“Your bond will help us find him, Elizabeth, so stop the tears and concentrate.”
His tone was angry and direct, perfect to snap Liz out of her rising hysteria. “Slow your breathing, think of the air going in and out. Good. Now, think only of Simon. Call out to him. Keep breathing slowly.”
One breath followed another. Todd stood back and watched the two of them holding hands. Fin closed his eyes as well and spoke to her in calming tones. His words soothed her and focused her.
“Where are you Simon? I’m looking for you.
Around them, mystical light started to swirl, and the air lifted their hair. A soft glow caught on the particles of dust the wind picked up, covering them in a blanket of sparkling lights.
She called to him, over and over.
Her lips parted. “I think I hear him,” she whispered. “Please, Simon. Where are you?”
Simon lay in the backseat of a large sedan. His feet and hands were bound, his mouth covered in tape. His kidnappers drove in silence. The man, tall, blond, and not past forty drove, while the old woman watched the passing terrain.
Her piercing glare drove into him the second his eyes fluttered open. They stayed only seconds before returning to the view from her window.
Scared, more than he had ever been in his whole life, Simon curled into a ball and shook. He knew who the woman was, and with that knowledge, a sense of impending doom settled over him.
Choking on a whimper, he started to cry, but his nose clogged up, and he found it difficult to breathe.
When he closed his eyes and tried to get control, it was then he felt the old woman’s presence in his mind, looking. Get out! He shouted the words in his head over and over.
Slowly Grainna’s presence faded on the inside, but he felt her glare from the front seat. Keeping his eyes shut, he ignored her as best he could. It wasn’t easy.
Then he heard his mom crying out to him. Her voice cried over the rumble of the car and the noise off the road. Mom, he called out in a desperate plea.
Liz almost fell to her knees when she heard his voice. Fin kept her upright. “Ask him where he is.” Liz squeezed his hands and spoke in her mind.
“Winding road. Trees out the window,” she said aloud for Fin. “He’s so scared.”
“Have they used the stones?” Fin calmly asked.
Shhhh…Simon, have they used the stones?
No…they didn’t work.
Did they say where they’re going? Liz felt her connection fading, heard only Myra’s name and woods before it was completely shut off.
“Simon, Simon!” But he was gone.
“What did he say, Elizabeth?”
“I didn’t hear him well. I heard him say Myra and woods. What do you think it means?”
Fin rubbed his hand along his short beard.
“Grainna is trying to go back. If the stones didn’t work she is looking for energy to bring them power.”
“Would there be energy where they were last used?” Todd asked.
“Then she’s headed to the forest.”
Orange and red hues on the horizon spread out in front of them, capturing a few clouds darting across the sunset. They would have enjoyed the sight in any other situation. Fin coached them both on keeping their thoughts to themselves when they made their approach to where they believed Grainna to be. “She can read people clearly, to the point where she knows your next move. Sing a song in your head and keep her confused.”
Adrenalin shot through his system with an eerie familiarity. Todd parked off the road, close to where he had parked just over a week prior.
They walked the familiar path with what little light the day held. Ahead of them, voices caught on the wind.
“Turn them on.” The demand came from the man who held Simon by his shirt and yelled in his face. “I don’t know how.”
Grainna cut the cords that bound Simon’s hands and pushed him to his knees. “Touch it.”
With a shaking hand and trembling lip, Simon held his hand out to the stone. Nothing happened.
No pulse, no heat. Nothing.
Grainna screamed in frustration and raised her hand to strike the child.
“Touch him and you’re dead.” Todd’s gun leveled at her head, he clicked off the safety. Satisfaction came with the surprise on her face.
Grainna lowered her hand and slowly let a smile creep to her lips. “Officer Blakely, so nice of you to join us.” She moved to the side and let them all get a full view of the boy cowering under her feet. “Your gun doesn’t worry me, or did they forget to tell you of my immortality?”
“They told me, but I’m thinking you might not like the hole it puts in you or the pain it causes.”
“You stupid little man.” Grainna twisted her fingers, and the air left Todd’s lungs. His vision started to swim, and his gun wavered.
Fin said, “Let the child go, Grainna.” He stood next to Todd, with his arm gripping Liz around the waist to keep her from running to Simon.
“Now why would I do that?”
“Because he can’t help you,” said Fin.
“And you can?”
“I can activate the stones.”
Grainna looked from Fin to Todd. Her fingers stopped rubbing together, and air rushed into Todd’s greedy lungs. Gasping, he lowered his gun.
The blond with Grainna pulled Simon to his feet and used him as a human shield. Grainna nodded her approval. “Mr. Steel here will hold young Simon until all the stones are working.”
“Mom?” Simon cried out.
“Leave him alone.” Lizzy’s wail put a smile on Grainna’s face.
She cackled. There was no other way to describe Grainna’s laugh. Todd realized Myra hadn’t exaggerated when she described this witch.
“Hurry, Finlay, I’m growing tired.”
“I need to be in the circle,” he challenged and stood taller, releasing Liz.
“We will try it without you.”
Steel held Simon with a force that made the boy cry out. The knife he held pressed against Simon’s neck kept everyone tense. Liz slowly moved closer to her son.
Grainna sputtered a curse and had Liz on her knees gasping for air.
“Leave her be. Or I will not touch them.”
“Hurry, Finlay. I have one here.” She motioned to Simon. “And you have one there. Unless you wait and that one dies.”
“No!” Simon yelled and struggled against the man who held him. “Mom!”
Fin moved quickly, placing a hand to the rocks.