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Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2011 by Catherine Forbes

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The sky was a clear sheet of darkness stretching over the hideous residential area. Hundreds of stars seemed to be watching my every move, some twinkling as if with excitement—or with anticipation, in this case. They were my silent witnesses, watching intently and keeping my deadly secrets. I could spend hours looking up, mesmerized by the sheer beauty and unmistakable feeling of pure contentment. Unfortunately, at the moment, the simple pleasure of stargazing was a total distraction. I had a job to do.

I gazed at the invisible barrier with increasing interest. It was but a shifting of air, a slight glimmer that my eyes just managed to glimpse. If I hadn’t been concentrating, I wouldn’t have seen any sign of it. But I’d have felt it nonetheless. Never had I been so close to such complex sorcery that had actually succeeded in doing what it was supposed to do. Most high standard spells such as this failed for many reasons—mainly the ignorance of the caster. But this...I was definitely impressed at the strength of the force. I couldn’t feel any weak spots, any tweaks that I could work with to bring it down without my own magical aid.

The power of it prickled over my skin as I stepped closer. I almost shivered. I was close enough to reach out and touch it now, but I didn’t feel like being electrocuted. My insides frying to mush wasn’t on the agenda. Instead, kneeling on the soft grass, I took off my backpack and rummaged through it.

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