The Black Craft

How can I fear the end when I know that where I am
headed is to a new destiny?
Being a reincarnated Witch isn't easy. 18-year-old Billie
is struggling with coming to these terms. On the eve before her
eighteenth birthday she discovers she and her family are Witches,
her best friend is an Empath and the school Principal is a
Vampire.

The first eighteen years of her life she's been kept in
the dark all so that she and her brother could have a normal
childhood. But her fathers' choices has led to disastrous
consequences. Billie must learn to conrtol her powers and gain
strength as the first Vampire is reborn in the small town of Penn
Gate.

A lot of questions surround the new kids, Astrid, Christian and
Desiree. Billie doesn't trust them and likes it even less
when her own brother, Brian, begins to date one of them. But
what can she do about it when she has to keep her own secrets
safe?

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22. Eve's Funeral

Before my relatives arrived the next morning the doctor came to my room to question me about my surprising recovery time and how quickly my wrist was healing.  My answers were short and sometimes rather snappish, I did my best not to draw attention to Alexa and put all my luck down to having a ‘Guardian Angel’ watching over me.  I don’t think he believed any of it for a second but it wasn’t likely that I’d tell him a witch was responsible for the excessive rate of healing in my body.

 

Riona and Rowanne arrived just after eleven with some clothes and a wheelchair.  They had brought me a suit I’d used when I went for my college interviews to wear to Eve’s funeral.  The black blazer and matching pants had been sent to the dry cleaners after the last time I’d worn them and Rowanne had quickly pressed them before going to bed last night.  She had also pressed my pale blue silk shirt and even added the brooch Dulcie had given me, for my birthday, to my coat.

 

Although my legs were perfectly fine my aunt and cousin insisted that they wheel me out to the rental car parked outside.  I consented with them but only if they rushed me out before Doctor Harper appeared with more questions for me.

 

As soon as I had my shower, put my make up on and crammed my clothes on, Riona, Rowanne and I were speeding down the hospital corridors as soon as I’d signed myself out.  The small parking lot was mostly empty when we exited through the shabby little hospital’s main entrance.  The whistling wind didn’t disrupt the balmy day as Riona rolled me out to her rental car parked close to the entrance.

 

After Rowanne returned the wheelchair to the hospital, Riona pulled out of the parking lot and onto Jackson Boulevard where we rode bumper to bumper until we reached the cemetery.  Most of the town were filing into the church, when we arrived, an overwhelming crowd of black and white rained down upon Eve’s parents, Amanda and Tom Montgomery, and her younger siblings, Izzie, Owen and Tom Junior, to share their sorrows.  I saw Brian and Nana climb out of Dulcie’s Toyota Camry as Dulcie herself approached Matilda’s Chevy Cobalt.  I climbed out of the rental car to accompany Matilda and Dulcie into the church.  Matilda wore a plain black body fitting dress, a short black coat with big silver buttons and flat black pumps with tiny bows.  Dulcie’s suit was similar to my own but she wore a white cotton shirt with a few small red flowers decorating it, she had a long silver chain around her neck that would’ve dropped straight to her waist if it wasn’t for the large decorative knot in it.

 

The service passed in a blur once everyone was indoors, with the windows blocking out the welcome breeze the small church was ridiculously warm.  Mrs Montgomery was a mess in the front row, her head was rested against her husband’s shoulder, whilst she clutched on to the hands of her other children for dear life, I found it unbearable to watch her hysterical tears as she saw the six men carry her daughter’s coffin down the aisle.  I gulped hard.  They were having an open casket service, as we all left our seats to say our last goodbyes to Eve my insides began to squirm.

 

Her coffin was a deep cherry colour and it gleamed from the polished coating.  When I reached the top step of the aisle I saw her lifeless form in the casket I felt the first of my tears roll down my cheeks.  She didn’t look like the young vivacious, coltish girl I’d befriended three years ago.  Her golden locks had lost their lustre and her rose cheeks were now an extreme white.  She was dressed in a black dress similar to Matilda’s with a posy of roses in her wilting hands.  I leaned forward to kiss her head when I saw the two little dots on the right side of her neck.  Moving forward to kiss her again I captured a lock of her hair and pulled it over to hide the hideous mark that Desiree Moon had given her when she’d drained Eve of her life.  Following Dulcie and Matilda’s backs out to the cemetery I saw Riley and his family a few feet ahead of Dulcie, I wanted to run to him but I was sure that would be pretty poor decorum at a funeral.  Instead he slowed down and let all those between us pass on by.

“How are you?” he asked putting an arm around me.  One of the many things I liked about Riley was that he wasn’t dumb enough to ask if I was okay because he knew I wasn’t.

“I’m… I don’t know…” I said my eyes on the ground.

“I understand.” he said kissing the top of my head.  “I’m here for you.”

“I know, thank you.” I said giving his hand a squeeze.

“Are you sure you feel well enough?”

“I’m better.  The bandages are just for keeping up appearances.” I said pointing to my injured wrist.

 

Riley, Willem and Leonard were all in matching suits except for their ties and Faith was, surprisingly, in a pencil skirt with a black coat and cream top.  When I began walking up the slope to the freshly dug grave I saw that Eve’s grave was surrounded by many colourful flowers and her headstone.  When I was still unconscious in the hospital, Dulcie and Matilda asked Eve’s parents for permission to buy her a little granite flower box to sit by her grave.  The box was sat next to Eve’s headstone, the headstones upper half was carved into the shape of a diamond with a picture of Eve in the centre of it.  The writing carved into the marble read,

 

Here lies Evelyn Montgomery,

Beloved daughter,

Revered sister

and Trusted Friend

 

4th May 1992 - 8th June 2010

 

Our flower box sat to the left side and had been filled with pink and yellow gerberas, the carving on the box read,

 

To Eve

Love,

MS,

DC,

& BB.

 

There were two other boxes, one to the left of the headstone was filled with white roses which was from her only living grandparent and the box from her siblings sat in front of Eve’s headstone had been filled with purple tulips.

 

Under a canopy of green leaves the last of the mourners gathered to watch as Eve’s cherry coloured casket was slowly lowered into the earth.  The rushing breeze cast the branches aside of the resolute old oak tree to reveal Christian staring in at the crowd from behind the black iron gates.  When the branches swayed once more out of my line of vision Christian was gone.

 

Once Eve’s casket was in the ground the priest began to speak again about Eve’s life, her achievements, her ambitions and her goals in life.  He had never met Eve, I’d only known her three years and I didn’t think it was enough.  Matilda’s countenance told me that she was mirroring my thoughts.  I did my best to block out his speech until the crowd began to break up into smaller parties as they left the cemetery.

“What do you want to do now?” Riley asked in a whisper.

“I need to speak to Matilda.” I replied.

“You mean the talk?  Do you really think now is the best time?”

“It doesn’t matter when or where I tell her.  I just have to tell her.” I said kissing his cheek.

 

I walked away from Riley and my family and followed Matilda’s back all the way out to her car.

“Hey, will you come a walk with me?  There’s something I need to talk to you about.” I asked catching up with her.

“Okay, are you sure you feel well enough?”

“I’m fine.  Let’s go to the Peaks, Eve always liked to practise there.”

“Okay, but let me drive us there.  Then we’ll walk.”

“Fine by me.” I said climbing into the passenger’s seat.

 

Our short drive to Penn Peaks was mainly silent, I could tell Matilda had a lot on her mind and the last thing I wanted to do was pull her out of her reverie.  When we pulled into the small clearing where Eve used to practise I decided it would probably be best to break the news to her if she was sitting down so I reached over and grabbed the blanket Matilda kept folded up on the back seat of her car.

“So what did you want to talk about?” she asked as I spread the blanket out in the clearing.

“I think you better sit down.” I said crossing my legs.

Matilda sat down as ladylike and dignified as she could with her dress spilling around her legs.

“There are a lot of things I need to tell you. I’m not sure how you’re going to react to them so please just keep in mind that I’d never hurt you.”

“Okay…” she said suspiciously.

“You know how everyone makes jokes about my grandmother and I being witches?”

“Oh, Bill, just ignore them.  They’re morons!” she said waving a hand.

“Yes they are morons… but they’re also right.” I said waiting for Matilda’s reaction.  “Matilda…?”

“Say it again.” she said stunned.

“Matilda, I’m a witch.” I said clearly without hesitation.

“Uh hum…” she said.  “Are you crazy, Billie Black?!” she shouted angrily.

“What?!” I shouted back.

“Why would you make up such a stupid joke on a day like this, honestly?!”

“It’s not a joke.” I said blinking and reappearing over by her car.  “Does this look like a joke to you?” I raised my hand and the hood of her car opened up prior to clicking my fingers which sent her cheerleading uniform flying all over the grass.  “Does that look like a joke to you?” I asked pointing at the mess.

 

I blinked, finding myself on the blanket once more.  “Do you believe me now?” I asked her more calmly.

“What?  What!?” she stuttered before screaming shrilly.

“Matilda, calm down.” I said putting my hands on her shoulders.  “Remember what I said!  I am not going to hurt you.”

Matilda batted my hands away then took off in the direction of her car.  I sighed, teleported yet again and stood between her and the car door.  “Just listen to me please, Matilda!”

“Stay away from me!” She cried running away.

 

I sprinted after her and caught hold of her left hand while I teleported us to Penn Ponds.

“Look!  Look, Matilda!  Do you know where we are?” I asked desperately.

“The Ponds.” she said.

“Where the police found Eve’s body.  Matilda, please, I’m begging you.  Just let me explain!  There is so much to tell you.”

“No, no, no.  Go away.”

“Matilda!” I hooked my right pinky finger with her own.  “Friends forever, remember?”

She looked down at our intertwined fingers with a sad expression before meeting my eyes to say, “Why here?  Why bring me here?” she asked crying hysterically.

“Because you deserve the truth, the reason why Eve died.” I said making her meet my eyes again.  “Please, give me a chance.”

“Ten minutes.  If I don’t like what I hear you let me go home.” she shouted.

“Okay, ten minutes.”  I said leading the way back to the clearing.

 

For a while Matilda paced around the blanket before deciding it was safe enough to join me.

“So start.” she said dispassionately.

“Okay.  It started that day you and Eve tried to set me up with Josh, remember?” she nodded.  “I didn’t want to sit with him in class so instead I asked Riley if I could sit with him.”

 

I continued on explaining about what Riley and his family really were, telling her about the Eve and Sun-Walkers, and how Riley confronted me that evening about who I really was and the secret room behind the fireplace of my living room.  She became a little interested when I spoke of all the magical lessons I had from Nana and Riona and explained to her how our powers worked also about the first born of each generation.  When I gave another example of my powers I forewarned her so that she wouldn’t be surprised or frightened when I used them.  Josephine came up very rarely but I made sure she knew she was very important and still very much a part of me.  The story of Desiree’s schemes didn’t go down too well.

“She’d been watching me for months.” I told her.  “Desiree had been waiting for me to come into my powers all this time.  She’s responsible for Eve’s death by draining her blood.”

“She killed Eve to turn herself into an Eve-Walker?” she said tears pooling in her eyes.  “What a monster.”

“Yes, she was.  But she’s gone now, I took care of that.”

“And that’s how you ended up in hospital?  Fighting her?”

“Yeah.  I had to.”

Tears began to overflow in her eyes before spilling onto her cheeks.  “You’ll have to give me a second, this is all a little too much.  I’m struggling to believe that witches and vampires and werewolves are real.  Why did you tell me all this, again?”

“You’re my friend and you deserve the truth.”

“How do your family and vampire family feel about you telling me all this?”

“Oh, they’re majorly pissed but they know there’s no way on this earth they could stop me.”

“Oh, so you’re a badass witch, huh?” she grimly laughed.

“Damn straight.” Matilda laughed.  “So, do you think you’re going to be okay with this?”

“I’m glad you respect me enough to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

“But…?”

“Don’t get the idea that I’m going to be okay with this overnight.  I might need some time before I come around completely.”

“Okay, how about we forget about the craft for tonight and focus on Eve.”

“What do you want to do?” she said standing with me and linking her arm with mine.

“We could get some junk food and watch Some Like it Hot.”

“That was Eve’s favourite.” she said sadly.

“Yeah, we can think about Eve while we do all the things that she loved to do.”

“You know what else she loved?” Matilda said hesitantly.

“What?”

“Tarot card readings.  Do you…?”

“Yes, I have a deck in the house.  I can read you the cards if you want while we eat junk food and watch Marilyn Monroe.”

“Sounds good.” she said.

 

When we left the clearing in the forest we drove to Matilda’s house to pick up her copy of Some Like it Hot and a change of clothes when I invited her to spend the night.  She was still unsure of herself when we arrived at my house and undecidedly climbed up my front porch steps.

“We won’t bite.” I said holding my hand out to her.

Diffidently she took hold and let me lead her to the front door over the threshold.

The house was empty at the moment so I took the opportunity to show Matilda around before they all came back.  She couldn’t take her eyes off the pictures and articles Nana had framed on the walls.  Afraid she was impolite she averted her gaze and turned to me.

“It’s a lot to take in.” she said warily.  “Where are all your spell books?  Do you have spell books?”

“We have a few but there is one book that’s more important than the others.” I took her into the secret room.  “Here is where we keep most of our books and magical supplies.”

“What’s so different from these books and the ‘important’ book?” she asked scanning the shelves.

“Come upstairs I’ll show you.” I said leading the way out the living room once more.  I was half way up the stairs when I noticed she was standing at the bottom looking up at me.  “Are you afraid?” I asked.

“I don’t know.  What’s up there?”

“My bedroom.” I said coming down a couple of steps before sitting down.  Matilda sat down next to me before saying, “Don’t hit me or hex me or whatever but I’ve got a lot of questions you’ll probably think are either stupid or insulting.”

“It’s okay.  Ask away.”

She hesitated.  “Do you have a dungeon?”

“What!?” I laughed.  “No, we don’t have a dungeon.”

“A black cat?”

“Ah.” I said and heard Midnight’s little paws scampering down the stairs behind us.  “This is Midnight, he’s my Familiar.  He was a gift from Riley for my birthday.”  Matilda stuck her hand out to clap him then quickly withdrew it again.  “Don’t worry he’s still a cat.”

“What’s a Familiar?”

“A witches cat is often her Familiar.  We create psychic bonds with each other.”

“You create a psychic bond?  Does that mean he can speak?”

“No, I just sort of get an inkling of what’s on his mind.  That’s all I get at the moment, the bond between us will get stronger with time.”

“Okay…”

“Freaked out?”

“Yeah, just a little.”

“Come on, I’ll show you my special book.”

 

Midnight leaped from my lap into Matilda’s arms when I stood to climb the stairs.  She held him away from her for a second before bringing him close to her chest where she stroked him as she climbed the stairs.

“I have to admit he is cute.” She said scratching behind his ears.

“He likes you.” I informed her.

“Is that something you’re getting through your psychic bond?” she mocked.

“Yes, it is.”

 

My bedroom was largely untouched since I was last in it almost a week ago.  The bed was made, clothes were hanging on the wardrobe doors and the big window looking out onto the porch roof was open letting in the cool breeze.  The Black Craft was propped up on the brass stand in the corner of the room next to Midnight’s bed where I led Matilda to.  Midnight jumped from her arms and ran to his bed where he almost immediately began to snore.  Matilda joined me by The Black Craft after a quick investigation of the rest of my room.

“It’s just like any girls room except for the big magic book in the corner.” I told her.

“Yeah, you’re right.”

 

She ran her fingers over the embossed golden words written on the brown leather cover.

“The Black Craft.” she read aloud.

“It’s not black magic…”

“I get it.  It’s your family legacy, right?”

“Right, it’s the family spell book.  The first born of each generation takes ownership of it once they come of age.”

 

I flipped the cover to let her scan the pages of spells and such.  When she recognised my handwriting on some of the spells she looked up at me.

“If this is too much for you just tell me and I’ll stop.”

“I don’t know.  It’s… remind me why you’re telling me all this again?” she asked.

“Because you’re my friend and I’ve had to keep a lot of secrets from you that I’m not happy about.  Those clasps I gave you, they’re enchanted.  I was worried that Desiree might try to take you also and this was the only way I could magically protect you without you knowing.”

“What do they do?”

“Ward off evil.  If I could’ve I’d have made you invisible to their eyes but I’m still learning and there are some spells that are trickier than others.”

“Why did you think you could tell me all this?  Weren’t you afraid that I’d go tell people?”

“I wasn’t sure how you’d take the news and as for telling people about me, they think I’m crazy already.  They’d just think you’d gone crazy, too.  Of course there are some people who would believe you and we have to be wary of them.”

“What kind of people would believe witches exist?”

I smiled darkly at her.  “They call themselves the Preachers, they’re killers.  Why don’t we order in some Chinese food and watch Some Like it Hot?” I said to change the subject.

“Sounds good to me.”

 

***************************************

 

We dug around my kitchen drawers until we found the take out menu for the Chinese restaurant ‘The Great Wall’ on Main Street.  Matilda was a little worried when my family and Riley’s family arrived at my home.  One witch she could handle but a family of witches and a family of vampires was a daunting prospect for her.

“You don’t have to be afraid my dear.” Nana said consolingly.  “Has Billie explained to you what we all are?”

“Yeah.” she said abashedly.

“Well you mustn’t fear.  You’re a part of the family now, Matilda.” Riona said.

 

Matilda breathed a sigh of relief and then smiled brightly back at them all.

“Thanks.”

“Billie, introductions please.” Nana said prompting me.

“Oh, right of course.  Well, this is Nana.”

“Feel free to call me Jo.” Nana said.

“This is my aunt Riona and my cousin Rowanne.”

“Hi nice to finally meet you.” Rowanne said shaking Matilda’s hand.

“Yes, we’ve heard about you from Bill.” Riona said shaking Matilda’s hand also.

“I think you know everyone else.”

“Yeah.” Then after a beat she said, “Oh my effing god our Principal is a vampire.”

We all burst out laughing.

“Yeah, that’s exactly what I said when I found out.”

Leonard shook his head at me and winked back playfully.

“We were about to order in some Chinese food.  Care to join us?” I asked the room at large.

“Yay!  Junk food!” Dulcie said ecstatically and we all fell around laughing again.

 

When the driver guy came to deliver our food he had to take two trips out to his car to bring in our little feast.  Rowanne, Brian, Dulcie and I set up a few old tables in the back garden to eat at since it was such a nice afternoon out.  Matilda had more questions for myself and for Leonard, who she could only talk to because she was afraid his children would ignore her.  They weren’t as stupid as she thought they were; they were really quite logical questions.  When we finished our meals we carried the dishes inside to wash before watching Some Like it Hot.  I sat on Riley’s lap because there was very little seating to sit us all but he didn’t complain, I rather think he enjoyed it.  When the movie was over Riley and his family left and the girls and I went up to my room to do Tarot readings.  We didn’t delve in too deep in case it spooked out Matilda but she was curious about the crystal ball.

 

We all turned into bed a little happier and a lot fuller than when we’d woken up this morning.  When Matilda came back from washing up in the bathroom she asked, “Is this bed big enough for both of us?”

“Hmm.  Probably not.  Hang on I’ve got an idea.” I said.

I darted out of the room to the closet where we keep spare blankets, duvets and sleeping bags.  I grabbed my soft red sleeping bag and took it back to my room.

“Nuh uh!” Matilda argued.  “You are not sleeping on the floor.”

“Yes, I am.  You’re my guest, take my bed.” I said as I spread the sleeping bag out on the floor.

“But this is your bed!”

“Matilda, get in bed and watch.” I said as I slipped inside the warm fleece interior and pulled the zip up to my chest with my arms resting on the outside of the bag.

 

I pushed all my energy into the spark of magic within me to let my body leave the ground.  When I felt the spark begin to flicker within me like a flame I felt myself slowly levitate off my bedroom floor.  I relaxed into the warmth of the fleece and the kindling flame within me as I rose higher off the ground till I was a foot or two above Matilda.

“Oh, man that is so cool.” Matilda said as she lay down.  “Can you keep that up all night?”

“Well, if I move over to your other side I won’t have to worry about hurting myself if I fall.” I said urging my will to move to the left side of the bed.  “Are you sure you’re okay with this?  ‘Cause if not I’ll just float back on down again.”

“No, I’m good.” she said.  “Like I said before, it’s a lot to take in but I’m glad you’re sharing this with me.”

“Thanks for being so supportive, Matilda.”

“What are friends for?” she said raising her fist up then crooking her pinkie.

I stretched my arm out and twisted my own pinkie around hers.  “Friends forever?”

“Friends forever.” she said  “Good night, Bill.”

“Good night, Matilda.” I said as I rose higher above her.

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