She didn't even know why she was sitting at the table. Karen knew she had at least 20 other things she could and truly, should be doing right then. She stared down at the picture again. She choked back the tears as she remembered. She was so beautiful, so spirited. Her long auburn hair was only paled by the sparkling of her emerald eyes. Her long legs led up to a body that was perhaps not so perfect to anyone else, but to Derek, it was always right. Her weight fluctuated the entire seventeen years but Derek always only saw beauty. Derek was the very love of her life and so very much the reason she rose every morning from her bed. Seventeen years with him seemed more like seventeen days now. Time had gone by so quickly but she had only realized it now. She touched his face with her fingertips and traced the outline of his body with her thumb. She was outspoken but never rude, soft but not weak and she was well versed in dressing to look elegant but never, ever over-dressed nor under-dressed.
The lights flickered in the kitchen again. She was glad to be getting out of the house. The last few days the house seemed to have decided to fall apart all on it's own. Karen moved her fingers to reveal the faces of their children. Mark, sixteen and sports savvy, shared only his looks with his father. He had Karen's out-going personality as well as sharing her gift to put a person "in their place" and make them feel as if he had complimented them. He was tall like Derek and fast on his feet. She looked down at seventeen year old Jessica. Standing beside her brother, the photo stoled her true height. At five foot, ten inches, tall for a girl, Mark made her look shorter. His six foot two inch frame towered over her. She was all her mother in looks. Watching this beautiful young lady move across the basketball court at school made a lot of guys turn their heads. She was Derek in every other way. She had his smile and his desire to laugh and make others smiles. She helped out with the after school programs and gave any extra time to causes for the less fortunate. She cried seeing a squirrel hit by a car. Too much like her father perhaps, Karen thought as she stared into the picture. So perfect a family. So very much her life. So very much...Gone. The lights went off and then on again.
"Damned old house" she murmured out loud.
"Karen, we need to get finished here. I want to be at least half way before dark."
Ellie tried so hard to keep Karen focused. Her only sibling, she was 3 years older than Karen. Their parents dying when Karen was six, Ellie had mothered her through out her growing years. She was there for Karen's tears and triumphs and there when she married Derek. She was always thankful she was there for her.
"I know, Ellie, and I am trying. It is hard for me."
She hugged Karen. As she did, she felt the muscles in Karen's body tense. She began to tremble and Ellie cried silently as Karen squeezed her. She knew she was at the fire again. She always knew.
"Karen, there was nothing you could do! Neither was your fault! How many times must I tell you that before you believe me?"
She held her tighter as she relived the fire again.
"It was me they wanted, Sis! It was always me! They killed our parents and then my family!!!! They took all I ever loved from me except for you. I never asked to be this way!"
"Karen!" she said, pulling back from her so she could look into Karen eyes. "You were born special. We have always known that. Mom and Dad knew it, Derek knew it and so did your children. There is nothing you did to make that happen. It just happened! Now we have one chance to get out of here and start fresh. But if we don't go soon, we won't make it out of here! Please, I need you to focus. You've seen the lights flicker. We need to go."
"Yes, yes, I know. I am so sorry. Let's gather our things and get going.They must be close enough to cause the lights to go out. Damn!"
She watched as Ellie made her way across the front lawn. She had loaded the SUV and was walking back to the house. Karen was never so grateful to have her sister with her as she was now. Ellie smiled as she came up the front steps. Karen reached out to hug her and thank her. The expression on Ellie's face hit Karen even before the sound did. She watched as Ellie stumble across the threshold of the house. She reached out and caught her before Ellie could fall to the floor. Her blouse was red in seconds. Karen laid her down and searched frantically for an entrance wound. When she was certain there was none to be found, she laid Ellie's body gently on the floor. She poured oil over the body and watched as Ellie slowly began to breathe again.Reaching for her wand, she closed the door with Ellie still lieing on the floor.
Outside, she saw the two young women walking away from the house quickly. As one looked over her shoulder, Karen saw the fear in her eyes. She tried to pull the other woman with her. Ellie stretched out her wand in the women's direction. The sky above them turned dark and the wind began to stir. Lightening flashed around the women as they began running away. The flashes danced all around them, barring their way in all directions. They stood clinging to one another, crying, begging Karen to turn her wand away.
"I will let you live long enough to tell the others Not to send little girls to take down an Elder. Me nor my sister will be harmed ever again by the sister Coven. You tell them that! You tell Melody that! Feel my anger now before you go!!!"
Karen swirled her wand in a circle and tossed the energy at the women. In an instant, lightening exploded where the two women stood clinging tight to one another. In one more instant there was a scream of pain. The next moment... they were no more.