Macy shivered and rubbed her palms on her sleeves. She preferred to cast spells skyclad, but it was just too damn cold. Evil lurked just outside their circle, casting shadows and a cold breeze that went right through her. Once Candace arrived they could finish casting the circle and protect themselves from whatever had not only herself, but Sandra jittery as well.
"Yes?" Sandra spun around and gave her a forced smiled.
"Is everything okay? You seem as nervous as I feel. There's something in the air. Something or someone out there watching us, isn't there?"
"I don't See anything, but you know my sight depends upon the Goddess and if it's something I'm meant to See."
Macy sighed and rubbed her hands together faster. "I just hope Candace gets here before we freeze to death."
"Knock it off." Sandra snorted and turned around.
When Sandra whispered to Camryn, Macy walked over to Tamara. Before she could say anything, Candace came running up to them.
"I'm here. Sorry I'm late."
Macy smiled at her while Sandra and the others told her it was okay. Macy tuned them out, closed her eyes, and lifted her face to the night sky. The moon was full, and she could feel rejuvenating energy coursing through her. There was something else, but she didn't know what, and was afraid to guess. Sandra seemed to think things were okay, and she would not doubt or second-guess her. She was their High Priestess for a reason.
"I aim to please."
Macy turned back. She'd missed some chitchat, but hopefully they could get back to business. Something felt very wrong.
"No. You knew how important tonight was and you made it. Thank you, Sweetie."
Candace blushed and turned away, probably looking for something to keep her mind off how cold she was. Macy shivered again and watched Camryn set her tools in the center of the circle. Camryn looked not only very nervous, but like death warmed over. The poor thing was probably terrified of screwing up another spell. She should be. This wasn't a game.
Even though this was the perfect night and place for the spell, the beach seemed intimidating and haunted. With the full moon they had plenty of light, but she still wished it had been at one of their homes, or at least some place warmer. And safer. Macy glanced around the beach again.
As soon as Camryn finished laying out the altar items, Sandra handed her the broom. "As I sweep, may the Besom..."
The tattoo on Macy's back warmed at Camryn's words. A blossom on water. Her symbol for the element she controlled. Tamara held the power of fire, Allison had air and Candace had earth. Sandra, their High Priestess, was their teacher, guide and best friend. Camryn's only talent appeared to be screwing things up and turning everything around her into chaos.
Once Camryn finished sweeping, it was Candace's turn. After she shrugged off her jacket, Candace took her spot and lifted her hands up to the heavens. "I call upon light and earth at the north to illuminate and strengthen the circle."
The sand beneath her bare feet sent a surge of strength to her. Macy gave a whisper of thanks to the Goddess. The elements were responsive, thank the Lady and Lord. They needed all the help they could get tonight.
"I call upon light and air at the east to illuminate and enliven the circle," Allison said.
A strong wind blew around the circle, stirring up sand and making their hair fly around. Macy growled and tugged her hair back into a ponytail. At least she'd already gone to the store and wouldn't have to go out looking like a ragamuffin.
"I call upon light and fire at the south to illuminate and warm the circle," Tamara said as she lifted her hands up.
Warmth spread through the circle. Macy bit back a moan of pleasure as Tamara's magic chased away the chill, warming her to her soul.
Macy swallowed and raised her arms. This was what she'd been waiting for. "I call upon light and water at the west to illuminate and cleanse the circle," Macy said.
Sandra lifted her athame and stepped forward. She stopped in front of the altar and said, "I draw this circle in the presence of the Lady and the Lord, that They may aid and bless us in our work." As Sandra walked around the circle, the earth rumbled under her.
When Sandra finished, the ground shifted slightly and settled. Continuing with the ritual as if nothing happened, Sandra chanted a spell to protect them while they cast tonight's spells. Finished, Sandra moved back to the altar and blessed the salt which she then sprinkled in a circle around them. As soon as it touched the ground, the salt turned bright white and formed a light as it rose, wrapping over them until they were sealed inside a huge bubble.
Again, they went around the circle, starting with Candace. "I call upon you, Guardians of the North, Element Earth, to guard this circle. By the body and strength that is ours, we ask you to attend this rite." Before she finished speaking, a loud rumble sounded underneath them.
"I call upon you, Guardians of the East, Element Air, to guard this circle. By our breath and thoughts, we ask you to attend this rite." Another strong gust of wind whirled around the outside of the circle. Allison grinned and turned to Tamara.
"I call upon you, Guardians of the South, Element Fire, to guard this circle. By our energy and consumption of life, we ask you to attend this rite." As Tamara finished, flames leapt up surrounding the circle, reaching high and wide, like a protective shield.
"I call upon you, Guardians of the West, Element Water, to guard this circle. By our emotions and blood in our veins, we ask you to attend this rite," Macy said.
A light rain drizzled down upon them, then ceased as Sandra lifted her arms up in the air, holding her athame up high. "Hail to the elements! Welcome to the Lady and Lord! We stand between the worlds surrounded by light, love and power."
Sandra poured wine onto the ground for the Lady and Lord, and turned to face Camryn.
"I know we've done spells before, but the power you five hold is amazing," Camryn said.
Macy bit back a smart-assed retort. While Camryn's comment was not only inappropriate, it was also bad timing. If she responded it would only compound things.
"Are you ready to begin, Camryn?" Sandra asked.
"I'm not sure where to start. I did spells for love, money, health, a job and looks."
"Did you follow my instructions?"
"Yes, I did. But--"
"No buts. Get your spells in order, Dear. Job, looks, health, love, money. Please start when you are ready."
Camryn nodded, but looked nervously around the circle while Sandra piled small oak twigs inside the cast iron cauldron. Camryn rifled through her papers until she produced the one she wanted. After reading the paper, she reached for the Frankincense candle and lit it. "Please cleanse me, as I reverse the spells I cast in ignorance."
The flame flickered, but held strong. Then Camryn drew in a deep breath, looked down at the sheet and repeated the spell. Fortunately, this time the flame stayed strong and true. When she finished, she dropped the paper in the cauldron. It burned with a brilliant flash of light.
Camryn smiled and looked around the circle before she pulled out the next spell. As she read this one her confidence was more assured, but that didn't comfort Macy in the least. Camryn was a walking accident.
When Camryn finished the last spell, she dropped the papers into the cauldron. A huge flame leapt out and split into five separate flames. One shot at each corner, and the last at Sandra as she stood next to the altar.
A flame hit Macy dead in the chest, sending her flying over the sandy beach. She hit the surface of the water like a stone. Saltwater flooded her nose and mouth as she immediately sank into the ocean. Panic clutched at her chest as she tried to claw her way back to the surface. How far out had the magic thrown her? Why hadn't they guessed Camryn was still working for her old coven?
Her limbs felt heavy and sluggish, and the saltwater burned her throat, but Macy continued to work feverishly to reach the surface. Her head broke free once, and she sucked in a deep painful breath before she sank back under. Trying not to panic, Macy tried to remember all the things her swimming instructor had once taught her, but it didn't do a bit of good. With her arms and legs refusing to respond, she was rapidly sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Her last thought was of Trevor and how much she still loved the power hungry, lying son of a bitch.