“What began eons ago with temptation in paradise must finally be resolved . . .”
Siblings Luke, Matt, and Shana Carter are not happy they have to move from Philadelphia to a small town in South Carolina when their mom loses her job. But they quickly realize that fitting in at their new high school is the least of their worries. Because a supernatural war is being waged in their new hometown . . . one that began long ago between two sisters who are now battling for the fate of humanity itself.
With his thoughts lingering on Laraii, new questions arose for him. His day with Naya provided him more clarity, the chance to step back and take everything in. He always felt like something wasn’t right about the town, but threw himself into the normalcy of high school, football, and dating the hottest girl in school to avoid thinking about it.
Matt and Shana’s warning to him a while back was what he couldn’t shake. They were notorious for pulling pranks on him, but something told him they weren’t playing when they described the “ceremony” they spied on. They were so shaken when they told him the story and were seriously scared to attend school that day.
Not to mention, they never hung out with anyone from their school except for Carlo, Ana, Claire, and Naya. Under normal circumstances, Shana and Matt probably would have been the most popular kids by now, but they mysteriously isolated themselves from the rest of their classmates. Even though Shana was on the track team, she never spent any time with them outside of practice and track meets.
And his teammates… those guys were way stronger than normal. He witnessed their immense strength every day, Carlo included. Luke would’ve probably had his back or neck broken by now if not for Carlo’s amazing skills as a blocker. He kept thinking back to how Laraii said those guys had something in them that made them stronger and faster.
“Naya,” he asked quietly. “Is there something more going on here that I’m missing?”
“What? With us?”
He chuckled, “There’s already something going on with us, and I’m fully aware of that.” He grew serious. “I’m talking about with how the demons in the town act. How they’re being made.”
He couldn’t help but notice how Naya’s body went still, then she refused to look at him again. Instead, she absently ran her fingers over the pond’s surface and debated whether or not to tell him what Matt and Shana already knew.
It was a touchy choice because she didn’t know what she was allowed to say and do. Free Will could be tricky in these situations for supernaturals like her. Luke’s siblings found out totally by accident, by going out to seek. Otherwise, no one would have been able to tell them what was going on, not even Naya.
She rationalized that Luke was seeking answers as well and deserved to know the truth. Her heart began to ache. She was worried Luke would never talk to her again after finding out the full extent of what she could do. He was so… moral and righteous. Outside of sex before marriage and more cursing than she felt necessary, he really was an upstanding guy who honestly cared about others over himself.
With a sigh, she commented, “Have Matt and Shana told you anything specific?”
“Yeah,” he said, trying to laugh it off, “back on our first day, they told me they saw a ritual in the woods where everybody was gettin’ turned into demons. Said there was all kinds of sick stuff goin’ on and it scared the hell outta them. I just figured it was bull.
“But after seeing you today… I just don’t know how bad all of this really is. I mean, the kids at school act pretty normal, despite what they are.”
When she didn’t answer, he pressed her, “They are beatable… right?”
In response, she slashed her fingernail across her palm and held it up to his face, allowing him to see the dark blood dripping out. He gasped and pulled away in horror. The moon provided enough light to show that her blood wasn’t the normal red like his. Hers was blacker than oil.
Tamara Mayo was raised in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, where her love of reading sprouted into a hunger for more books. She moved to the High Desert of southern California at the age of 19, where she continued her writing career, including ghostwriting for new and established authors. She has worked a myriad of jobs, including as a 911 police dispatcher, but has settled into her career as a publisher. She enjoys reading, gardening, meditating, playing video games (‘Kingdom Hearts’ is her favorite), watching weird TV, and pondering the spiritual realm.