Michael’s chuckle made a sickening fear bubble up in Rachel’s gut. “Elizabeth, I do not wish to be distracted. Depart.”
Elizabeth jerked as though she had gone from being a person to being a marionette. She stiffly walked out of Rachel’s field of view. Then Rachel heard a door open and close, and she realized that now she was alone with the madman who’d abducted her.
Michael stepped into Rachel’s field of vision and smiled nastily. When she saw him her eyes widened. He was wearing a deep red robe and cowl, with strange arcane symbols embroidered along the edges in black. Oh my God, she thought as she hastily reevaluated the ‘madness’ level of this particular madman upward. Way, way upward.
“You see, Rachel,” Michael explained as he said he would, “you have an incredibly powerful aura. It is the sign of someone who could have been an equally powerful warlock — or witch. And of course, I can’t have that. Or rather, I can. You see, I have brought you here so that I can strip that aura away. I will make it mine, and use it to power my spells for another hundred years — during which all the other power I harvest from the souls of my victims will simply *accumulate.” He giggled. “By the time your soul is a withered husk,” Michael told Rachel, “I will easily have doubled — if not tripled — my current reserves of magic.”
“Oh my God,” Rachel said aloud. “You’re insane!”
Michael paused thoughtfully. “People keep saying so,” he admitted amiably. Then he raised a straight, dully stained dagger. “Now try not to fuss. This will only hurt until you die.”
Rachel’s eyes widened. Michael stepped up beside her. Then he paused again. A thoughtful, pouty frown twisted his lips. “And then… possibly until your soul is utterly destroyed after a century of being drained in my service,” he admitted. “But certainly no longer than that,” he concluded cheerfully.
And then Michael raised the dagger to strike.