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CASE #12: Trapped In Stone

by C.I. Black

Urban Fantasy
June 2016

No place to go…

For Morgan, running or hiding is no longer an option. With her powerful gorgon sight and her inside knowledge of Kin politics, the High Council will never stop hunting her. Nor can she in good conscience turn her back on the Kin world. Ander might have stopped coming after her, but his terrible plans are still in motion, and as the last living gorgon, she’s the only one who has the power to stop him. She’ll need all the help she can get. Except that means making an alliance and she doesn’t know who she can trust.




Fire and lightning roared through Morgan, tearing at her essence and whipping her into a writhing vortex of darkness. Lachlin, lying naked and straddled between her legs on the bed from their lovemaking, screamed and grabbed at her wrists. He wrenched against her arms, but couldn’t move her hands from his chest. Darkness sliced into him, shooting through his veins and pouring from his mouth, nose, and eyes.

The vortex ripped the curtains from the rods and tossed her and Lachlin’s clothes, discarded on the floor, into the air. Wind smashed the lamp and picture frames against the wall, sending shards of glass, ceramic, and wood whipping through the air. They cut her naked flesh, pinpricks against the inferno tearing her apart from the inside out.

Lachlin bucked, and more of her essence shattered, expanding into the black vortex— No, she was the vortex. Power, lightning, and fire. It tore through her from the burning supernova around her heart and threatened to consume her.

Someone screamed her name, a voice small and far away against the roaring wind.

Lachlin’s grip on her wrists tightened. His eyes were too wide, she could feel his pulse pounding from his palms against her skin, and his chest heaved under her hands with rapid, desperate gasps.

The darkness, her darkness, dug deeper into his flesh. His head jerked back and more shot from his mouth while blue lightning snapped in his eyes. A match to the lightning bursting within her, shattering more pieces from her essence.

The door to the bedroom flew open, and Loric and Eoin rushed into the room.

Her darkness seized massive, muscular Loric, slammed him into lanky Eoin, and tossed them back into the hall. Inky tendrils dug deeper into Lachlin.

“Morgan, please,” he gasped, choking around the darkness pouring from his mouth.

She was killing him, and she didn’t know how or why, but it was clear she was ripping him apart from the inside out, too. She fought to find something within herself to hang onto, a way to stop the darkness, but more of her essence whipped in the tornado filling the room. They were disintegrating together, burning up on raw power.

“Morgan—” His body tensed. The blue lightning racing over his eyes exploded into a sapphire blaze that haloed his face.

More lightning snapped, slicing into her heart and tearing more pieces from it. The window shattered and the vortex sucked in more glass.

Loric shoved back into the room, but black tendrils seized him—stark contrast to his too-pale skin—and slammed him against the wall. They wrapped around his body, speared into the wall, and pinned him there.

“Let it go, Morgan,” he yelled.

Yes, she had to let him go. Let Lachlin go.

Except that wasn’t what Loric had said.

He’d said to let it go. But she didn’t know how without losing herself to the vortex.

“Close the fissure.” Loric wrenched against the darkness lashing him to the wall. “You’ve opened a spellweaving fissure. You have to close it before it burns you up.”

Lachlin screamed. The light from his eyes filled the room. His gaze locked on hers. Solid, stable. A lifeline of serene brilliant blue.

She fought to keep her attention on him, to stay in that calm, but wind tore at her hair and skin, and shards of glass swept through her, slicing not at skin but at the magical fiber of her being. She filled the room, now no longer just straddling Lachlin. The inferno consumed whatever it was that kept her cells together and in human form. All that remained was roaring power and the pinprick of herself held in place with Lachlin’s gaze.

“Stay with me.” Pain tightened his eyes.

If she let the vortex consume her, he’d suffer. What little remained of his Kin nature and empathy was stuck on her. Without emotional hits from her, painful convulsions would seize him.

His grip slid up her forearms to her elbows, and more of her essence locked on his gaze, captured by the blazing blue sun in his eyes.

“Stay with me and release the pressure in your heart.”

The inferno in her chest contracted, as if the mere mention of it gave it strength. Her darkness strained against the walls and ceiling, desperate to break their confines. Thick tendrils lashed out the broken window and through the doorway, but didn’t burst from her and escape, as if it couldn’t until the pressure within her finally exploded and she ruptured into a thousand pieces.

“Eoin, help me,” Lachlin yelled over the roaring vortex.

Eoin staggered to the doorway. The wind whipped at his waist-length hair, and light bled from his too-large fae eyes. He clutched the frame to keep standing against her tornado. “I’m not a spellweaving focus like you are— were. And my charm won’t work on that.”

Loric wrenched against the darkness pinning him to the wall. “You have to try.” Blood oozed down his biceps from a deep gash and dripped from his elbow, but was sucked into the vortex before splattering on the floor.

“Try what?” Eoin jerked forward, but the darkness seized him and shoved him back out the bedroom door.

Her essence swept past him, surging down the hall, pulling her cells farther apart but still not breaking free. She fought to cling to herself and focus on the calm in Lachlin’s eyes, but the harder she clutched, the faster she whirled apart.

“Morgan, stay with me.” His fingers dug into her skin as if he was desperate to anchor her with physical contact. But she could barely feel his touch. She could barely feel anything past the rushing, searing power.

Lachlin grabbed her face and yanked her down. Her nose brushed his, and his gaze slammed her back into her body.

“Morgan. Focus. Let the magic go,” he gasped. Blood beaded in a shallow cut in his cheek and sweat slicked his forehead. His long black hair flew around them like writhing snakes that lashed at her and through her. His breath heaved, brushing his chest against hers. Real and solid. “Close the fissure.”

“I don’t know how.” She could barely hold onto herself, let alone close something.

“Concentrate on my voice.”

His brow furrowed, his expression hard with concentration. He closed his eyes, and the sapphire sun holding the pebbled core that remained of her essence vanished. Her heart contracted, and the vortex ripped away more of her.

The pebble shrank to the size of a pea. She clenched harder, desperate to keep herself together. Eoin screamed and Loric’s wrenching against the darkness pinning him to the wall grew frantic.

Lachlin’s eyes flew open, and his sun yanked her back. “Okay, not my voice. Focus on my eyes.” He tangled his hands into her hair, keeping her face close. “I’ve got you. Release the fire in your heart.”

“I don’t know how.” The blaze in her chest spread down her arms and legs.

“Sure you do. Remember how you controlled your gaze. Let your sight blur, let all of yourself blur.”

“I’ll be ripped apart.”

“I’ll keep hold of you.” He pressed his forehead to hers. “I’ve got you, Morgan.”

The light in his eyes crept into her, seeping between the cracks of her darkness. Soft warmth dampened the edge of the inferno and she scrambled to hold onto it.

“Let everything but me blur.” More soft light bled into the cracks of her essence.

She clutched at it and wrapped it around the pea-sized core of herself.

“That’s it.” His breath feathered across her face, her real flesh and blood face, not shattering, billowing darkness.

His warmth spread across her skin, and she gathered more of it into her heart, easing the searing inferno. The vortex shuddered. Lightning snapped across her skin, and the curtains, clothes, and glass shards dropped to the floor. The inferno in her chest flared, burning her senses, then snapped cold. Ice flooded her, her muscles went limp, and she collapsed on top of Lachlin, shivering and frozen.

He wrapped his arms around her. Loric staggered across the floor and pulled the edge of the comforter over them.

“Holy shit,” Eoin gasped from the doorway. “She’s a djinn.”