Sadie was in a darkened space. Her heart pounded. She wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be here--but everything else was spinning too fast. Something happened with Maddie. She could feel it.

“What brings you here, child?” It was Jen--but Sadie couldn’t see anything in the room.

“I’m sorry, Jen--I wanted the fastest way to find you. I need help.”

“I’m...actually not here--but I can feel the space when someone enters it. As I told you, this is a dangerous room. I keep it monitored.” Sadie knew it. She had no intentions of approaching the door on the other side--the one that retrieved her from the void earlier. “So you need help…?”

“Maddie’s done something--and I think she’s over her head. I don’t want to overstep with her...sometimes she hates when I do the big sister thing, but…”

“Her magic has found something...awakened some force on your side of reality. That force was once stronger--connected with us over here--but it’s been dormant.”

“Dormant?”

“All humans have a magical potential--some more than others. On this side of reality, magic propagates regardless of that potential. On the other side, though, it’s a question of birthright and potency. Sometimes, power from even the most elite magic-adept clans can be bred out.”

Jen paused for long enough that Sadie got worried.

“You--you’re still there, Jen?” She asked.

“I’m sorry, darling--my focus is split at the moment. Your sister has introduced magic to a descendant of one of these formerly powerful clans--and by now, it’s enough magic to reach right up the mitochondrial archive and wake the last ancestor with enough will to use it.” The door Sadie came in clicked open, but the corridors of the Sorgina Tower were now outside. “I can’t help you, darling. There are customs and procedures that we all must obey--even your mother and I.”

“But--”

“Your friends here aren’t bound by the same rules. Find the help you need, and go help Madeline.” Sadie stepped out into the hall, looking back into the darkness as the door began closing on its own.

“Jen--should I be worried?” There was genuine anxiety in her now. Something about the focal room made the ethereal signal from Maddie even louder. The presence in Sadie’s mind was constant now.

The door clicked shut, and Sadie didn’t get an answer. She marched to the next door and opened it, stepping through to the entryway of The Space Between, Rosa’s club on the 14th floor.

It was late morning. There were only one or two customers at the bar. A mop bucket rolled itself along the dance floor, following a swishing mop, gleaming white and leaving a damp trail.

“Hail the Sovereigns,” a smooth voice said, coming from a black cocktail dress. Sadie didn’t mean to make a face, but ever since she went out of control at The Hollow, she was a known quantity.

“I appreciate the respect, but I have to be honest...I hate the honorifics.” With a toe-hop, Sadie climbed into the air and sailed toward the bar, sitting between the two outfits. The other enchanted being was made up of leather pants and a purple corset top.

“The greeting just respects your lineage,” the outfit said. “But how about ‘Stormcloud Sadie’?”

“Is that the new one?” Sadie asked.

“No, just off the top of my head. It could catch on, though.” The empty pants swiveled toward her. “Buy you a drink?”

“I’m actually on duty,” Sadie said, admiring the cameltoe between the crossed legs of the tight leather. “Is Rosa here?”

“She’s actually on the dull side, handling the delivery,” The outfit said. “Keep?” The martini glass on the bar hovered into the air and rattled back and forth.

“Coming, coming…” a tight black satin blouse came through the door, a waitress’ apron tied around the waist. “Miss Sadie! Welcome back.” One of the shiny black sleeves reached for the empty martini glass. “Can I get you anything?”

“Uh-uh, waiting for Rosa,” Sadie said. She watched the blouse grab a new glass, bottles, a shaker, ice...Sadie imagined she could do the same process in a quarter of the time. “You grab each thing,” Sadie said, “But you can just like--make them do all that on their own, can’t you?”

“Grabbing is the fun part,” The barkeep said. “There’s no fun in just making things happen.” Sadie smirked, considering the reversal.

“I guess that makes sense when you don’t have solid hands,” Sadie said. She looked behind the bar, watching a hand-truck wheel itself through the double doors going back to the kitchen.

“Looks like the boss is back,” The barkeep said. “Want me to get her for you?” One of the kegs on the handtruck hovered up and floated under the bar, replacing an empty.

“I’m interrupting already,” Sadie said. “I’ll just go back and talk to her if that’s okay.” Sadie took to the air again, sliding her butt over the bar and sailing back through the doors.

“Like any of us were going to say ‘no’ to anything she asked,” The barkeep said. Her customers at the bar laughed.

“Rosa?” Sadie said through the back, watching product rotate itself out from the fridges as other things sorted and stored themselves. “Rosa, are you back here?”

“Boo!” Said a voice behind her. Sadie was distracted enough to drop from aloft, and she wasn’t graceful about catching herself. “Yikes! Honey, you couldn’t feel me at all?”

“You snuck up on me,” Sadie said, picking herself up off the floor.

“I was invisible...not undetectable.” Rosa said, her orange tee and blue jeans fading into view as her body followed. Her dark brown eyes looked closely at Sadie. “Something’s wrong.”

“I’m distracted,” Sadie said. “There’s something up with Maddie--and it’s pulling on me. I need to help her, but I don’t know if I can do it alone.” She felt like a kid again. She had power beyond any normal human comprehension, but between the void and this feeling of despair…

“Eaaaasy…” Rosa said. “Despair eats magic, Sadie. Don’t let it rob you of energy.” Rosa’s delicate hand grabbed hers. “Tell me what you know from Maddie’s end, and we’re going to get you all the help you need.”

---

“That power of yours...it’s bottomless.” The possessed Sandra simply watched as Maddie tuned the house--manipulated now by a powerful hormonal alchemy that the entity arranged through Sandra’s body. “Mommy wants to see more, Madeline. Show mommy what you can really do with your toys.”

Maddie smiled, biting her lip as she sailed higher into the entrance hall.

“Play,” Maddie whispered, her eyes glowing.

In a flash, an ethereal copy of Maddie manifested inside of Stacie’s room. Mitch was tied to Stacie’s bedposts with four pairs of her leggings.

“M-Maddie! Thank god. Let me out of this!” Mitch had seen Maddie project herself before--and he figured she was here to fix all of this. After a few seconds, the odd smirk and the copy’s silence said otherwise. “Maddie? Untie me!”

The copy ignored him, grinning wide as it looked at his cock.

“Endure…” It whispered, reaching out to Mitch’s half-erect member. It was spent once already, but the entity controlling the house needed more. Demanded more.

Mitch moaned as his cock pumped to life again, energized by Maddie’s magic.

“Maddie...Maddie--you gotta stop this!” The ethereal copy simply smiled at him, sailing into the air and spreading her legs. “You’ve gotta get it under control! You’re messing with my entire family!”

The copy simply cocked its head at him, settling onto his cock and bearing down on him.

“Uh--uh...M-Maddie...” Mitch looked down at his cock, pumping itself up and down inside the ghostly, translucent vagina before him. Maddie’s form wasn’t bouncing up and down on his body; his cock was being pulled by her etheral pussy. She was latched against him, her legs began twisting and coiling around him--immobilizing him.

And now he noticed it: when the form leaned in, her eyes weren’t like they were when Maddie appeared to him like this a few days ago. There was something else to this.

“Talk to me!” Mitch cried out, doing everything he could to resist the silky, stroking pressure against him. “Maddie, why are you doing this?”

“Shut UP, you diluted weakling.” The form’s voice didn’t move its mouth--and it wasn’t Maddie’s voice. It sounded like…

“M-mom?” Mitch winced. The copy of Maddie waved her hand at some of Stacie’s watching clothing, and three pairs of her worn panties lost their shape, stacked, balled together, and stuffed themselves in Mitch’s mouth.

“You already know it isn’t,” a ghostly version of Sandra’s voice echoed. “Nor her mother, nor hers. But 6 more dilutions back? That’s when your spoiled name had true nobility ruling it. But despite the Archoan pollution in your blood, I can’t deny you have enough of me in you to make this harvest worthwhile.”

Mitch shuddered as the copy of Maddie sucked him off; he was harder than comfortable, his hips pulled off the bed by the ethereal form.

A room away--Mitch’s closet door slammed shut. In the entry hall, a dazed Maddie detached from the possessed Sandra’s breast. Opposite her, Alaina did the same, both of them looking toward Mitch’s room--as if they could see through the walls.

“Sadie…” Maddie’s voice was calm and level. Detached. Her eyes were unfocused. Sandra’s eyes drew open, taking on an unearthly glow.

“My, my...the gifts keep coming. And-- this one’s even more powerful than you are, my delicious angel.” Sandra caressed Maddie’s face, pulling her back to her breast. “Drink more, darling. Stacie will take care of our visitors.”

Mitch’s sister locked eyes with her mother, and her pupils constricted as she stared, unblinking.

“Yes, mommy.” Stacie’s voice was vacant. As she began climbing the stairs, she held out a hand to the utility closet. The door popped open, and two lengths of clothesline sailed out, uncoiling and leading her up the stairs.

“With your power I can restore this line…” Sandra cooed, watching Maddie suck on her. “And since you’re the one that woke me up--the one restoring me and handing over all this youthful, delicious power--you should be rewarded.” Sandra closed her eyes, reaching up to her tits. They expanded as she moaned, licking her lips and looking down at Maddie and Alaina, still sucking away. “Drink, my darlings. Mommy’s good little girls.”

In Mitch’s room, the closet door burst open. Nothing seemed to be there at first, then footfalls in the shape of shoes landed in the plushy carpet. Aside from empty dresser drawers and a messy room, some of Mitch’s outfits idly swayed around the room as the footfalls headed to the bedroom door.

“It’s...bad,” came a whisper in the room between the two footfalls. It was Bev. “This is what you expected, right?”

“It’s a lot worse than before,” Sadie responded, whispering back. “I can’t really even tell where Maddie is. This is all her.” Sadie flashed visible when she felt two of Mitch’s outfits approaching behind her. “They know we’re here, Bev.”

Sadie reached out carefully with her mind, doing her best to isolate the two forms behind her before she struck. If it was really Maddie’s out-of-control power doing this, she had to be careful.

When she turned, she aimed open palms at the chests of both outfits. The sleeves of one of Mitch’s button-downs spiraled around her arm, while a t-shirt tried to ball up and tie back the other.

Sadie pursed her lips and inhaled, closing her eyes as she clinched her fingers.

All at once, the power animating Mitch’s clothes was pulled out of their fibers and into her palms. Sadie shuddered, stumbling a bit and reaching down between her legs as his clothes fell to the ground.

The still-invisible Bev caught her, watching two of Mitch’s other outfits back away--apparently affected by seeing the pile of former animates on the floor.

“Sadie--you good?”

“It--it’s weighing me down like molasses,” Sadie said, getting back on her feet and shaking out her arms. “It’s like there’s an underlying impulse in the energy--some kind of will power that...doesn’t feel like Maddie.”

Bev approached one of the other forms, which backed away again--detecting Bev’s approach.

“That’s okay,” Bev said, menacing Mitch’s other shuffling outfits. “You’re not interested in ending up like your friends there, are you?

”Bev, it’s overwhelming…” Sadie said. “It’s Maddie’s power, but I can’t reach her.

“Well, now you know she’s here,” Bev responded. “Let’s find her.” Sadie nodded, shaking a wrist out once more before directing it at Mitch’s bedroom door. As she and Bev moved toward the opening threshold, something else snaked in--

Two long, cotton ropes.

Sadie shook her head, reaching out and feeling the same sort of magic. Maddie’s, for sure--but a similar underlying impulse--like the one before. Instead of absorbing more of the magic, she decided to take control of the ropes herself.

The ends snaked in, one heading straight for Sadie, and the other toward Bev. Bev snickered.

“Rope? Really?”

“I got this,” Sadie said, reaching out to the midpoints of what she could see. Two loops coiled from the middle of the ropes, pulling toward each other until they were woven into a knot--then another.

Sadie smiled defiantly--no resistance at all, save where the leading ends of the rope seemed to be jarred out of their paths.

“Mommy wants you downstairs,” Stacie said, muttering the syllables in monotone. “Be a good girl. Mommy wants good girls.” Sadie stared at the doorway, trying to figure out what she was seeing. Not another magic-user, right? Wasn’t this...Mitch’s sister?

Stacie raised both of her hands, fingers outstretched. She cocked her head to the side, staring emotionlessly at Sadie as she clinched her fingers.

In the tangle Sadie had made with the two clotheslines, a new pattern emerged from the four-ended cross of cotton rope. They passed themselves though the knot Sadie had made, locking it in place and diving into Sadie.

Before she had time to react to her new assailant, her hands and feet were pulled behind her after each end of the grasping ropes coiled and knotted around her. The crux knot sailed into the air, the lengths of rope stiffening near the junction to form a makeshift marionette paddle.

“Fucking hell!” Sadie shouted, pulled into the air for a moment before being dropped again. Failing to get her bearings, she was nearly slammed into the ground by the rope until Bev faded into visibility, straining to grab Sadie telekinetically. She held her for a second and let her down, breaking the ropes’ intended drop.

Bev looked up at Stacie and prepared to deck her with a telekinetic shove, but Stacie moved first, swiping her hand over the floor and throwing both of the women into a wall.

Sadie whimpered, angry and focusing on the ropes wrapped around her.

UNTIE.
RELEASE.

For the first time, Sadie was physically hurt by a magical force--one she didn’t seem to have the advantage over. She was shaken, struggling to reach out with her mind.

When she was finally able to tune into the ropes, she encountered the same problem as before with Mitch’s clothes. The magic already present crawled into her skin, down her spine and into her pussy. She shuddered again, trying to reach down to grab herself. This time the ropes wouldn’t let her. Her hands shook.

“B-Bev? I can’t untie them, Bev!”

“Mommy doesn’t need the older one,” Stacie said. “Come with me.”

Once more, the cruciate knot of the two clotheslines lifted into the air, Pulling Sadie’s limbs with them. Horrified, she looked back at Bev--who still wasn’t getting up.

“Bev, please!” Sadie watched Bev reach up to her head, groaning and shoving back her blonde hair. Sadie was lifted and pulled by the ropes, half-dragged and half-walking.

She barely knew the house, but maybe that didn’t matter. She only needed something that wasn’t already controlled by this magic source. She eased her struggle against the ropes, trying to assess the situation. In the hall now, they passed a bathroom. Sadie asked for scissors now--searched for them, pictured them rescuing her from the ropes.

Like Maddie herself, this power seemed to be focusing on animating clothing. If Sadie couldn’t stop the ropes themselves, she could pit all their natural enemies against them. Sadie thought about a generic kitchen, trying to keep her mind on this house.

We can’t touch human skin, Sadie thought. Slice and dice the clothes if you need to do it in order to get to these ropes--but don’t harm flesh. She focused, dropping all resistance in her body and letting the lines carry her.

Then, one more contingent she agreed on before she came. Rosa, If Bev hasn’t already said it--we need your help.

In Mitch’s kitchen, the knife block rattled. One by one, they sailed out, orienting skyward and moving in formation toward the entry.

The possessed Sandra had her head cocked back, grinning as her tits were greedily slurped by her two new acolytes. By now, she’d directed one of Sandra’s dildos into her--letting it piston in and out as she drew closer to orgasm in her new body.

When she lifted her head again, she saw the light glistening off of Maddie’s dripping cunt. Her mouth trembled open, willing the young pussy toward her. Maddie never let go of Sandra’s tit, even as her body reoriented. Now upside-down, the junction of her legs was presented to the glowing, youthful face that resembled Sandra.

“Now it’s Mommy’s feeding time,” The entity said as she went down on Maddie. At the first taste of pussy, her eyes glowed brighter. She pulled back for a second, in awe of the power surging through her. She looked down at Maddie’s writhing form before her as she started laughing. “You--you aren’t simply strong noble blood…” The entity said. “You’re royalty.”

She licked at Maddie’s clit furiously--tasting her raw power in full, diving into her mind and taking hold of her even more intimately. The entity had only sensed Sadie when she entered, but now she knew her name. She could her mind, desperately searching for her sister’s as she…

...planned a counterattack.

The entity broke from Maddie’s pussy just in time to see the knives coming around the corner, darting up the stairs toward the ropes.

“Hmph.”

Sandra’s glowing eyes met a solid walnut bench at the entry. It rose into the air and sailed backward, crashing into the knives as Stacie calmly dove off the staircase and landed on the wall, standing up on it as she reoriented her own gravity.

Most of the knives had fallen on steps--a couple fell to the entry hall floor below. When they rattled to life again, still responding to Sadie’s commands--Sandra sneered and clinched a fist. The walnut bench creaked, wrenching itself into 7 pieces with a horrible sound. The entity laughed, savoring the power of being able to tear solid wood against its grain. If she could harvest these two properly--transmutation, transformation...maybe even immortality, which, despite her noble blood, was outside of even her family’s powers.

Just as the knives reoriented, each picking itself up, a squarely-driven piece of split walnut bench sailed toward the blade points, reaching dangerously high velocities as they met their targets.

With Stacie impossibly standing on the wall opposite her, Sadie could watch the whole thing happen. The knives--her only soldiers here so far--were stopped by something had already taken control of Maddie’s power.

Now jammed into solid walnut, each of the knives wiggled on the floor a bit, but little else. Sadie could feel them restricted--frustrated from their task. When she realized that it was actually draining her--maybe the first time she noticed any command draining her--she let go of the knives, releasing them.

“Slightly better than your sister,” The entity said, watching the makeshift marionette paddle lead Sadie down the stairs. She detached from Maddie and Alaina, hovering downward. As the two began whimpering, Sandra waved a hand at them, directing them into a 69 together. “But undertrained. So undertrained. As if you’d ignored your studies your entire life.”

Sadie looked back at her, breathing hard. She tried to keep focus--tried to keep her rage from giving her away. Tried to ignore Maddie above this entity--out of her own will and forced to serve this power. Was this...Maddie’s maid acolyte?

No. She was opposite Maddie in the 69 and still dressed up like a stereotype. That had to be the maid. But the woman in charge--the one speaking--she only looked a couple years older than Maddie and herself. Who was she?

“We didn’t know we had this power until a few weeks ago,” Sadie said, growling a little. She looked over her head at Mitch’s sister, who sort of resembled the woman. She stared at Sadie with unblinking eyes and eerily constricted pupils, standing against the wall.

The woman approaching was too young to be the mother of Mitch and this girl. Wasn’t she?

“I guess you the reason we’ve been hidden?” Sadie said. “We were told something like this might happen.”

“Oh? By who?” The entity grinned. “Tell me everything, my princess.” She looked back up at the hovering Maddie. “I’ve already tasted your sister...and I could go back and glean what I need from her mind--but it’s been so long since I’ve had a real conversation. I don’t want to possess you...not yet. Let’s hear your words first.”

“I have help coming,” Sadie said. The entity just laughed again.

“Not through a door, you don’t,” The entity said, making Sandra smile with the words. “I’m not a fool, my dear--I simply needed to acclimate myself to power.” She spread a hand out, and Sadie’s wrists and ankles were pulled outward, into an X-shape. “I studied magic for my entire life,” The entity said. “You and your sister are both incredibly powerful, but to let your talents go to waste this way…”

Sadie just stared at her, refusing to give more information, even if it was to defend her mother. The woman approached her, seeming to size her up.

“Well now, you’re the warrior...aren’t you?” The entity licked her lips again. “The defiant. The true power in the family.” She reached out a hand to Sadie’s face, caressing her cheek. Sadie turned away from the touch, an etheral hum coming off of it. She still didn’t know who this was, but she sensed that it was a body possessed--like her sister’s.

The last thing she could count on was that a possessed body could still feel pain.

Sadie turned her jaw and clamped. It was a desperate move--an animal move--born of instincts that came from the world she knew her whole life.

A scream of horror echoed through the entry. Above them Maddie, Alaina, and Stacie all cried out when Sandra did. Sadie tasted something warm and metallic between her lips, and she knew the scream was coming from in front of her.

The taunting tone, the superiority--apparently it melted just as well for this being as it did any other human about to lose an extremity. Sadie thought about Bev thrown against the wall--about her sister’s missing voice in the ether, and she bit harder.

Even through a slap to face from Sandra’s possessed body, she clung to the digits--clamping as the pain of the entity turned to sheer terror.

“You fucking demon witch!” The entity shrieked. “I only just rebuilt this body, you toothed savage--let GO!”

Despite the volume of Maddie’s magic infused in her, the ropes were wavering. Failing. Sadie spat blood through her teeth and sent her arms sailing for the entity’s head once the ropes went slack enough. Though she was able to dodge with her free hand, Sadie’s swooping tangled her in the loose ropes.

“Sadie!” Bev appeared at the top of the stairs, running down to meet Sadie. Alaina and Maddie clung to each other in the air--whimpering to each other, their pupils still constrained. Realizing now that she’d looped the entity’s neck, Sadie took up the slack of the lines and pulled tight, lost in desperation until she looked up to see Bev.

Sandra’s free hand flailed, and a slat of the banister broke out of place and approached them. As Bev tried to reach Sadie, Sandra flailed again, flinging a piece of walnut furniture under Bev’s feet and making her stumble.

The slat hovered over to swing at Sadie, and she yanked down on the entity’s hand, bringing the slat to meet Sandra’s wrist.

One long wail later, the ropes went entirely limp. The slat fell to the ground immediately, and Sadie thought that she had the upper hand until she looked up to see Maddie and Alaina’s worried faces change to scowls.

“Are you as comfortable mutilating your own sister?” The entity shrieked, raising her free hand to the girls above them. “Protect Mommy, girls.” She beckoned to Stacie next. “We don’t need her,” The entity said. “She hurt Mommy. Kill her.”

“You hurt Mommy,” Stacie repeated eerily, staring at Sadie. She leapt from the wall, and in the same moment, Bev threw everything she had left into a telekinetic wave. Stacie was caught mid-jump, propelled into the back wall and dropped to the floor.

“We have to go, Sadie...We can’t do this alone. We need more,” Bev begged.

Sadie screamed, biting harder and searching for the entity with her fists.

“Let go of her, Sadie! We need to go!” Sadie caught sight of Bev, holding her head. She looked at Maddie--tried to see into her eyes--and didn’t find her sister. She spat flesh and blood, detaching from the sinew and bone she was locked around. The entity pulled back Sandra’s youthful hand, now mangled by a bite. As she prepared to counter, Sadie cried out.

“I’m coming back for you, Maddie!”

The entity controlling Sandra was infuriated, humiliated by her injury and acting out of rage. Instead of magic, she reached out her good hand to throttle Sadie.

Once more, animal instincts offered an advantage. Sadie grabbed Sandra’s wrist, pulled her toward her body, and smashed the side of her head with her elbow, sending both of them to the ground together as Sadie lost balance.

Once more, she looked up to Alaina and Maddie, praying that her blow released their spell.

This time, Maddie and Stacie cowered only for a second before grimacing at Sadie.

“Protect Mommy,” Alaina said.

“Protect Mommy,” Maddie echoed, cocking her head at Sadie.

“We can’t free them now, Sadie. If you fight, you’re only going to hurt them!” Sadie looked back at Bev, standing at the front door. Sandra was already shaking off the blow. “You can’t hurt her any more, Sadie--her body’s being directed by it! We can’t fight her this way! We have to go NOW!”

Sadie frowned, looking up at Maddie. She knew Bev was right.

She broke from the floor, running for the front door. Bev slipped out onto the porch, and just Sadie got to the door just before the entity slammed it closed on her with enough velocity to shatter the glass inlays.

As they ran out onto the driveway, Sadie looked across at the other yards, between hedges and fences. Bev tapped the Mercedes in the driveway twice on the hood, and the car roared to life, popping its locks open. Sadie stared at Bev as she got in.

“We can’t use doors in the house,” Bev said. “Did you feel it?” Sadie shook her head.

“I only heard her say it,” Sadie said. The garage door in front of them roared to life, and Bev pounded on the car door.

“In! In! Now!” Bev said. Sadie jumped to action, making the car door spring open on its own to let her in. “Slam that door! I’ve hit my limit with the telekinetics--I need to stay awake here.”

Bev shot out of the drive in reverse as Sadie focused on the door. As with the ropes, she felt the syrupy, tingly presence of another will in the object, but this time--seated in a car--she took on the sensations dancing down her spine, letting her muscles turn to mush for a second just so that she could override the door.

It clicked loud and snapped back down--apparently grinding the motor to uselessness when the door was only about 18 inches from the ground. As Bev and Sadie spun away in the car, Sadie broke down crying.

“Easy, Sadie. Easy.” Bev patted her on the back. “We’re going to fix this. We’ve got important friends.”

Sadie kept spitting, trying to get the taste of blood out of her mouth. She was scared. Horrified. Bev found a sweatshirt in the back and handed it to Sadie.

“Here,” Bev said. “I’m sorry you had to do that, honey--but you had to do it.” Sadie tried to ignore her, but Bev pushed the sweatshirt again. “You had to do it, Sadie--and you have to wash it off and keep going.”

Sadie flipped down the passenger mirror and looked at the blood on her upper lip.

“When Jen said magic was dangerous, she meant less like that night at the club...and more like this. Didn’t she?”

Bev smiled, shaking her head.

“We all have different experiences with it,” Bev said. “Some people like me are lucky. We don’t come from magic; we’re born mundane Archoan...but thanks to people like Jen, sometimes some of us have the opportunity to get a little life extension and a walk on the wild side. I get to see the wonders of the magic most normal people don’t get to--and I even get to use a little.
“But people like Jen have a weight about them, you know? Jen knows how to have fun, sure--but you can tell there’s so much more going on with her--in her world. She has responsibilities.”

Sadie frowned, swallowing hard.

“Like us,” Sadie said. Bev nodded back at her. “Was that the worst you’ve seen, Bev?”

“Wild magic is as brutal as nature is on our side,” Bev said. “Here, two humans were fighting. Conversing.” Bev shook her head. “Her aims may not be noble, but you could communicate. With wild magic, you don’t reason or plea. So, no. I’ve seen worse.”

Sadie nodded, not wanting to hear more about wild magic. She was just happy Bev was there to save her.

Bev motioned to the roads after a minute. “I’ve just been driving away. You need to tell me how to get to your house.”

“Left up here,” Sadie said, tears welling in her eyes. “I tasted her blood, Bev. I bit into her.”

“Sadie--you protected yourself from being subverted by another entity. From taking your mind like it took Maddie’s. You let us escape.”

“But it wasn’t enough,” Sadie cried. “I wanted to kill her. I knew I couldn’t do it without killing the human being she was inside, but…”

“You didn’t have to listen to me,” Bev said. “But you did. Because you knew you had to spare her life. For the good of your sister--and that whole poor family.”

Sadie nodded, reluctantly agreeing. “Right onto the highway ramp.”

After a short silence, Bev put her hand on Sadie’s… “I’ve never been as close to your mother like Jen is,” Bev said, “But I know enough to say that she’ll be proud of you.” Sadie squeezed her hand back and give her a weak smile.

“We’re going to get your sister back,” Bev said. “We just need to know more about who we’re dealing with.”