The shade of Starla Kirby remained in the circle of salt, not daring to move. She remained that way for a very long time, brooding, mourning, unable to cry, her mind numb with the horror of what she had done, and the price she had paid. The sun rose and set twice, then rose again, and still she had not moved. She dared not move; for if she did the demon would return and be free. Somehow Starla had to release the two circles properly to keep the demon sealed up in the nether realm, but there was no way to do that without a body.
Karanoth had known this, of course. He had given her a power she could not use, unless she abandoned her circle without dismissing it properly. This would allow his return and nullify the bargain. He would be free to wreak havoc on the world, and Starla would be condemned to the Darkness forever, powerless to stop him or to help herself. “I am so screwed,” she sighed to herself, as she hovered above her own body, which was now beginning to decompose.
It was at this point that fate intervened and dealt her a single chance. A young girl, fleeing from the wrath of bullies, had entered the forbidden building and climbed to the top floor to hide. She peeked through the half opened door and saw the body lying there on the floor. She stared wide eyed for several moments, but when the body did not move, she slowly approached.
“That’s it,” urged Starla silently, as she tried to bend the innocent child to her will, “step into the circle with me. See the pretty wand? Go on, pick it up, piiiiick it up.”
Drawn to the wand by a power she could not name, the girl stepped fully into the circle and reached for the prize. At that moment Starla hurled herself into the child. She was instantly looking at the world through blinking eyes once again. Setting her jaw, she picked up the wand and began the chant of dismissal. Starla could faintly hear Karanoth’s blood curdling screams of frustrated rage, as she carefully dismissed the two circles, sealing him away forever, and setting herself free.
Return to Prudence MacLeod’s Book page