Today's excerpt is from Faerie's Ring by Jaylee Austin, part of the
Portals fantasy anthology.
We hope you enjoy today's tease!
The moon shadows danced across the fabric of their tent. Hours past, and still no sign of Karin. A chess game had begun.
When they heard the snapping twigs warning them of Karin presence outside their tent, neither moved, their nerves frayed from the long hours of waiting.
Lara took the soul-catcher in her hand. “Ready.”
“Protect your thoughts from his manipulation,” Angie said.
“No matter what he does, stay in the circle.”
The tent flap flipped open and Karin stood with Peter. “You requested to see me?” He wrenched Peter’s arm behind his back, and pushed him to the ground. The boy was filthy, his sandy hair matted with dirt.
Her heart ached for the poor child, but she used her skill, and kept the emotional barriers in place. Lara placed the super hero figurine next to her medicine bag, where Peter could see Spider-Man was there to help him.
She turned to Karin and sneered.
In response, Karin yanked Peter by the hair, his toes barely touching the flooring of the tent, and threw the boy in the air. Peter dropped to the ground, hard, with a sickening cracking sound. A bone protruded out of Peters arm.
Lara tried to hide her feelings, but seeing the boy’s mistreatment, hearing his scream of agony, almost broke her resolve.
Peter grabbed at his broken arm, crying, and groaning in pain.
“Help him.” Lara telegraphed to Rafe.
Karin’s monstrous eyes scanned the tent. “Where’s the sidhe? You’re a coward, Keeper of Dreams, a failure. Come, do battle. I need a good fight. I’ll even let you live long enough to see her surrender her soul to me.”
Lara panicked when Rafe opened the flap of the tent, holding the two djinn shifter’s Karin brought with him. “Here’s your gophers.” He dropped the two at Karin’s feet. “Who will defeat who?”
When he disappeared, Lara knew he donned his invisibility whammy. Peter lifted from the ground and whisked out the tent.
Lara nodded understanding. Peter was safe. It was time to finish her task.
Karin thirst for power slammed into Lara’s mind, twisting her every emotion. Her dark side emerging as she succumbed to the assault of painful memories. She felt the blackness around her heart turning to ash, a black rose blooming, taking hold of her heart, squeezing.
She gasps for air, clutching her chest, the pain, excruciating. Her barriers failing her, Karin reached inside twisting her memories, using them to torment-the guilt, the hurt, the hate.
An acrid smell permeated the enclosed tent. The urge to wretch tightened the pit of her stomach. Acid burned the sides of her throat. Every hateful hit and punch from her father coming to mind, her anger growing stronger by the minute, her fear feeding the savage demon.
Lara wanted her own revenge. She’d make her father’s soul pay.
“Invite me in and I’ll make your dreams of revenge a reality. His soul will live in Xibalba, tortured with screams.”
Lilth emitted the purity of light into her mind. “Fight him with your words and your love. Your love of Peter, Sedona, your friends...”
Karin’s hold weakened.
Rafe merged with her energy, and Lara grasped the turquoise cord in her mind’s eye.
“I love you, don’t leave me,” Rafe said.
She felt Rafe’s passion vibrating through her. With Rafe’s help, she reinforced her barriers, preventing Karin from manipulating her emotions.
“They don’t love you. They pity you. The lost little girl no body wants or will ever love. They lie to you.”
A painful lump lodged in her throat. Karin’s hateful words still hurt.
Angie jumped up and unsheathed a knife she hid inside her boots. “You’re the liar.”
Karin’s skin reddened and his brown eyes became black. The daemons power grew as he manipulated Angie’s emotions. He summoned Angie out of the circle and engaged her in combat.
Lara couldn’t leave the safety of the circle, or she’d never be able to capture him inside the catcher. The daemon slammed Angie against the tent wall. The knife fell from her hand and she lay crumbled on the ground.
Rafe rushed in and leaned over Angie. In that moment Karin plunged the knife into Rafe’s shoulder. He jerked back and came face to face with Karin.
“Their souls will be confined in Xibalba and I promise you, they’ll suffer for an eternity.” Karin hissed. “Come out of that protective circle and save them, if you can.”