Something wasn't right.
Through the flickering of the light from the candles the scrawled symbols on the tabletop seemed to be alive. They'd fallen into the same relative positions three times in a row, each time even more unbelievable than the last.
Glass furrowed his brow, leaning forward as if a closer look could change what was written out in front of him. When the outcome didn't change even after his nose was nearly on the table, he exhaled slowly and gathered the runes back into their small black velvet pouch.
It had been the longest week he could remember. Though each day had started before dawn and lasted well into the midnight hour, the work was exciting. He was unraveling mysteries he'd only been able to dream of understanding, tapping into powers beyond the reach of even those who had taught him.
As he stood up from his small table in the inner sanctuary of his bedroom closet, he was suddenly very grateful that Jade was working a shift at the hospital that night. He let the silence of the house envelope him in a cocoon of calming energy, watching as small white tendrils of light cascaded gently from his fingertips down through the foundation of the house and back deep into the earth.
The stones had spoken of a great power, of gateways being opened to realms unseen by mortal eyes. The only explanation for the message was complete and utter madness. It was a skill he himself had learned, though it had taken more than a little persuading to convince his teachers that he was more than capable of controlling the power needed. When months of arguing his case before the coven failed, he'd turned to other sources for the information. It was unscrupulous, yes, but if the power was there, he wanted to be able to use it.
He left his bedroom and made his way down to the kitchen. He silently scolded Jade for leaving her cursed plant specimens next to the salad in the refrigerator, not sure he wanted to know what wondrous visions awaited him if he were to accidentally top his pizza with one of her 'special' samples. The veil between the worlds was already quite thin for him-any outside help could send him completely over the edge.
He quickly made a simple bowl of soup, grabbing a two-liter of diet Cherry Coke before heading into the living room for a night of relaxation in front of the television, taking full advantage of his sister's absence. Normally there'd be a fight over who got to use the bigger TV with the surround sound- Jade was always wanting to play her video games when all Glass wanted to do was get as far away from anything involving magic as he could. No matter how much he loved what he did, he still needed a break from it once in a while.
With a satisfied grin he turned the television on, happy to be able to watch his cooking shows in peace without Jade chiming in about how such and such would a much more potent herb to use or how the Iron Chef always wins anyway.
Just as he was marveling over the science behind pickles, a storm erupted inside his head. He pitched forward, stumbling blindly into the coffee table as electricity sparked in front of his retinas. There was a cacophony of loud popping noises followed by a liquid pain that rushed from the top of his head down his spine.
As quickly and unexpectedly as it started, it was over. He lay on the floor wishing he were dead and surprised that he wasn't. The metallic taste of blood was strong in his mouth. He felt paralyzed, unable to move even slightly. The lights seemed too bright, the television far louder than it had been previously.
After a few short minutes he was able to move again, released from the stronghold of the residual grasp of the energy burst. He staggered to his feet, still dazed yet quickly recovering.
The gateway had been opened, and he intended to find out who had the power to do it.