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The Burning

“And I thought you wouldn’t be coming, oh Raven Shade.” The demon chuckled as a body dropped from his hands. Blood dripped from his finger tips and from his mouth. There were three others standing in various places, each covered with the blood and gore of the man they had just slaughtered for an evening supper.

“Your timing is truly impeccable.” Caroline hissed through her teeth. Without wasting time on witty banter her ribbons were summoned in one hand and a bolt spell in the other. She let both fly, sending the group of demons scattered in every direction.

Though they were cackling with amusement, they knew to keep a fair distance between themselves and her. Lady Shade, Raven Shade, Midnight Warrior amongst many other names preceded the woman’s reputation. Coming across her wasn’t their intention, but now that they had, she would need to be removed if they wanted free feeding over the juicy humans!

Their trouble, was that even between the four of them they could not land a spell. Lightning deflected, casting diffused. Frustration took one of them and recklessly he had pulled out a sword to charge, only to be slashed down without even getting to take a swing.

The other three ran. She followed.

They were around the corner of a townhome and in to the village street when the leader made a sudden stop. He turned, a wild cheeky sort of grin on his face as he held a hand in to the air. The big town clock was just starting to chime 7’oclock.

“I’m late for dinner.” Caroline shouted at them, poising her hands as the demon summoned up his spell. Dark and shadowy, wrapped with twirling purple and burning red, it looked much like a meteor forming in the sky. But instead of hurling it at her, he was chucking it down the street behind him aimed for several of the home buildings at the end of the street. She cursed under her breath. Having to move fast, she summoned her ribbons. Sending the tendrils out with lightning speed to wrap about the churning rocked. She caught it before it smashed in to the buildings and jerked it back. It hurtling and rolling towards the Three and crashing in to the ground where they had formerly been standing.

By now she was annoyed and unamused. While they were still chuckling about their flashy toy, she was flinging it up in to the air. A new spell. From the inside out it started to burn and by the time they finally notice it burst. Shards flinging in several directions. The largest hitting their marks so perfectly on target, it should have been impossible! The Three all dropped dead, churning to ashes along with the remains of their spell.

“Oh my God…”

Caroline froze. Turning slowly to stare in surprise over her shoulder at the startled voice. Two of the women that live in the town were there, staring in disbelief. Now just the two. People peering from windows, standing on the sidewalks. Surprised and horrified. People she didn’t see before. …it seemed one of the demon’s spells had managed to take effect after all. Somehow she did not realize they led her to a public street. The people that had knew her for the past year as Caroline DuPaul, wife of their favorite town speaker…

“Gail, they were demons.” she said quickly, trying to explain.

“Y-you killed them. Just like that.. Oh god… God, y-you’re a witch..!”

“I am not a witch.”

A woman’s scream confessed that the demon’s kill had just been found. Several more townspeople had appeared, most looking frighted, but even more having serious stoic expressions. Someone had roused her husband and she was relieved for only a split second. Until she saw his face.

“What are you..? What have you done..?”

“She’s a witch! A WITCH!”

“A murderer!”

Things were going downhill fast. People were panicking. But Caroline only looked to Louis, taking a step closer to him just for him to back away. “Louis, please, let me explain. They were demons and going to hurt people. I’m not a witch, but I’m not normal. I’m- ”

“A monster.” he responded. Cutting her short with one simple cold word. “I married a monster. You bewitched me.”

“Louis, I love you, just listen to me please! I was trying to protect you!” A couple of the townsmen grabbed her by the arms, dragging her off to the center of town. Caroline could have fought them. Slung them away as if they had weighed nothing. But if she did wouldn’t it confirm their fears? Surely Louis would get over the initial shock and want to speak to her. To let her explain.

But a stake was erected in the town square, complete with wood for a pyre. Caroline was tied to the stake, surrounded by most of the people in the village. Screaming witch, demon, monster. She couldn’t find Louis and the moment she did, her heart sank. He had the torch and wordlessly approached. No final words, no questions asked. Just a hard scowl on his charming face before he tossed the torch on to the pyre.

Everything went up in flames quickly. Black smoke filling the sky. Still she was hoping. He’d stop it. He would save his wife. He loved her? No screaming for the burning to stop ever came. Caroline could feel the fire beginning to singe her clothes, and before much longer it would be too late. She wasn’t going to die here, even if it was deserved.

A casted spell of glamor and then a transport spell. Caroline dropped to her feet outside of the town. She could see the glow of the flames at the center. All the villagers would see was a spell of her burning alive. They would never know she had escaped. She could go back if she wanted. But she wouldn’t. Not to fetch her things, not to speak to Louis… He had made the choice and he had wanted to see her die.

So Caroline turned her back and walked away. Caroline DuPaul was dead tonight.

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