The circle glowed and bright lights erupted out of it as Tim and Ginny forced the lever down on his prototype Metaphysical Transfiguration device.
Rachel, still held by the neck by the Smiling Dark, felt oddly light. A feeling of joy and excitement ran through her. It was a feeling she hadn’t felt since she was a child.
* * *
It was Christmas morning. She and Natasha were sitting in painful anticipation for it to be seven AM. The time their parents told them they could wake them up.
“What do you think Santa brought us this year?” asked Rachel, vibrating with excitement.
“I don’t know, but I hope my motion sensor camera caught him doing it,” Natasha’s eyes sparkled with delight. “You know this is just a memory right?” she asked.
The question caught Rachel off guard. “Can’t I enjoy it?”
“This was my last Christmas…” Natasha trailed off.
“Am I dead?”
Laughing, Natasha said, “Always the optimist. No sweetie. You’re not dead… Not yet.”
“Are you real?” Rachel threw herself at her sister and hugged her.
“At the moment, anything you think of can be real. Now wake up.”
“I still miss you,” Rachel’s tears fell onto her sisters back as they hugged.
“I know, but I don’t miss you enough yet to have you join me. Wake up.”
* * *
The feeling of excitement and power was almost painful.
“What just happened?” asked the man in front of her. He was shadowed as if light didn’t enjoy touching him, but he was still just a man. His face looked like an aged movie star’s, his skin closer to grey than any real colour.
“I think you just became punchable.” She punctuated her quip with a punch.
Lightning crackled around her fist as it connected with the Smiling Dark’s face. It left small burn marks on his cheek. He fell to one knee, his smile disappearing for a moment, and said, “Just because I’m corporeal doesn’t mean I’m helpless.”
His arms reached out and shadows coalesced around his hands forming dark blades. He took a fencer’s stance and started moving towards her. She could see dark tendrils of shadow moving around him like some sort of Lovecraftian monster.
The machine had turned him into a monster that creates and manipulates shadow instead of being made of it. The belief of monsters all over the world that he existed was amplified. Rachel knew what had happened to him had happened to her. The belief of everyone on campus was that she was a demi-god, and she could feel the power of the gods inside her.
“Leave now and you can live.”
“I will have you one way or another.” He attacked and she parried with blades of lightning.
“Ew!” she exclaimed before adding, “I warned you.” Turning to her friends, she said, “Leave the room.”
They fenced, Rachel letting him think he could win, until everyone had left the room.
“I am darkness, shadow, and death. You can’t kill me.”
“I am a demi-god of lightning and energy. Let’s see if you can survive with so much light there isn’t room for shadows.” She reached deep into herself for her new power and pulled it out forcing it into a ball of pure lightning bright plasma around her. She let it expand and cover every millimetre of the room.
The Smiling Dark’s screams were drowned out by the crackle of power. When the entire room was light and electricity she tried to stop it and found she couldn’t. The energy went wild and there was nothing she could do to stop it.
* * *
“Thank you,” whispered her sister’s voice as Rachel started to wake up.
Everything hurt. Rachel opened her eyes to see that she was in her dorm. “She’s awake,” yelled Ginny. Her friends walked into the room followed by a large man with an eyepatch.
“How are you feeling?” asked the large man.
“I hurt, but I think I’m ok.” She was better than that; she knew her broken bones and cuts had healed completely.
“The ache will pass with time. It’s a side effect of returning you to your human self.”
“Ok.” It was all she could think.
“You fought well, Rachel, and for that I hold no grudge for you copying my son’s powers. Just don’t do it again.”
His son? Rachel’s eyes went wide. “Odin. Oh my…” she trailed off.
He chuckled. “If you so choose, your place in Valhalla is guaranteed.” With that, he disappeared.
“Way to go, you amused and impressed the All-Father,” Tim said, probably meaning it to be a joke, but sounding just as amazed as she felt.
“So whatever you did, vaporised my lab and the entire Transmutation building.” Tim still sounded amazed, and seeing her worried look, he quickly added, “Don’t worry about it. It happens more often than you’d think. Transmutation is a volatile area of study.”
“Dowan and I got everyone out in time,” said Ronnie smiling at Dowan.
“Naw, it was mostly you, man,” Dowan replied smiling back.
“Oh, get a room,” gagged Tim.
Turning to Tim, Ginny said, “That’s not a bad idea.” She cocked an eyebrow and crooked a finger. Tim turned bright red and rolled to the kitchen. They closed the door behind them as they entered the kitchen area.
Both Dowan and Ronnie looked uncomfortably around the room until she said, “I’m not up for a threesome.” Their eyes opened wide until they saw she was joking.
“Who would you have chosen?” Dowan asked, with a twinkle in his eye.
“Yeah,” smirked Ronnie.
“Me. If I had to choose someone to die, it would have been me.” The boys looked a little disappointed with her answer and she added, “If you’re asking who I choose now, I don’t know. I like both of you and I’ve had a long few days. Why don’t we have a few dates before I decide?”
“Ok,” they said at the same time.
“I’m not opposed to that threesome,” said Dowan, and he winked at Ronnie before disappearing.
Ronnie turned bright red, something Rachel thought vampires couldn’t do, and said, “Take care,” before walking out of the room still blushing. There would be a lot of time for her to choose. Avenging her sister made her feel more at peace than she’d ever thought possible, and now she was looking forward to her classes and flirting with two hot boys. Her life was looking pretty good.
Both Tim and Ginny were in the kitchen. Ginny walked back in and asked, “Anything I can do?”
“I’m ok. Thanks.”
“I’m glad you’re alive. Sorry you lost your god powers.”
“I’m not. I like being me. I like being Only Human.”