Flames of Chaos

By: Amelia Hutchins

Chapter 1

Exhaling a long, shaky breath, I stared at the lights of the city below the cliff I stood upon. Haven Falls, a city of immortal beings that weren’t even from the Human Realm. A place that haunted my dreams and lived in every nightmare I’d ever had. It was nestled between winding valleys, hidden within them to remain a secret from the mortals whose realm we lived in. I’d stood in the same spot long enough for the day to become night. The town had turned from a bustling hub of activity to a lighted dreamscape.

I’d been twelve when my Aunt Aurora had taken us away from here, away from the cruel brutality of the immortal realms from which we’d come. This place held no appeal and no good memories for me. It was the center of everything I hated; everything I wished to burn down and feel the ashes of the wreckage between my toes. I’d dreamt once I had burned it down, leaving those who stood aside and watched me being tortured, brutalized, and terrorized by my mother, in ashes.

My sisters didn’t share my vision of this place, nor had they endured what my mother put me through trying to end my life. They relished being home, seeing their old friends while helping me search for my twin, who had been missing several months now without a single sign of her.

My eyes lifted toward the galaxies of stars above and then lowered to fall on the oldest of my sisters as she moved to where I stood.

Sabine was everything gentle and motherly to us since she was the oldest and had been present for every set of twins being born, and also because our mother was a heartless bitch. We had to learn quickly to depend on one another in order to survive. Stopping beside me, she peered up at the stars before she spoke.

“Once we enter the town, they’ll know we are back,” she muttered in a hushed tone, pushing her golden curls away from her face as the wind picked up, mirroring the internal struggle her words created within me.

“They already know we are here,” I countered, sensing eyes that viewed us as we stood in the crisp evening air, staring out at the town. “We are being watched and have been since the moment we exited the cars.”

“They can watch us all they want. Someone here knows what happened to Amara, and we’re not leaving here until we find her.”

Frowning, I considered her words. Amara had been withdrawn from me for a while now, and I wasn’t so sure she wanted to be found. It hadn’t been unusual for her to be missing for an extended period, but this one felt different. It felt wrong, and everything inside of me said to find her before it was too late to save her.

Turning, I took in the stares of my sisters, who had rallied behind me to come find Amara. Every single one of them refused to stay behind, and I loved them more for it. We were of the original family of witches, born from the same blood that ran through Hecate, the Goddess of Witches. She was my grandmother, and because of her, we had a duty to this town, one we’d escaped from until now. We’d left our mother, Freya, here to deal with the fallout, but Freya was wishy-washy and had a bad reputation for shirking her duties. She vanished soon after we did. Shocker.

Amara, my sister who I had a love-hate relationship with for the last few years, had come back to Haven Falls to secure our family’s place on the council within the Nine Realms when word had reached us that Freya had vanished without a word. It would have been troubling if it was anything new, but it wasn’t. Freya loved men, and she cared little about propriety or reputation when she took them as lovers. She hated being part of the council that oversaw the immortals entering the Human Realm from the Nine Realms.

Only those with the purest of bloodlines could sit on the council of the Nine Realms. Together they decided whether immortals were safe enough to enter the Human Realm and if they could maintain our secrets. In the center of town is the portal between this realm and the entrance to the Nine Realms. Those coming through had to check in with the council, gaining papers that made them legal to be here.

Amara came back to Haven Falls on her own, offering to hold the seat among the council. I pleaded with her to reconsider, but she refused. She’d reminded me that no immortal passing through the portal could gain entrance unless a witch of Hecate bloodline voted with the others. Still, it could have been anyone else. She’d come back soon after that, but more often than not, she missed meetings. She withdrew from everything and everyone, which made waves in this town. Amara had even withdrawn from magic, unwilling to do spells that called for the coven, claiming she was drained or sick on the days they needed them.

Upon her return to the Human Realm, she checked in weekly, letting us know everything was fine. Then weeks turned into months, and then nothing. It was as if she just vanished. We’d called her phone, leaving voice messages and text messages to no avail. Then the day came when her phone was disconnected. Calls to the original families held little to no hope. No one had seen her in weeks, and even worse, the store we ran was closed down. The bond I shared with Amara had severed as if she’d just ceased to exist. For me, it was debilitating to be unable to reach out and sense the presence of my twin. It felt like a part of me was missing, and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t reconnect it.