You wake up one morning and find that you aren’t in your bed; you aren’t even in your room. You’re in the middle of a giant maze. A sign is hanging from the ivy: “You have one hour. Don’t touch the walls.” Finish the scene.
It probably reads better if you’re familiar with my character, Maddison Wood. She’s a freelance hunter, and now a Watcher. She’s also a witch (sort of). I hope you enjoy.
It took her a second, okay more like thirsty seconds, to realise she was no longer in her bed. There was a reason Maddison didn’t open her eyes during that time. She assumed she was back in the attic; cold and alone on the hard, wooden floor. When she realised her mistake, she didn’t berate herself for the poor reaction time – Riley’s special brew could be blamed for that. She knew better than to accept a drinking challenge from a wolf. Riley’s metabolism burned off the nasty quicker than he could drink it.
So when she at last opened her eyes and realised she was in trouble, she settled on being pissed. It took her less than 30 seconds to understand she’d been hijacked; dumped into someone’s idea of a sick game. And then she was really pissed.
Maddison’s gaze roamed the maze. Its thick walls, designed to intimidate and subdue, were covered in something akin to ivy. And that’s when she saw them, neatly formed letters in the stone.
You have an hour.
Don’t touch the walls.
She growled, a sound Riley would appreciate, and slammed her palm against the stone in simple defiance.
The maze dropped away and Maddison found herself staring into the cold, laughing eyes of Orion Reece.
“This is a new form of torture, even for you,” she said, and watched the gold ring around his iris flare.
His voice was barely controlled when he spoke. “You get one pass, and you just used it. Do not touch the walls again.”
Maddison blinked, startled when she found herself back in the maze. “What’s this about, you son of a bitch?” She shouted it at the wall, wishing she could pound out her frustration with her fist.
In response she heard the unmistakable sound of ticking. It echoed around her, filling her mind until she wanted to howl. But she would never give Orion the satisfaction, so she began to walk; following the path he had forced her to take. She didn’t hurry, though the tick, tick, ticking of the clock taunted her.
Four wrong turns later and the sound changed; its beat grew faster, more urgent. Her time was running out, and she knew better than to disappoint a god. But she didn’t run. Instead she stopped walking, gathered her thoughts and considered her options.
All her attempts at magic had failed, which didn’t surprise her. Orion didn’t play fair. Yet she knew there was a way to beat the maze because, despite the fact he was a total ass, Orion wanted her to win.
On that thought, her gaze shifted to the creeping plant. When she took a step closer, she felt the unmistakable hum of power and knew it was the key.
Think, Maddy. Think.
She began to chant, forming a connection on pure impulse. Her powers at controlling nature were sporadic at best, but they were growing stronger.
Maddison looked down at the pile of ash on the ground. She’d killed the damn thing. In disgust, she kicked at the closest patch, then almost laughed when the scattered remains reformed in a straight line.
Not a brick road, but it’ll do.
She did run then; eyes on the ground and attention on the trail she’d created by accident. Her feet pounded the earth, the ticking coming loud and fast, drowning out the pulse in her ears.
The moment she reached the elegant archway leading out of the maze, Orion stepped into her path. “Next time,” he said, in a bored tone. “Don’t kill the messenger.”
Maddison almost laughed at the poorly disguised joke. She didn’t. That would be encouraging him, and she’d had enough of his games. “What was this about?”
“You need to channel your earth power and learn to use it.” He paused. “Wisely.” She was about to respond when he ploughed on. “And you need to contain your anger. You behaved carelessly.”
She didn’t tell him about the special brew, though he could use a little happy juice himself. “That doesn’t really answer the question.”
Orion narrowed his eyes, but the chill had left them. “Consider yourself in training. This was your first test, and you almost failed it.”
With that, he clicked his finger and Maddison was back in her room at Merc Hall. She groaned, thumping her head against the soft pillow. She was being plagued by a god, and she had absolutely no idea why.
Thanks for stopping by.