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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4. Naturally a Witch

Minutes later, I was parked outside old Rose Nelson’s house.  I could easily see that Nana and her friends were sitting at the table near the bay window playing poker, across from where I was parked.  The car made a great rumble shortly followed by a pathetic ‘pfft’ as I killed the elderly engine.

 

The rain wasn’t drowning the streets like it had a couple hours ago, instead it made a light tap dance on the roof as Nana appeared at Rose’s front door.  She pulled her coat close around her before sprinting to the passengers’ side of the car.

“Billie, dear, this isn’t the right time to get into this.” She said quite calmly.

“I saw behind the wall.  I saw the secret room.”

“Billie, I begged you to leave it alone.”

“I did.  It was Riley who broke it down.”

“Riley?  The Principal’s nephew?”

“Yes, Riley Smith.  He hurt me.”

“What did he do?”

“He was acting weird, I asked him to leave, but he wouldn’t go.  I tried to throw him out but he grabbed me and…”

“And?” asked Nana, fearfully.

“He threw me at it.  He threw me at the wall, Nana.”

“Oh, curse him.  Curse his family.” She muttered.

“It’s true, isn’t it?” Nana looked up at me sharply.  “Am I a Witch?”

“Yes.” She breathed.

“How?”

“Our family is descended from a long line of Witches.”

“Since the Witch hunts?”

“Oh, our history dates farther back than just the Witch trials, dear.”

“Why didn’t I know this?”

“Your father begged us not to tell you or your brother anything until you were both of age.”

“My Dad knew?”

“Everyone in our family, except you and your brother, of course, knows about their true lineage.”

“Everyone?”

“Your aunts, your cousins, everyone in that house are a Witch.”

 

She nodded to Rose’s house to where I saw, through the rain, the elderly men and woman watching us closely.  They shifted restlessly in their seats when my gaze fell upon them.

“Why didn’t he tell us?” I asked.

“He wanted you to have a normal childhood.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, dear.  He never explained, he just asked us not to say anything.”

“How could he do this to me?  To Brian?  Why?”

“I wish I had all the answers you seek, Billie, but I don’t.  All I can tell you is that your life is going to change now.”

“When?”

“Tomorrow, when you turn eighteen, you’ll come into your powers.”  I cried.  “It’s not a bad thing, dear.  This is a wonderful, joyous occasion for our family.  You are the first born of your generation.  You’ll become the new leader of the family coven.”

“How?  I don’t know anything.”

“You’ll learn.”

“What am I supposed to do now?”

“Now, you’ll pick up your friend, take her stuff to the house and help her settle into her new home.”

“How could we possibly let her stay with us now?”

“Billie, she knows.”

She knows?  Why does Dulcie know?”

“Dulcie is… different.  Her family are mostly made up of Witches and Pagans but your friend is something else.”

“Like what?”

“Like, that is her business to tell and not mine.”

 

I looked at her hopelessly and she smiled at me.  The rain outside died down to a slow beat now.  Drip, drip, drop it sounded on the car hood.  I breathed in deeply then said, “Everything’s going to change.”

“But change isn’t always a bad thing.”

“No, I guess not.”

“Go get Dulcie and take her home.  She’ll explain if you ask.  But if you feel overwhelmed try to take deep, steadying breaths to keep your cool.”

“I’ll try.  But if I –“

“If you can’t, I’m only a phone call away.  I’ll only be here another hour or two at the most.  But I think Dulcie will cover everything till I get back.”

 

Without another word, she kissed my forehead, smiled and ran back through the rain to Rose’s house.

 

“Deep steadying breaths.” I kept repeating to myself.  “Deep, steadying breaths.”

 

My legs felt like they were filled with lead as I made my way up the garden path to Dulcie’s front door.  Behind it I could hear Dulcie’s approaching the steps before it swung open.

“You’re early.”  The smile on her face fell.  “What’s wrong?”

“Where do I begin?”

“Oh, no, you know.  How?”

“Riley Smith.”

“Son of a BITCH!  What did he do?”

I sighed.  “Let’s just get your stuff into my car.” Dulcie rolled her eyes at me.  “I’ll explain on the way.”

“Laura’s already dropped some stuff off at your front door.  You weren’t in so she just left them on the porch.”

“Where is she now?”

“She’s on her way to a meeting with someone at the bank.”

“Right, well, let’s take the rest over.”

“Okay, stop.”

“What?”

“Why are in such a funk?” she asked exasperatedly.

“I’m not in a funk.”

“Yes, you are.  What did Riley do to you?”

“What makes you think he did anything?”

 “God damn him, what did he do?”

“He started acting weird and then he threw me through at the wall by the fireplace.”

“He what?!”

“How do you know, Dulcie?  How come I never knew but you did?”

“Did you speak to your Nana?”

“Yes, and she told me diddly squat so… spill.”

Dulcie sighed.  “My parents were Witches.”

“Oh.” I said, mouth falling to the ground.  “Are you?”

“No.  My aunt Laura is a Pagan and I’m an Empath.”

“An Em- what?”

“Empath.”

“Is that kind of like Telepath?”

She sneered.  “Sort of I guess but they’re still very different.”

“How?” I asked, taking a box back down the path.

“Well, Telepath’s can hear people’s thoughts.  Empath’s can feel others’ emotions rather than hear them.”

“So…”

“So if you get angry, I can feel it.  The emotions affect me in different ways.  For example if you’re angry, I’ll feel it like I said, but I’ll be feeling it with you.  Know what I mean?”

“Not really.”

“It’s like… it’s not me feeling angry.  Not my personal feelings.  If someone else feels something different from me, I can’t help but feel the same way.  It’s almost against my will.”

“Yeah, that explains everything.” I said sarcastically.

She frowned, “It’s hard to describe.  It’s hard to deal with it every day.”

“I’ve never seen you struggle at anything.”

“Change of subject.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes.

“We should be talking about what happened to you.”

“I’m not in the mood.”

“I know.” I laughed.  “But you’ll tell me anyway.”

“Let’s wait till we’ve finished moving you.”

“That’s the last box.” She said, sticking it in the back of the car.

 

After we both climbed into my car and fastened our seatbelts, Dulcie turned to me as the engine roared to life.  “Tell me.”

I groaned, “Riley came, started acting weird, made some wild accusations and when I tried to throw him out, he threw me at the false wall.  The end.”

“Bill.”

“Don’t want to hear it, DC.”

“You need to…”

“Don’t tell me what to do.”  I snapped.  “I just want to put it behind me.”

“Okay.  But if you need to talk.”

“Thanks, but I’ll pass for now.”

 

The rest of the journey passed in silence and Dulcie didn’t speak again till I was showing her my Aunt Sophia’s old room.

“So this is your room.  My Nana is on the left and Brian’s room is on the right.  I’m at the end of the hall opposite the attic door.”

“Great.”

 

Dulcie inspected every inch of the bedroom; looking inside the empty wardrobe, the closet full of bed sheets and the vanity table where a photo frame sat solitary on the wood.

“I’ll take that away.  I meant to lift it earlier.” I said, crossing to where Dulcie stood gazing at the picture.

 

Stood together were my Dad and his two older sisters, Sophia and Riona.  By the looks of it, it was taken at Sophia’s High School graduation.  She wore black, billowing robes with a red hood and trim.  Her pale, red hair was poker straight and, even though she wore high heels, she was still the shortest of the three siblings.

 

Riona stood on Sophia’s left side, wearing a wine coloured dress and gold gladiator sandals.  Her burgundy, corkscrew curls were tied up upon her head where they fell like a curly waterfall.  To Sophia’s right stood my Dad.  His tall gangling frame was dressed neatly in navy pants and a pale blue polo shirt and his brown hair was rustled by the wind.

“That’s your Dad?” Dulcie asked.

“Mmm hmm.  Brendan Owen Black.”

 

I took the picture from the vanity table and disappeared from the room with it.  Through in Nana’s room I left the picture of her children on her bedside table.  Dulcie had followed me through and was waiting by the bedroom door when I made my way back towards the stairs.

“What happened to them all?” she asked, following me down.

“Well, you know what happened to my Dad.”

“Yeah.”

“Three years ago, shortly after the accident, Sophia left her home and was never seen again.”

“What?  She ran away?”

“No, she was taken.  She had gone for a walk and disappeared.”

“What about her kids?”

“Ruby was in the car with my parents.  She’s in a coma at Penn Gate Medical Centre.  As for Vincent, I don’t know.  He went in search for his Mom almost two years ago and we haven’t heard from him.  He’d check in with us to let us know he was safe, every now and then, but the calls stopped about four months after he set off.”

“All by himself?”

“He did it against our wishes, believe me.”

“What about their Dad?”

“Haven’t seen him for ages.  He and Vincent had a big row before his departure.  Dexter was never particularly close with our family.”

“When was the last time you seen him?”

“At the hospital, last year.  On Ruby’s birthday.  Word has it, he comes at least every three or four weeks but he always comes on her birthday, like us.”

“Oh my god!” Dulcie exclaimed at the sight of the living room.

 

The crumbled wall lay scattered on the floor by the fireplace.  The secret door stood slightly ajar revealing a glimpse of the room beyond.

“Yeah, he pretty much trashed it.”

“Can’t you report him?  Get him to pay the damages?”

“What for?  It’s down now and it’ll stay down now.”

“You should still report him.”

“Great, report the Principal’s nephew.  Smart idea.”

“Oh, please!  The Principal is totally in love with you.”

“Eew!  Dulcie, that is wrong on so, so, so many levels!”

“You’re blind.”

“Ssh!” I said, placing a finger to my mouth.

 

Stepping carefully over the wall’s remnants, Dulcie followed me inside to the secret room.  Potions glittered in jewel bright vials on the shelves, old dusty books weighed down others and a tall glass display cabinet held many, many herbs and roots.

 

Standing at the rear of the room on a brass book stand was the family craft.

“Oh,” Dulcie said in astonishment, “is that the Black Craft?”

“Yeah, my family legacy.  Hidden in a dank, dark, musty secret room behind the fireplace.  Doesn’t that say wonders about my family?” I said sarcastically.

Dulcie tutted.  “Have you read it?” she asked, stepping closer to it.

“Nope, nuh uh.  Not ready for that yet.”

 

Moving closer, I initially meant to ask Dulcie to leave it when the book itself flew at me.

“I think it wants to be read.” Dulcie said, crossing her arms and smirking.

“Stay.” I said, firmly putting it back on its brass stand.

Dulcie scoffed and rolled her eyes.

“Come on, let’s go to the shops.”

 

There were no shops like Home Depot or Bed, Bath and Beyond in our quaint little town, so we had to go to the only shop in Penn Gate for such amenities called ‘Hester’s’ on Main Street.  It was already late at night and Hester Brown warned us we only had fifteen minutes to find anything Dulcie might need for her new room.

 

Dulcie picked out a couple different bed sheet sets – one butter coloured patterned with daisies and the other stripes of hot pink and blood red running vertically down the sheets.  The next aisle over she found herself a couple fleecy blankets, closely matching colour wise, some bulbs for the bedside lamp and finished off over by the candle section.

“Two minutes!” Hester called from the cashiers’ desk.

“What do you think?” Dulcie asked, raising a yellow candle to my nose.

“Nice.”

“Jasmine and freesia.  What are you getting?”

“I’m getting vanilla, cinnamon and lemon.”

“One minute!” Hester called again.

“What’s got her panties in a twist?” Dulcie muttered under her breath.

“She’s a miserable old boot, that’s all.” Dulcie laughed.

 

Laden with the homely goods we trooped up to the till to find Hester stood, grim faced with her arms crossed.  She was a tall but stout woman with her hair tied tightly back in a knot on her head, her ruddy face was blotchy and red and her eyes were bespectacled with large, black square frames.

 

She scanned Dulcie’s items and bagged them, muttering to herself about being late for dinner.  We handed over our money and she escorted us to the door and locked it hurriedly behind us.

“Charming.” Said Dulcie, to the closed door.

“I told you, she’s a miserable old boot.”

“Excuse me?” came a trilling voice behind us.  “It hasn’t closed, has it?”

“Yeah, sorry.  You just missed it.”

“Oh, god my sister will kill me.”

 

At first I thought she was just a little girl, the voice and the height of her made me think as much.  But she was, on closer inspection, about ages with Dulcie and me.

“Is there any other shops still open?” she trilled.

“No, but there is a Wal-Mart just out of town.  Two miles south from here.  It’s the only place nearby that’s open quite late.” Dulcie informed her.

“Oh, thank you so much.” She marched forwards with her well-manicured hand outstretched, “I’m Astrid.  Pleased to meet you.”

 

Her hair was pale blonde and long and she wore mostly pink or designer clothes.  I half expected a tiny dog to poke its head out from her purse.  Astrid looked like a miniature Paris Hilton wannabe.

“I’m Dulcie and this is my friend Billie.” Dulcie introduced me as Astrid offered her hand to me.

 

Her nails were long and sharp and the sensation they brushed against my hand sent an unpleasant feeling up my spine.

“Nice to meet you.” I forced a smile.

“So do you guys still go to school here?”

“Yeah, this is our senior year though.” Said Dulcie.

“Graduation is next month.”

“Well, I start on Monday so I’ll see you both there.” She turned back to a slick black car parked just down the street.  “Would you look at me making friends already!” she giggled.

 

Dulcie tossed her new purchases into the back seat of my car as we piled in to head home.  She turned her head to me as I started the car with its usual roar and said, “What was that about?”

“What?”

“I got a weird vibe from you when you shook Astrid’s hand.”

“I just got a weird feeling but I’m pretty sure it was those talons of hers.  Did you see the size of those things?”

“Stop deflecting.” Dulcie warned me.  “Spill.”

“It’s just a vibe, like you said.  I don’t know what it was.  Did you feel anything?”

“From her?  Yeah, a jumble of feelings, it was hard to pick one out of the mob.  She was nervous, excited and I felt a little intimidation in there too.  Amongst many others, of course.”

 

When I had pulled the car up to the curb outside my home there was a familiar looking red Dodge parked opposite us.  The front door stood ajar as Dulcie and I approached, arms laden with Hester’s bags, when I heard my aunt Riona’s voice speak from within.

“How did this happen?  Do you think Billie may have seen this?”

“Have you tried calling Nana?  Surely, Billie would’ve gone straight to her if she had.” Said my cousin, Rowanne’s, voice.

“We need to clean this up right away.  She can’t find out till tomorrow.”

“Too little, too late.” I said, stepping into the living room.

“Billie?” Riona spun round, trying to shield the wreck from view.  “You’re back.”

“Hey, cous.”  Rowanne stepped forward with her arms outstretched.

 

She embraced me in a hug which she broke off sooner than she normally would have.

“H-How’ve you been?” she asked nervously.

“Fine.” I answered, shortly.

“What happened here?” Riona asked.

“Riley Smith was over earlier.  He confronted me.”

“About?”

“Do I have to spell it out to you?” I asked frustrated.  “I know I’m a Witch!”

“Easy, Bill.” Dulcie said, soothingly.

“Who are you?” Riona turned to Dulcie.

“She’s my friend, Dulcie Cortes.  She already knows about me.”

“I’m an Empath.” Dulcie said in a manner that her statement should explain everything.

“I don’t understand… how could this boy know who you really are?”

“He’s not a boy.” Dulcie stepped in, “He’s half vampire.”

“Tell me everything,” Riona demanded, her face paling, “from the start.”

 

Riona pulled me over to the couch to sit with her and explain about my meeting for a school project with Riley after school and how things went wrong.  My aunt was most interested in the strange reflection in the mirror.  After describing to Riona, as best as I could, about how much it looked like me but older at the same time, she sprang from the seat and disappeared into the secret room before returning with a very old picture album.

“Is this whom you saw?” she asked, flicking through the small paintings till she was about half way through.

 

The lady was dressed in an old style dress, older than Victorian days for sure.  Atop her head was a small bonnet in scarlet to match her beautiful dress.  At her feet were three small children, two boys and one girl, all whom shared her features.  The heart shaped face and mousy brown hair as well as the small button nose and wide thin lips.  All of which I had too only with much younger looking skin.

“That’s her.  Who is she?”

“She is our ancestor.” Riona tapped at the neat curling writing at the bottom of the picture which read ‘The Black Family, 1860.’

 

“So why was she in the mirror?”

“We think,” Riona started tentatively, glancing back at Rowanne, “that you are her reincarnate.”

“You’re gonna be super freaking powerful.” Rowanne gloated excitedly.

Dulcie stayed quiet and watched me with worried eyes as words choked in my throat and a lump began to swell there.

 

Riona was smiling just as excitedly as Rowanne and a fierce pride gleamed in her eyes.  Dulcie called my name as the world began to shrink and I had the strangest feeling of falling backwards.

 

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