Welcome again to YAFF Muse: blog rounds. The ladies of YA Fiction Fanatics have come together for YAFF Muse. To have a little fun, explore different styles of writing and to give you some kick-butt shorts to read. Enjoy!
Photo Credit: Stage 11 by Clarita
The magician swooped across the stage, his cape billowing behind him. His dark eyes scanned the crowd. Locks of raven colored hair swept across his forehead as he focused on me and Natasha. Why did he seem so familiar to me?
“For my next trick, I need a volunteer from the crowd.” His melodic voice danced over my skin, causing goose bumps.
Natasha flipped her long, chestnut hair over her shoulder and smiled at me. “Come on, Claire raise your hand. He’s so, freaking hot!”
I clenched tight to the edge of the table, my stomach churning. My blood felt as if it were on fire. The way he’d watched us all night made me dizzy. The Great Kalif, magician and illusionist. He couldn’t be much older than me at seventeen. If only I could remember where I’d seen him before.
“Claire.” Natasha jerked on my arm. “Either you volunteer or I will.”
My gaze narrowed. “No. I’m not going up there. You know I hate crowds.”
Her crimson lips turned up into a wicked smile. “Then don’t be pissed when I snag him.”
My hands fisted at my side. Why am I so jealous?
“Come on, there must be one brave soul.” Kalif sauntered to the edge of the stage, his eyes once more on our table.
I squirmed under his scrutiny and ducked my head, right as Natasha jumped to her feet and said, “I’ll do it.”
He grinned, then held out his hand as she pushed her way to the front of the stage. Once there, he helped her up the stairs and to a black chair.
Already, wisps of fog rolled across the room, while strobes pulsed with a rainbow of color.
“What is your name?” Kalif asked in a thick accent.
“Natasha, that’s lovely.” He pressed her down onto the chair, then turned back to the crowd. “Now, if you’ll focus up here. You’ll witness the most horrific of illusions. But I assure you, it is all in your head. Or is it?”
I swallowed hard. Something wasn’t right. The idle chatter faded as people in the room faced forward. Eerie music tinkled through the loud speakers and everyone around me sat straighter, eyes focused intently on the stage.
“Yes, that’s it. Watch the show.” Kalif’s white teeth beamed against his tanned skin. He raised a hand and ran it along Natasha’s shoulder. “Relax. You won’t feel a thing.”
A content smile formed on her lips. Then came the glint of a blade. His arms moved quicker, bringing the knife across her skin several times. Blood sprayed across the floor. Tattered fabric from her shirt littered the stage like confetti. Natasha screamed, but no one moved.
Oh God, this was real. Frightened, I leapt to my feet. “Stop!”
Just then something warm spattered my face. I raised a shaking hand. My fingers trembled as I stared at the crimson liquid. No. This wasn’t happening.
I stumbled backward, covering my ears against the shrieks. Why was everyone so still?
A breeze swirled around me and I jerked back as a black wing blocked my vision. “Please, let me go.”
“But I can’t.” Kalif appeared in front of me. Large ebony colored wings protruded from his back, his suit ripped away. “I’ve come for you, my dear Claire.”
“I—I don’t understand.” My heart pounded in my ears.
“I think you do.” He ran his fingers through my long blonde hair. “You and I are always at odds. Dark vs Light. But I’m tired of the games. I want to be with you. Why must you fight this?”
My throat thickened. “Because I don’t want to die.”
“You don’t have to. Your friend offered herself up freely in your place.”
My eyes widened. “No. You can’t have her.”
“Then give me something else.”
His skin was warm against mine as he traced my cheek. How had I forgotten about him? I’d spent centuries hiding from the Dark Prince, yet he’d found me, just like he always did. Every century he descended upon me. He’d utter sweet words, tempting me. And each time I’d run away only to find death and madness.
“Bring her back to life.”
“It will cost you.” Kalif stepped back.
“You can have whatever you want. Just please, save her.”
“Anything, I want?”
“No tricks this time?”
“I promise.” No sooner had I said the words when I felt a strange burning beneath my skin.
“Then I chose you. From this day forward, you are bound to me.”
He waved his hand and I watched the cuts on Natasha close. All traces of blood on the stage disappeared. She gasped, staring around the room. Her gaze met mine.
“Claire, what have you done?” she whispered.
“Saved you.” I gave her a sad smile.
Kalif wrapped his arms around me, cocooning me in the folds of his wings. Already, I felt the shadows embracing me. White feathers fell from beneath my sweater as the light slipped away.
“I love you, Claire. I always have.” His lips captured mine.
For years, I’d fought against my yearnings. But to no avail. I wanted to be good. I wanted to share my light. But it’d always been Kalif for me, even when the Council threatened to take my wings. For too long, I’d let them rule me and decide my fate. How many times had I been sacrificed in order to punish Kalif? No more would I allow it. Today, I’d done one last good deed. I’d saved Natasha. And now, I was through fighting.
“I love you, too,” I said. My arms encircled his neck.
“Nothing will keep us apart again.”
Thunder rumbled from above, but I’d made my choice. I chose love.
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