Sarah breathed in, then out, trying to match the wing-flutters of silver butterflies. The rukh, Alan called them; and the flashes of color she saw, blue and red and so many more, were keys to the kind of energy they held.
The ones gathering closest to her and Matt were silver flecked with white. She might have guessed they were wind even before Alan had said so; they whispered of sky, hurtling, dancing, rattling branches in glee, tearing forests down-!
Unnerving. But tame as a kitten, compared to the black fog of wings hissing around Alan.
He’s drawing them away from us, Sarah realized, heart torn. Alan was a kid, he shouldn’t have to touch evil like this-
But Matt was her child, and she’d walk into hell to get him out of here in one piece.
Focus. Call the rukh to you; to the lock….
“Locks’re meant… to unlock.” Alan’s voice was slurred. Slow. Cold. “Don’ try to fight the lock. Jus’… remind it what it’s s’posed to do….”
The splash of water faded, lost under the hum of incandescent lights.
Don’t look. You can’t help him if you panic, you have to get this right – oh god, I’m going to try magic, this is crazy–
That warmth against her heart was the strength to do anything. For a moment she could feel the strength of wind inside the lock, feel the shape of toothed metal, feel air push- “Open Sesame!”
With a quiet snick, metal loosened. Hinges chimed against each other as the manacles fell into her lap.