Power of the Circle
by JT Adeline
Hidden in Hope Cemetery, in the quaint little town of Osceola, Wisconsin, evil walks and waits for the arrival of the Chosen One.
It wants her dead.
Almost two years after finding her cousin, Carmen, brutally attacked and lying on a grave with a tilted headstone, eighteen-year-old Cejay Daniels returns to her cousin’s hometown in hopes of finding answers to bring Carmen out of her coma-like trance. With the help of her older brother Gabe, and best friends Lacey and Dean, they discover a timeline with similar events spanning two-hundred years. Cejay becomes even more determined to find the truth; even though she is terrified.
Ghosts visit, relaying confusing information, and the Devil appears in different forms threatening the lives of those she loves. With the help of the store owner of Simple Living, Cejay soon realizes she must rely on her brother’s clairvoyance, and her own new found power over stones, to unearth evil and put an end to its reign before it takes another living soul.
Even in the darkest of times, love finds its way in. Can Cejay contain her feelings for Dean, or will she act upon them?
BUY THE BOOK
Almost 2 Years Ago
“It’s really easy. All you do is run toward that light,” he says as he points to it, all the way on the other side of where we are, “by following the glow sticks scattered throughout. The first one to take it out of the ground is Master of The Dead.”
That’s why we’re deep in this unlit cemetery in the middle of the night surrounded by the glow of flashlights. I follow the route, which zig-zags all over, until I stop at the light. Of course it’s lit up red. “What’s the catch?”
Ronan glares at me with his beady eyes reminding me of a mouse, his long straight nose and smaller than normal mouth don’t help any either. “You get to be ‘Master’,” he responds putting air quotes around the word, and the beam of his light blinds me momentarily.
Yeah, that helps. “I’m a girl.” Leave it to me to spout back the obvious.“Why would I want to be Master of the Dead anyway?”
“It’s a game, are you in or out, Cejay?”
Obviously, this is the only thing to do on a Friday night in Osceola, Wisconsin. One of the guys they call Talon, who is a major hunk in many ways, shifts nervously from foot to foot glancing at me then at Ronan. He catches my eye and looks to the ground, pretending something is interesting there. His lip twitches to reveal a hooked scar at the corner of his mouth that I find very sexy.
I scowl at Ronan. “C’mon, Carmen.” I grab my cousin by the upper arm and tug her away from the group. She plants her feet and yanks me to a stop.
I pull harder to get her away from the immediate earshot of the local upstanding members of society. “Listen,” I demand in a harsh whisper, pointing my flashlight beam at the ground. “The name of this game is to scare the bejesus out of the local girl and her out of town cousin.”
Carmen plants a hand on her hip and scowls at me. “So?”
I roll my eyes. “Really, Carmen?” I hook a thumb over my shoulder. “This is the group you want to be a member of, Mouse Head and Cronies R Us?”
“What’s wrong with them?” she demands.
“Didn’t I just state the obvious?” Seriously, my cousin can be so dense.
“Well, I’m doing it,” Carmen states, turning her body away from me. “I don’t need you to hold my hand.”
That got a snicker out of Reanne, Ronan’s sister. Thankfully she didn’t inherit her brother’s great looks, but her sense of style really needs to be updated. Who goes around wearing a black hooded cloak?
I cock my hip and scatter my light to survey the group, two girls and four boys, the greatest members of this fine small town. Why can’t they be like kids in St. Paul and go run someone over with their skateboard, or dive over their heads doing parkour? This cemetery would be great for that. But no, we have to go retrieve a light. Seriously? I sigh heavily as Carmen rejoins the group, turns, and smirks at me. This isn’t her type of thing, I know that, but peer pressure has won over even the best of us and whether I want to or not, I’m going to have to play this game. I’m not leaving Carmen alone. I curve a lip at one of the boys whose name I don’t know and am rewarded with a jut of his chin. That confirms it, Carmen and me, we’re going down. Oh joy.
“You in?” Ronan asks when I rejoin them.
I decide dragging my feet isn’t going to prevent the inevitable. “Yeah,” I respond, and Carmen smiles and jumps a little. She really needs to find some better friends. “I have one question.”
Ronan clenches his jaw and glances at his watch. “Alright.”
“How many others are hiding in the cemetery?” I give myself credit for not calling them lowest levels of the gene pool.
Ronan scoffs while Carmen narrows her eyes at me. “The rules are simple,” he explains, ignoring my question. “As I stated before, you’re going to go and get that light,” he points to it again where darkness hides everything but its glow, “while dodging obstacles along the way.” He gives me a cocky grin that sends shivers up and down my spine. I really don’t like this guy.
“Line up right here and keep your flashlight on.” He looks at his watch and then to me out of the corner of his eye.
Great, I have an admirer.
“Five, four, three, two, one...go!”
Carmen bolts ahead and I glimpse behind us to see everyone scatter in different directions, their flashlight beams bobbing until they suddenly disappear. I try to keep Ronan in my sights, but he dodges behind some shrubbery and I lose him along with his light. I jump over a low headstone and follow Carmen as she zips and zags around the markers of the dead, then lets out a squeal when a hand appears and nearly grabs her ankle. I proudly stomp on it and chuckle at the yelp of pain. One down.
I catch a glimpse of a shadow reflected in someone’s light and shout out a warning. “Dodge right, Carmen!” Some kid I haven’t seen yet dives to the ground and swears when he misses his mark. He turns onto his back and lifts his leg into the air at me; I spin out of the way never faltering in my steps and shine my light in his eyes. “That’s what you get for trying to take down a kid from the city.” Several taller headstones are right in my path and I jump up onto the nearest one and use the others as stepping stones.
“Where the hell is this girl from?” someone shouts on my left and I almost lose my footing. I push off the last headstone as hard as I can and fly in a summersault over his head, landing on my feet and running before he knows what happened. That’s two.
I make out my next steps in my head and steal a glance in Carmen’s direction. She screams and drops her flashlight as someone shoots out from behind a mausoleum, overcompensates, and goes into a roll. Carmen does a messy sidestep, snatches up her light, and darts toward the red light. She’s fast on her feet and has obviously been paying attention when I’ve taught her some moves. I’m impressed. We aren’t out of the woods yet, or maybe I should say cemetery.
Carmen is ten steps ahead of me on my left, and I don’t like my choices up ahead; a towering headstone, or a massive tree, and unfortunately these goons have the upper hand. I opt for the headstone, going for the outside, but Carmen goes down in a tangle of limbs. Instead of kicking off the base and jumping over what I can, I have to plant my feet on the ground and push off. That’s all he needs to dive out at me and catch me around my middle. I go down hard on my left shoulder, bringing my right elbow out and up to catch whoever it is in the nose.
“I got it, Cejay!” Carmen’s doing a happy dance with the light in her hand. I scramble to my feet until a hand clamps onto my leg stopping me.
“You bitch!” Ronan snarls with blood seeping through his fingers.
I can’t help but smile. “My gift to you,” I respond, taking a few steps toward Carmen when he growls. “Way to go, Carmen!” I shout lifting my arms over my head and whooping. Carmen grins from ear to ear and the light winks out.
The rest has seeped into my dreams at night, and every waking moment of every day for the last two years. Carmen’s screams still tear at my heart and has buried itself into my soul. I remember running and bumping into others as they came out of their hiding places, too scared to move any further. The spot where I had last seen Carmen was a hole of nothingness and I’m running blindly to get to her, following her gut wrenching screams of utter terror which seemed to be all around me the closer I got.
I found Carmen fifty feet away, sitting on a lone grave with a headstone leaning sideways into the dirt. Her clothes were torn, her exposed skin bleeding from claw-like gouges.
Now, she spends her days in a care facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She hasn’t spoken a word since that awful day and neither of us has stepped back into this town...until today.