By Victor D. Infante
There’s this Wiccan I talk to on Facebook who tells me she’s glad she’s not tied to a city, because she likes being “close to the Earth.” I tease her about that, but the truth is witches are tied to their territory. Hers is some rural middle-of-nowhere place, and mine is a big slab of concrete and asphalt. I’m beginning to think she has a point.
I try to stem the tide of panic by listening to my body and figuring out precisely what’s happening. The first thing I notice is that I’m immensely thirsty. The second I notice is that the pain I’m experiencing, the reason I’ve fallen, is because my muscles are cramping. Hard. Like, harder than I’ve ever felt in my life. My head is aching, and my blood pressure is dropping fast.
“The clubgoers died of dehydration,” I think, and I realize it’s time to do something drastic. I dig my fingers into the parking lot’s asphalt, breaking my fingernails in the process. I try to sense minerals, become a divining rod. As I find traces of potassium, I draw them to mine and Henri’s bodies to try and ease the muscle pain. Water should be a little easier — I try to draw it from the air, soak it into our skins. It’s not working fast enough, so I reach my mind down deep, down where the earth is still earth, and draw up roots, foot upon foot of it, whatever pieces of vegetation I can find. They rip through the surface of the parking lot and entwine our bodies. Quickly as I can manage, I drain whatever energy I can from them to heal us. I can sense the death I’m inflicting for miles around. I’ve made a small gash in what little ecosystem existed here. I don’t think it’ll be the last sacrifice I make before this is over.
But I’m alive. And angry.
Henri stumbles to his feet.
“What was that?” he asks, but I ignore the question. I know what it was, and I know I’ll need his help to stop it.
“Let’s go find out,” I say, focused on the building in front of us. Something has changed in the air. Everything feels cold.
I take a deep breath, and begin to go back into the breach.
“Whitney,” says Ru, stopping me in my tracks. I turn to face her, and she’s gone full drag mother, unable to conceal her concern. Her I look in the eyes.
“Don’t fuck it up.”
Victor D. Infante is the editor-in-chief of Radius.