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Secret Scene from Powerful Bonds
releasing April 12, 2023

Mae?” Hilde’s small voice brought me out of my dark reverie. 

    “I’m alright,” I told her, straightening so she could also move. When the blast had gone off, I had instinctually covered her. Luckily, we weren’t close enough to the fire to be wounded. “Ethan, Ferris, you alright?” 

Without the construction lights, the world had gone dark.  

    Hilde clicked on her little flashlight and shone it in their direction. 

    They shifted. “We’re alright,” Ferris told us. The other two tentatively unraveled. We all rose together. A lot of shock, but no permanent damage to any of us. 

    For the local surroundings, the news wasn’t so hot. 

    Like Hilde, the older students and I clicked on our flashlights. Our beams searched out, but there was nothing to see. Very little to find. Nothing but black. Burnt orange. And crumbly char. 

    “Everything exploded,” Ferris murmured. 

    The neighboring farm field was gone. In its place, a black pit. Everything had burned. 

    There was a sharp, acidic odor in the air. 

    Sickly sweet. 

    “What’s that smell?” Hilde asked. 

    “Duff,” Ethan knelt. He dug his fingers into the sooty ground. “We learned about it in school,” he noted to his girl. She nodded. Guess our lessons hadn’t covered it yet. “Here, shine your lights together. Let’s look around.” 

    Together, we aligned our little glows into one bigger beam. A spotlight to wash over the pasture. But the initial glimpses were correct. The neighboring field to Aine’s family property had been burnt right down to the ground. It was a sea of ashes now. 

    The black soot was oppressive. 

    The plant life and vegetation were smothered. 

    Only here and there, rickety bones of charred bark protruded from the ground. Hilde touched the closest one. In her fingers, it splintered to dust. Ferris shone her light towards the last place we’d seen the other witches. 

    “Where are they?” She asked. 

    We didn’t hear anyone else stirring. Craig’s spot appeared to be ground zero, all the destruction went out from there. 

    “We’ve gotta find ‘em.” Hilde took a step forward. 

    “Just be careful, H. It might not be safe,” I warned. “What sort of witch drug could have caused this?” 

    “A chemical fire?” Ferris mused. 

    “Maybe an edible explosive,” Ethan guessed. If there was such a thing. 

    Without better light, it was hard to really know the damage’s extent. But it was clear, this was more destruction than we had ever witnessed. 

    “Where are the others?” I echoed Hilde. Not sure I wanted the answer. But not knowing was also awful. 

    “Oh my god… guys.” Hilde said it, but we all saw it. “Over there!” 

    In the ruins, someone lifted a soot-covered arm.

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