Winter nights in Nickel Ridge were colder than most places as it rode the side of a Mountain range. Still most nights were clear and when the snow came, the ground became alight with moon and star light. Pine trees grew in patches around the ranges and in most spots the trees were extremely dense while others were sparse at best. Snow fell lazily to the ground thick enough to obscure vision but still see clearly for a few feet. Foot falls crunching through the snow could be heard through the silent night as someone made haste through the forest. It was a woman dressed in a black cloak complete with e hood to conceal her features. She wore black jeans and hiking boots along with a thick black coat. She held in her arms a small boy dressed in a similar fashion. He could only be maybe three or four years old. She stopped for a moment to catch her breath and sat the boy down to adjust her coat and cloak. She pulled the hood down to reveal a wild mane of dark blonde hair. It cascaded like a water fall down her back with light glistening off of every strand. Her ocean blue eyes were set upon a naturally beautiful face that conveyed strength but also a deeply hidden vulnerability. It was obvious that the woman was of power of some sort.
“Just a little further, cub; Then we’ll be at grandma’s house and everything will be fine.” She cooed softly to the small boy. She adjusted his coat as he stirred slightly from her touch and voice. He opened his eyes slightly and through the night she could see them perfectly. Large holes of deep black with small irises of blood red; a demon’s eyes, his father’s eyes. She suppressed physically the flash of memories that welled up as she thought about the boy’s father. She picked him up again and started moving again. She had moved another half a mile when she heard the crunch of another’s footsteps through the snow. She turned to see a figure moving slowly towards her at an even pace. All she could see was the man’s outline as if a light followed directly behind him. She took off at a dead run now, moving as fast as she could manage. The trees were thick here now and she was having trouble moving through the branches. The man seemed to always be right behind her and closing the distance, but still she pushed harder. Her lungs burned from the exertion and her muscles began to ach from the stress but she still ran.
The trees opened suddenly onto a circular clearing. The moon shined down like a searchlight in the sky illuminating her path as clear as day. She still ran until something hit her in her back. She went flying forward and the boy sailed from her arms. She landed then flipped then rolled in the snow as her momentum carried her. The boy landed in the snow like a bag tossed from a porch. He stirred restlessly from the sudden cold but otherwise he appeared fine. She hurried to get to him but the thick snow made it almost impossible. The shadow man appeared from the trees as if on a casual stroll, calmly advancing towards the boy. She made it to the boy first and muttered something under her breath. Soon the air around her hand rippled like air raising from a hot surface then with a flick of her wrist the air became a solid concussion of force that slammed into man. He staggered as if he had been struck in the face but otherwise he remained standing. Up close she could see that the man was bald and his skin was like obsidian stone. He had no mouth whatsoever, as if his skin had never had an opening for one. He wore a black suite with a red shirt and black tie and his eyes were as black as his skin but seemed to glow as well.
“Your tricks and magic will not work on me, Loreana.” The demon said in a voice that raked at her mind with rusty nails. She now stood between the demon and her son ready for whatever the demon would do. Here eyes now glowed like burning magnesium in the night and her hair turned black and swarmed on a sudden rush of wind that surrounded her.
“Leave this place, demon. Your presence is a stain on this earth.” She said firmly.
“That I maybe, but I have a task to complete for my master. I will not be denied by a simple witch.” The demon said as he took another step forward.
“You will die tonight if you come any closer. You’re forgetting that the transference of power works both ways.” Loreana said as she lifted her hands to her waist. They were now engulfed in blue flames ready to be unleashed at the demon. He hesitated for once at the sight then merely chuckled to himself.
“Your right but I have my own power. Not connected to my master.” The demon said as he lifted his hand. Black ooze materialized in the air and rushed at her. Loreana brought her flame up in front of her and sent it out like beams of energy. The two forces met between the two and vied for supremacy over the other. The black ooze sizzled and hissed as it evaporated from touching the fire. But the constant rushed began to push the fire back. “I have unlimited reserves of energy from hell itself fueling me. Your magic will run out eventually. Even now you feel the burden taxing your body and making you weaker.” He mocked as he began to advance forward. She fell to one knee as she continued the resistance but the ooze continued to push forward. Finally she could no longer keep up the resistance. The fire died as the ooze solidified and hit her in the chest. Fire erupted in her chest from the impact then the sudden stop of a tree sent her tumbling down to the edge of unconsciousness. Finally the demon began to advance on the boy, who had sat and watched the entire thing. His eyes focused on the demon as he came closer and the look on his face was of pure anger. The demon stopped in his tracks as if something held him in place.
“No more pain.” The boy said in a voice that could not have belonged to a small boy. The demon rose from the ground as his arms and legs snapped straight and he could not move. For the first time in ages this demon showed worry on his face. His skin began to tighten as if someone was pulling it. Tighter and tighter it went before finally splitting along his arms and legs. His suit was ripped away as the skin was peeled from his body. Black ichor that was his blood dropped to the ground and hissed and evaporated on impact. Muscle peeled back from yellow bones as they too were stripped from the demon. Finally the bones were crushed in on themselves and the mass was dropped to the ground. Black covered gore was all that was left of the demon. Loreana could only watch as blood from a cut above her eye flowed into her vision. Her son crawled/ walked to her as she lay on the ground unable to move her. His eyes had now changed to a normal blue color as he nudged her.
Feet crunching snow could be heard coming from the opposite direction. These were softer as if someone lighter was coming. They were also more deliberate. Another woman appeared from the ring of trees, she was dressed in a thick, deep blue cloak and black pants. Her coat was also black but more of a wind breaker than a winter coat. Her hair was long ending at her back, black with iron grey running through it and tied in a simple pony tail. She carried a long knarled staff of oak lacquered in black. Her face was smooth with only slight wrinkles around her eyes and forehead. Her eyes were glowing a deep blue now but returned to there regular brown as she saw Loreana and her child. She hurried as best she could and knelt down Loreana to check her pulse.
“Pulse is weak but is there.” She said in a soft leathery voice. She looked at the boy and smiled. “Hello, Tim.”
“Hi, grandma.” He said. He hugged her around her neck hen let go. “Mommy hurt, isn’t she?” the old woman stood up and waved her hand over Loreana.
“I’m afraid so, sugar. But everything is going to be just fine.” She said as she picked him up. Loreana’s body lifted into the air at the same time and floated three feet from he ground as if she were lying on a stretcher. “Come on. Let’s get you two home.” The three of them set off through the night leaving he circle of trees and the night behind them.