Something has changed.
I pause amongst the chaos that has become my mind, knowing that something is different. The vivid images of being tied to a tree and flailed have disappeared from the edges of my consciousness and I have been brought back to darkness, filled with blue mist.
The worst part of this is that I know they are out there, trying to get in. I can feel prickling up my spine, in my head. It's as if something or someone is trying to contact me, yet I just can't reach them. Like a donkey, I run after the carrot but reaching it continues to perplex me. I still cannot move my body. The images of torture have somewhat dissipated, but the silence that remains consumes me. In some ways it is worse. If only I could rid myself of this, be out there.
A voice, in the silence. Yet I still cannot move my mouth.
Elena's body shuddered in the bed, causing Clay to look up in concern.
"Paige, you better not be hurting her."
Paige looked pale, a bead of sweat had trickled down from her forehead and was slowly descending down her nose. She was knelt next to Elena, her hand on the back of her head, casting spells intended to penetrate the mind, plant ideas in people's heads, communicate with the comatose. After the last cast of a telepathic communication spell, Paige had felt the grasps of success, seen an impenetrable black space, swirling with blue mist, before being catapulted back into Stonehaven.
"I don't understand," she muttered.
"What is it?" Jeremy asked, causing Lucas to stir from his own casting to ensure Paige's safety.
"I can feel it in me..." she said weakly.
"Stop casting then!," Nick proclaimed, "as much as I enjoy safeguarding unconscious women, we don't have enough manpower to lose you too."
Paige glanced up.
"...and there's the added disincentive that you're taken."
"So is Elena," Clay spoke gruffly.
"I don't know, we've had some fun," Nick smiled cheekily.
Clay growled, stopping only when Jeremy cast him a "this isn't the time" look.
"I just, don't get it..." Paige continued, "Lucas - I feel the click as if it's successful and I get an image as if I'm making a connection," she shuddered, "and then I'm cast out and all I can see is Stonehaven."
"Have you managed to communicate at all?" Lucas inquired.
"No, I just see a black emptiness and blue mist and then I'm back."
Adam looked contemplative. "Does it feel like you're deliberately thrown out, or that you're magic has stopped working?"
Paige began to look offended.
"Paige, just humour me and Lucas stop glaring at me."
"I suppose it's as if it just stops when I finally reach where I'm supposed to be."
"And can you hear anything?"
"No, it's just an image."
"Do you feel anything?"
"Just...," she looked uneasy, "despair," she turned away from Clay, "and anger, fuming anger."
"Adam, what are you thinking?" asked Jeremy.
"Have you heard of vengeance demons?"
"I thought they were a myth, a cult thing," Nick inputted.
"I have only heard of them as fleeting rumours I suppose," Jeremy answered, "I presumed it was more of a description of the desire of demons to cause chaos than as a demon itself."
Adam shook his head. "Robert was never sure, they always seemed more like stories than reality. Is there a reason that Elena could have been really mad at you Clay and Stonehaven?"
Clay muttered, "No."
Jeremy looked down, "When Clay turned her...all she wanted to do was get revenge on us. Be human again. She would have given anything...but she was in the cage. She couldn't have spoken to anyone about it and after she got out she didn't want anything more to do with it... I can't imagine her telling anyone about it when she lived with Philip and kept it quiet for so long. And now she's settled, enough to consider running the pack, although she's certainly not happy with the idea."
"She didn't necessarily need to communicate," Adam stated, "if the rumours are true she could have been sought out, her anger discovered and her deepest wishes twisted. Vengeance demons are supposed to love nothing more than chaos."
"And what better way of causing it than waiting until she's settled at Stonehaven before exacting her revenge at Clay and you by pulling her into a coma, making you concerned and letting your guard down," Adam noted.
"We haven't lowered our guard." Clay grunted.
"We have, but I don't see why we needed it up anyway."
Lucas' face lit up in a panicked recognition, "I can't destroy this letter. Elena is the only female werewolf. What would happen if this letter got out there and people discovered Elena was to be the Pack leader. What leadership challenges would you face?"
Clay's face blanched. "She would become more of a prize than ever. And if I couldn't defend her. She's comatose. They could kill her, or worse, do what they wanted to her and then kill her."
The room fell silent.
"Let's hope that's the only copy," Antonio murmured.