1

Prologue

“Please, Darcy. Please, no more.”

His voice is a whisper, but he knows she can hear him. His fingers dig into the dirt beneath him, trying to gain purchase in the wet earth. The trees that had until tonight stood tall now lay flattened, forming the edges of the circle where William Rochester struggles to his knees. In the patches of moonlight, he sees fallen trees aren’t the only corpses on the ground. His sob echoes in the unnatural silence of the dead.

He spots her near the tree line. The hair on the back of his neck stands on end. She steps into the clearing, a shadow but for her gray eyes glowing through the haze of destruction.

She closes the space between them, her eyes blazing brighter. A mist rolls in like an angry sea. Deep cold seizes his chest and radiates beneath his skin, into his muscles and down to his bones. 

The moonlight illuminates her white hair and marble skin blue, and her lace dress floats as though suspended in water. A shimmering glow surrounds her, resembling light refracting off waves. 

“They’re all dead,” he whispers. “It’s over.”

“It’s over, Rochester,” she says, her voice low. “For you.”

She fixes him in her gaze, and the remaining breath leaves Rochester’s lungs as she pulls in whatever life he has left. He closes his eyes, not wanting the last image he sees to be her.

“Stop!”

A warm wave of air cuts through the cold, forcing it back. Rochester’s eyes fly open.

Ida strides into the clearing. Tall and sturdy, her dark hair trails behind her in untamed curls. Her face is streaked with tears, and her hands are stained with blood.As Ida moves, the heat ebbs and flows around her, like the tide pulling waves to and from shore.

2

She stops in front of Rochester. He gulps in the warmth that dissipates the cold clenching in his chest. 

“I told you to leave,” Darcy commands.

“And I said no,” Ida says. “Enough, Darcy.”

“I am not done,” Darcy growls, the surrounding air reverberating. 

The mist kicks up again, churning in the air. 

“They’re dead!” Ida yells.

“Not all of them! Not Rochester, not the cowards who ran!” Darcy screams, stepping toward her sister. “They should get away with what they did?”

“Darcy, please,” Ida’s voice cracks.

Rochester feels Ida’s plea in his heart, so warm he fears it might combust.

“We’re past that, Ida. You think you have the power to stop me?” 

“It’s not just about power.” 

The sky above them swirls with storm clouds, alive with energy. Lightning crackles, pulsating the air in sharp relief, and a clap of thunder rumbles.

“You’ve broken every law of nature and the laws of our community,” Ida says in a voice as fierce as her blue eyes. “You may have the power you took, but you have become untethered.”

“Enough of the bedtime stories! I’m building a new future, and no one will stand in my way. Not even you.”Lightning rips through the clearing as the sisters release their might on one another. The two energy fields meet in full force, a crack sounding through the forest. The ground between them trembles, catches fire, freezes, and shatters.

Rochester watches in horror. “It’s over,” he whispers, releasing his last breath.

Across the county, a power outage hits that will last for weeks.