Mira stepped through the door, knowing that she had no other choice. A single tear trickled down her cheek. Being a ‘demon’ was both a blessing and a curse right at the moment. It meant she was safe from… she didn’t know exactly who it was, but she knew that her entire family was dead because of someone, as she’d could leave Raenarin behind. At the same time being alive when they were all gone was more painful than anything that had happened before. For the first time in her life she was entirely alone, on a world she didn’t know, and all she wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry.
That, of course, wasn’t actually an option. Mira wiped the single tear away, trying to work out where exactly she was, because she had never made use of her abilities on purpose before. Being a ‘demon’ wasn’t safe. The known doors on Raenarin led to known places, but the door she had stepped through could easily have led to any world in the Web. Shaking, still terrified, she ran a hand though her hair. If she hadn’t been a daughter of the witch queen of Raenarin she wouldn’t even have known the other worlds existed, so she was grateful for the knowledge being who she was gave her.
All Mira could do was walk through the forest she found herself in and see where she ended up. There were forests on many of the worlds, so that was no help at all, but if she could find a town she might have some idea. Becoming a walker had once been an option, because having tattoos would make her safer, until she’d realised how much work it would be to pass just one exam. It was understandable. Walkers had an important job and she knew that she would never have been good enough.
Instead Mira had done what she could to learn about the other worlds on the web. One of the walkers who’d visited her mother during a trip to Raenarin had been happy to talk to her, which had helped, and given her more information on two of the worlds, but there were thirty four known worlds. She knew almost nothing about the other thirty two worlds. If she’d ended up on one of the worlds she knew it was going to be pure luck.
Walking was something Mira knew she could do. The shaking wasn’t stopping, which could have been because she was in her night clothes and beginning to get cold or due to the fear she felt that someone might walk through the door behind her, so she took one step, then another. It hurt a little as her feet were bare, but she had to move. Getting away from the door was something she had to do, even if no one followed her. She needed to find out where she was and then go from there. At that moment the only thing she knew was that she could never go home.
Wrapping her arms around herself Mira kept walking. As long as she focused on putting one foot in front of the other she would be fine. Part of her wanted to turn around and go back through the door, no matter what the outcome was going to be, but it was her mother, her Queen, who had told her to go. Those were orders she couldn’t ignore. Another tear trickled down her cheek. She didn’t bother to wipe it away. It was hard to believe she was never going to see her mother again, or the rest of her family, and she would never get a chance to say goodbye.
Mira couldn’t stop herself from turning to look for the door. When she realised it wasn’t there she wasn’t sure how she’d felt. In a way she was grateful, because it meant she couldn’t go back, but at the same time she felt anger welling up inside her. All of her choices had been taken away by someone who had just destroyed her family and there was nothing she could do about it. Finally, once she had pushed away as much of the anger as she could, she started walking again, keeping her back to where the door had been.
The walkers Mira had talked to had told her about ‘demons’. That was how she knew what she was. Her mother had kept that from her and when Mira has asked why the answer had been one she should have known to expect: having the ability to walk through doors without any tattoos didn’t make her a bad person. Some people with the same ability had done things that walkers didn’t like, which was the reason they were called ‘demons’, but that didn’t make her a ‘demon’. While she walked she kept those words in her mind, because she was almost certain that the people who had appeared in her home were ‘demons’.
By the time Mira got to an edge of the forest the sun was beginning to rise, but her lack of knowledge meant she had no idea if sunrise on her new world was the same as it was on Raenarin. She looked around, hoping for a path to guide her, and found nothing. Sighing, she kept walking in what she hoped was a straight line. There had to be something somewhere, because all of the other worlds were inhabited, so all she had to do was keep going until she found it.
To keep herself occupied she thought about what she was going to do if she didn’t find a town before nightfall. Food was the first thing on the list, because she was beginning to feel hungry. If she had been on Raenarin she would have been able to feed herself with berries and roots, but she wasn’t, so she had no idea what was edible and what would poison her. She was happy she was beginning to warm up, thanks to the sun, even though being warm wasn’t going to keep her alive. Being the last remaining member of her family, who should be the witch Queen of Raenarin, so she was determined to survive.
The thought of not finding somewhere filled Mira with terror. Once whoever killed her family realised she wasn’t dead they would come after her, and there was every possibility they might know where she was. They might have used the same doorway she had to get to Raenarin. It was also possible she was being paranoid, but she would rather be paranoid than dead. Another tear trickled down her cheek. Pain and fear kept her walking, even though her feet felt like they couldn’t keep going. She didn’t dare look at them, because she knew if they were bleeding she would stop.
Breathing deeply, Mira focused on where she was going. With the forest behind her she felt less safe than she had done within it, because if anyone was looking for her then she was easy to find, and she knew as the last of her mother’s children, the last of the Witch Queen’s children, she needed to stay alive. Some day she, or one of her descendants, might have a chance to retake the throne. Biting hard on her lip she glanced back at the woods, back at where she had come through from Raenarin, and felt tears welling up in her eyes again, even though she didn’t want to cry.
As she turned back Mira walked straight into a man. They stared at each other, while she tried to slow her heart, and she attempted to find her voice. “Are you from Raenarin?”
“Why do you ask?” Mira’s voice was much quieter than she’d expected it to be and full of sorrow, but at least she’d managed to speak. “Are you expecting someone from Raenarin?”
“The Queen came to us and asked us to watch out for her daughter. She knew something was coming, but she didn’t tell us exactly where the door was going to be.” He smiled at her, taking something out of his pocket. “When she left she gave us this to show to anyone who arrived unexpectedly, knowing that they’d know it was a sign, so have a look.”
When Mira saw her mother’s ring the tears almost fell. “I don’t know how she knew what was coming.”
“She wasn’t stupid and your brother, I think she said it was your brother at least, was able to see the future. He told her that something was coming, but he couldn’t tell exactly what it was because his abilities weren’t strong. Apparently he could just feel a black cloud rolling over the family slowly.” He shrugged. “I only know what she told us, but she even managed to convince one of the fae living on Raenarin to help her by creating a door that would only appear when someone of her blood got near it.”
“I didn’t know something like that was possible.”
“Neither did I. Your mother did though, and she gave you a route to a safe world, because she knew we were here waiting for you.”
“She didn’t think I’d survive alone.”
“Did you think you’d survive alone?”
“No, but…” Tears filled Mira’s eyes. “I knew she was ready for whatever was going to come next. I just didn’t realise she was this ready. I didn’t think she’d planned for my survival.” Yet another tear trickled down her cheek. Showing weakness was something she disliked doing, but as he’d been sent by her mother she wasn’t scared of him. “What happens next?”
“Right now you have an option. I’m not going to force you to come with me, although I think that would be the best thing for you to do. If you make the decision to walk away I have something you can take with you, to make it easier for you to survive, but your mother thought you’d make the decision to stay with me.”
Biting hard on her lip Mira thought about what she wanted to do. Up until she’d been sent away she’d known who she was, and what she was meant to do next. There were no real choices for her to make. She studied the person in front of her. He didn’t look like he was much older than her. Yet there was an age in his eyes that made her think he might well be much older than he seemed, unless, of course, he’d been through the same sort of pain she had. It wasn’t unheard of for the covens to do what they felt they had to do when it came to the males born of Witches, even though her mother had tried to put a stop to that. That was probably part of the reason the covens had made the decision to kill her. Biting hard on her lip, to stop the tears from falling once more, she nodded, slowly.
“I don’t want to be alone right now. I don’t think it would be good for me.”
“Your mother didn’t warn you?”
“No, she didn’t, and she made the right choice. If she’d told me before…” Mira sighed. “There was nothing I would have been able to do to stop what happened. If she couldn’t find a way there was no chance I would have been able to. Unfortunately I think it was one of those things that had to happen.” Even though she was still trying hard to stop the tears from falling one still dropped. “Now I’m the only one left, and that probably means something too.”
“Everything means something, Mira. That’s the way of the Web.”
She nodded, half wishing that wasn’t the case. “You have my name, but you never gave me yours, and I was always taught that was bad manners.”
Fortunately, hopefully having heard the slight teasing in her voice, he smiled. “So was I, as well as being told that names do have power. You can call me Eamon.”
***The World Walkers: Raenarin: Rachel: Becoming Human >>>