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Stony Heart of Magic: Chapter Four

Promise is an avid reader of paranormal books, and that has led him to write on it. His first book is FATED ATTRACTION, available on Libri.

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New Acquaintances


A beast ran after me with very much ferocity. This beast looked really hideous and despite its size, could run very fast. I ran as fast as I could go, with everything I'd got, but I seemed to be getting weaker, and the beast seemed, on the other hand, to be getting stronger, and at the passing of each second, it got closer to me. It was just as though the beast was feeding off my strength, adding it to its own strength, and then getting stronger. I threw all caution to the winds, and employed the use of my air magic. I allowed myself glide through the air at terrific speed. When I looked back however, I saw that the beast was doing same. The beast was gliding through the air just as I was, with a speed almost double of mine, and at that point, I knew I might not be able to survive its attack, so I did the only thing that came to my mind. I stopped running immediately, and turned to face the beast. I had learnt from my stay in the streets that predators gets very scared when their prey turns around to face them square on. At moments like this, they wouldn't know the reasons behind the change in roles. They wouldn't be able to determine if the prey would be very much dangerous that they had imagined. So most times, they always took the wisest decision, by running away. As I stopped however, the beast stopped running also, and started walking towards me on all fours. Its eyes was the most striking feature it had. They studied me intently as it approached. They were however, not like that of a beast. It's eyes had a very intelligent look in them, and the beast looked as though it were studying me, looking for a weakness I had, looking for a weak point to strike.
I stood there with my heart pounding so hard that I feared it would burst out of my chest. I looked to the left and right, to see if there was anything I could use as a weapon, and immediately, I saw it. A rock lay not too far away from me, and even as the beast was coming closer, I metamorphosed the rock into a crude dagger with very sharp and jagged edges, and sent it flying immediately from the side, towards the beast. Just before the dagger would pierce the skin of the beast, it disappeared, and I woke up with a start. It had all been a dream.
* * * * *
Having nightmares wasn't something new to me. In fact, almost every night I slept, I had nightmares, but then my nightmares were mostly reflections the difficult past that I'd had, the times that I'd almost died in the streets, and the times I'd almost allowed myself get exposed for my elemental abilities. I'd never had a nightmare as gruesome as this. It felt as though I was still in the dream, and I had to double-check my surroundings to make sure there was no beast lurking in the shadows. I turned on the lights immediately, and found out that I was still alone in the room. I allowed myself to relax for awhile, before thinking about what the dream actually meant. I knew I couldn't take it for granted, because the few times that I'd had this kind of dreams, they all meant something that came to pass in the nearest future. I needed to know what this particular one meant, and how I was going to avoid any unfortunate events that would befall me, which the beast must have represented.
Well, I didn't have to think for long, as the events of the previous day came flooding back into my memory. How could I even forget that my nightmare could be of no other person but Mason. He was the only one who would perfectly fit into the character of the beast. I was confused however, because of the kind of control the beast had over air magic. I knew Mason to have air and fire magic. However, he had not much control over the air element, and would not have been able to fly with me the way I did with the air magic. I knew without doubt that Mason wasn't like me who could control all my elements without stress. "How then could he do that if it was actually him?", I asked myself.
Mason must have some secret sort of ability that I did not know about.
Well, I hoped not, because it would make it more difficult to fight him if the need arose.
I checked my time and it was just few minutes past 4 a.m. There was no point going back to bed since my alarm was set to beep at 4:30 a.m. I just had to sit and think about how I was going to face Mason and how we were going to survive these coming days of total terror. We had to be alert at all times, because we couldn't ever allow ourselves lose focus of the enemy we had acquired for ourselves. Mason would definitely go to every possible length to get back at me. He'd go to the most gruesome extent to get his revenge because his inability to do so would paint him as weak and that was something he would never want to be. Mason could be anything, but will never allow himself to be termed as weak.
I swung my legs down from the bed, and got out of bed. I immediately dressed the bed, and found my way to the kitchen. I needed to do the dishes of the previous night, because I hadn't had enough strength to do it before I slept yesterday. I needed to do the dishes and then fix up a very light breakfast for myself and Cheryl, before we would go to the store. Left for me alone, I would have gone to the store without having breakfast, and then take my breakfast in the store. But because I had a visitor, I couldn't leave her hungry. I was in the kitchen doing the dishes when I heard a noise behind me, and the stones in the kitchen notified me immediately about the arrival of someone else. I grabbed a knife from the stack closest to me and whirled around, only to find Cheryl standing by the door. I allowed myself calm down a bit, because I'd immediately gone into fight mode. I couldn't take any chances at all, and I had to be alert at all times. I needn't have worried though, because my traps at the entrance hadn't as much as given any sign that it was being compromised. There was no way someone would have come in without my knowledge. "Hi", Cheryl said, still standing in the doorway, a hint of a smile on her face. "Hi", I replied, and added a "Good morning" and an "I hope you slept well." Her smile increased as she walked closer.
She said that she slept well, and then she cleared her throat, as though she wanted to say something. She looked at me, as though she were waiting for permission to say it. I winked at her in a manner that suggested she should go on with what she wanted to say. She started by thanking me profusely, for everything that I'd done. She expressed her sincere gratitude for how we had saved her from Mason. According to her, she might not have been able to escape death yesterday, if it had not been for my timely intervention. She looked really grateful, and it warmed my heart to see that my efforts was not in vain. She went on to tell me how she had had a very ugly past life, how she lived in the street and slept outside every night because she had nowhere to sleep, how she had worked for so many underworld bosses, and had gotten very little pay, but had continued to save up the little amounts of money she received till she had been able to start up a barbecue joint, downtown Buckland. She had always had herself molested into paying the complete tax my Mason's goons. She said that she was able to pay completely sometimes, and that when she wasn't able to pay the complete tax, she always had to pay the one she had, and complete the payment later in time. The actions of Mason yesterday, when he increased the tax, had made her feel as though there was nothing good forthcoming for her. She had acted mostly reflexively, and didn't mean to put all of us in danger. After saying this, she began to apologize for her actions again, and would have continued, if I didn't stop her and tell her that it was okay. I told her that she was family now, and that that was what we did for family. I asked her about herself, and she told me that she had air, fire and a little bit of water magic. I was surprised because she looked so frail, and didn't have enough evidence written on her, that she could control up to three elements. In response to the look on my face, she said that she didn't have good control of her powers, as she hadn't had enough practice, so I promised her that I was going to help her. I was going to help her master her abilities because we needed all the help we could get.
Cheryl offered to help me do the dishes. I refused at first but after she had insisted, I had no other choice than to allow her do it, while I focused on making scrambled eggs and toasting some bread for breakfast. In no time, we had finished working in the kitchen. We went in to take our baths, then came back to the dining, to have breakfast, after which we left for the store. It was exactly 6 a.m. when I left my gate and drove out to the store hoping that today would not be as disastrous as it was definitely promising to be.
The drive to the store was mostly uneventful. I and Cheryl had minor chitchat about how Mason was really proving to be a thorn in the flesh, and how someone needed to brace themselves, and finish him off for good. It led to further discussions about how Mason had become the boss of the underworld. He wasn't there before now. Mason had only spent two years in power. The former boss, Jack Brown, was many times better than Mason. The tax we paid during the time of Jack was more like a handful, compared to what we paid right now, and Jack never allowed any small business owner to be marginalized and terrorized. He always fought for the interests of the people and frowned against violence. Jack was one underworld boss who had value for work before pleasure. If it were Jack here at this time, there would have been very less cases of thuggery and violence on the streets of Buckland. But then, Mason had come up with some few thugs, and had challenged Jack to a fight, an elemental fight. Here in Buckland, once anyone challenges you to an elemental fight, you couldn't say no. This was more reason why I hid my elemental powers from the underworld bosses, because they would be forced to challenge me to an elemental fight, and I wouldn't be able to refuse. It would risk my exposing my true identity when I finally defeated them in the fight, and it will only make much more of them come out to challenge me to fight, which I wasn't cool with. Jack had accepted Mason's fight, and had fought so hard to win. Jack would have won the fight, if Mason hadn't cheated by having one of his thugs use air magic to trip Jack, while he finished him up. Well, no one else noticed, but I could, because I could detect the use of magic anywhere around me, and I knew that that particular a magic came from a different direction. Jack was killed, and Mason had taken control over Buckland's underworld, and here we were, under the terrible effects of his few year's rule.
I really wished I was going to be the person to end his terrible reign, but then I had to be very careful about my wish, because even though I wanted a better Buckland, it was not easy to become an underworld boss here in Buckland. It came with its advantages and disadvantages. It made you enemies to many. Even as wonderful as Jack was in his time, he still acquired so many enemies. It doesn't matter how good or bad you are, you must definitely have enemies, and I wasn't sure if I was ready to have that kind of public attention.
We got to the store and settled in, waiting for others to arrive so that we could start up for today. I made a mental note to go check Cheryl's store out, later in the day, and decided that there was nothing else I planned on doing for today.

© 2022 Akunne Promise Chidiebube

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