Derailed (#PhotoStoryChallenge 3/29/18)


(Photo by Radina Valova @RadinaValova, #photostorychallenge host)

The train doors shut with a mechanical grunt but the adrenaline pulsing in my veins kept me sweaty-palmed and twitchy-eyed until sometime after we finally left the station.

I was safe.

For now, anyways.

Settling more comfortably in my seat, I dug into my coat pockets for the candy bar I hoped had survived my recent game of Hide and Seek with Death. Luckily it was still there, albeit crushed into a wad of chocolate that no longer resembled anything edible. I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours, so there was no point in crying over smushed pocket chocolate.

I was salivating more than one of Pavlov’s dogs even as I ripped open the wrapper but the chocolate didn’t even touch my lips. I froze, mouth dangling open and candy bar hovering close enough to my face for me to catch a whiff of sweet temptation but not enough to taste it.

Nothing ruined an appetite like a knife pressed against your neck. I didn’t bother looking up at the man beside me with the knife concealed in his coat sleeve but I carefully shuffled over to the empty window seat when he discreetly kicked my shin.

He sat down, keeping the knife and his eyes steady on me.

“Put it down,” he instructed, noticing that I still had the candy bar clenched in my fist. “No sudden movements. And place both hands in your lap.”

I complied, the movement allowing me to steal a glance at the weapon that was now poking me in the side. It was an athame, not a knife after all. Which was good because he probably wasn’t going to try and disembowel me with it. Bad because I couldn’t see the magic seal on the hilt that would tell me the identity of the witch whose familiar had managed to track me down.

“Did you really think the East Seventh Street Coven wouldn’t find you?” he sneered into the side of my face.

I grinned haphazardly, my gaze level with his oddly feline eyes.

“Did you really think I wouldn’t have a plan ready for when they did?”

His head snapped in the direction of my hands, expecting me to try to summon a demon out of thin air, but unbeknownst to him I bit my cheek instead, the blood activating the summoning sigil tattooed on my tongue.

You’d think the Coven would have known better than to send a familiar to do a witch’s job.

Well, they’d know now.

And although I wouldn’t get to eat my candy bar, payback would be almost as sweet.

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