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Kevin G Hare

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The Broom and the Fence

The day had come at last when she could no longer avoid the inevitable. A broom rested against the door frame as Soren eased herself toward the door. She did not leave it open before her voyage to Barrenstone and she was not expecting company on her return. Company was not in her usual favour. Her senses screamed at her and told her that whatever opened the door was waiting for her, skulking in the shadows. Whatever it was, it was here for blood.

Soren stepped inside the dim interior at the ready. Her eyes darted about the single room. In a flash of concentration, the young sorceress blinked and the piercing green colour of her eyes ignited to a fiery brilliance that allowed her Dark Vision. She allowed her sight to take note of her possessions in the stone-built house. Nothing seemed out of place, which only proved her belief about what awaited her. The table was still upright and held a brass candlestick, a cup, a knife and three scrolls of parchment that she had been looking over. Her shelves had not had their contents of plates, pots, jars and jugs discarded over the counter and floor and none of her simple wood and wicker furniture had been upset in any way.

It was the shadows that spoke the loudest to her. It was in the shade at the far side of the fireplace where she noticed the first one. A quick, fluid movement then a pair of eyes glowing red in the dark. Soren stepped closer before realizing that a second had been behind her and it closed the heavy oak door, enclosing them all in shadow.

Reapers; generally sent by The Fence when they wished for someone to disappear. Today must be Soren’s turn to vanish but she would not be taken so easily. If the Reapers were to claim her soul – they would earn it.

The dance began with an attack from behind as the second Reaper lunged, fangs and claws bared. The sorceress spun quickly and followed through with a kick to the creature’s spine. The first Reaper hurtled over the second, pulling its arm back for a strike at her throat but she twisted, grabbed the wrist of the striking arm to pull the Reaper to the floor with a heavy thud.

Reapers were creatures of darkness, blending with shadow as wisps of smoke. They are easily convinced to kill which makes them the favourite assassins of The Fence. Large and powerful as they are, they have as much dexterity as they do intelligence.

The second had recovered by this time and launched another attack with a flurry of clawed swipes at her. Soren parried and dodged, blocked and struck back and finished with a willed blast of energy, sending the creature across the room. She spun again to kick the first Reaper into the air then unleashed a second energy bolt at it, which flung it through the window into the sunlight. The Reaper had no shade to escape to and it immediately writhed in pain before dissipating into a black mist.

One left.

They faced each other and squared off. Soren had the advantage having stepped into the light that streamed in through the broken window. But that did not slow the Reaper as it issued a cloud of black smoke from its hands to wrap Soren in a thick vapour of dark. The creature leaped into the cloud and grasped her by her neck, hoping to choke the life force from her body. She kicked at the Reaper’s legs and drover her fist and knee into its ribs but it would not let go. She reached to her belt and struggled to grasp a dagger.

The Reaper’s grip was strong and she felt her body tingle from the lack of air. Her knees began to weaken and her head spun and began to lighten with a carefree sense of evanescence. A new darkness was taking over – one that wished to claim her forever.

She pulled the dagger from its sheath and thrust it into the air. It glistened with an immortal glow that cut the very cloud that engulfed them. The light from the window shot in with a force to strike down the Reaper and leave it to convulse on the floor before her until it was nothing more than a wisp of smoke.

Soren regained her breath as her energy filled her again. This act would not go unchecked. The fires of vengeance burned in her eyes and focused on the source of the attack – her sister must be stopped.