The shadows moved forward, threatening to overpower the brightness that had grown.
Use it. Trevan’s energy gathered in her.
We’re here. Mary and Keleon added.
We’re all here. The voices brought their own strength.
The brightness she thought would disappear behind the door with Trevan grew stronger.
The shadows that had tried to trip her retreated behind Chernbog, until he stood alone. “No. No. No,” he screamed.
The distance between them did not prevent Colli from seeing a pulsing vein that stood out on his forehead. His hands clenched, then opened to reach toward her. Despite the space between them, he covered it quickly and pressed his hands against Colli’s throat.
Pressure built. She couldn’t breath.
Chernbog’s eyes bulged. “You haven’t won.” His breath, hot and bitter, hit her in the face.
Colli tried to tear his fingers away, but they only dug deeper. So close. Now, because of brute force I’ve lost. She tried to call out to the voices, but darkness forced its way in.
“Don’t give up.” A voice so mature, at first she didn’t realize it belonged to Trevan, battled its way into her mind.
She dug at the fingers that pressed in and robbed her of life giving breath. This only caused the hands to press harder. She fell forward, giving in to defeat.
I’m sorry. Words that could not escape her mouth, screamed through her brain.
Pressure stopped as she slid to the forest’s cold floor. Darkness retreated. Before she could open her eyes, Colli felt Keleon’s strong hands around her throat. Warming brought healing.
“Let me help you,” he said.
When Colli opened her eyes, she found Mary and Keleon beside her. “I…”
“Don’t try to talk,” said Mary.
Colli could only obey. She stood with their support.
“No!” Chernbog’s bitter scream brought joy to the forest.
Trevan moved toward his uncle, with his hands raised, palms flat. The crystal shards that had littered the ground, gathered to swirl in a growing circle.
Mary held up her right hand. Wind grew. This time it pushed against Chernbog.
He couldn’t resist. He stepped back.
With a childish chuckle, Trevan moved his hands in miniature loops.
The crystalline shards swirled in on Chernbog, surrounding him. His hands fell limp to his sides.
“You were never meant to do this alone.” Sung, with Illianna and Jovan walked out from behind Chernbog’s bright prison.
“Mommy. Daddy.” Trevan’s childlike voice greeted his parents. They moved into his embrace.
Sung approached Colli, Keleon and Mary. “The wind’s no longer necessary,” he laughed.
Mary, who had continued to grow a gale, lowered her hands to her side. “Sorry.” She smiled.
Voices that had sounded in Colli’s mind became vocal throughout the forest. Life returned to normal.
Colli stepped onto the tarmac. Heat rose through the thin soles of her shoes. She walked with the other passengers to the terminal.
“Collianna.” There was no mistaking her sister’s voice.
“Over here.” Keleon waved a sign with Colli’s name on it. This time it was spelled correctly.
She brushed her silver-white hair out of her face. “It’s good to be home.” She smiled as she joined them.
“Mom’s got some of those pancake things you like.” Mary moved to her right, Keleon to her left.
“Come on.” Keleon folded the sign. “
“Let’s get outside. I’ve missed the natural heat.” She forced herself to walk slowly out the doors of the terminal and to the waiting car.