It must be well over midnight by the time I reach home. If I should even call it that anymore.
This pretty little house was built by my grandfather, and it used to be my favourite place in the whole world. I remember being happy here with my parents, before my mother passed away. When I was about ten, my father remarried. I gained a new (and definetly worse) mother and a step-brother. Brian was five years old at the time, but he was just as much of a beast back then as he is now, seven years later.
It wasn’t very bad at the beginning, although I could see that my new family members resented me from the moment we met. I have to admit that Marissa, my new mother, is a very good strategist. It only took her about a year and a half to make my father (and most of the village) see things from her point of view. Of course, my dearest brother helped a lot with that, by getting into all sorts of trouble and blaming it all on me. Funny, though, that I’m still the one who has to watch over him.
I near the house with some trepidation. What did Brian say when he got home? I don’t know what to expect, and life has taught me there are no such things as good surprises.
I open the front door and enter the kitchen. I’m amazed to find it empty. But just as I begin to wonder, I have my answer. A loud shriek comes from the back of the house. Brian!
I’ve never cared much for my step-brother, but as I run toward his room, I’m filled with dread. Please, please let him be okay. Did he touch the water after he pushed me in?
The door to Brian’s room is open and as soon as I see him, I have my answer. He looks like he’s delirious from a fever, but I’m not sure if any natural illness would stike so quickly and with such force. His mother and my father are at his bedside, and quite frankly they look scared as hell.
As I cross the threshold they notice me and jump up, looking even more afraid. Not the reaction I was expecting. Weird. I rush up to my step-brother’s bed, and our parents scurry away like they think I have the plague or some other such disease. As I touch Brian’s forehead, he turns to look at me. His skin is red and very hot, and his golden locks are damp from sweat. But the emotions in his gaze scare me the most.
“Sis… I… apologise. I never… wanted to… kill you…” I can see how difficult it is for him to talk and my eyes tear up. I can’t say I love, or even like him, but I’ve never wished him harm.
“Hush, I’m okay. You need to rest if you want to get better.” I put my left hand on his chest and that’s when I feel IT inside me again. It’s magic that burns him. His body is too weak to hold it. Only the strongest can survive the Dark Lake, and he is nothing but a weakling. It says the words with disdain, as if Brian was nothing more than a bug, too unimportant to care about. I try to close my mind from the strange voice in my head, and concentrate on Brian.
That’s when I realise there is something pulsating under my palm. In addition to my step-brother’s hartbeat, I mean. I close my eyes and instinctively concentrate on the strange pulse. It’s not long before I feel my hand warm up and in another few moments I could swear it’s burning. I hear screams all around me, but I won’t open my eyes nor do I remove my hand from Brian’s chest. The heat in me is now almost unbearable, and my knees buckle.
I don’t know how much more of it I can bear, but I’m not sure how to stop whatever is happening. Then I can sense IT doing something to me. I feel much cooler, and there is no pain. But now there’s lots of swearing anc cursing toward my person. I realise it’s all inside my head and almost laugh. After a few seconds the strange connection between me and Brian breaks and, not surprisingly, everything goes black again.