I slowly rose, concentrating on drifting upward rather than lifting off. I was aware of Wendy keeping close watch.
I was about ten feet off the ground. My coach called, “Remember, serene! Just like you’re doing now. That’s great, Brandilynn.”
I tried to hold onto that light as a feather feeling as I rose slowly into the air. “Just a little pixie dust and we’re off to Neverland,” I muttered.
I was high enough now. I willed myself to move forward, trying to go slow. The magnolia tree in the distance was coming close. It was one of those that didn’t shed its leaves in the winter, and with my vampire sight I could see the veins in the dark green foliage.
Darn it, the tree was coming at me faster despite all my attempts to keep my pace gradual. It was already a matter of feet away. I tried to slow down. My body began jerking and plunged towards the ground for a brief second.
“Around the tree. Around the tree,” I coaxed, my voice rising in desperation. I jolted to one side. It wasn’t pretty, but I avoided collision. I sailed past the magnolia, again picking up speed.
“Slow turn, slow turn, slow turn,” I chanted, still trying to will my power to behave. My body jerked harder than ever, making me look like a marionette being flung about.
A surge of anger flashed at my inability to control what seemed to come so easily to the other vampires. With the moment of temper, I lost my tenuous power over the ability. I abruptly twisted in the air, bringing me face to trunk with the tree. I shot straight for it.
At the last second, I managed to veer off to one side. I missed the trunk but still smacked into several large branches. Gravity took the last of my conscience influence away, and I landed in a heap at the foot of the tree.
Pain and disappointment robbed me of my usual abhorrence for vulgar language. I let loose with profanity that would make a sailor proud. It was the crowning moment of my failure.
Once I’d emptied my store of potty mouth, I slowly sat up. The one good thing about my situation was having an undead body that healed quickly.
My moment of thankfulness was interrupted by loud boisterous laughter. Someone was finding my predicament funny, and that made me mad all over again. I shot to my feet and readied to make someone pay.
It was neither Wendy nor Gerald enjoying so much amusement at my expense. I looked in the direction of their stares to see Arthur Dragwald approaching us from the wooded area flanking one side of the field. His gait was impeded by the fact he was nearly doubled over in laughter.
Had he been watching the entire time? Why was he here at all?
Important questions, but my confusion was quickly eclipsed at his hilarity over my latest mishap. Anger rose higher with every rude guffaw.
“See something funny, Arthur?” My voice was dangerous without effort.
He managed to calm enough to speak. “Oh my, yes. Right into the tree! Ah, poor tree, do you think it will survive?”
He drew close. As furious as I was, I couldn’t help but notice that funny charred smell of his. It was different from anyone I’d ever met, though I could have sworn I’d come across it before. It was a vital scent, one that made me think of jalapenos or wasabi. I thought he might be a livelier bite than even Gerald.
Plus giving him a nice big chomp would shut him up.
I did make the attempt to be reasonable though I felt anything but that. “You do know laughing at a new vampire, one with little control over her emotions, is an invitation to trouble don’t you?”
Arthur stopped a couple of feet away. His eyes narrowed but the mocking grin remained. “Do you want a taste, young lady? I warn you, it could be a very bad idea.”
For him, yeah. “Keep irritating me, and you’ll find out just how bad an idea it is.”
No release date set.