“Maria! Wait up!.” Rose screamed ahead. “Charlie can’t catch up.”

“Ah, leave him.” Maria shouted back, not lessening her pace.

“Maria!” Rose slowed. She looked behind at her little brother- he was panting hard. Two years behind her was too much for him to keep up. Charlie ran as fast as he could, but only got to her after a few more minutes. Rose held out a hand, but Charlie brushed it aside.

“I don’t need your help.” He spat between breaths. “I can run.”

Rose sighed, then looked back to her older sister. Maria was very far ahead. Rose worried that they were straying too far. “Charlie- let’s just wait for Maria…”

“No!” Charlie continued running. “You stay if you’re too weak. I’m going.”

Rose said a quick spell for speed and stamina under her breath, and blew it towards Charlie. He had not learned regenerative spells just yet. It would have worked better if she could touch him, but he would never allow that. Rose said another spell for herself, then ran after Charlie.

It is a good thing Maria can’t. Rose thought. While Maria could move things with her mind better than anyone Rose knew, she had lost the ability for other simple magics.

“Charlie- it’s dangerous out there.” Rose cupped her hands to her mouth to try to reach him. “The rocks here are unstable. You don’t want to fall into the ravine.”

“Scaredy-cat!” Charlie shouted back.

Rose sighed again. She wished that Charlie would just forget about their older sister. Everyone else adored him- why did he seek her approval so much? Rose increased her pace to keep up with Charlie. They ran for another ten minutes, then reached the edge of the forest. Maria had completely disappeared into the tree-line but Rose remembered where she went. At any rate, she could use her magic to find her, if needed.

As they neared the trees, Rose paused. “Heat quaerere.” Her vision blurred, then the forest lit up with life- little dots indicated which parts had heat. Small animals littered the forest, but there was one large patch where Charlie had run ahead. That must be where she had gone. Rose ended the spell- and as she did she realized how close they were to the edge of the ravine.

“Charlie!” Rose screamed, but he was too far for her voice to reach. Rose pondered speaking into his mind, but he would probably block her out. He was always mad that she nagged too much. There was no choice but to run after him.

“Charlie…” Rose gasped between breaths. It did not take Rose long to close the distance, and she arrived just as Charlie stopped by the tree line to look for Maria. He walked cautiously near the edge of the ravine. He looked down warily. Her favorite hobby seemed to be to bully Charlie. When their parents were away, it seemed that was all she would think about.

A few moments later, Rose spotted Maria. She was creeping up behind him. “Maria, no.” Rose whispered- but this time Maria did not try to scare him.

“Charlie.” Maria said calmly. “Well done, you actually kept up.”

Rose was surprised, and could see her little brother beam at Maria’s praise.

“Now stop being a little attention-hoarder, and stop following me.” Rose watched as Maria lifted a hand. Charlie stumbled backwards.

Rose froze. Maria did not touch him, but Rose knew she did not have to. “Maria!” Rose shouted, but Maria did not turn back or hesitate.

“Rose and I were happy before you showed up.” Maria said in a matter-of-fact tone. “Goodbye.”

“Charlie!” Rose ran to where her brother was, but he was gone. She stretched out her hand and it closed upon air. “Charlie… no.”

Rose snapped her head towards Maria- pleading, hoping… but Maria did not move. Rose saw nothing but hatred and determination in her eyes. Maria was not playing a joke- she did not intend to save him. How long? Rose wondered.

Rose put a hand forward and tried willing Charlie up herself. Tears flowed down as she begged Charlie to stop falling. “Levo! Ascende! Surge!” She could feel that her strength was not enough. Charlie was going too fast, he was too heavy, and had already gone too far. Only magic like Maria’s could catch him now. “Charlie! Charlie! CHARLIE!”

Rose felt Maria grab her from behind, trying to turn her away. At last, Rose knew that she would not be able to save him. She wished that she had Maria’s powers. “Your powers… your powers. Lend. Please. Maria.”

Rose sobbed loudly. The world was cold and dead- but within the numbness Rose felt something crack within her. Her magic intensified- she could feel power coming from Maria. Not just any power- a very specific, focused type of energy. It was as if Maria contained concentrated and specific magic. In that instant, Rose knew that she was powerful- more powerful than she had ever been, and she knew she could save Charlie.

“Charlie.” She put out her hand again and pulled. Rose pulled as hard as she could- and felt Charlie slow. He was close to the bottom. Rose pulled harder, and he decelerated faster- but not fast enough. Rose put every fiber of her being into willing him up and pulled. Her senses blurred- at that moment it seemed that she dug deeper into the ground, as if she was incredibly heavy. She could not feel anything except for Charlie- he slowed quickly, then stopped, and started rising.

As he rose, however, he started accelerating. Rose decelerated her pull, but there was no effect. It was as if her powers were a piece of string, and Charlie was a rock tied to the bottom. Her previous powerful pull launched Charlie upwards- but not straight up the way he went down. He came directly towards her, without some distance from the cliff-side achieved by Maria’s push. Before Rose could react, she sensed her little brother crashing against the side of the ravine at top speed. He was already unconscious and incapable of screaming. There was a snap- then the forest fell quiet save for the echos of her brother’s death. Rose knelt to her knees. She had failed.

Rose felt Maria try to pull her up. Her hands were cold. There was no warmth whatsoever. It was as if Rose was something which belonged to her- as if she had just won her back.

“Come now, sister.” Maria said.

“Maria…” It was still all too much for her to process- Maria had killed her little brother. She felt a deep despair, betrayal, disgust, and guilt. She felt lost, cold, scared, and confused. Then, she felt anger. It overwhelmed her. She welcomed it.

“You did this.” Rose said.

Maria let go of her. “Rose?” She took a step back- her normally monotonous voice wavered.

“You killed him. YOU KILLED HIM!” She could feel hot tears roll down her cheeks- and a deep, strong power well within her. “YOU KILLED CHARLIE!”

How long? How long? She kindled the wrath within her, and the power she felt grew with it. There was a time when Rose would do nothing. Maria always bullied Charlie- and Rose always watched. Never. Again.

“Rose!” Maria said, a little louder this time. There was a thick coating of fear lathered across her words.

Rose felt her power pull on Maria- but there was not just one string this time, there were many. Rose bound her legs, her arms, and coiled one around her neck. She wrapped several around her waist, her feet, her hands, and then wrapped more. Maria tried to scream, but Rose only gripped tighter, forcing the very air out of her. Maria struggled. The strings drew tighter.

“Goodbye.” Rose said, then jerked Maria towards her. She stepped out of the way at the last second, then pushed her down the same ravine which Charlie fell. As Maria fell, Rose pushed on her, forcing her down. Maria screamed- croaking the last bits of air out of herself. Rose overwhelmed Maria’s powers- not that she could do much while bound anyways- and pushed until the very bottom. Maria reached incredible speeds- speeds past any normal object would fall. Then, just before she reached the bottom, Rose pulled. This time, she was much more precise, and could reverse the fall almost instantaneously. Rose heard something snap, and Maria’s screaming stopped. She kept pulling anyways, slamming Maria into the rock cliff just as she had done to Charlie. Rose could not feel Maria anymore. She wondered how long it had been. All that remained was a cold carcass. She had killed her sister.

Rose looked up into the sky. It was already dark, and it was cold. She looked at her hands and noticed them shaking. While she was no longer enraged, she could still feel a deep anger emanating. It was not hot rage, but a cold, intelligent fire. A chill which grew within her, filling every part of her with hatred.

Injustice should not go unpunished. Rose smiled. She knelt to the floor and met cold, wet mud. She laughed. Mud.

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