Letting Life Lead
The damp and mold in the abandoned basement made Kaya gag even through the sting of the stranger’s slap. Her split lip stung and her wrists chafed against the binding wires that kept what little magic she had in check. Yua, her son, struggled and tried to kick the man who held him by a hank of hair.
“Enough stalling,” he said. “Do it now.”
He pointed to the woman bound in a chair who protested through the gag with hate and fear welling in the tears squeezing through.
“Let my son go, you fecking poltroon.”
He pushed her young son to his knees. “After you remove the restraining spells from my wife.”
The bound woman shook her head violently. “No, he’ll kill me,” her eyes pleaded.
“I can’t. I’m spellbound.” She motioned to the blackmark tattoos covering her arms.
Yua tried to kick him and got slapped for his troubles. Kay seethed and the wires burned her flesh. The man snorted.
“If you can put them on, you can take them off. I know your type. You have ways around it…so I hear.”
Kaya frowned. Some people couldn’t keep their yaps shut. “Fine, but it’s dangerous and I want my son safe.”
“He can watch,” he said, making Yua squeal in pain.
“Put him in the wardrobe. He won’t go anywhere and I don’t need the distraction.” He didn’t respond. “Look, you fecker, you want this done or not?”
With Yua put away and the binding wires cut, Kaya approached the woman, ungagged her, and untied her legs. She placed a hand on the trembling woman’s shoulder. “Don’t be scared. I just need you to come with me for a second.”
Kaya led her to the center of the room where she crumbled and pled. “Please. It’s the only thing keeping him from…”
“Your tats are shit. Whoever you hired left holes. He shouldn’t have been able to get within a hundred feet of you. My husband could have done better, and he couldn’t draw a circle with a compass.” Kaya sniffed at the woman and inspected the spells inked into her skin.
“Hurry up,” the man growled, banging on the wardrobe with a pipe making little Yua scream.
“There will be consequences…”
He approached and kicked her then lifted the pipe ready to strike, but Kaya turned to the task at hand and closed her eyes. She felt the spells even through her bindings. The government tattoos were supposed to prevent her from applying or manipulating markings. A power that she held was too great, they said, and needed containment for public safety. But she could bypass it with great pain and not without some…side effects.
Sweat poured from Kaya’s skin and her tattoos began to glow as she absorbed the woman’s spells which disappeared one by one.
“He’ll kill us both…don’t do it!” The woman sobbed and clasped Kaya’s hot hands and drew back from the burn.
The electricity in the air made Kaya’s hair stand on end, and as the last tattoo faded, another appeared in its place. An tiny stylized wolf head just at the nape of the woman’s neck. Kaya touched it with a fingertip and told her in a hushed whisper, “Close your eyes, and do not move no matter what you hear.”
Power had to go somewhere and Kaya’s body contorted, the bones cracking. A yowl burst from her throat as fangs and claws grew. In a whirl of frenzied shrieks she sunk her teeth and claws into him. Holding him. Binding him. His agonized screams did not stop for several minutes while she consumed his life essence until he was naught but a husk and ash.
Kaya wretched when all was done. She always did hate the taste of foetid souls. The sweet smell of the cowering woman drew her. The scent intoxicated. Kaya’s lunge was thwarted by the feedback from the proper repelling spell she’d left upon the woman for protection. Kaya yelped in pain and pressed herself into a corner until she regained her human form.
She released her boy and hugged him.
“Did he taste bad?” he asked.
Kaya approached the woman. “You are safe. Your husband was right. I am the best,” she said, tapping the woman on the nape of the neck which still glowed red from the fresh marking. “If I can’t get to you. No one can.”
Warden of Words // Shaper of Stories
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