The Witches’ Jail #FridayFictioneers

It was a strange stone building set away from the others at the far end of the court. Lucy walked up to it, leaving the rest of the tour group behind and read the sign; Witches’ Jail. 

Anybody accused or found to be a witch was held here. The jail was built in the 1500’s and was used up until the late 1700’s. 

Lucy glanced around, saw no one was watching and slipped inside the jail. It was cold and dark, musty smelling.

Lucy reached out and found the ghosts of the witches waiting for her.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/10/10/5-october-2018/ with thanks).

 

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At the Fork #100WW

Building with faces painted on the side

The sisters hadn’t wanted their home to be at the top of a split road, then again they hadn’t wanted their fourth generation family house to be knocked down either. So everyday, they cast warding spells in the morning and evening to keep the devil away.

One morning, the oldest sister decided that by painting themselves on the side of the house and casting an everlasting, unbreakable spell upon that would be an easier thing to do. The sisters set about that one summer and their art piece remains still, protecting the house evermore.

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/09/05/100-word-wednesday-week-87/ with thanks).

 

 

Crossing #WritePhoto

Something from my childhood came back into my mind as I walked across the stone foot bridge; ‘don’t trip or the witch will get you!’ I paused, hearing a memory of girls laughing. What was that about?

I shook it off and looked over the side of the bridge. A low, slow river was running under the three stone archways, making nice tinkling and bubbling music. The water was clear, thanks to the bright day and I could see a few weeds and plants caught in the current. There was no rubbish which strangely reminded me I was so far from London.

I breathed in the fragrant countryside air and tried hard to recall that memory. Something about going to school and me hating having my hair tied up in two pigtail plaits. Two girls in bright red dresses throwing stones into the water and shouting at the witch to appear.

It was all too faded to remember correctly. Resting against the cool stone, I let the flow of the water help me drift further into my memories. I had been seven when I had been evacuated from home. There was a war on and it was safe in the countryside then London because of the bombs. I didn’t really understand anything else at the time.

I was extremely lucky as my mother was heavily pregnant and also my brother was only one and half years old, so we got to stay together. The other children, I remember didn’t and they had to say goodbye to their mothers at the train station. Our other stroke of luck was that my father’s sister lived out here and she had agreed to take us in.

It was like going on holiday, mother had said and so it sort of was. Only, I had to go to a new school and make new friends which wasn’t that bad because I was so young. I missed my bedroom and our house though, sadly it got blown up in the Blitz but I didn’t know that until years later.

My cousin! That was the other girl in the red dress and she’d told me that about tripping on the bridge and a witch grabbing you.

I felt sadden I’d forgotten that but it had been so very long ago and Sarah had died a young teenager of scarlet fever. At the time, we had all ready been moved some years, to a large house on the edge of the village and daddy was back from the war and it was all over.

Hadn’t I cried for days when my parents had told me? I had gone to her funeral in red – her favorite color- instead of black like everyone else. I was thirteen or fourteen then. And just like when I was seven and I didn’t full understand the war or why we had to move away, I didn’t understand why Sarah was gone.

We moved back to London after that I think. Dad had secured a job there and we needed to be closer. Auntie came to live with us for awhile but I think the sadness of having no daughter and no husband – killed in France- got to her and she moved away.

Other thoughts tumbled into my mind, unlocked by all of this. It was strange to come back here and remember things I shouldn’t have forgotten. Maybe, it was best that they became forgotten once again though? I felt, that these memories had come back to me and I should do something with them.

‘Grandma!’ a voice called, breaking my thoughts.

I turned and saw my granddaughter, Hattie, running towards me. My daughter and husband following behind.

‘Don’t trip or the witch will get you!’ I said.

That made her stop and glance around, ‘witch? where?’ she questioned.

‘The one that lives under the bridge,’ I explained.

Hattie joined me and tried to look over the wall but she was too small.

‘She likes little girls the best,’ I carried on, not sure if I was making it up or if more was coming back to me, ‘she cooks them in her big pot and eats them with bread!’

Hattie pulled a face and shook her head, ‘I don’t believe you, grandma!’

I swooped down on her, making crackling witch like sounds. Hattie screamed then burst into laughter as I started tickling her and I remembered, a long, long time ago, two girls laughing and tickling each other on this bridge, joking about an old saying.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/07/05/thursday-photo-prompt-crossing-writephoto/ with thanks).

Ancient Circles #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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Not much can stop a werewolf. Sliver bullets traditional can but that’s about all. Werewolves don’t fear religion or other supernatural creatures. Perhaps, a daemon could stop a werewolf but why would they want to as they are often on the same side? Maybe, an angel could help then? But I’ve never meet a full one which is saying a lot for me.

Placing the moldering book back on the library desk, I wonder what to do. The sounds around me had long become background noises; people walking, coughing, whispering, the flickering of paper, the sliding of books, the harpy librarians flying at anyone whom they disliked. I put my head down into my arms and tried to collected myself.

‘Neona?’

I looked up and turned at the person who had said my name. Ransom, my boyfriend was standing there, looking ruggedly handsome as ever. His black hair was long down his back, his dark brown eyes deep set and his proud jaw strained with tension. He was dressed in dark blue jeans, a black Iron Maiden t-shirt and a studded leather biker jacket.

‘Any luck?’ he asked.

I turned back to the three hundred year old book that was laying open at a page showing drawings of over lapping circles with squiggly symbols depicted around and in them.

‘This Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting could work,’ I responded, pointing it out to him.

Ransom lent over to look and I breathed deeply, he smelt of leather and his motorbike’s oil but underneath that was the scent of summer nights and nature; earth, trees, water. I could feel the wild, pure power surrounding him. It was what had first attracted me to him at the Academy and I had known he was a werewolf. It had taken a whole year after we started dating, for him to tell me and now he wanted my help controlling the change.

‘Can you make this?’ Ransom asked.

I glanced down at the drawing and shrugged, ‘it doesn’t look too hard but it’s powerful old magic. I’m not sure I could get it totally right. Some of the symbols look hard to draw.’

Ransom took in a deep breath, ‘I trust you, Neona, we are bonded together,’ he said quietly.

I nodded and closed the book. I checked it out, though the harpy at the desk was reluctant to let me have it, then we went to Ransom’s house.

We made space in the basement for me to draw big enough Circles. I avoided looking at the remains of a twisted iron cage in the far corner. Last full moon, Ransom had escaped from it. The rampage had been bad and taken awhile for the Academy to clean up.

I took some chalk from a new box, opened the old book to the right page and began drawing on the floor. I had together my black witch’s dress about me to make sure I didn’t smear the three overlapping circles as I went. Then, almost pressing the book to my face, I began to draw each squiggly symbol, chatting as I did so to awake the magic.

Finally it was done. I sat back on my legs and looked down at the now shimmering three circles before me. I could feel the ancient magic in the air just waiting to be used. From my bag, I took out a few things and placed them at different points; crystals for more energy, candles for the fire element, silver coins for more power over the curse, holy water to keep evil beings away, sage for purity and my wand, in case I had to use my magic to defend myself.

I stepped away and looked at the time, the night of the full moon would be here soon.

‘It’s done. Get in,’ I told Ransom.

With a nod, he did so and I noticed how hard he was trying to control himself. He was shaking and balling his fists, his shoulders were heaving and his body seemed racked with pain already.

‘Leave,’ Ransom forced out of his chattering mouth.

‘I have to close it around you now,’ I said with a quick look at the book.

‘After get out. I don’t want to risk you,’ he explained.

I nodded and using my wand to help channel my magic through, I closed the Ancient Circles of Holding and Constricting around him. A three cylinder barrier now surround him, glowing faintly red. The runes on the floor glowed either blue or green and I sensed the old magic taking hold and gathering to the height of it’s power.

Ransom let out a painful scream and I stumbled away, thinking I had hurt him. I saw though, his body began to twist and shift into the beast that lay underneath.

A part of me wanted to stay but another part knew there was nothing I could do. I hurried out, closing and magically sealing the new steel door behind me. Hoping that the Ancient Circles held, I raced back to the Academy which was the only safe place to be on full moon nights.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/06/04/weekly-writing-prompt-144/ with thanks).

Mangata #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’. 

Someone was calling my name in the distance, I could hear them over the sounds of the waves and the rocking of the little boat.

‘Susy! Susy!’

I opened my eyes and stretched, my body stiff from leaning over. Looking around in a daze, I realised I’d fallen asleep! Luckily though the sea had carried me ashore and the little boat was wedged on the beach. Checking my watch, I saw it was now close to two in the morning.

‘Susy!’ a voice yelled.

It was my older sister, Aura! I looked madly about and thought I saw a blob of flickering light, coming over to me. I looked at the electrical lantern balanced at the head of the boat. It was letting off a good amount of light still. I picked it up and climbed out of the boat.

‘Over here, Aura!’ I yelled and waved the lantern.

‘Susy! she shouted back, ‘are you okay?’

‘Yes,’ I hollered.

I ran along the shore to met her. The surf splashed up against my boat and the wet sand slide underneath me. We almost collided as we were both closer then we thought. Laughing, Aura hugged me tightly, her lantern hitting my back, her wild blonde hair tickling my face.

‘We were worried!’ she gushed, ‘We thought you’d got lost! Father and mother have gone to the cove and to the rocky pools. They thought the tide might have carried you there.’

‘No,’ I replied, I was close enough to shore. I didn’t realise the time.’

Aura let me go and we walked over to the boat.

‘Did you get it?’ she asked, excitement bubbling in her voice.

I nodded and answered, ‘yes and some more things too.’

We hurried over and I grabbed the hiking bag to show her.

Aura grabbed my hand before I could start pulling things out, ‘wait,’ she said.

I looked at her, her face glowing in the lantern lit.

‘We should find father and mother, they are so worried.’

‘Fine,’ I said and flipped the hiking bag closed again.

I heaved it onto my back then we both pulled the boat up the beach. As we neared the low stone wall, two moving lights appeared and we heard running footsteps. Aura, held out her hand and we both stopped. Ducking into the shadows of the wall, we hide our lanterns behind us and waited to see who was coming.

Heavy feet hit the sand, followed by softer ones and the swishing of cloaks. I saw in the gloom, two lanterns holding magical balls of blue and green dancing lights. So, it could only be…

‘Mother! Father!’ Aura cried and she rushed over to them, ‘I found her! Susy! She’s fine!’

I stepped from the wall’s shelter and hurried over. My mother hugged me, repeatedly saying my name, asking if I was okay and that I had worried them all.

‘What happened?’ my father finally cut in.

‘Nothing…I…It was just so nice out there and I caught some stars too. I didn’t know the time had gone,’ I replied.

I couldn’t tell them I had fallen asleep, it’d be awhile before they let me out again by myself.

‘I got The Moon Reflection Essence!’ I cried and struggled to take my hiking bag off to show them all.

My mother stopped me, her hands pulling the straps back on, ‘later,’ she said.

Father collected the boat, heaving it up and and carrying it back. We walked off the beach, breaking the quietness with a little conversation. A sandy path let back to the village. Ours was the first house on the little cliff that looked out over the sea. As we got closer, I saw that all the windows had lights shinning out of them, so it seemed like a beacon. There was a tail of smoke coming out of the small chimney too.

Arriving, we took our boots off then Mother hurried me into the living room, where the fire dully burnt. She threw some more logs on then began helping me out of my damp clothes. In the background, I heard father lowering the boat against the house and coming in with my sister. They joined us and started to get dry too.

Standing in my under dress, I emptied my hiking bag and removed all the jars. Mother inspected them as I did so, nodding and muttering her approval. Lastly, I handed in the biggest jar and watched her face closely.

The Moon Reflection Essence glowed brightly in the living room, casting a pool of light around mother. Her smile grew as she turned the jar to see the light from the reflection of the moon from all sides.

‘It’s perfect,’ she said, proudly.

‘At a girl, Susy,’ father spoke.

‘Wow, it’s so bright!’ Aura awed.

‘Well done,’ mother added and drew me into a hug.

A wave of sleep hit me and I rubbed my eyes as I rested against her shoulder. The warm of the fire, the safety of home and the tiredness of my trip building together.

‘It’s bedtime.’

I agreed with a yawn.

Once in bed, I could see the moonlight dancing on top of the waves before me. I could feel myself drifting away, those waves carrying me out to sea.

‘You’re going to make a great witch, Susy,’ Aura’s voice said.

‘Huh-huh,’ I uttered.

‘We both will do…One day. Next time will you show me how you get the moon essence?’

‘Sure,’ I muttered then let the dream sea carry me away.

Mangata #atozchallenge (Part 1)

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Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’. 

I sat still in the small rowing boat, the sea waves gently bobbing around me. In the distance, I could hear more waves lazily brushing along the shoreline but there were no other sounds. The full moon rose high in an ink black sky, a billion stars surrounding her like people bowing to a Queen.

Looking at my luminous watch, the hands told me it was almost midnight. My breath caught in my throat and I reached for the largest of jars I had brought with me. The oars brushed against my legs as I moved, transferring some of their cold, wetness to my over the knee black socks. They were already damp with the spray off the wave tops.

Careful not to rock the boat, I unlocked the lid and popped it open. Then I looked down into the dark sea. A white shinning line lay across the water, the reflection of the moon, gently moving up and down as it rode along the wave tops. I lowered the large jar, feeling my hands and arms shake slightly under the weight.

Calm, calm! I told myself. My tongue stuck out and pressed to the corner of my mouth as I concentrated. The jar lip tickled the white shinny line. I held still as a statue, holding my breath and not blinking. I heard my heartbeat echoing then I lowered the jar an inch more, breaking the line.

The moon’s reflection trickled into the jar. I held on tightly, the extra weight making my arms ache. The jar began to glow a dim white light. I cast a glance up at the moon, it was hard to till if it looked dimmer or not. Fixing my eyes back on the jar, I waited painstakingly for it to fill. The sea licked at my hands like a happy puppy, making my skin wet and cold. My fingers started to slip on the jar, I clutched it tighter as if my life depended on it.

It had taken all year to reach this point. The conditions for collecting The Moon Reflection Essence had to be just right! The sea had to be almost flat, clear and still whilst the sky had to be empty of clouds, the moon full, the stars bright. The day before had to have been clear and sunny too, so that the maximum of sunlight could be reflected upon the moon. Also, it had to be at midnight, when everything was at it’s highest and the most magically hour had started.

Finally, the line of moonlight in the jar and sea met and I eased the jar back up. Struggling, I grunted and almost dropped it but then I heaved the jar over the side of the boat. I almost fell but recovered fast, the boat rocked wildly then stilled again. I shoved the jar between my knees and jammed the lid on. Then locked the clip, sealing The Moon Reflection Essence inside.

Breathing deeply, I looked up at the moon then at the line of shinny light upon the sea. The moon and line looked dimmer now. Breathing deeply, I wrapped a red velvet cloth around the jar and placed it carefully into my hiking bag, which I had placed a cushion at the bottom and put in a thick blanket. Every precaution was needed right now.

I dried my hands on the edge of my black cloak then reached for an empty smaller jar. Might as well make the most of this trip. I opened the smaller jar and looked down into the sea again. I waited in between the low waves, fixing my eyes on a pinprick of white then dipped the jar in.

The wave bobbed the boat, had I missed? I closed the lid as I withdrew the jar and brought it up to my face. Inside I saw a tiny dot of light; Star Reflection Essence. Smiling, I looked for another one and got ready to try and collected it. I lowered the jar once more, waited then dipped and raised the jar up again. A second white dot had joined the first.

Feeling more relaxed, I collected a few more stars; ten in total before closing that jar. I checked my watch and saw it was half past midnight. It was almost time to leave. Making sure the Star Reflection Essence jar was secure in my hiking bag, I put on top the others I had already filled with different things. Lastly, went the three jars I had not filled. They were spares, as it was always important to be over prepared.

I took a few sips of water from my bottle then tucked that into a side pocked of the hiking bag. I slide down side ways on the boat’s little bench, rested my arms gently on the boat’s side then placed my head on top. I sighed with tiredness and watched the sea gently bouncing the reflection of the moon and stars slowly. A yaw escaped me and lulled by the bobbing boat and quiet echos of the waves, I felt sleep at the edge of my eyes and mind.

To Be Continued…

 

Caim #atozchallenge #writephoto

Caim; sanctuary; an invisible circle of protection, drawn around the body with the hand to remind one of being safe and loved, even in the darkest times. 

I watched the sun rising from my window. It had been another sleepless night. Too many thoughts in my head and nothing to settle me. I pressed my cheek to the cold, wet glass as the clouds began to light up.

A story, told by one of my childhood’s nannies, came into my head. It was about a boy who got lost in a dark forest where an evil witch lived. The boy wanted to protect himself but carrying nothing, could only use a spell his mother had given him. Using the air, he drew a circle around himself with his hand, whilst at the same time recalling a memory of being safe and loved.

The boy walked further into the forest and happened upon the evil witch. She tried to capture him, so she could eat him, but the evil witch’s spell bounced off the boy. The witch tried again and again, chasing the boy through the forest as he tried to get away. Finally, the boy made it out of the forest and back to his village. The evil witch could do nothing but hover on her broomstick at the edge of the trees, cursing the boy.

The boy ran into this house and was greeted by a happy and tearful family, for they had all thought he’d never return. The boy told of how he had cast the Caim spell his mother had taught him and when the evil witch tried to capture him, it was that spell that had saved him.

I sighed and moved my head away from the window. I had long given up believing in fairy stories. The idea of casting that spell stuck with me though. Getting out of the window box, I stepped into a patch of dawn light laying on the bare floor. Shutting my eyes, I thought about the best time I had felt safe and loved. I drew a circle around myself in the air.

A touch of warm brushed my skin, opening my eyes and looking out of the window, I saw the valley below full of sunlight. I wasn’t sure if the spell had worked or not but I felt a lot better that day for the first time in weeks. And that night, I slept well.

 

(Photo prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2018/03/29/thursday-photo-prompt-valley-writephoto/ with thanks).

Ebb #writephoto

When the tide went out it left the small beach cove layered in seaweed which made it a dangerous place to go for an walk. It was my favorite spotted though because it was empty of people and great for finding items to make my crafts with.

I was walking along the edge, putting interesting bits of wood, shells and other items in my basket. The sea, though distance was still loud as the autumn wind was strong and a drizzle was falling. Letting my raincoat hood fall back, I heard the loud cries of a cat.

Frowning, I followed the sound and a few meters down on the beach I saw a movement of black and heard a strangled cry. Placing down my basket, I carefully walked over the seaweed and slippy rocks. Twice, I felt like I was going to slip but I was able to keep my balance.

From out of a large pile of seaweed rose a small, skinny black cat. He’s huge green eyes focused on me and he’s meows were so pleading it was heartbreaking. I slowly crept closer, but the cat didn’t try to run away, in fact he seemed to be awaiting me. Bit unusual for a cat!

‘Okay, kitty. I’m only here to help you,’ I said gently.

I began taking the long strips of wet seaweed off the cat’s back, thinking at any moment he would do a runner. My fingers touched the cat’s fur and I realised he was soaked through. He meowed at me and kept trying to pulled himself free.

‘How long have been here, cat? Did you decided to take a walk and fell into this seaweed?’ I asked.

He meowed at me some more. I took the last slimy piece off his back then moved on to his legs. Somehow, he’d really got himself wrapped up.  As I untangled a third leg the cat struggled out and shook himself.

‘You’re free now,’ I said with a smile.

The black cat pressed up against me, meowing more softer this time. I stroked his wet head and back. He was so skinny! His tail swayed around, sometimes hitting my leg, I ignored that as I glanced around.

‘Will you let me carry you?’ I asked, ‘just in case you get stuck again?’

Carefully, I picked him up and let him climb up to my shoulder. He pressed his head to my ear and give a low purr. I turned and began making my way back, slowly. It was hard going with just one arm for balance and the sight of a cat blocking my view but we made it back. Just in time for it to start raining.

I grabbed my basket and hurried home. The cat not seeming to mind as he bounced on my shoulder. Entering the  seaside village, I made straight for my shop front then around to the back door which was my front door to my apartment above.  When we got in and up the narrow stairs, I set the cat down then my basket. Taking off my shoes, coat and jumper, I left everything at the front door and went to get a towel.

I dried myself off then the cat. He wasn’t wearing a collar but he was too friendly not to be someone’s pet. Though, I’d not seen a black cat around here, since my own; Web who’d died two years ago. Luckily, I had kept her stuff and I give the black cat a bowl of water and a handful of cat treats that I’d not thrown away yet.

In the coming months, I tried hard to find the cat’s owner, but no one ever came forward to claim him. He made himself at home and was loved by everyone who came into the shop. People also said how fitting it was for a black cat to live in a witch’s shop. I had to agree and some days, I did wonder if he had actually come to me. A witch wasn’t a witch without her black cat familiar!

Oh, I called him Ebb by the way. That seemed kind of fitting.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/10/26/thursday-photo-prompt-ebb-writephoto with thanks).

The Cook Book

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The witch took her favourite cook book out and began turning the heavy yellow pages. She wasn’t sure what to make, something to poison the neighbourhood kids or a light snack for herself?

‘Ah, mashed monster stew!’ she crackled, ‘that’s perfect for this stormy night!’

 

(Inspired from; https://first50.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/the-cookbook/ with thanks).

Ruining

The castle was pleasant by day but at night it became a sinister blot. Stories of supernatural creatures hung over the place, causing folk to stay away.

I’d set out to prove they were all legends. Peering out of my tent, the full moonlight touched the medieval stones, casting an eerie glow. I heard voices then a fire sprung to life. Before me, the devil and a coven of witches began to party.

I tried to convince myself it was a dream and perhaps it truly was but what I saw that night I will take to my grave.

 

(Inspired from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/08/30/1-september-2017 with thanks)