Chapter Ten

The two girls left Natalie’s house and headed to Cecily’s. They walked in silence, each deep in thought. Natalie’s mind raced a mile a minute, filled with questions. What was this book Cecily was talking about? Who had written it? How had her mother gotten it? What had her mother meant by ‘someone would come along who’d need to read it’? On top of that, thoughts that had been re-awakened by the earlier conversation also ran in her head, mixing with the rest – who was her father? Her mother? Why did Richard refuse to talk about them? Did he not know? Why had her grandmother not so much as mentioned them?

She thought to ask – Cecily ought to have at least some answers – but she could not make sense of the jumbled mess of questions and she did not know where to start. When they reached Cecily’s street, both were too deep in thought at first to notice anything out of the ordinary. Then Cecily grabbed Natalie’s arm.

“Natalie,” she said, “look!”

The front door to the Cordell’s house stood wide open, swaying slightly in the wind. A man like Mr. Cordell would never leave the door open like that.

Natalie and Cecily ran towards the house. A feeling of dread settled in Natalie’s stomach.

They snuck into the house, both wary that someone might still be there. Feeling like a cop on a TV-show, Natalie snuck quietly from room to room, hoping not to find anyone there. The house was terribly quiet and she could hear her own quick breathing. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest.

They made their way upstairs and winced when Natalie made the stairway creak.

They found no one, but Cecily gave a cry of anguish at the sight of her own room.

Someone had turned it upside down. Papers were lying all over the floor, her clothes strewn about as her wardrobe had been searched, and her books had been pulled from their shelves.

Cecily hurried to her wardrobe. For a moment, Natalie thought it strange but then realized that Cecily would not leave the book on magic out.


Natalie had never heard her swear before. She stepped closer. “Cecily?”

Cecily turned to her. She looked a cross between angry, upset and sad, a look not too flattering on her pretty face.

“The book is gone.”

Cecily called her father. Natalie only heard Cecily’s end of the conversation but could sense the worry that her father felt. She could only imagine how she would have felt if someone broke into her house and went through her things. It was a violation on a very private plane, she thought.

Cecily looked distraught and when she hung up the phone, Natalie pulled her close and hugged her.

“It was my mom’s!” Cecily said softly but forcefully.

Natalie stroked her hair but said nothing; she did not know what she could say that would make Cecily feel better.

Finally, Cecily pulled away. “Dad’s coming. He said he was going to call the police but he didn’t think they’d make a big deal out of a simple burglary where only a book was taken.” She sighed. “If only they knew – it’s not just any book. It’s a Script Magia. It’s—it’s a Wielders thoughts and spells, theories on magic and the history of it – I wish I could have shown it to you! You were supposed to read it, I’m sure of it.”

“You’ll have to tell me instead,” Natalie said. “I still need to know.”

“Yes – but I don’t remember all of it and I might remember wrong. And some of it is just necessary to read – I can’t tell you about it, because the details are so intricate.”

They were silent for a moment, Cecily looking dejectedly around her wasted room. It looked like a tornado had swept through it. Natalie had no doubt that Ramon, had been the ones to steal Cecily’s book – it made absolutely no sense if it was not. The person who had broken into the Cordell home had obviously known what to look for.

“I’ll find him and get it back for you,” Natalie said, quietly but her tone hard.

“You think it was Ramon?”

Natalie nodded shortly. “Who else?”

“There are other Wielders in the world who’d probably want to get their hands on that Script,” Cecily said, shrugging. “Every Script Magia is unique, a fingerprint of the Wielder who wrote it – sometimes, the Script is passed down and filled in through generations – like the one I had. Seven generations of Wielders – gone, just like that.”

Cecily certainly seemed to know more about a lot of things than she first led on, Natalie thought. It all made for a rather secretive shimmer that surrounded her persona.

“Did it say anything about Ramon?” asked Natalie.

Cecily shook her head. “It was among the first things I looked in it for, but there was nothing. There was a bit about resurrection spells, but the rituals for those didn’t sound like what you said Ramon was planning to do to you.”

“But there are resurrection spells?”

“Not really,” Cecily said. “The dead remain dead, but Wielders that have turned to darkness have been known to reanimate them and use them as soldiers.”


Cecily nodded. “It’s not a pretty sight.”

At that moment, Mr. Cordell arrived home. Feeling more than a bit out of place as Cecily hugged her father and spoke of the book that had been taken, Natalie finally bid her goodbyes and left the house.

She wandered aimlessly, not quite willing to go home yet. Questions ran through her mind – what did Ramon want with the Script? He was obviously already a talented Wielder, considering his ability to completely alter his appearance at will, so what did the book contain that was interesting for him? Something important – or perhaps he simply did not want Natalie to read it.

A leaf fell from one of the trees and landed on Natalie’s shoulder. A sign of autumn, Natalie thought distantly. The air felt warm still, and fall seemed a good way off yet.

After an hour of walking, Natalie returned home to an empty house. Natalie had not expected it to be anything but. Emmanuella’s shopping sprees had been known to last for hours and hours, which was one of the reasons Natalie never joined – she got bored. Besides, Emmanuella never wanted her to come along.

Natalie closed the door to her room, enclosing herself in her very own space. She wanted to block out the world. Too much had happened too rapidly. In just two weeks, Natalie had gone from a very ordinary, rather unpopular new student at a new school, to – well, what was she now? A Wielder? Her unexpected and sudden bursts of magic could hardly make her a Wielder. Natalie remembered her grandmother’s other term – Novus Wielder. That seemed to fit.

She shook her head and sat down at her desk. She caught sight of the small, opaque stone her grandmother had given her to trace Ava with. She recalled her grandmother’s words about linking the stone to herself and frowned. She held the stone in one hand and her necklace with the other, studying them. She knew she ought to have asked her grandmother more about it – after all, it was important. But she had not, and she would have to figure it out. She did not know if the ‘linking’ was automatic, like two computer programs working together, or if she had to do anything.

Soon enough, she received her answer.

Both stones began to feel hot in her hands as she concentrated on them and suddenly, without any warning, a red beam of light shot from the necklace to the opaque stone. Natalie squeezed her eyes shut against the strong light.

When she opened them again, she found the opaque stone no longer completely opaque. Instead, it held a small, red center that appeared to be alive, if looked upon long enough. The two stones had been linked and somehow, Natalie could feel it. They were—connected.

Natalie pocketed the stone. The photograph of her and her mother caught her eye and she smiled slightly.

“I really should ask grandma about you,” she said softly. “Perhaps you were a Master Wielder too, like grandma.”

Her thoughts carried her away – what would it have been like to grow up with a mother and father, instead of with her uncle? Her conversation with Cecily had re-awoken her curiosity though she still knew that unless someone decided to open up, she would find out no more now than she had two years ago.

She sighed and looked away from the photo. Only then did she realize that the paper that had previously been completely blank, now held a single line of writing.

‘I am not Ramon.’

Natalie’s breath caught in her throat and she had already backed away from the table before realizing the stupidity of her behavior. She was afraid of a piece of paper? There was obviously either nothing to be afraid of, or she should be trying to run away from her own body since that was what the writer controlled.

Shaking, Natalie sat down again. The words still stood there, simple and unthreatening on their own. Only how they had appeared frightened Natalie.

Perhaps she should give the one behind the writing the benefit of the doubt for a moment. Perhaps she would find something out about Ramon, whether he was the writer or not – after all, he or she obviously knew about Ramon’s existence.

Her mind made up, Natalie grabbed the pen once more. Her hand trembled badly enough to mess up her handwriting as she wrote back:

‘Who are you then?’

She closed her eyes and willed herself not to think about controlling her hand It took only a moment before she could feel the slight changing of fabric as her arm moved. It was barely noticeable.

‘I told you, I am someone who wants to help you.’

Natalie recalled the words the ghost writer had made her write before.

‘How can I know that when you won’t tell me who you are?’ Natalie wrote, her heart still beating rather wildly in her chest.

A very short answer appeared:

‘You can’t.’

Natalie sighed. The ghost writer did not seem like Ramon. The ghost writer had never been rude or mean, but rather very nice and calm. She could not quite believe that the man who had held a knife to her throat would then be so cordial.

Natalie wrote, ‘How do you know about Ramon?’

It took a moment longer than before for the ghost writer to give an answer to this question. Finally it appeared,

‘I know a lot.’

Natalie rolled her eyes. The ghost writer really would not give her anything to work with. Before Natalie had time to write another answer, however, her hand started moving again and the ghost writer wrote,

‘He is double.’

What? Natalie frowned deeply. What on earth was that supposed to mean? Double-what? Agent? For what, in that case? It was weird, even for the ghost writer, who always seemed to be writing in riddles. Still, Natalie got the feeling that it held some importance.

‘What are you talking about?’

She waited, biting her lip all the while. When nothing happened, she closed her eyes and tried her best to relax – it did not work too well but then she did not think she had been relaxed during the ‘talk’ at all this time.

Nothing happened. The page remained clear below Natalie’s last words and there was no inkling that the ghost writer would write any more.

After a few minutes, Natalie wrote once more, ‘What do you mean by double?’ but nothing happened.

Natalie wanted to rip the piece of paper to bits but felt that it would not do any good – saving these ‘conversations’ was probably the wise thing to do, so she could read them through again later on. She slumped in her chair and put away the pen. She recalled that it had happened before, that the ghost writer suddenly stopped. Perhaps it took a lot of power out of it and it could not do it for too long. It seemed like a reasonable explanation, but it did not make Natalie any calmer. What did ‘He is double’ mean? Double agent was still all that came to mind – and double agent for what, exactly, would that be?

Annoyed, she crumbled the paper in her hand and threw it into the wall. It bounced and landed on the floor. After a minute of frustrated huffing, Natalie sighed and picked it up. She unfolded it and placed it in one of the desk drawers, where it would not be so easily found. The last thing she wanted was for Richard to find the piece of paper with the odd writings.

Things were getting more complicated by the minute. No longer did Natalie feel at all sure that the ghost writer was Ramon – it no longer made sense. Why would Ramon tell her ‘he is double’ in reference to himself? At the same time, she was fairly convinced that Ramon had been behind the break-in at the Cordells’ house. Who was Ramon? Why was he doing these things? Why had he kidnapped Natalie and told her he would kill her at midnight? Would Cecily’s dream come true – would Ava going to be kidnapped by Ramon as well?

Natalie sighed again and then she stood and headed downstairs. Making dinner qualified as a task that would occupy her thoughts well enough without being overly complicated at the same time.

Richard and Emmanuella arrived home an hour and a half later. By then, Natalie had chicken and potatoes roasting in the oven and a chocolate cake for dessert ready to be baked. Natalie glanced briefly at the multitude of bags Richard carried. Apparently, this shopping spree had been no different from any other Emmanuella went on.

“It smells good,” Richard said.

Natalie smiled back. “It’ll be done in a few minutes.”

Richard held out a bag to Natalie. “Such a good cook needs some show of appreciation.”

Natalie gaped at him for a moment – they hardly ever bought her anything. She opened the bag. A cute red shirt and a small envelope lying on top of it could be seen. Natalie opened it and found three movie tickets.

“I thought you could take your new friends with you,” Richard said. “I’m sure you girls need to go out and have some fun.”

Natalie smiled widely at Richard. Three tickets meant he had actually kept track of the friends she had mentioned. “Thank you.”

Richard waved it off. “I’m glad you’re making friends.”

Natalie had not told him of the fight with Ava and did not intend to do so either. She still hoped it would resolve itself and though she liked that Richard had some semblance of knowledge about her life, she did not need him to know any more intimate details.

Emmanuella sauntered into the room clad in an assortment of her new clothes. Natalie gave a small shake of her head at her antics. Emmanuella did not notice.

Monday came far too soon for Natalie’s liking. As she sat in class, she hoped for new ghost notes to write themselves in her notebook but nothing happened. It made Natalie somewhat frustrated – when she finally did want answers from the ghost writer, it was nowhere to be found.

In Natalie’s pocket, the tracking stone weighed heavily. Ava avoided her and Cecily in class and showed no inkling to wave a peace flag any time soon. Natalie knew she had to place the tracking stone on her either way – Cecily’s dream was bound to come true sooner rather than later and it would not wait for them being friends again.

At lunch, Natalie attempted to talk to Ava. Sitting on a bench under one of the trees with Cecily, she spotted Ava walking past. Ava’s face was sour and she stared straight ahead, never glancing towards Cecily and Natalie.

“I’m going to talk to her,” Natalie said decisively.

Cecily looked up at her, squinting against the sun. She was eating an apple. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? She seems very angry.”

“I have to,” sighed Natalie.

She hurried after Ava and quickly caught up with her.


Ava barely spared her a glance. Without a word, she kept on walking.

Natalie felt it was time for drastic measures. She grabbed Ava’s arm. “Ava. Come on.”

Ava whirled around. Her eyes were flashing with fury and she pulled her arm out of Natalie’s grip. “Don’t touch me.”

“But Ava—”

“I don’t know you,” said Ava icily. “You’re not allowed to touch me, or say my name, or do anything that’s even remotely connected to me at all.”

Natalie took a step back at the vehemence in Ava’s voice. Ava took this as her chance to get away and with a final glare sent Natalie’s way, she stalked off.

Someone clapped their hands, slowly and theatrically.

“What a show.”

Natalie looked up to find Chase Eadan smirking at her. His girlfriend hung on his arm like a trophy wearing too much makeup.

“What?” spat Natalie.

Chase sniggered. “Oh, it seems it just got cold out here, didn’t it, Winters?”

His girlfriend laughed.

Natalie open hands became fists of anger. “Did you come up with that all by yourself? Really, you’re quite the comedian.”

Chase smiled self-assuredly. His eyes glittered with something Natalie could not quite place. “I know.”

As Natalie started to reply, Cecily appeared at her side. She took Natalie by the arm and led her away from Chase and his followers. Chase laughed after them.

“Saved by the sick little angel! Can’t defend themselves so they flee,” he cackled. “Flee, like animals waiting to be hunted down.”

Natalie sent him a final glare, wishing she could set him on fire and hoping that in time, she would learn how to do that. Then Chase Eadan would know how it felt to burn with anger – or at least to burn.

Cecily shook her head at her. “You can’t let him get to you like that.”

“He’s the most despicable excuse for a human being!” Natalie exclaimed. “How can I not let him get to me?”

“He’s not worthy of our attention,” Cecily said. “Didn’t Richard ever teach you not to respond to bullies?”

Natalie sighed and her shoulders slumped. “Yes, he did. It’s just hard to remember.”

“I take it it didn’t go well with Ava?”

Natalie shook her head. “She hates me.”

“Us,” Cecily corrected. “Not just you.”

Natalie sighed. “Why couldn’t she just be excited or curious about magic – or know about it already, like you did. Why is she so angry?”

Cecily looked towards the end of the building, where Ava had disappeared. “Perhaps she doesn’t like the idea.”

Natalie shook her head. “I don’t think that’s it. She’s mad at us, not at the idea. She thinks we’re trying to fool her and she doesn’t like that.”

Cecily appeared thoughtful. “Perhaps you should do magic for her.”

“I don’t know,” said Natalie, taking a bite of her sandwich. “For one, I don’t think she’ll stick around for a show. Second, I can’t control it very well – and I’ll probably be nervous when I try to show her, and then it won’t work at all. Like stage fright.”

Cecily smiled slightly. “You’ll be fine. Your magic control is just fine –you healed me—”

“For a day.”

“—and you haven’t shown any sign of not being able to control it. Even when you wielded a huge ball of electricity at your grandmother’s Mithridates, you had no problems controlling it.”

Natalie looked down. She knew Cecily was right – she had not had any trouble. Still, she felt that with the added stress of having to get it right in front of Ava, coupled with the fear of Ava’s reaction, she felt less than certain about her ability.

“We still won’t get her to stick around,” Natalie said, shrugging.

“So that’s it?” asked Cecily. “You’re going to give up? Natalie, you have to get Ava to keep that stone with her.”

“I know,” Natalie snapped at Cecily. Then she promptly buried her head in her hands. She wanted to scream with frustration. “Sorry. I’m simply worried about—”

Just then, a blood-chilling scream pierced the air.

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