Essence:A Runes Novella

By: Ednah Walters

RAINE



“TORIN!” I yelled, but he was gone, his glow hidden by the thick forest despite the line of fallen trees.

Way to go, Raine. Some girlfriend you are. Tomorrow the rangers would have a field day with this. Trees being uprooted from the ground without a trace of tires weren’t common. If Torin left footprints, and I was sure he did, another alien story would surface in Kayville Daily.

The poor, fallen trees. I touched one uprooted trunk, wishing we didn’t leave so much supernatural evidence behind every time a soul reaper threw a hissy fit and vented.

A movement came from my left, and I jumped back. The leaves rustled and moved as though something was crawling from under the fallen tree. A black bear was my first thought.

The tree lifted. My heart hurtling to my throat, I stepped back, not realizing how close I was to the manmade slope bordering the road. I lost my footing and fell backwards. Rocks and sticks dug into my skin as I rolled toward the road. I tried to break my fall, tendrils of panic coiling around me. I scrambled to my feet at the edge of the road, expecting an animal to come lumbering after me. Instead, the tree that had fallen was now upright.

No, it couldn’t be. People of the Old Religion like the Druids could control elements. Did I cause the tree to lift up and replant itself by reattaching its root?

Blood pounding past my ears, I stood there undecided. Where was Torin? I needed him. I peered past the now-standing tree, but there was no glowing being anywhere. Mastering some courage, I pulled myself back up to the fallen trees and touched another root. As it moved and struggled to lift itself, the root sank into the ground.

Laughing, I touched the next root and another. Finally, I went big, splayed my hands like some all-powerful Witch and yelled, “Stand and let your roots sink into the earth. Live and be the giver of life and shelter.”

Okay, so I got carried away, but it seemed to be working. The trees rose, creaks and rustles filling the air, the earth shaking as roots disappeared into the ground.

Where was Torin? He should see this.

Pleased with myself, I ran down to the middle of the road, spun around at a super speed with my hand held up, and woo-hooed. This could be the start of a trend. A pissed-of Torin hell bent on destroying everything in his path with me following him and cleaning up his mess.

Nah, that sounded exactly like what Norns did. Cleaned up after Valkyries. This was different. Torin was hurting deep inside. Somewhere even I couldn’t reach because of his father.

A flash of light came from deep inside the forest and pulled me to the present. Then a streak of light zipped through the trees. Torin. Within seconds, he stopped beside me. His eyes burned under the glowing runes etched into his skin.

“What are you doing?” His voice whipped through the night, and I winced.

“Trying to get your attention,” I said. “See, I fixed all the trees you destroyed. Cool, right?”

“You do not want to be around me right now, Freckles.”

“I disagree. I plan to be around you when you are happy, sad, pissed off, hurting, acting like a jackass, goofing off, or showing off. Whatever and whenever. You and I are a package deal, pal. Equal partners and all that jazz.” I pointed at a nearby tree and moved my finger left and right. The tree swayed. “Any time you want to destroy nature, get me first.”

He leaned in until we were eye level. “Go home, Raine.” His voice was mean.

“Only if you come with me. You want to stay out here, then I’m staying, too. I’m not going anywhere without you, Torin St. James.”

My words only seemed to infuriate him. He stepped back and thrust his fingers through his hair. I sat on an edge of the road and waited. A speeding car approached us, but Torin seemed oblivious. He was still in the middle of the road. Anxiety twisted my insides, but I engaged my speed runes just in case I had to snatch him out of the way. The car was closer and he still wasn’t moving.

“Ouch! That hurt. I think a snake bit me,” I fibbed.

He was by my side in a fraction of a second. “Where?”

The car drove passed. “It’s nothing. Just a stick. Can we go home now?”

He sat without saying a word. Usually he’d make a scathing comment about how I’d manipulated him. He rested his elbows on his knees and bowed his head.

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