The man’s grip slackened. He was barely able to steady himself as he fell forward onto his victim. The woman gasped and coughed, kicking him off her as she propped herself up. He sat dazed on the ground, his thoughts scrambled by the spell. Once the woman recovered, she stood over her perpetrator and began kicking him. She wouldn’t stop.
“F**k you, Fred! You swine! You bastard! You drunk mf! You piece of….”
Athena stared as the lady continued to hurl obscenities at the man. Now it looked like the man was the one in danger. She didn’t know if she did the right thing anymore. Everyone is so violent in this neighborhood. Was the man going to die? Should she stop the woman?
“Young spellcaster!” The grim cried exasperatedly. “You cannot save everyone!” Athena said nothing. His words barely registered in her mind. “This is terrible.. You are overcome with shock, and so vulnerable in a place like this. You cannot stay here. You need to leave,” the grim said. But her entire body felt like lead. She stared blankly ahead.
“I can no longer stay by your side. I am called. Take my word and leave soon or…” the Grim’s remorseful voice trailed as he tried to force his next words with difficulty. It was as if an unseen force held him back. “You… you have 10 minutes,” he managed. “Please make haste and leave!” And he vanished.
The woman finally stopped and took notice of her. “You’re the one who yelled?” Her gaze fell on the pile of decorative rocks beside Athena. “Good shot, he didn’t even react to my kicks. You knocked his brains out.”
When Athena said nothing, she went on. “You ain’t from here aren’t you? Otherwise you’d know not to come out at night, especially when you’re a redhead! Haven’t you heard what’s been happening around here?”
Again, the strange girl said nothing. She grew impatient. “Well, rumor has it the rival gang’s been wronged by a red-haired girl! Redheads’ been terrorized since! You ain’t safe here. Fred’s a piece of trash but he ain’t the worse. Let’s get outta here.”
Athena finally came to her senses. “Right.. I need to… get out of here…” She disappeared behind the trunk of a palm tree and muttered something.
“Where you goin’ from there?” The woman followed, but upon reaching the spot where the strange girl should be, she was nowhere in sight.
She realised too late that she underestimated the danger she was in. Despite teleportation being a simple spell of visualising where you wanted to go and uttering the incantation, it can only cover a certain distance. Furthermore, she was so distracted by the neighborhood violence that she had not paid attention to any landmarks. The sounds of the night creeped her out, especially when even the neighborhood delinquents were nowhere in sight either. How long had she been lost for?
A desperate idea came to her mind. I’ll visualise the stairwell of that drug den and make my way from there, she thought. Could she even teleport with this distance, wherever she was?
Her blood froze.
“Whatchu doin out here? Lookin’ for company?”
“Trans… transportalate!” She uttered frantically. Her wand tip glowed but nothing happened. Today marks the first time she used magic in a practical setting outside her home. Had she use too much due to lack of experience? Or due to her emotional state? Is that why she felt so strangely drained?
“Say, that looks pretty nice.” The one on the ground got up as he eyed her wand, then her. “Looks as nice as you baby.”
“Ya know, Steve did say we can do whatever we want to redheads before we bring ’em to him.” His partner quipped.
Her body stiffened. She turned and ran.