Exclusive Bewitching Excerpt:
“I don’t mean to sound pushy,” Beth started, “but earlier you said that I’m a Dreamer. Tell me more about what that is.”
Zack turned away from Frank, walked over to Beth, and took a seat back at the table next to her. “I’m going to give you the short version,” said Zack, “only because I need to get to the real reason for our visit.”
“Of course,” said Beth.
“So straight to the point, you are a Dreamer, as I said before,” Zack said. “That makes you part witch and part psychic but with an added benefit of being more powerful than both. The main difference between you and normal witches is that you can see into the future without using magic because your psychic side empowers you to do so naturally. And you don’t even need to train this skill. Where other witches fail, you succeed because they don’t have the natural psychic ability you do. They have to use magic to see into the future.”
Beth gawked in amazement at Zack’s words. “So how far into the future can I see?” asked Beth.
Zack shrugged. “To be honest, I don’t know. But what I do know is that the answers you seek can only be found in the grimoire. The grimoire is the most powerful spell book among witches and warlocks. Every spell from growing flowers in your garden to conjuring up lightning is recorded in that book. Every name of every witch and warlock, whether good or bad, down to every war, including the Great War of 1782 is recorded in that book. You can even find spells on how to create magical objects like amulets and talismans.”
“And even the mystical arts of performing magical charms and divination, on summoning or invoking supernatural entities, is also a part of that book,” Zoë chimed.
“Do you know how many supernatural beings would love to get their hands on that book?” Zack added.
“Where is the book now?” asked Beth.
“Long gone,” Zack said. “It was given to a very powerful witch like yourself to keep safe. She also was a dreamer, the first of your kind, and the only one until now. You are the second, my sister, in our 250 years of traveling on this earth.”
“Only the second?” said Frank.
“Yes, only the second, and we’ve been everywhere in this world, so that should tell you something. Your wife’s kind is rare.”
“Well, the question here for you to answer now is, who and where is the first?” asked Beth.
“Her name was Tiara. And she died along time ago,” replied Zack somberly.
“I’m sorry to hear that. Did you know her? I mean were you close with her?” asked Beth.
“Yes…very. She was the one who taught Zoë and me how to use our powers,” said Zack. His eyes beat over to Zoë. “She protected us during and after the Great War. If it wasn’t for her, we would’ve been dead long ago.”
“God, I miss her,” said Zoë, finally speaking up.
“Well, now that you know everything there is to know, keep this in mind. Power is innocent. The one who wields it…” said Zack with a brief pause. He pointed directly at Beth. “Well, that is what taints it. He or she must decide to use it for good or evil. That choice makes a difference.”
“Just remember who you are,” said Zoë, cutting in.
“I will,” said Beth.
“Good, now let’s get to the real reason why we’re here,” said Zack. “After the great battle back in 1782, Jackals and witches all went their separate ways as the town was no longer viable. The fallout of the fight was tremendous; houses were burned to the ground. Bodies were everywhere, and the land was saturated in blood and rotten flesh. The stench was unbearable. It was all a complete mess. So some witches migrated to the east while others went north. Zoë, Tiara, and I headed west. After settling down for a few months, we split up again and went our separate ways. Tiara told us she was going on a journey to find someone very important and that she would be back in approximately one year.”
“If you don’t mind me asking,” said Beth, “why didn’t you two go with her?”
“We wanted to, but she forbade it. She insisted that we remain behind and give aid to any stragglers that needed assistance,” said Zoë.
“Yes, she did,” said Zack as he nodded in agreement. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t live with the regret of my decision that day.”
“So what happened to Tiara?” asked Frank.
“We never saw her again,” said Zack, his voice raspy and soft. “But anyway, after 30 years away from Black Oak, we had grown very powerful, teaching ourselves the ways of mysticism and sorcery. And then one day in the fall of 1812, Zoë and I felt something: a surge of power we’d not yet experienced before. Not since the Great War. It was all in the air, calling out to us. So we packed our things and followed the surge to its source until it led us back here to our original home of Black Oak.” Zack took a moment to smile as Zoë placed a gentle hand over his. “I could see the town in the distance and, as Zoë and I approached, we started preparing ourselves for a fight because we didn’t know who or what was living there. But the closer we got, our minds began to calm. The visions before us were heartwarming. People were everywhere. Families and friends were bustling about. The town was good as new. It was like nothing ever happened and the magic we felt there was good and pure and untouched by evil.”
“You could sense it,” said Zoë.
“And now it’s happening again, but only this time, the magic feels different. It’s evil for sure, I know it,” said Zack.
“How can you tell?” asked Beth.
“Answer one question for me,” said Zack, staring intently at Beth.
“Okay,” she replied.
“What did you sense from my sister and me when you first opened your door?” asked Zack.
“Good. I felt good in both of you,” said Beth. “Nothing bad…not even a little bit.”
“And I too felt the same thing when I saw you. And I’m not talking only about tonight,” said Zack. “But what I feel in this town now is wicked. Mark my words. Something is coming. What’s more, is that something is already here. And that should be impossible. Do you know why?” asked Zack as he stared at both Frank and Beth for an answer.
They were both speechless, but Beth took a stab at it anyway. “There’s some special magic protecting us?”
“Yes. A force field—placed over this town hundreds of years ago by the witches, that was supposed to stop dangerous beasts or any other supernatural creatures from passing through,” said Zoë.
“But I’m afraid the force field failed against whatever forced its way in. Now Zoë and I need to find out who or what it is before someone gets hurt or maybe worse…killed.”
“Killed?” Beth inquired.
“Yes. On the way over here, we came across a sea of dead bodies in the woods. Most likely campers who were mauled to death, and it looked like the work of Riffs,” said Zoë nonchalantly.