Forgotten Visions, Chapter 1
A cool sensation passed over Kalissa Bradenton’s subconscious as she entered her bedroom. She shivered, suddenly finding it hard to breathe. Abandonment rose from deep inside to coil around her like a cold watery current. Panic and fear raced in her veins as her heart rate increased alarmingly. Her intuition screamed something was wrong.
She rushed to her dresser, picked up her phone with shaky hands, and dialed her mother’s cell. No answer. With blurred sight, she tried her father’s … it went straight to voice mail. Kalissa’s dread cut through her soul and the bile taste of fear rose in her throat, as hot tears slid down her cheek.
Gods No! She dialed again, and again. Still nothing. It wasn’t like them to ignore an incoming call.
Her parents had driven into Jacksonville for a quiet dinner to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary before sharing their milestone with the coven in the upcoming days. They should have been on their way home.
She staggered back a few steps as images flashed in her mind’s eye, sucking her into the vision. One minute she was in her bedroom, in the next, she stood on the side of a highway. A royal-blue Mercedes barreled past her and flipped repeatedly across the median into oncoming traffic on Interstate 10. Crunching metal cut through the stillness of the night and the broken glass, littering the ground, left a trail to where the car slammed into a large oak tree, and stopped.
When the vision cut off, tightness gripped her chest painfully and a lump stuck in her throat.
Pocketing her cell, Kalissa ran from her bedroom to her twin sister’s room on the other side of the second floor of their family home. She charged into Khloe’s room without knocking. “We have to go. Grab a jacket.”
Kalissa ran down the stairs and grabbed her car keys off the small table next to the door. She turned and met Khloe’s watery teal-colored eyes. They didn’t need to speak out loud. Being magical twins, they shared a psychic bond. The words the other thought lingered between them. Mom and Dad had an accident. The tears threatening to spill over Khloe’s eyelids said she already knew. Instant loss and painful sorrow passed between them. Their Divinity link with their parents cut off, like someone flipped a switch, leaving behind a cold and empty space in their hearts.
A blast of frigid air slapped at Kalissa’s face as she stepped into the frozen January night. Ignoring the icy bite of wind against her skin, she rushed to her car parked a few feet from the front door.
They climbed into the Audi, pulled out of their driveway, and hurried down their street toward the highway as fast as she could safely. A mile down the Interstate, her heart sank at the scene in front of her. Their parents’ car sat half-wrapped around a tree on the side of the road. It was two in the morning and a few cars had stopped along the shoulder. Beams of headlights cut through the darkness. Concerned citizens stood observing the scene in amazement and horror.
Kalissa parked her car on the shoulder, laid her forehead on top of the steering wheel, and closed her eyes. With deep ragged breaths, she called to her Divinity gift of visions. Images of the accident replayed in her mind, this time with more detail.
A man stepped onto the dark highway, illuminated by the headlights of her parents’ Mercedes. The wind blew his long black hair behind him and wrapped the hem of his trench coat around his legs. Startled, her father hit the brakes hard, but they refused to work. He jerked the wheel to the left, hit an icy patch at the edge of the grassy median, and sent the car into a spin. Panic assailed him and he overcorrected. The car slid through the median, hit a dip, and then flipped repeatedly into the oncoming lanes until it hit the large oak. Her parents died on impact.
Kalissa couldn’t hold back her tears as the vision faded and fat drops fell from her eyes. She allowed herself to breakdown, to let the grief squeeze her aching heart, and to get it out of the way, so she could face the authorities.
After a few minutes, she wiped her eyes, drew in another deep breath, and opened the door. When she stepped out of the car, wailing sirens cut through the whispering voices of bystanders. Red and blue lights flashed wildly as the emergency vehicles advanced toward the accident scene.
She met Khloe at the front of the car. Kalissa glanced at her sister. “Are you staying here or coming with me?”
“Me, neither,” she grumbled. She didn’t want to see her parents’ lifeless bodies, trapped inside the mangled car. Curiosity pulled at her to investigate, see for herself what had killed two powerful witches. If a spell had killed them, there would be some kind of magical residue, but what would it prove?
Kalissa held out her hand. “Come on.” They tried not to draw attention by using their telepathy in public. It disturbed those who didn’t understand. Although humans knew about witches and other magickin, they held prejudiced views against the supernatural.
Fifteen minutes later, Kalissa stood with her arms crossed over her chest scowling at the policemen from the Jacksonville Sheriff Office, or JSO as the locals called them, while they took witnesses’ statements. All of whom didn’t see a damn thing except her parents’ car lose control.
The slam of a car door drew her attention to a new arrival. Maxville Deputy Sheriff Zach Manus emerged from his unmarked 2011 Camaro and stalked toward them. Deep sorrow and anger laced across his handsome features. His light-brown hair stood a little more on end than normal. He stopped in front of them, his frown deepening and his golden-brown eyes darkening.
Zach, along with most his family, was empathic. Kalissa didn’t need to tell him how she felt. A flicker of grief laced his face, then disappeared in a flash. He inhaled deeply as his facial features blanked—void of feeling. He put up his shields that blocked others’ emotions she assumed. Why hadn’t he slammed them into place before getting out of the car?
Testing our moods, she thought sourly at Khloe.
“Don’t do that twin thing with me.” Zach gave a forced smile.
“What twin thing?” she and Khloe asked at the same time, trying to look innocent. It was next to impossible while they stood there wrapped in a dark fog of grief.
His dark brows dipped downward as he shifted to look at Fire Rescue working to get the flattened top of the Benz open. Turning his head back in her direction, his eyes narrowed. “You’ve been arguing with them?”
She flicked her attention to him. Yeah, she’d argued. JSO had the most irritating and pig-headed officers. The Chief Detective hadn’t wanted any insight from her. Prejudiced bastard.
Zach was like a brother to them and Kalissa trusted him fully. Sometimes it was hard to remember that he had a serious, responsible side. Around family, he was playful and sarcastic. Tonight, there were no sheepish smiles or factitious remarks.
“They won’t talk to me! I tried to tell them this wasn’t an accident, but they dismissed me.” She hugged her waist, staring back at the crushed car. The emptiness growing by the moment. It had been pulled away from the tree and loaded onto a wrecker. “They shouldn’t have died,” she whispered. Divinities were believed to be the children of the gods, far more powerful than any mortal witch. They aged slower and healed faster. Words like immortality and demi-gods drifted in the whispers among many of the magickin.
Immortals. Kalissa snorted. If that were the case, her parents would had walked out of that car. Sorrow squeezed, tightening its grip on her heart. The man in her vision was responsible. No, not a man. A dark magical essence hung so thick in the air it choked her.
Zach reached out to Kalissa, rubbed her arm with one hand, and took Khloe’s hand in his other to draw her into a comforting brotherly hug. “I know,” he said, making Kalissa look into his golden-brown eyes. “I’ll handle it,” he told her. “Do not investigate this on your own. I mean it, Kalissa. If you find something or have more visions, let me know. I don’t want you to suffer the same fate.”
He knows something.
Agreeing with Khloe’s telepathic acknowledgement, Kalissa traded glances with her sister. She pushed the thought aside, for now, and scanned the scene once more before she climbed back into her car.
A man wearing a ball cap pulled down low to hide his face stood a few feet away among the growing crowd of onlookers. There was something about him, something familiar. She narrowed her eyes, focusing her gaze on him. He suddenly lifted his head and looked directly at her, as if he felt her stare. Their gazes locked.
A scene from her earlier vision popped in her mind. This man had stepped out in front of her parents’ car. She concentrated on that scene, stilling it as though pushing a pause button on a TV remote. His eyes and the eyes of the man peering back at her were similar. Kalissa walked toward him with no idea of what she was going to do when she reached him. Was this the same guy, and if so, why had he caused the accident that took her parents away? By damn, she wanted some answers! And Mr. Ball Cap looked guilty of something.
The man moved away from her line of sight, ducking farther behind the crowd. She increased her pace. When she arrived where the man had stood only moments ago, he was gone.
Had she imagined the whole thing?