The Secret Circle: The Hunt Chapter 30

The Secret Circle: The Hunt Chapter 30

Cassie looked around in confusion. Something strange was happening to all the members of the Circle.

Adam was sneering oddly. His hands were balled into fists and he was grinding his teeth. There was sweat dripping from his forehead down the front of his face, but he seemed not to notice. He also stared at Cassie with narrowed blackened eyes.

A shiver ran down Cassie’s spine. “Scarlett,” she said. “Tell me what you’ve done to them.”

“I didn’t do anything.” Scarlett smirked. “They did it to themselves, casting that spell against the hunters. Any spell cast from our family’s book by a nonfamily member calls on our bloodline. It gave the perfect portal into our world for a few unsettled spirits.”

Cassie looked around at her friends, now all strangers to her. Sean was mumbling in an incoherent language while Chris laughed like a lunatic and Doug convulsed in a fit on the ground. Melanie’s and Laurel’s faces had altered. They looked nothing like themselves, and they chattered in voices that weren’t their own – Melanie’s was deep and husky while Laurel’s was high-pitched and playful like a child’s.

“I am falsely accused,” Melanie declared, while rocking forward and back.

Laurel laughed and clapped, and replied in a piercing singsong, “But you will be condemned to hang.”

“Meet the family,” Scarlett said.

Cassie wavered. “I don’t understand.”

“Some of them are still working their way through.” Scarlett gestured toward Chris, Doug, and Sean. “But they’ll be up and talking like the others soon.”

“Who are they?”

Scarlett smiled. “Our ancestors. These are the people who passed down Black John’s Book of Shadows.”

Cassie looked around at her friends, the truth registering slowly: speaking in tongues, convulsions, changes in vocal intonation and facial expression, superhuman strength.

“The Circle is possessed,” she said.

Scarlett rolled her eyes. “Well, duh. These spirits have been waiting to manifest for hundreds of years, to get their power back. And we gave it to them.”

Adam stepped forward. His hands were no longer balled into fists and he’d stopped sweating, but his eyes remained dead and black. His body must have been fighting the possession before, but it had now been fully overcome.

He nodded confidently at Cassie and then bowed before Scarlett. “In shackles no more,” he said. “To you I am indebted.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it.

“Oh yeah,” Scarlett said, grinning. “And I’m their leader.”

“You’re not my leader,” Faye called out. She blinked her eyes and looked around, surveying the situation. She appeared a little dazed, but her eyes had returned to their normal color.

Cassie exhaled with relief. “Faye, thank goodness you’re all right.”

Faye tossed back her mane of black hair and tilted her head. Just as quickly as Faye had seemed normal, her eyes went dark as night. Cassie started backing away in fear. Scratches and bite marks were reddening upon Faye’s hands and arms, and eel-like lesions were forming on her neck and face.

“I’m on your side, Cassie,” Faye said, moving closer still. “And I want you to be on my side.”

“Cassandra holds the book. She is ours,” a bold voice behind Cassie said. It was Adam. His features were now firm and serious.

Diana curled her fingers and twitched. “Cassandra shall not be against us; her blood is required.”

Cassie continued her backward retreat from the group and realized Scarlett had disappeared. She caught sight of her just as she was about to flee through the mouth of the cave.

“So this was your plan all along?” Cassie ran after Scarlett, shouting. “To poison us this way just so you could have a black magic Circle?”

Scarlett whipped around and put her hands on her hips. “What was it you asked me back at the Mission House? ‘Who’s Daddy’s favorite?’ Now you have your answer.”

“But none of us have to be this way.”

Scarlett continued toward the water and showed no sign of slowing down or even listening.

“Bring us the book, dear one,” Adam called out.

“I was falsely accused, but the book shall set us free,” Melanie’s deep voice repeated.

Of course. Scarlett was going home to get their father’s Book of Shadows. But there was no way Cassie was going to let that happen. The dark energy was still coursing through her as well – the remnants of the evil spell remained in her veins. She reached for it mentally, through her own blood and bones. She raised her hands and harnessed every trace of its power toward Scarlett and shouted out, “Non fugam!”

Scarlett was instantly thrown backward, as if she’d run up against a pane of glass.

From the ground, she turned to Cassie, stunned. “You didn’t.”

“Congelasco,” Cassie said, freezing Scarlett in place.

Then without hesitation, Cassie lifted her hands to the sky. “Spelunca est a carcere!”

Now no one but Cassie was free to leave the cave. Squeals came from the entire Circle as they scrambled in vain to follow her.

“She doth betray us!” Diana shouted.

“Cassandra,” Adam nobly called to her. “You’re making a terrible mistake.”

But before any of them had the chance to try to stop her, Cassie ran for the water’s edge. She climbed into one of the boats and set the oars with a splash. She rowed hard, still facing the mouth of the cave. The sun was setting in vivid pinks and purples, outlining the cave’s arching shape in a brilliant silhouette. Under any other circumstances, Cassie would have considered the sight of it beautiful.