Laura and the Witch impacted against the top of Saint Mark’s belltower.
Her fingers grasped for purchase on the damp shingles. She barely managed to get a grip as she dangled eighty meters above the ground, her heart thumping in her chest as hard as an invisible thunderstorm, clouding the clear night sky. Stars and streetlight mixed together in one swinging torrent of brightness and for a moment fear seized her throat for she did not know which way was up, which way was down.
She hesitated. Her fingers slipped.
They lost their grip.
All that came out of her mouth was a mute scream as she began to fall, the city rising up to meet her.
“Not yet!” Sounded a sharp female voice.
Someone grasped her wrist.
Laura stopped falling, held by a strong grip: just ahead of her, the Witch’s emerald gaze called onto her. She was smiling, the madwoman!
“Don’t think you can get out of this that easily!”
She pulled her forward as if she weighed nothing more than her fear.
The Witch’s body held her fast – she smelled her, a faint scent of burnt wood and resin. Laura held fast against her kidnapper, though she did not really want to, but instinct took over.
A jump, a skip and she skidded over the shingles, clacking with each step.
She jumped off into the void – Laura’s heart jumped with her – and then in a shower of golden sparks touched the belfry’s roof. Her short black hair bobbed to the wind and she let out a winning smile, as if she had performed some great deed she ought to be thanked for.
“See? That wasn’t so hard.”
“Let me down!” Laura screamed, wriggling against her body.
“As you wish,” she replied, pouring her over the marble. She stood up at once, putting a good step between her and the Witch. She stopped looking at the woman, scanning the skies, looking as ridiculous as ever in her Arlequin-like mixture of clothes: mismatched trousers, blouses, scarves and shirts covered her slender body.
Another reminder of how madness had risen to take over her life. She was supposed to be a normal girl living an average life: a few more weeks and then she could say goodbye to high school an-
“The other ones must still be around here,” the Witch said, tapping her lips.
Ah, right. Instead of living that average, normal and thank you so much boring life, she did not only end up under this Witch’s… protection, but more of her kin were trying to kill them both! Just the kind of evening she had always dreamed of!
“Can’t we at least get down?!” Laura yelled, pointing at the lights below. She covered her eyes as a flash hit her eyes – was it another Witch? No, just a searing spotlight carving the belltower’s colors out of the night.
“Let’s avoid the streets for the time being,” the Witch replied, cocking her hip and looking down. “They will be looking for us down there, and not all among us are powerful enough to know how to fly.”
Now that was a reassuring thought. And what of those that were indeed powerful enough?
“Really? That’s great!” She replied crossing her arms. “Now I only have to worry about half of your kind trying kill us?”
“I wouldn’t say half… I did not exactly keep tabs. We’ll keep the worse for later.” She gave her one of those winning smiles she had learned to hate, no matter how gorgeous they made her look.
The damn Witch always looked so self-assured, so confident in her skills and their chances, but they were bound to make a mistake. Or to meet someone more dangerous than the small-fry that insofar hunted them.
Laura looked down as well – a mistake as air rushed in and the ground seemed to rise to grasp at her legs, pulling her down into a tumble and-
“Careful,” the Witch pulled her back in her grasp, holding her arms together.
“I’d be, if you didn’t put me in-”
She never got to finish. The Witch turned on herself, pushing her roughly against the hard belfry’s stones. A flash of light and a burning feel passed over her – she saw a ring of green flames spread against the rattling shingles, dispersed into the night.
“That was a close one,” the Witch muttered to her ear. Once again she was much too close, but she could do nothing to push her away.
“Y-You are t-too c-close…”
The Witch did not seem to care about her plight.
Also, they did have company.
Someone else stepped on the roof. The Witch stepped forward, putting herself between Laura and a tall woman with flowing brown hair, wearing a golden dress that highlighted her strong shoulders and her war-like posture. A single green star flickered on an off around her head. In her golden eyes shone frustration. She pointed her weapon, a thick black staff, at her.
“You’re cornered,” she said in a commanding tone.
“I don’t mind, it’s a nice little corner,” she said with a wink. Laura groaned, her cheeks catching fire.
“I grow tired of your little games, Melissa.” She spat. “Come back with us, and we can end it all tonight.”
Laura did not need to see her face to know the Witch was rolling her eyes.
“Can’t you come up with anything better?”
“Allow me to show you, then.”
The other Witch raised her staff – more flowing green flames rose in a wheel around her head. She pronounced a word and they lashed at the two of them like so many flails.
Melissa grasped at the air. The shingles from the rooftop trembled and rose in flight; they met the flames and exploded or melted in a few more showers of sparks. But the other was ready. She dashed forward amidst the smoke and debris, raising her staff high to hit her.
Melissa pushed her back, pivoting on the spot. The Witch misstepped, missing them. She grinned as she snapped her fingers.
The entire belfry trembled. White marble crumbled beneath the golden-dressed Witch.
She had the time to let out a small cry, but only that.
And once again, the Witch caught her in her arms.
And once again, they fell.
Author’s Notes: I have the ability to focus of a drunken gnat. I felt like coming back to this opening to see if it could be improved upon, and I like this idea of the fight taking place earlier, together with the stakes being higher right away. I hope you liked it. We’ll see each other tomorrow.