cassie had inherited her magic from her father, not her mother. She refused to believe that her mother would have kept something like that from her. Amelia was not a witch.

“Hey, take it easy,” Adam warned.

“She can’t just waltz out of here. She’ll run to her grandmother,” Faye explained.

Diana caught on. “No one can know about us. Not even our families. We have to stay secret.”

Cassie briefly wondered why, if both their parents were witches, they would hide their magic, but agreed anyway with a smirk, using the opportunity to bolt out the door. Cassie sprinted through the forest, making her way as far from the others and that house as she could. There was no way that what they were saying was true. Cassie had gotten her magic from her father; the man who died before Cassie was even born. If her mother was a witch she would have told Cassie. Amelia could not have spent sixteen years hiding Cassie’s heritage from her. The others must be wrong.

When Cassie stopped to gasp in some air she looked around realizing she was lost. “Cassie!” Adam came up from behind her. How had he found her so quickly? “Cassie, wait. It’s not as crazy as it seems,” he attempted to reassure her. Internally, she rolled her eyes. She wasn’t freaked out about the magic. That came naturally to her now.

“Yes, it is. This is insane. All of you are insane,” Cassie spoke harshly. She turned to leave, but his words made her pause.

“Our parents had a Circle just like ours.”

“My God,” she gasped, unable to believe he was still pushing the family angle. If they wanted her to join their Circle, they should just be upfront about it. But pushing some sort of family thing? “Can you hear yourself? My mother was not a witch. I would have known.”

“No, this was all covered up. Something went wrong. People were hurt. They were killed. So they abolished witchcraft.”

Cassie let his words was over her. It wasn’t an unheard of occurrence. In Mystic Falls, things went wrong and they began hunting vampires. It was hardly crazy to think that people would do the same in other towns. But even if it were true, her mother would still have told her, “I don’t believe you.”

“You’re not the only one who’s lost a parent, Cassie,” Adam said painfully, “We all have.”

Cassie began to back away from him hesitantly. “I don’t believe it,” she repeated, “I can’t.”

“Let me show you,” Adam offered. He reached over and grabbed a leaf wet with rainy dew. He brought it over for her to hold. She wanted to leave; to keep running and never look back; to return to her grandmother’s and pretend today never happened. She hesitantly took the leaf. She never was one to deny her curiosity. “Trust me. Close your eyes. Concentrate on how your hand is connecting to the leaf, then how the leaf is connecting to the water. Then say ‘a drop of water as light as air.’”

Cassie’s brow rose. She once again wondered exactly how long the group had been practicing magic and who taught them. They were still using spells for something as easy as floating water? Then again, if what Adam said about the town abolishing witchcraft was true, they probably only began learning recently.

Seeing that Cassie was unwilling to try, Adam reached out to cup her hand. Unwillingly, Cassie felt her magic respond, “A drop of water as light as air.” Cassie felt a lurch in her stomach as her magic responded to his words. She swallowed hard. That had never happened to her before, even when she practiced with other witches.

The two stared down at the single drop as it slowly rose into the air. Adam let out a breath of disbelief as a grin made its way across his face. Magic never worked that easily for him before. The others were right. With Cassie here their magic was infinitely more powerful. Their eyes connected as they both felt the connection magic forged between them. Suddenly, the smile left Adam’s lips as something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. He turned his head, staring in complete disbelief. Cassie turned to look too, her eyes widening in surprise. All around them, small droplets of dew floated in mid air, reflecting sunny rainbows across them. She let out a small gasp in wonder.

“This has never happened before,” Adam confessed joyfully before looking down at her. Somehow the two had gotten much closer during the beautiful water drop show. Cassie felt the smile leave her lips as she processed the dual sensation of their magic connection and his face right in front of hers. Unable to resist, they leaned in closer, their lips gently touching. It wasn’t much of a kiss; more like a meeting of lips. Just as quickly as it occurred, it stopped. That meeting was enough to snap their concentration, allowing the dew drops to fall back to earth. Adam pulled away sharply, turning away from Cassie. Surprised at what had just happened between them, Cassie turned tail and ran. Adam looked at her forlornly as well as gazing at the now ruined surroundings. What had once been a beautiful landscape was now simple forest with nothing to indicate a magical moment had just occurred.

It wasn’t until Cassie made it back to town that she calmed down enough to think clearly. Her magic had never reacted that way to another person before. Realizing that she needed answers, she made her way back to the Boathouse to talk to Adam’s father.

“Excuse me, I need to talk to you,” she said moving to stand across from Ethan.

“Hello, Amelia’s girl.”

Cassie winced at the greeting, but ignored it, “Why did my mom leave here?” she asked, “You said you loved her. What happened?”

“Your father happened,” He said simply, taking a drink.

Cassie hesitated. She wanted to know about her mom; if there was any truth to what the others said. But she had never heard about her father before, “Tell me about him.”

“Did you know that our families are aligned in the stars?” he asked, “Me and Amelia were meant for each other.”

She looked at him incredulously. If their families were truly practicing witches then they should know better than to practice divination. “You keep saying that, but I don’t understand. What does that mean?”

“It’s the same for you and Adam,” Ethan said instead. Cassie’s eyes widened. “You don’t want to mess with fate. Bad things happen when you mess with fate.”

“What bad things?” Cassie asked suspiciously.

Ethan shook his head, “Why do you want to hurt more than you already do?”

If this had to do with her parents; if it involved her family; if it might explain why they had to die… She wanted to know. “Please.”

“Your father was a bad man-” That was all Ethan got out before they were interrupted and it was all Cassie could think about. She couldn’t stay in the Boathouse when Adam showed up so she ran out the door the minute he was distracted.

She was walking along the docks when Diana found her. “Cassie, there you are,” she said, relieved to have found the girl. Cassie wondered cruelly if she’d still be relieved if she knew that an hour earlier, Cassie was lip locked with her boyfriend.

“No, I can’t deal with any more of this right now,” the blonde begged. She was still contemplating Ethan’s words. What did that mean? What did her father do? Did he do anything? Or was it merely the drunken ramblings of the man her mother didn’t pick?

Diana was unwilling to let things go, however. Cassie was about to turn away, but she just had to ask, “What happened to our parents? Why won’t anyone tell me anything?”

Diana shifted uncomfortably, but she had asked for Cassie to open up to her; she owed Cassie an answer, “There was… an accident… sixteen years ago. The people who died were all members of the last Circle. Our parents.”

“My father too?” Cassie asked. Her mother had never spoken of her father. That secrecy was part of what made Cassie sure that her magic came from his side of the family, but it was looking more and more like she had inherited it from both her parents. How could her mother have hid this from her?

“Only, I don’t think it was an accident,” the brunette confessed, “I think something went wrong and the ones who survived are trying to keep it from us. Look, I believe we can do great things with our power. It doesn’t have to be bad, but we have to control it.”

“My mom ran from this life. She didn’t want this for me,” Cassie realized out loud, “If she did, she would have told me.” Tears welled up in her eyes, “Why didn’t she tell me?”

For once, Diana didn’t have an answer.

The storm distracted Diana from the conversation, bringing her attention to Faye. Cassie watched as Diana ran towards the other girl. Looking at the sky, she realized that the storm was not natural and that Faye had summoned a hurricane. Cassie’s eyebrows rose in surprise when Diana fell to the ground, a lightning strike coming too close to the girl. Realizing that things were spiraling out of control, Cassie made her way toward the dock. She heard Faye begging the storm to stop, but it was out of her control. Cassie stepped out on to the edge and looked into the depths of the swirling clouds. She closed her eyes and reached into her magic. She felt a slight tug, but it was nowhere near as strong as it should be for the amount of magic she was about to perform. The Circle really did amplify her powers, “Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop,” She repeated thrice, watching as the clouds swiftly retreated and the rain began to slow.

The two girls on the ground looked at her in surprise, “You did it,” Faye spoke in awe, “You’re one of us.”

“You stopped it, Cassie,” Diana said also in a reverent tone. How could Cassie, who was new to magic, stop a storm started by Faye, the strongest of the Circle?

Cassie looked at the two dead in the eye before declaring her decision, “I don’t want any part of this.”

Cassie trudged through the streets of Chance Harbor soaking wet. She refused to call a cab or her grandmother, preferring to take the time to think over everything she had learned. Her father was a witch. He had died in a horrible magical accident. Her mother was a witch. She had kept this secret from Cassie.

Walking up the front steps, she let herself inside the house. “What happened to you?” her grandmother asked from the living room. Cassie hesitated before turning around. Looking at her grandmother, she remembered Melissa’s words ‘like your mother and her mother.’

“I just got caught in the rain,” Cassie lied.

“Is everything alright?” her grandmother questioned.

No. Nothing was alright. She just found out her entire life was a lie. That everything her mother ever said to her was a lie. “Yeah. I just want to get out of these clothes.” Forcing a smile onto her lips, Cassie made her way up the stairs to her room.

She burst through her door before slamming it shut and leaning heavily on the door, closing her eyes.


Her eyes slammed open as she looked around her room easily spotting Nick lounging on her bed, flipping through a book she’d left on her nightstand.

Nick didn’t even look up at her, “I got nominated to make sure you didn’t tattle to granny.”

“Thanks,” Cassie sneered, dropping her wet jacket to the floor with a plop.

The blond finally looked up, taking in her wet figure, “What happened to you?”

Cassie rolled her eyes making her way to her closet. She shut the door so that she could change. “Ask your friend Faye. She started a storm she couldn’t control.”

“Faye?” Nick asked in surprise from the other side of the door. Faye was the strongest of them; she used magic the most. For her to summon something that she couldn’t stop…

“Yeah,” Cassie said, opening the door to look up at him. She was now clad in a light pink tank, white camisole and grey yoga pants. “I had to stop it before it destroyed anything else.”

Nick stayed silent, processing that Cassie, the newbie, was able to stop something that Faye couldn’t. “How?”

“What?” Cassie asked, distracted, as she grabbed a towel from her bathroom and began towel drying her hair.

“How did you stop the storm when Faye couldn’t?” he asked suspiciously, “You don’t know anything about magic.”

Cassie smirked slightly, “Who said that?”

The blond paused as he re-evaluated what he knew about Cassie, “You know magic?”

Cassie shrugged. She opened her mouth to say more when her grandmother interrupted. “Cassie! You have a visitor!” her grandmother called up the stairs. Cassie made a ‘shoo’ motion toward Nick. Taking the hint, the boy crept out the window. She leaned out to see that he had used magic to soften his fall and was now returning to his house. Cassie dropped her towel on her bed and left her room. “A very late visitor,” her grandmother mumbled as soon as Cassie was within sight. Turning, Cassie spotted Adam shifting awkwardly in the foyer. She pursed her lips, unsure of what to say. “I’ll be in the kitchen,” her grandmother offered, “Right through there,” She warned Adam.

Adam let out a sigh and started out easily, “Diana told me what happened.”

Cassie similarly chose to avoid the main topic, “Are they okay?”

“Faye’s a little shaken and Diana’s worried. Faye’s always been a bit, uhm, unpredictable. You never know what she’s gonna do next,” Adam rolled his eyes.

Cassie smiled in amusement, “Is that why you came here? To convince me to join your secret cult?”

Adam smiled back, “No. I just wanted to apologize. I’m sorry about earlier.”

“Which part?” she asked curiously.

“In the woods,” he clarified softly, unwilling to utter the word ‘kiss.’

Cassie nodded in understating. “I know.”

“It should never have happened. I don’t know how it happened,” Adam said awkwardly. Once again, Cassie was reminded of what a bad liar he was. “I love Diana.” That, however, was not a lie.

“Yeah, I get it,” Cassie offered understandingly.

“It can’t happen again,” he stated softly, but with steel intent underlying his tone.

“No,” She whispered softly, “it can’t.”

The two locked gazes before Adam broke their awkward moment, “Well, I should go.” He paused at the door, turning to speak, “You are one of us, Cassie. I can’t tell you what to do, but just know… you’re not alone.” Cassie froze unable to swallow the frog that lodged itself in her throat as Adam left. You’re not alone. Alone was all she’d felt since her mother died. You’re not alone. Her mother didn’t want this life for her. You’re not alone… But maybe she didn’t have to be alone anymore.

Later that night, Cassie settled herself into bed. Looking up at the stars, she realized what her grandmother really meant when she said Amelia counted the stars at night. Her mother, like Cassie, looked beyond the stickers decorating the ceiling into the night sky above. A smile twitched on the blonde’s face as she looked up at the sparkling lights.

You are not alone.

A scraping sound came from the fireplace. Looking over, the sound came again. Sitting up, Cassie realized that a section of the mantle was moving. She climbed out of bed and pried the tile off, revealing a hidden nook with a thick book tucked inside. Was this her mother’s book of magic? She had her father’s, but this was her mother’s.

Cassie began to flip through it, trying to get a feel for her family’s style of magic. In the middle, she came across a letter in her mother’s familiar handwriting. She hesitantly opened it, wondering what it would say.

My sweet Cassie,

You finding this means I’m gone and for that I am so sorry. I didn’t want you to have this life, but destiny is not easy to run from. I hoped that keeping this secret would keep you safe, but all I’ve done is left you unprotected. You have incredible power inside you. People will come for it. They will come for you.