Imagination | 7

I was still crawling, though I could barely move. I could see that the spotlight was upon an escalator leading up, where there was another door.

“Hey, Luell,” I heard Karyssa say. “If you struggle too hard, you may end up breaking all your bones.”

I forze.

When I looked at each of the captured demons, I found Pollee’s, Mollee’s, and Hollee’s snakes still slithering everywhere; Candide looked panicked. Glorea’s mouth was covered, and she had tears in her wide eyes. Anica was glaring at Karyssa. Vikka was glaring too, but Anica’s glare was one of schemes, while Vikka’s was pure loathing. Marcello seemed bored. Fidessa was staring at me with worry. I glanced down at Vinzenz.

He was holding his guitar. His fingers began to play a soft tune. It was an enchanting tune, with it a warm light floated around the room, gradually making it clear that it was encircling Karyssa. Soon, she was tied with Vinzenz’s music–but the effect wasn’t limited to her. It froze everyone who heard it.

“How could I have neglected this…” Karyssa hissed through her teeth.

“Maybe you want to sing along?” Vinzenz suggested.

“I almost forgot you had the strongest power.” Karyssa said, smirking. “So strong that no one else can go anywhere either.”

It was true. I could have easily slipped away from Karyssa’s grip then, had I put on earmuffs. Yet Vinzenz’s tune worked its way into me as well as all the others, paralyzing us. I glanced at him. He realized the same thing at the moment when our eyes met, and involuntarily paused in his playing.

Immediately, I covered my ears and ran for it. However, Karyssa took that very same moment to seize Vinzenz. I’d almost reached the escalator when her roots caught me again. Unlike how she dealt with other demons–throwing them as far away from her as the room allowed–she pulled Vinzenz towards herself until they were only a few inches away from each other.

“You’re useless without your instruments,” she said, tracing one side of his face teasingly with a twig that had grown from the branch holding him. His smile was gone, and he turned away, but to no avail.

“Now I can do whatever I want with all of you, and Luell too,” Karyssa continued. Though she stressed my name, she didn’t even glance my way.

She was watching Vinzenz’s reaction, and feasting on it.

He winced when her grip tightened on him. A trail of blood was trickling down his face from her twig’s scratch. “Don’t you–” he began, but was interrupted by another squeeze. This time, he grunted.

“I wouldn’t be fighting with you if you’d taken me into your group of freaks in the beginning. Why didn’t you do that, huh?”

“Hey!” Fidessa and Vikka shouted in protest at the same time. Marcello actually chuckled.

He gasped as her grip tightened again. But only I saw how his face twisted in pain, as the demons were all behind him. How long was this going to last?

“Karyssa,” I whispered. It wasn’t loud, but she heard me. She faced me. “Stop,” I pleaded.

“No,” she simply refused, then turned back to Vinzenz.

At this time, Anica suddenly drifted out of the branches that had once held her captive. Karyssa tried to bind her again, but every branch poked through her. Anica floated towards Karyssa like a ghost.

Anica glowered at Karyssa. “Final victory is mine,” she claimed. “I won’t lose again.”

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