The War of Odds

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Authors: Linell Jeppsen
sick to her stomach. She staggered as nausea roiled through her belly and her head spun. Then she heard a cat hiss from across the road. “Sara, keep walking. Those are witches… human witches, like you. Unlike you, however, they have embraced the darkness. Now go!” Hissaphat screeched.
    Sara turned around and walked swiftly toward town as the big black car followed in her wake. Her heart raced with dread and the certain knowledge that whoever sat in the darkened interior of that vehicle meant her harm. She thought she heard someone whispering in her ear. Hiss cried, “Do not listen to them, Sara! Keep walking.”
      The closest house was only about thirty feet away- surely, those people… those witches would not try anything in broad daylight… or would they? Her back crawled in clammy anticipation. She noticed that Hissaphat wasn’t alone. There were many cats with him today. They surrounded her and kept pace with her as she entered the town proper.
    There were Tabby cats, Manx, black cats and yellow, Siamese cats, and Persians, young and old, groomed and scruffy. They marched to either side of her as Hissaphat glared and growled at the SUV with the blacked-out windows.
    Sara stopped finally, and gulped. She would rather face her assailants than let them sneak up behind her. She turned to face them and, for a moment, Sara and the people inside the car faced each other down. Then the vehicle accelerated, motoring past her and down the road. Its taillights illuminated the snowflakes that skittered through the morning air like furtive spirits. Sara stared up into the sky in shock.
    It’s May 15 th , for Pete’s sake! Sara thought, shivering. Looking about, she saw that all of the cats, including Hiss, were gone now. She felt much better physically as well. The horrible nausea had left, along with the black car. Sara wondered if the people inside had cast a spell on her, or if being a witch enabled her to sense the darkness in other witches, like a hound can smell fear.
    Either way she was safe, for now, and it was freezing. Sara hugged herself for warmth and hurried down the sidewalk to the café, which was about three blocks away. A car full of kids sped by, and someone hollered, “Hey Sara, it’s snowing!”
    As if, I don’t know that! Sarah smiled and waved, blowing snow off her nose. Staring ahead, she saw that Chloe and Nate were standing in front of the restaurant, waiting for her to show up. She picked up the pace and then she was with her fiends as they laughed and stamped their feet against the cold air.
    “Come on, Sara; let’s get inside where it’s warm!” Nate grabbed her hand and dragged her inside the double doors as Chloe complained, “What took you so long, slowpoke?”
    It was about 1:30 in the afternoon, and the lunch crowd had left, leaving plenty of booths empty. Sara led her friends toward the back, away from the other customers. The owner’s wife, Cindy, brought them menus and asked for their drink orders when they sat down. While her new friends ordered and studied the menus, Sara watched their faces and wondered if she was doing the right thing.
    The fae wanted her to bring a champion, a human companion, along on the mission. She thought about asking her dad to come but he could not afford to take any time away from work. In addition, Sara did not think that Thomas was mentally stable enough to accept the fae and their world. He had only just stopped drinking alcohol, after all, and she worried that he would be too freaked out and concerned over her welfare to do what needed to be done to stop the darkness.
    She didn’t know anyone else except for a few friends in Denver. They were so spaced out, though; Sara knew that even if they could make their way here overnight, they would be little, if any, help at all. Was it fair of her to drag these two wonderful young people into such a dangerous situation? She knew, for a fact, that her safety was not guaranteed, why would theirs

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