Tag Archive: Witchcraft

A Cold Spring–Episode 15: Old Crows and Offerings

Before we get to Episode 15:

Zoraida Grey is up for a RONE Award!! Voting for the Long Paranormal category in Week 2  begins on April 24, but you need to register to vote. Go to www.indtale.com and Click the Subscribe button at the top of the page. You can opt in or out of additional emails and the whole thing is FREE. You will get an email to confirm your subscription. Be sure to do that to be eligible to vote.

Voting for week 1 is under way. To vote, go to www.indtale.com and from the menu bar select InD’Scribe/Rones >2017 Rone Awards > 2017 Rone Awards Week 1. You will be prompted to register if you have not already done so. It’s free and easy.

You have plenty of time to read these short works and decide who to vote for. I recommend these three books in the Novella category now under consideration in Week 1:

Novella

  •             Barbara Bettis: The Lady of the Forest
  •             Becky Lower: A Regency Yuletide
  •             Sharon Buchbinder: The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle

The Rone is a prestigious award and Reader voting is only the first step in the process. A limited number of books will progress to the next level. YOUR vote might make a huge difference. Please take a few minutes to support writers who publish independently and with small publishers.

If you have not read Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones–now is a great time. Grab a copy HERE and if you enjoy it, please vote for her in Week 2.

“A Cold Spring”

 

Need to catch up with the story?

Download Episodes 1-13 HERE or read in the file below.

Episode 14: Now I Wait

A Cold Spring 1_13

Episode 15: Old Crows and Offerings

A cloud of crows chatter in the branches of the rowan trees. Maddock was . . . is . . . an expert in bird languages. Though he tried to teach me, I spent most of our lessons watching the sun on his hair and the way his eyes change from ice to indigo. I understand only a few of the names they call us, but that’s enough.

 

“I see why they call a group of crows a murder,” mutters Mayebelle. “If I could get my hands on them, I’d wring their necks.”

 

She tosses a clump of mud at the impudent birds. The projectile falls to earth with a soggy splash, stirring up the flock. They wheel and kite, screaming epithets and curses with renewed vigor.

 

One particularly large and particularly vocal crow dives at Mayebelle, raking her head with sharp talons. Another tries the same with me, but I send a spark of green magic into his feathers. Maddock’s old fire spell smolders the soft down beneath the coarse plumage and the crow retreats.

 

“Let’s get inside the croft before they come back.” Mayebelle fingers the scratch on her head, limping toward the door. “The devil’s in all animals today. Even Pyewacket refused to eat a perfectly good bit of baked chicken. He snaps with static every time I touch him.”

 

Pyewacket the black cat watches us from the windowsill. His amber eyes focus on something behind me. In a fluid motion, he rises on his toes. White teeth flash and black fur fuzzes to spiky heights.

 

A flutter of feathers near my ear and sharp claws on my shoulder bring me up short. A crow, not the pushy young one who attacked Mayebelle, but an old crow with notched wings and rheumy eyes perches on my shoulder.

 

“Stand still, Allium,” cries Mayebelle. “I’ll fetch the besom and make him regret the day he visited our garden.” She disappears inside the croft.

 

The crow’s claws bite into the meaty part of my arm, but he’s standing on only one foot. He clutches something in the other. I hold out my hand, coaxing him to release it. He winks a bright bird eye and drops an object onto my open palm.

 

“I bring you this in remembrance of one who saved my nest many summers ago.” The bird speaks slowly, making sure I understand. “A La Croix he was. You have his magic.”

 

Before Mayebelle returns with the broom, he flaps his moldering wings and soars out of sight.

 

I squeeze my fingers around the crow’s gift. I don’t have to look at it to know what I hold.

 

On the night Lucia and Maddock disappeared, I’d put it on the table in front of me. Through that last dinner, I enjoyed the dark mystery of the witch stone, felt the subtle pull of magnetism.

 

When Lucia appeared, Maddock hurried me out of the castle before I had time to grab it.

 

That’s the last I saw of the witch stone.

 

Until now.

Stay Tuned for Episode 16: Pilgrimage

 

A Cold Spring-Episode 14: Now I Wait

Download Episodes 1-13 HERE or open it below.
A Cold Spring 1_13

Episode 14: Now I Wait

Squelching footsteps in the muddy garden pull my thoughts from the past. Old Castle Highmoor and New Castle Highmoor meld into one blur of ice and fire and Maddock’s voice cries to me from the edge of the Universe—but only in my visions. In the eight months since he disappeared, I’ve grown slow and sluggish as the child grows inside me, but I’ve neither seen, heard, nor felt Maddock’s presence. He’s gone and my visions and my common sense give me no hope he will ever come back.

 

“Another vision?” Maybelle La Croix’s raspy voice blends with the harsh calls of a dozen crows who live in the Rowan trees at the edge of the garden.

 

“The same.”

 

She presses her scarred lips together, a wistful gleam in her one blue eye.
Maybelle doesn’t have visions anymore. Whatever magical ability she enjoyed in the Time Before lies buried. Her twisted left side and the scars on her face attest to how close she came to death the night Lucia’s scourge of the Darkmore and La Croix families began.

 

Aunt Clarissa found her half frozen just outside the gates of Old Castle Highmore and took her to safety. A recluse since, scarred in body and mind, she did not attend my wedding at New Castle Highmoor even though Maddock begged her to do so. He’d been annoyed with her then saying it was ridiculous to let the past destroy the future. But if she’d been in New Castle Highmoor when it disappeared, I would have had no one to turn to. She paid her debt to the Darkmores by saving me keeping me safe since. As far as we know, we two are the only ones left. The few who fled with me either turned back or fled to the ends of the earth. The entire Darkmore and La Croix families are gone.

 

A solid kick jars my internal organs and reminds me of the third survivor. She kicks like a Spanish mule and will not be ignored.

 

“The visions are coming faster now. That must mean something.” Mayebelle avoids the worst of the mud by hopping from one tussock of brittle grass to the next.

 

“It means I’m closer to madness, I think.”

 

“It may.” She helps me rise, tugging my rumpled skirt and blouse snuggly over my bulging belly. “No use feeling sorry for yourself. The equinox is nearly here. Before long, birds will be singing and the tomatoes will be ready to pick. Just wait and see.”

 

I’m trapped in limbo—waiting for the baby, waiting for Maddock, waiting for some nameless thing to right a skewed world.

 

“I hope so, Maybelle. I hope so.” I trudge behind her, not bothering to avoid the mud.

A Cold Spring–Episodes 1-13 and a sneak peek

A perk of being a follower of the blog–here’s a pdf of 13 episodes PLUS a peek at Episode 14 which the rest of the world won’t see until Monday. You can download it HERE or open it below.
A Cold Spring 1_13

Episode 14: Now I Wait

Squelching footsteps in the muddy garden pull my thoughts from the past. Old Castle Highmoor and New Castle Highmoor meld into one blur of ice and fire and Maddock’s voice cries to me from the edge of the Universe—but only in my visions. In the eight months since he disappeared, I’ve grown slow and sluggish as the child grows inside me, but I’ve neither seen, heard, nor felt Maddock’s presence. He’s gone and my visions and my common sense give me no hope he will ever come back.

“Another vision?” Maybelle La Croix’s raspy voice blends with the harsh calls of a dozen crows who live in the Rowan trees at the edge of the garden.

“The same.”

She presses her scarred lips together, a wistful gleam in her one blue eye.
Maybelle doesn’t have visions anymore. Whatever magical ability she enjoyed in the Time Before lies buried. Her twisted left side and the scars on her face attest to how close she came to death the night Lucia’s scourge of the Darkmore and La Croix families began.

Aunt Clarissa found her half frozen just outside the gates of Old Castle Highmore and took her to safety. A recluse since, scarred in body and mind, she did not attend my wedding at New Castle Highmoor even though Maddock begged her to do so. He’d been annoyed with her then saying it was ridiculous to let the past destroy the future. But if she’d been in New Castle Highmoor when it disappeared, I would have had no one to turn to. She paid her debt to the Darkmores by saving me keeping me safe since. As far as we know, we two are the only ones left. The few who fled with me either turned back or fled to the ends of the earth. The entire Darkmore and La Croix families are gone.

A solid kick jars my internal organs and reminds me of the third survivor. She kicks like a Spanish mule and will not be ignored.

“The visions are coming faster now. That must mean something.” Mayebelle avoids the worst of the mud by hopping from one tussock of brittle grass to the next.

“It means I’m closer to madness, I think.”

“It may.” She helps me rise, tugging my rumpled skirt and blouse snuggly over my bulging belly. “No use feeling sorry for yourself. The equinox is nearly here. Before long, birds will be singing and the tomatoes will be ready to pick. Just wait and see.”

I’m trapped in limbo—waiting for the baby, waiting for Maddock, waiting for some nameless thing to right a skewed world.

“I hope so, Maybelle. I hope so.” I trudge behind her, not bothering to avoid the mud.

A Cold Spring–Episode 7: Goblets of Fine, Old Wine

Welcome to Sorchia’s Universe—A-Z Blog Edition.

This post marks the end of the first full week of the 2017 A-Z Blog Challenge. How’s it going? Be sure to leave comments and Likes on the posts you visit–including this one.

Have you missed an episode? Here are posts to the Story So Far.

Episode 1: A Cherry Tomato

Episode 2: Burning!

Episode 3: Coils of Enchantment

Episode 4: Down, Down, Down

Episode 5: Everything Changed

Episode 6: Fashionably Late

If you enjoy this story, take a look at the Books link to see what else I write.

 

A Cold Spring

Episode 7: Goblets of Fine Old Wine

 

Goblets of very fine and very old wine delivered by a young and slightly inebriated La Croix cousin put an end to any thoughts of a clandestine rendezvous upstairs. At last, the long road leading from the forest to the castle lay empty and it was time to toast and mingle among our disparate relations. The murmur of voices grew to a cheerful din as copious amounts of wine and Scotch flowed from crystal carafes. Our duties as host and hostess called. The moon peeped in the western windows of New Castle Highmoor before our circuits brought us back together on the veranda.

 

“I’ve spent the better part the evening either tracing my lineage back to satisfy your relatives or tracing yours to satisfy mine. I should put it in a scroll; Morgan begat Duncan and Duncan begat Caedmon and so on and so forth.” Maddock sat his empty goblet on a handy tray and secured a full one in its place. “Do you ever wish we were normal human beings with short life spans and limited imaginations? At least it would spare us the intrigue of ancient curses and temperamental witches.”

 

“If we were normal, we’d have been dead before we had a chance to meet again. I would remember you as a petulant pre-pubescent brat who thought it was funny to set the hair of elderly aunts on fire.”

 

“And I would remember you as the little snitch who told on me. It was difficult to concentrate on Aunt Clarissa’s lecture when her hair was still smoking. It’s my last fond memory of the Time Before.”

 

“Lucky for you Lucia stole the spotlight, or Aunt Clarissa would have thought up a proper punishment.”

 

A chill ran the length of my spine, prickling the hair on my arms and my neck. The festive lights, the chatter of conversation, the smell of a sumptuous dinner, and the subtle electromagnetic pull of the earth mirrored perfectly the night of Lucia’s Curse.

 

See you Monday for Episode 8: Hi-jinks in the Castle