Sanction New Hampshire

September 1, 2011


Wow, he’s hot, too hot.

Hope’s skin was uncomfortably warm, the heat getting worse every minute. She smelled smoke, or was that part of the dream? He’s smoking hot, that’s it. Hope settled back to admire his dark hair and bright eyes. At least I dreamed up someone worth looking at.

She sighed. Life in Sanction was good. Not was, is—is good. Missing Dream Guy, AKA DG, did not make the rest of her life lonely. These dreams didn’t last. Now he was here, but for how long? She wanted to enjoy the time, but it was just so damn hot!

His voice broke into her thoughts. “Hope. Hope. You need to wake up.”

Like hell I do. Just minutes after getting here he wants me to leave? No way.

She was staying asleep and right here. He was free to do whatever he wanted.

“Hope, please.”The urgency in his voice pulled at her, but she refused. She wasn’t letting go of the dream.

“You need to wake up now!”

He was giving her orders? This is silly. I created DG, I don’t have to listen to him. Made up people are not allowed to give orders.

“I’m not joking Hope.”

She ignored him letting her mind wander.  Hope, he made those four letters sound formal and interesting. She liked that. With him she wasn’t just one of the three witch sisters. No Faith or Charity here. Stupid sisters.

She needed a break, being magically tied together was a blessing and a curse. Stop it. I can’t think about them or they  might show up and ruin what’s left of my dream. Then she would have to share him like she did everything else in her life. Not this though. If the heat would just cool it and let her relax and enjoy…

Hope couldn’t read DG’s expression now, but there were times she felt his dislike, frustration, and occasionally amusement. Even if their time together wasn’t special for him having something that was hers alone was important. She wasn’t giving it up.

“You will go and he will come. It is inevitable, you are marching to the spirit’s drum.”

He was rhyming? Could this be a vision? No. That didn’t feel right. If it was then her sisters would already be next to her. His fingers brushed her arm and Hope shivered. Cold pressed against her overheated skin meaning DG was not the source of the raising temperature.

“Hope, you have to wake up.”

The air was thick, hot and smoky.

“You need to go.”

Go where?

“You’ll see.”

Why? Why do you want me to go? Her heart clenched every pulse painful as she waited for his answer.

“I don’t want you to go, but this is important. Something you need to do.”

Hope wanted to ask how he knew that, but she sensed magic swirling around him. It whispered softly, too low for her to make out the words.

“You need to go now. He’s waiting for you.”

Go where? I don’t care who is waiting. I’m not going to get up. So, whatever it is—too bad.

Hope felt his body just inches away cooling the air. His voice burned cold, cutting into her exposed skin. “Hope Bradford, wake up now!”

She fought to ignore her unease until the urgency broke through the dam holding back her emotions. She was flooded with panic. Was he warning her? Smoke. Why did she smell smoke in her bedroom? Her sisters? Where were they? She needed to wake everyone up. They needed to get out of the house.

Hope sat up in bed taking a deep breath to scream. She drew in fresh, clean air and paused. That’s not right. There should be smoke and fire. What’s going on?

Hope’s skin felt cooler now than it had in her dream. None of this made sense. The house creaked, there was the hum of electricity, but that was it. Her strongest gift might be foretelling but she was witch enough to sense that all the protective wards on the house were still in place.

Vision then? She shook her head. All three sisters were needed for a full vision. Dream Guy wanted her to wake up, but why? Faith and Charity were not in the room. There was no fire.

The house isn’t on fire. The thought came back to irritate her.

So you can stay in bed, idiot. No need to get up.

She swung her legs off the mattress, slipped sandals on her feet, and a sweatshirt over her head to cover the tank top of her pajamas. My imaginary friend is telling me to do things. That is full on crazy people stuff. Every time Hope tried to convince herself he was a figment of her imagination it had the opposite effect. He feels too real.

He must be real! She allowed herself to be propelled forward by the urgency in his voice. I’ll just look around a little then go back to bed. The glow outside her window looked brighter than the porch light should. Hope hesitated a step from the window, shivering.

Please don’t be anything.

She closed her eyes, and placed one foot forward to position herself. She lifted her lids. The woods behind her house looked darker against the blaze visible through the trees. Not my imagination.

There was only one building between her house and the sheer cliff wall of the valley, the Hawthorne Academy of Witchcraft. That meant—the high school was burning!

“Wake up! The school is on fire!”

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