Her eyes rested on the red door leading to her childhood home. Inside, her mother held all the answers she could imagine about her visions. Why couldn’t she do such a simple thing as knock? Cassie stared at her fist hovering inches from the door, but still she couldn’t move. Max shifted anxiously behind her waiting to see what she would do.
Dropping her fist, she stood with her arms at her side. Max leaned over to get a look at her face. She didn’t know what was plastered there. Did he see fear? Did he see anticipation? Did he see the regret seeping out of her? I mean, if I am a witch how could she keep this from me my entire life? What kind of mother does that to her child?
“So…are we going in, or will we stand out here until she finds us?” Max asked looking into the living room window. He’d seemed kind of on edge since they got out of the car. Back at the diner he had said something about witches and werewolves not getting along. The conversation seemed so long ago even though only thirty minutes had passed.
Cassie rolled her shoulders, took a deep breath, then tapped her knuckles against the door. The sound of approaching footsteps followed. Cassie took a deep breath and gulped back her nerves. Max patted her on the shoulder for moral support and Cassie couldn’t help but smile. Seconds passed like snails inching across the ground as the door creaked its way open.
Madeline Armel filled the doorway with her five-foot-six height. Her long sandy-blonde hair was up in a ponytail and she sported a pair of denim shorts cut off at the knees. Cassie looked at her tank top and saw a symbol she didn’t recognize. Wonder what that means
“Cassie. What on earth are you doing here?”
Cassie squared her shoulders and looked her mother right in the eyes. “I have to talk to you about something important.” Maddy’s eyes trailed beyond her and rested on Max. She arched an eyebrow at him then smirked. Her mother stepped aside and gestured for them to enter.
Without looking back, Cassie gave herself a mental hug and pushed through the open door. She walked into the hallway off the living room and looked around the corner. The furniture hadn’t changed since the last time she’d visited, but she did notice there were a few new houseplants sitting on stands by the window.
“I wasn’t expecting company,” Maddy said. “If I had known you were coming, I would have prepared something for brunch.”
“This isn’t a social call, Mom.”
Max stepped up to the door as Maddy smiled warmly at him, inviting him to enter. He stopped at the door’s threshold with his eyes wide. Cassie turned to see that her mom’s eyes had suddenly narrowed toward him. Maddy flicked her hand in a strange motion and Max stumbled forward into the entryway. He looked pale for a second as he locked eyes on her mother. What was that about?
“Why exactly are you here?” Maddy asked smugly.
Cassie rolled her eyes and walked towards the kitchen. Max tried to follow but Cassie’s mom stepped in front of him, her back against the kitchen doorway. Seems like someone is on edge. She must know that he is a werewolf. That could be the reason she changed her mood towards him so quickly. Cassie glared at her mother as the memory of Max’s words echoed through her mind. “Witches have hated werewolves for hundreds of years. There was a grand war that ended with hundreds of casualties on both sides. The witches took refuge within their own vortex realm as did the werewolves. The only difference is we didn’t form a task force to hunt down our enemies like they did.”
Cassie couldn’t understand why there was such hate between the two races. But from what Max had told her, the Triad didn’t just hunt werewolves, they hunted all supernatural beings. They despised every class of creature that wasn’t their own. The only one they didn’t touch was humans. That apparently was taboo in their eyes.
Max hesitated as he watched Cassie’s mom with nervous eyes. His body tensed like he was waiting for an attack to come any second. “Mom, can I talk to you in the kitchen?” Maddy looked between the two guests and decided to comply. “Make yourself at home,” she said to Max.
Max walked stiffly into the living room and sat down in the armchair next to the small couch. Cassie turned and she and her mom stepped into the kitchen together. She walked around the large island that took up the center of the room. She leaned against the side of the counter with her back to the window. Crossing her legs, she braced herself for the conversation that would change her life forever.
“Cassie what the hell is going on?” Maddy asked with exasperation. “You are freaking me out. I mean you show up out of the blue with some guy.”
“Some guy?” Cassie shook her head. “Oh, you mean Max. He is my new partner.”
“Oh…” Maddy said, peeking out into the living room. She looked uncomfortable as her eyes darted from Max’s sitting form back to Cassie. She doesn’t trust him, all because he is a wolf. Cassie’s eyes narrowed as her mother’s gaze connected with hers.
“I’ve been having issues at work,” Cassie began. “I thought maybe you could give some insight as to why this is happening to me.”
Maddy arched an eyebrow. “What kind of issues?” She stepped towards the island, stretching her palms out across the smooth surface. Cassie tapped her foot on the wood floor wondering how to approach the subject. The silence stretched on for several minutes. Cassie heard Max clear his throat. He is probably out there listening to every word we say. Stupid wolf with super hearing. Her mom sneezed bringing her back to her thoughts.
“Does anyone in our family have visions?”
A flash of shock stripped across her mother’s face before she could compose herself. “I don’t believe so. What is this all about?” She is lying to me again. Maddy refused to meet Cassie’s eyes as she talked. They darted everywhere but to the person standing across from he
“I’ve been seeing things.”
Maddy’s head jerked to attention at her words. She made eye contact with her for merely a second. A sense of unease filled Cassie as her mother fidgeted under her gaze.
“What kind of things?” Maddy whispered.
Worry flashed across her mother’s face as Cassie thought back to the first vision she’d had. The memory was still fresh. Her mother’s fingers tapped nervously on the counter as she waited for Cassie to respond. Cassie’s eyes watched the steady tap tap tap of her mother’s fingers for a few minutes, stretching the silence to an unbearable breaking point.
“The first time it happened it was like a daydream. There was a girl in a school uniform with pigtail braids on her head. She was happy as could be walking home from school. I saw her walk by a liquor store and in the shadows of the alleyway a man reached out. He snatched her in one grab. The little girl screamed for help, but no one was near. I saw the horrible things he did to her just like I was there. After he was done, he threw her behind a dumpster for the garbage team to find her.”
Maddy gulped. “Oh, my god…” She gripped her hands into tight fists as Cassie stood coolly by watching her movements. “Why do you think it was a vision?” Cassie took a deep breath and continued the story.
“I shook myself out of the vision once Brett pulled up to Elmerson Elementary. He had to pick up his daughter on our break to get her home. His wife’s car was in the shop and they didn’t want her walking home alone. I got out of the car to get some fresh air while Brett walked up to the school. It was only a few minutes later when I laid eyes on the girl from my vision. She was walking around the corner and I had this terrible feeling in the pit of my gut. So, I followed her. The liquor store came into view, and without thinking I pulled my baton from its strap on my hip. I ran forward just as the hand reached out of the darkness. In one swipe I slammed the baton down on the guy and flung him against the wall. The girl screamed and next thing I knew, Brett was pulling me off him. I was babbling my head off about how the guy was going to hurt the little girl. Brett took over from there. Turns out the guy was a pedophile and the police wanted him for questioning in the disappearance of two other children.”
“Oh my god, Cassie!” Maddy stepped around the island and headed towards her. Cassie put up her hand to stop her. I can’t take being comforted about this right now. I need to get this cleared up. “That was just the first time it occurred. It has happened several more times in recent month.
Cassie watched her mom tense up at her revelation. Maddy’s eyes danced around the room, looking everywhere but at Cassie.
“Can I ask you one question?” Maddy said hesitantly.
“Sure,” Cassie said with a shrug.
“Do you still wear the necklace I gave you when you were a babe?”
How the hell does that have anything to do with this conversation? “Yeah, I still do.” Cassie pulled the necklace out from under her shirt. She cradled it in her fingertips and admired it as she had so many times throughout her life. It was a small heart with a red ruby in the center. Sometimes when she looked at it, she could swear that there was light dancing within the ruby.
“Good…good, you need to keep wearing it.” Cassie looked at her mother as she replaced the necklace beneath her shirt. Cassie’s revelation seemed to have shaken her. Maddy turned away with a hand on her head. She started muttering to herself. “This wasn’t supposed to happen… Why…What the hell am I going to say…”
Cassie growled at her mother’s back. “Hey! Why don’t you just tell me the truth?” Maddy flung herself around, her mouth hanging open in shock. Her eyes were desperate like she would do anything but tell her the truth. But Cassie had enough with the lies and her avoidance.
“Just say it… I’m a witch!”
Maddy’s eyes went wide with Cassie’s explosion. Fire burned in her belly as she watched her mother calculate her response. I swear, if she denies it I will strangle her. Cassie watched for a few seconds before she lost it. “You can’t even tell me the truth, can you. I mean you have been keeping this from me my entire life. What kind of mother does that? What the hell is wrong with you?” Exasperation filled her to the breaking point. “You know what, never mind. Your silence has told me enough. I’m out of here!” Cassie stormed out of the kitchen as her mother yelled out after her.
“Cassie, honey wait!”
Her eyes glazed over in fury as she stomped through the living room. Max stood up and looked from the desperate mother standing in the kitchen doorway to Cassie’s back as she stormed out the front door. Cassie didn’t even know where she was going—she just walked. How could she do this to me? It wouldn’t have been so hard if she had just told me a long time ago. Now I’ve been blindsided by this epic change. “I guess I should be happy, I’m not a freak of nature,” she said to herself. “It could be worse. I could sprout two heads and breathe fire like some kind of dragon freak.”
Slowly the anger slipped away as Cassie came to her senses. She looked around to find herself at the park down the street. After all these years, she still walked here when she got mad. The swing set called to her, and once she was settled into a seat, she swayed back and forth to clear her mind. I probably shouldn’t have blown up at her. Maybe she had her reasons for keeping this major secret from me, Cassie thought.
She had been there for about ten minutes when she saw Max walking her way. He looked serious as he approached. “Great, now what does he want?” she mumbled to herself. Her eyes drifted down to her shoes as they kicked the dirt around. Things are about to get interesting.
Thank you for reading Chapter 12: Part 1 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 12: Part 2.
Each chapter is released on a month to month basis to my Dragon Ryder VIP Reader List. If you have missed a chapter feel free to check out the Library. The library will list all the available chapters.
Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.