Emily could still move, but it was like wading through molasses. She noticed the students on either side were immobile, so that danger was at least neutralized. Then she noticed Lisa and Libby were standing still. Emily stilled, to conserve her strength as well. Latasha struggled for a bit longer, but eventually fell to her knees and could not continue.
“Well, well.” Abby came down the library steps. “And to think, I was once afraid of your power.” She walked between them and examined them, like an art patron might examine statues. Then she returned to the steps and faced them. “I knew you would come here. Appropriate, don’t you think?” She teased them, but at once it was not funny. Something like fire rose up in her eyes and the women felt the heat of it. “This is the same place where you killed my mother.”
“You were her secret ingredient that made the formula work.” Lisa spoke. Emily was not aware they could still speak.
“Yes, I was,” Abby calmed again. “And I may do it again if the price is right. Of course, this time you won’t be there to stop me.”
Emily risked a slight move to look more squarely at the girl. Abby had to be really stupid. With her power, she could make people shower her with money. Why was she worried about squeezing a few dollars out of some scientists?
“But now I think I need to decide which one of you actually killed my mother. Not that it will really matter in the end.” She came down to walk among them again and appeared to scrutinize them closely. Finally, she pointed at Emily. “I think it was you.” Emily spoke before the girl could do anything.
“So how do you like being the most popular girl in school?” Emily could tell. This girl was a dork in high school.
Abby paused. “That’s right. I am.” She had not considered that. “I can’t wait until my high school reunion. Certain rich bitches need to learn a lesson, I think.”
While she spoke, Libby pulled her knife slowly from her secret pocket. Abby was close enough. One swift thrust to the heart would do it. But Abby must have caught a glimpse of the metal in the corner of her eye. She yelled again.
Libby stopped and Abby spoke with the fire again in her eyes. “Old lady. You are too old to live. You can be first.”
“No!” Lisa yelled, but it was too late. Abby opened her mouth and fire came forth like the fire of a dragon. It was like a flamethrower, and it engulfed Libby so quickly she did not even have time to scream. In a few seconds, she was no more than a stump of charcoal, and the others were in tears. Abby laughed.
“They burn witches, you know. I think turnabout is fair play.” She turned again to Emily. “Tormenting you is so much fun, I think I will save you for last.”
“No more, witch!” The call came from the path to the science building. There was a man running toward them and he had a samurai sword in his hand, raised to attack position.
“Stop! Stop! Stand still! Stop moving!” With each word, Heinrich slowed, but he never quite stopped. Either the witch was at the limits of her power, or she was drained from her fiery execution of Libby, or she was stretched too thin. In any case, Heinrich was at a walk, dragging his feet forward, but he was still coming.
Abby stepped back, afraid for a second. She rose up in the air ten feet above the ground and ordered, “Hold him!”
Emily found herself move as though she had no control over her own motions. She stepped up to Heinrich and grabbed him by the belt. Lisa stepped behind the man to take him by the shoulders. Latasha, still on her knees, stretched out to grab him by the ankle. Heinrich stopped, but even as he stood still, Emily let go. She kept her fingers in place, but she could resist to the point where she did not have to hold the man. Lisa also lifted her hands a fraction from the man’s shoulders. Latasha was the last to figure it out, but soon enough there was nothing to hold Heinrich back. He paused, only because he had to time things just right.
“That’s better,” Abby said. She smiled again and acted like this was all a big joke. “Did you know I can do anything?” Abby stayed where she was in mid air, ten feet up. “Just think of the possibilities.”
Emily could think of a lot of possibilities. She figured Abby might not think of very many. The girl really was not that bright, and with a close-up look at the girl, Emily decided that she was not very good looking either. She was rather plain and Flabby was not an inappropriate name.
“So you make mindless drones of your fellow students?” Heinrich asked. He was thinking something.
“You are nothing but a spoiled brat.”
“How dare you!” A force like flame came from Abby’s eyes and struck Heinrich right in the chest. He staggered. The girls had to steady him, but he returned his eyes to glare at the girl. Once again, she had flipped her attitude in a mere second. “How interesting,” she said. Emily got the impression that the eye blast probably turned more than one person to dust.
“You are not a goddess,” Emily said. She imagined she knew what Heinrich was doing.
“I am!” Abby stomped her foot in mid air and got angry again. Power poured out from her eyes, hands and hair, but fortunately for Emily it was unfocused. “I deserve to be worshiped. The whole world should worship me, and it will as soon as I am fully-grown. You will see. I am worthy of praise.”
“Your mother would be ashamed of you,” Lisa said.
“My mother would not!” Abby just got angrier than before. “And so what? You killed my mother.” Power started streaking from her body like little bolts of lightning. “You all need to die,” she said, and it looked like she was about to bring all that power into focus when something stuck out of her chest.
It was a knife thrown from behind. It went straight through the heart. Abby looked down and suddenly had a concern other than her immediate anger. The knife slowly began to back out as the witch focused on getting rid of the weapon and healing herself at the same time. It took whatever energy she had left. Emily found she could move again, though still only slowly and she was very stiff. The students who had come up on both sides of the drama were also beginning to move slowly and stiffly, and there were sounds of them coming back to life.
Abby stayed ten feet up, but it was clear she had to focus everything else on staying alive. Heinrich waited, and just before the knife vacated the witch’s back, he took two giant steps and jumped ten feet straight up. Abby looked up at him even as his sword sliced true. The knife and her head both fell first. Then Heinrich fell back to his feet while Abby’s body just fell.
“Help me,” Heinrich yelled and it took the others a moment to realize what he needed. He stepped to the nearest tree and tore off a big branch. Then he began to strip it of its smaller branches and twigs. Latasha helped. Emily and Lisa gathered some other wood. When Heinrich had the tree branch stripped, he made a great shout and rammed the branch a good two feet deep into the frozen ground. They piled the firewood around the base while Heinrich tied Abby’s body to the impromptu stake with some twine he had in his coat pocket.
“The only way to kill a witch this powerful is to behead her. But witches must also be burnt, to be sure.” He pulled out a lighter and some lighter fluid he had in his other pocket. It made an interesting bonfire. Then he fetched the head. When he set that in the flames at the feet of the body, they all saw the eyes open and the mouth opened as well, like Abby was screaming.
“Fair enough,” Latasha said. “For what she did to Ms Libby. Ms Libby did not have a chance to scream either.” She sounded angry, but immediately turned to Lisa and cried into her shoulder.
Emily went to the library door. She was not surprised to find Pierce there. He took her hand and walked her over to pick up his knife. He cleaned it expertly and put it away. Then he kissed her. She hardly had the energy to kiss him back, but she certainly felt warm all over.
“So was this the reason you were activated?” Lisa asked. Heinrich looked at her and shrugged. He did not know for sure.
Monday, the Elect, chapter 16, the Best Laid Plans… Don’t miss it