Sakari, Nico, and Shavonne met the charging dogs and attacked them with sword, fist, and improvised whip. The dog Sakari struck bit his arm in retaliation. Bern joined in, swinging his skateboard, while unsuccessfully dodging a crow.

Mia was frozen in shock. Everything was happening so fast.

Rianne saw the fear in Mia’s eyes. Rianne touched her arm and assured her, “Don’t worry. We’ve got you.” The brand on her right hand glowed. A bubble of bright green light shimmered around Mia for a second.

Still very, very confused, Mia sunk to the ground and covered her head with her hands.

David spied another crow circling around the far side of the battle. He also saw a broken street lamp, dangling by a wire. His brand glowed as he mimed twisting the lamp free and throwing it at the circling crow. Telekinetically, the lamp obeyed, colliding with the bird and staggering its flight. David telekinetically threw more things into the battle as it wore on, like traffic cones, trash cans, and a saw horse.

Before she could attack anything, the third crow landed on Cara’s head and yanked out a large clump of hair and skin. She cried out in pain. Angry enough to try it, Cara pulled off a hunk of magic from her racket, tossed it up like a tennis ball, and served it at the crow that wounded her. When her racket struck the orb, it shattered into smaller bits that hit both her target and the crow harassing Bern.

Rianne saw the blood running down the side of Cara’s face. Rianne called out to her. Green light swirled around Cara for an instant.

Mia also saw the attack. Mustering her courage, she stood and pointed at the crow responsible. “You damn bird!”

A lightning bolt jumped out of Mia’s finger, connecting with the target of her anger. The crow dropped several feet before reorienting itself.

Inspired, Cara served another orb of magic. She aimed it to land just beyond her allies’ front line. The orb exploded when it hit the asphalt, creating a beautiful spray of purple energy.

Nico barely felt the purple droplets sting as they hit his face. “I’ve got the dog!” he shouted to Shavonne. He kicked the dog in the rib cage. The Gibberish collapsed and disintegrated into black smoke.

Meanwhile, Sakari was losing his fight with the other dog. Rianne saw him hunched over, gripping his arm in pain. She called his name, and her green light swirled around him.

“David! Look out!” Mia screamed, pointing at the crow diving for them. Another bolt of lightning jumped out of her finger, knocking the bird out of the sky.

Soon, the crow took off again and dove for Mia. Its talons cut into her arm, yet green light flashed over Mia’s wounds. She didn’t feel much pain. The bubble Rianne put on her must be doing something to protect her.

Another crow dove for Cara. She blocked with her racket, but the crow’s beak worked its way through the weave to peck at her nose. Cara pushed the crow off and ran toward the fence. That was way too close to her eye. She needed to catch her breath.

Bern yelled in anger and frustration, swinging his skateboard wildly at the dogs. He was so deep in his rage that he didn’t notice one of them biting his leg. He shook the dog off and continued fighting.

Sakari still needed help. He was just dancing with his dog. Both of them were dodging swing for lunge.

David magically picked up a traffic barrel to throw at the dog, but the spell cut off too early. The barrel flew to the far end of the parking lot – out of David’s reach.

Shavonne told Nico, “Fall back. I’ve got a plan.”

Nico shot a fireball out of his hand. It hit the crow Shavonne had been whipping, turning it into a puff of black smoke. He gave Shavonne a nod and ran back toward the fence.

Rianne met Cara in her retreat. She put a hand on Cara’s shoulder and called into the melee, “Sakari! Get out of there!”

Rianne’s healing light closed the wound on Cara’s face and dried the blood. Her head still throbbed painfully.

Sakari took Rianne’s advice. As he retreated, Mia reached out toward the dog that was attacking him. With just the thought of hurting it, lightning sprang from her fingers. The shock dazed the creature long enough for Sakari to escape.

David noticed Nico’s retreat. David had fought with him and Shavonne enough times to guess that she was preparing that big spell of hers. But it wouldn’t reach that crow circling in the back. It was time to play his own ace. He jumped and seemed to hover in the air for a few seconds. At his command, beams of white light raced out of the sky. They struck the crow, sending it spiraling to earth.

With a scream, Shavonne unleased her ace spell. Dozens of red ghostly swords appeared around her. They flew around the melee, piercing and slicing everyone, kicking up a cloud of black smoke.

When the swords and smoke faded, only one dog remained standing. It panted, bleeding heavily from its many wounds. Bern and Shavonne also bled badly. They both sank to their knees.

Rianne ran forward. “C’mon, Mia!”

Mia had no idea what she could do, but she felt obligated to help Rianne. So she followed, sliding her purse off her shoulder. Sakari tried to join them, but he tripped before he could make it far.

The dog leaped onto Rianne, knocking her to the ground. Its teeth sunk deep into her shoulder.

“GET OFF MY SISTER!!” Bern slammed his skateboard into the dog with renewed fury, sending it tumbling across the asphalt.

David picked up a loose brick with his hand. He threw it at the fallen dog and finally turned it into black smoke.

Cara spotted their final enemy, a crow, still alive. She swung her racket as if batting a tennis ball in its direction. A chunk of magic flew off her racket and stuck to the bird’s head.

Nico shot a fireball at the crow as it descended in a confused spiral, setting its feathers alight. Her target marked, Mia swung her purse at the bird, knocking it out of the air.

Rianne rose to her knees and stretched out her hand. “Bernie,” she whispered.

Green light swirled around Bern as he charged at the crow. It hopped up to attack Mia. She jumped backwards with a scream. Bern smashed the bird into the ground, turning it into black smoke.

©2021 Joyce Lewis. All rights reserved.