Flash: Reversed Reflections

Image courtesy of Ben Schonewille at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The men were still following her, she was sure of it.

Heather adjusted her mirrors after pulling into the rest stop. She watched as the black Tahoe continued down the highway, positive that when she passed the next gas station it would be pulling in behind her again. But for the moment, she was off their radar.

LeaningĀ  back, she took a moment to breathe and center herself, then adjusted the mirrors for real. Cars with intent to follow would have a red haze around them going forward. At least until nightfall, when her sun and nature-based magic failed. That’s when they will attack again, her gut said.

“I guess I could try some of the night magic.” Heather suggested to the two rear-facing seats shown in her inside rear-view mirror. The twins neither approved or disapproved the suggestion.

Not that she would do the night magic her ex-boyfriend taught her. Her demon lover. She hadn’t known how true that appellation had been when Jevil had introduced himself at the club. She thought he had just been a bragging asshole, and she always liked bad boys.

Having a guy gyrate behind her while she was dancing, and somehow whisper in her ear , “I’ll be your demon lover tonight,” made her panties melt five beers in to the night. She hadn’t questioned the magic required to perform a whisper while dancing to ear-shattering club music after sunset.

When she started showing, Jevil had flicked her aside like the butt from a used smoke, and she thought that was that. Lesson learned, sun and darkness don’t mix. Until yesterday when he had shown up at the daycare with two other men who could have passed for his brothers, wanting the kids. The twins had already been strapped in, so she floored her sedan, making one of the men leap out of the way and she had seen wings behind him for a moment before the illusion reformed. Real, honest-to-badness, bat-like wings shimmering like oil in the dim winter sun.

She had spent the night at her house, her haven, behind wards made by her coven before they had cut her from the circle, while the trio battered and pounded the magical walls denying entrance. It was the night before winter solstice, so nearly fifteen hours of her tossing what little magic she had under moonless skies. Every stone and plant in her house was drained or dead by the time the sun rose. The house would not survive another night.

Not that it mattered, because they had tossed gasoline against the side they had breached close enough to touch the physical siding, and then added a match.

Heather barely managed to get the kids into the garage and strapped into their seat in the Honda Civic before flames roared through their living quarters. She pulled out from the flames and smoke while dawn broke the horizon, which she used to power a nuclear blast of Light, capital L intended, to clear her path. She had been driving ever since, exhaustion held off only by magic. She wouldn’t make it through the night.

Stumbling out of the car, she opened the driver-side rear door. Carefully unbuckling her daughter, she took the baby over to a picnic table. Looking around, to see who was about to get an eyeful and finding no one, she kicked off her shoes and dug her toes into the sod. After that she lifted her shirt and unsnapped the nursing bra pad protecting an aching breast. The child latched on as soon as the nipple was in range.

“I know, I know. I am so sorry to have missed your morning feeding. You’ve been so good, Diana.” She had been feeding Apollo when she had smelled the gas; he had not been happy about the interruption, but settled immediately after the car started moving. Both of them had been eerily quiet as she drove in a panic to nowhere. Her coven had removed her when she had shown up with a reverse witch streak, the black lock damning against her blonde hair. Dabbling with Jevil, using sex magic at night and other seductive tricks, left its mark on her body, life, and soul.

“I should have known better.” Heather talked using the rise and fall babies love to hear. “You will know better, won’t you? You are going to be my smart little girl.” The baby sucked steady, leeching liquid from her body she hadn’t replaced since yesterday’s, goddess help her, breakfast. She had worked through lunch at her retail job since two of the staff quit. Well, management must be having a field day with her being a no-show today. She drew more energy from the soil to push back the low-blood-sugar headache and dehydration migraine. The brownish grass turned black as she killed it for her survival, removing every particle of light the living mass had stored for the winter.

The clear blue eyes of the very young stared up at Heather, studying her intently, until, finally, Diana slowed her sucking. Unlatching the nipple, Heather tucked everything back in and slipped on her shoes, not worrying about the mud clinging to her toes, before carrying the drowsy baby to the car. Laying the two-month old back into the seat, Heather started buckling the child in. Kissing her lightly on the forehead, she promised, “I’m going to do everything in my power to protect you and your brother.”

Heather quaked as she considered her words. Everything in her power. She had to do it. Closing the door, she walked around to the other side where Apollo patiently waited for her with his black eyes. As she unbuckled him for the afternoon feeding, Heather commented, “Well, I guess your daddy is going to find out how well he taught me the Empty Magics.”

(Word 975; First published 1/20/2019)