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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5. Out With the Old...

I was in a field, lying amongst the tall pale grass and the sun shone brightly above.  I was pretty certain that it should’ve been dark by now and I should’ve been at home with my family.  Sitting up I could see nothing for miles around me except more field of tall grass until I saw someone, a silhouette, ambling towards me over a small hill near a cottage that had just come into view as well.

 

I knew that face all too well.  The tall frame with the sloped shoulders, his brown hair rippled in the warm breeze carrying with it the familiar scent of sandalwood that always seemed to follow him.  The familiar face of my deceased father was haunting me in my dreams.

He smiled, “You shouldn’t be here.  It’s not your time yet.”

 

Now you can’t blame a girl if she faints after finding out that she’s a witch, her principal and fellow students are vampires and her best friend is an Empath.  So if I was already feeling a little freaked out and stressed you can’t blame me that this little bit of information sent me over the edge.  When I came too I was lying on my bed and my aunt was sitting next to me.

“You have had one hell of a day haven’t you?” She asked resting her palm on my cheek.

“I guess you could say that.”

“Scoot over.” She said and I made room for her next to me.  “We all tried to make your father raise you like he was but he wouldn’t listen.  Letting you grow up blind to your true heritage was a bad decision.”

“Does Brian know?” I asked

“No, honey.  He doesn’t and he won’t until he’s eighteen.”

“That hardly seems fair.  He should know.”

“I know but I’m going to respect my brothers’ wishes.” I sighed.

“How can I be a witch, aunt Riona?”

“You’ll learn and you’ll be brilliant.  Your Nana and I will show you and teach you everything we know.  The vampire was right about one thing you will be powerful, I feel it in my bones.”

“I can’t believe I fainted.”  I said after a moment of silence.  “I should be helping Dulcie clean her room and unpack her things.”  I got off the bed and heard voices at the end of the corridor.

“Rowanne has already started to help her.  She’s a lovely girl that friend of yours.”

“How long have I been out?” I asked.

“Only half an hour.  We ordered pizza it should be here soon.  You like Hawaiian and Barbecue Chicken don’t you?  I also ordered Cheese and Tomato and Pepperoni.”

“How many mouths are we feeding?” I asked.

“Oh, your Nana will be here shortly and I called to invite Dulcie’s aunt.”

“That’s real nice of you aunt Riona.”  She smiled and clambered off the bed and stood next to me.

“Everything is going to be okay, Billie.  You will be a brilliant witch, you’ll graduate from school and you’ll leave this small town for bigger and better things.” She smiled and kissed me on the cheek.

 

When I entered Dulcie’s room she and Rowanne were deep in conversation.  I was glad at least that they seemed to be making friends.

“Hey, Bill!” Rowanne jumped up and came to hug me.  I saw over her shoulder that Dulcie was smiling.

“You two have a really great relationship I can tell.  Like sisters?  I feel the love.  It’s a nice feeling.”

“Well, at least it’s not pure, raw anger, huh?” I asked teasingly and Dulcie smiled.

“Come with me I have an early birthday present for you.” Rowanne said tugging on my arm and leading me towards the attic.  We bolted up the old wooden staircase as it groaned under our weight.  “Ok, close your eyes.”

“Is this something to do with magic?” I asked.

“May be.” She said and I could tell by the tone in her voice she was smiling.

 

She put something heavy and square shaped in my hands.  I opened my eyes and saw an old wooden box that bore the same symbol that was on the spell book on the brass stand.  There were other symbols and writing that I didn’t understand.  “Go on, open it.” Rowanne said.

I flipped the latch on the lid of the box and it creaked open.  Inside was a crystal ball and a little brass circular base for it to sit on.

“Wow, a crystal ball.” My voice sounded breathless.

“Here,” Rowanne said taking the ball out of the box and setting it on the night stand between her and her mother’s beds.  “Look into the ball.  Think of you’re magic, you’re power and you’re family.”  She said sitting me in front of it and sat with her hands on my shoulders.

“Then what?” I asked.

“Then just watch the crystal ball.  It might show you something.”

“The future?” I asked sarcastically.

“You’re not a gypsy, Billie; you’re a very powerful Witch.”  I could tell this was something she longed for because she had grown up knowing that she was destined to be a witch.

 

I sat silent and centered myself in the knowledge that my life would be changed forever.  All this ran through my head as I stared into the crystal ball.  I was beginning to think nothing would happen when the glass rippled as if it were water or as if there was water inside the crystal.  Again, a rippling passed over the ball and something red began to appear.  It looked like a picture, as if I were looking at something very far away but now it was fast approaching and getting larger as the rippling movement passed over the ball.  I looked up at my cousin but she clearly wasn’t seeing anything.  When I looked back down there was a woman in the ball standing next to a brass stand flicking through the pages of a familiar looking spell book.  She wore a scarlet dress.  It was Josephine Eloise Black; she looked away from the book and looked straight at me through the ball.  The rippling passed over the ball once more and she was gone, replaced by a tattoo of the crescent moon and three stars on the forearm of someone’s left arm.  At first glance it looked like the person was lying in a hospital bed and then I noticed another hand holding the hand upon the left arm.  Following the hand up to the arm and onto the head I saw a pair of familiar grey eyes.

 

I gasped and frenetically moved away from the crystal ball.  “Whoa!  Where’s the fire?  Billie, what did you see?” Rowanne asked hungrily.

“I saw Josephine.  She was looking through The Black Craft.  She turned and looked right at me and then she was gone and Riley’s eyes were there staring back at me.

“Oh, this is so cool!  Come on I’ve got to tell my Mom.”  She ran down the stairs and I followed her after I glanced back at the ball and saw it was clear again.  I could hear her telling Riona about my experience with the crystal ball.  By this time Nana was home and Dulcie’s aunt Laura was right behind her.

“You really saw something in the ball, Billie, dear?” Asked a curious Nana.

“Yeah, it was kinda creepy.  Like water rippling and then I saw Josephine.  She was looking through the book and then it rippled again and she was gone.”

“She said she saw some boy’s eyes afterwards.” Rowanne said looking over her shoulder at me.

“What boy?” Riona asked anxiously.

“I saw Riley Smith’s eyes where Josephine was just a second before.” I answered.

“This must be fate.  Mother, Josephine wouldn’t have shown Billie the vampires eyes if they weren’t destined …” Riona faltered at her mother’s quelling gaze.

“Destined?  What has Riley got to do with my destiny?  What are you hiding from me now?” I directed this last question at Nana.

 

Dulcie, Laura and Rowanne were now gathered at the dining room table with the delivered pizza and soda.  They were timorously glancing in our direction.

“A crystal ball shows us what has happened in the past and what the future is meant to be.” Nana began brusquely.  “Since you saw Josephine first you saw the past and Riley’s eyes afterwards mean you were looking into your future.  I do not know why but it appears you and Mr. Smith is destined for … something.” She finished dispirited.

“You know fine well what it means, Mother.  Rowanne, dear, go fetch the ball for us.”  Rowanne jumped out of her chair and dashed up the stairs while Riona seated me at the table in front of a plate of pizza.  Rowanne returned with the box under her arm and placed it in front of me.  Riona lifted the ball and the base from the box and pushed my plate and the box to the side.  “Now, dear, tell me what you were thinking of before when you had an apparition.”

“I was thinking about the future, how my life will be changed forever at becoming a witch.” I answered.

“This time I want you to think about the future, about Mr. Smith.  Explore your feelings for him whilst you gaze into the ball and tell us what you see.”  She clicked her fingers and the lights dimmed.

 

It was a few more minutes before the rippling movement passed over the ball.  It looked like it was clearing fog away from a place I could barely see.  When the last of the fog was removed by the ripples I saw a boy sitting on some steps at the front of a house in Penn Gate.  The house was mostly white with blue window shutters and a blue front porch and grey slate roof.  The boy hung his head, his elbows on his knees and his fingers clasped together at the back of his neck.  He looked up, it was Riley and I saw tears in his eyes.  The fog came back thicker and denser until the ripples cleared it away and I saw Riley again but differently.  Still sitting in the same position but not on a front porch step.  He was in a hospital, sitting by a hospital bed.  Only his left hand was at the back of his head, the other was holding a hand.  On the forearm of the hand he was holding I could see a small black tattoo.  It was the symbol from the book.  The crescent moon and three stars.  I couldn’t see who the hand belonged to, just Riley holding it.  I realized I was leaning closer to the ball than when I had started.  The ball was clear once more and I leaned back into my seat and picked up a slice of pizza waiting for someone to break the silence.

“What did you see, Billie?” Riona was the one that spoke up but everyone at the table was staring at me.

“I saw Riley twice.  First time I think he must’ve been at his home, he was sitting on the steps of the front porch.  I think he was crying.  The second time he was at a hospital, sitting by someone’s bed and holding their hand.  They had a tattoo on their forearm of a crescent moon and three stars.”

 

Without saying a word Nana rolled up the sleeve on her right arm and just before the crook of her elbow was the same tattoo and then Riona lowered the neckline of her dress to show the same tattoo placed above her left breast.  “It’s a mark, a way for people to recognize us as witches.  You’ll get yours tomorrow when you turn eighteen.” Nana explained.

“I think she should go to him.” Riona spoke to Nana. “He has answers that she seeks.  I’m sure there are questions she has for us but we cannot answer them until tomorrow.”

 

I sat in silence chewing on a slice of pizza while they argued with each other over my head about what I should and shouldn’t do when it’s concerned with Riley Smith.  I was getting pretty pissed off about them deciding my actions for me so I put my crystal ball back in its box and grabbed a box of pizza and stormed out the house without saying a word to one of them.  When I was sitting in my car I realized I hadn’t helped Dulcie clean her room or settle in and felt extremely guilty but I wasn’t prepared to go in and face my grandmother and aunt.  I decided a text would be the easiest way just now to let her know I was sorry for leaving her in the middle of my mess.

 

Hey, sorry I didn’t help you clean or settle in.  I just had to get out.

 

No worries!  I understand.  Just go cool off and do what you have to do.  All my crap will be here when you get back.

 

Thanks DC youre a good friend.  Wish I could say the same about myself.

 

Dont go worrying about me just now.  I dont know what you are supposed to do right now and I wouldn’t be telling you what to do even if I did.

 

Thanks xx

 

Without much further ado I filled my mouth with a piece of pizza and put my car in drive.  From what I could make out of the house in the crystal ball I guessed it was on King’s Court just off Fergus Road between Ramsay and Baldwin Boulevard.  The houses here were much bigger than the rest of the town.  Only a few estates had fancy big old homes in Penn Gate like King’s Court and Charles Close were two of three, the other was Emerald Court where the new girl, Astrid Moon, had moved in. 

 

Most houses on King’s Court had a second floor veranda.  All the spars on the enclosed veranda at Riley’s house were painted blue to match the window shutters and the front porch.  All the other houses on King’s Court were either the same or similar but always colorful.  Some were white and green and some were cream and red.

 

When I had located Riley’s house I saw that from the side of the building there was some sort of Ivy growing up the outer walls and circling some of the upper windows.  When I stopped a few doors down from the white and blue house I saw him sitting on the front porch steps in the same position I saw in the ball.  The street was empty apart from a few parked cars and it was ominously quiet.  I reached over for the box with the crystal ball and the box of pizza and, quietly as I could, got out my car and locked it.  I took a few tentative steps towards him and realized he hadn’t heard my approach.

“Penny for your thoughts?” I asked quietly.

 

He looked up, his eyes were red and puffy exactly the way I had seen him in the ball.  Had I really saw the future?  It wasn’t very far because here he was sitting on the exact same step, sitting in the exact same slumped position with a trace of tears in his eyes.  He hastily rubbed at his eyes and nose before speaking.

“What are you doing here?” He asked cautiously.

“I don’t really know.  I saw you in a crystal ball and my grandmother and my aunt were really beginning to get on my nerves with the whole destiny talk so I stormed out the house and here I am.”  I sat on the step next to him and opened the box of pizza.  I picked up the barbecue chicken, my favorite.  “Umm … do you eat?” I asked, worried.

“Yeah, if you’d listened to me earlier you would have heard me say that I’m also half human.  So yes I can eat pizza.” And he lifted a slice out of the box and crammed the whole slice in his mouth.  “What’s in the box?” He asked with a full mouth.

“My crystal ball.  My cousin, Rowanne, gave me an early birthday present.”

“Hmm.  Do you want to come inside?” He asked.  “It’s warmer and we have tea.”

“I don’t want to intrude.”  I really didn’t want to have a run in with Faith if I could avoid it.  “I’m sure a certain someone would prefer to see me burn than set foot inside her house.”

“Faith’s not here.  She’s at Penn Peaks with Willem.  There’s a rumor that we have a werewolf in Penn Gate.  We think it may have something to do with the disappearances of kids at school and Miss Berry.  Idiots.”  He finished angrily.  “Come on, Leonard’s at a P.T.A meeting tonight so we have the house to ourselves.” He grabbed my arm and I pulled back as he rubbed against the newly formed bruises.

 

I stood up without his help and lifted the two boxes off the ground and followed him inside.  “I’m really sorry about before.  I never meant to hurt you.” He said leading the way to his kitchen.

 

His living room was to the left of the hallway.  Everything was mostly open plan.  He had large black leather sofas and an even larger fireplace than my own.  They had a giant flat screen TV and a small collection of films. The hallway and the staircase were paneled with an extremely dark wood.  The house was old and the floorboards groaned with every step I took.  To the right of the hallway was the kitchen.  Everything was shiny and new.  He pulled out a stool for me to sit at a polished bar table and made me some peppermint tea.  “So werewolves, huh?” I started to break the silence.

“You didn’t know?” He asked.

“That they existed?  Nope, not a clue.” I slid the pizza box towards him before taking out another slice myself.

“I’m sorry.  This is all my fault.”  He hung his head.

“No it isn’t, if my parents had let me grow up knowing the truth this wouldn’t be a big deal to me.  So don’t blame yourself.”

“You’re adjusting to all this a little too easily.”

I looked up from my tea and saw him eyeing warily.  “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.  Everything has been happening so fast and it’s not just the witch stuff or vampire stuff or even werewolf stuff.  My best friend moved in with me today.  It’s not that I don’t want her to stay; I do because I love her like a sister and she’s helped me so much today.  I feel like everyone is moving in fast forward and I’m stuck on pause.  Do you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Nana says I’m taking to it so easily because being a witch just comes naturally to me.  It’s in my blood.”  He took out a slice of pizza and chewed on it slowly thinking quietly and staring at nothing in particular.

 “Before, when you said you thought I was dangerous, what did you mean?” I said not meeting his eye.

“I was told by a Prophetess of a new power in town.” He eyed me carefully.  “Do you want me to go on?” He asked.

“Please.  There’s so much I don’t understand.”

“The prophetess, Madame Lavinia.  She doesn’t always see clearly, but she foretold that there was a new power to come to Penn Gate, that it was dangerous and deadly.  Lavinia said that this power would bring forth an ungodly evil and it would destroy the town and the rest of the world to follow.  She didn’t know who or what and the only new power that we knew of in town was you.”

“So you just assumed that since my powers were new they were going to turn me evil?” I asked angrily.

“No we didn’t just assume.  We thought of your past as well about how you got into fights at your old school.”

“That doesn’t make me evil, Riley.  I was grieving, that makes me human.” I hotly answered.

“I’m sorry, I really am.  I didn’t even mean to reveal to you that I knew what you were earlier I was only there to get a feel of what you were capable of.”

“Well apparently I’m capable of bringing forth of an ungodly evil that will destroy the world.” I said sarcastically.  “And now you’re assuming this werewolf is the evil she mentioned?  I thought werewolves couldn’t help turning and hurting people.”

“Please, you watch too much TV.”

 

He got out of his chair and led the way into the living room.  When we were both sat on opposing sofas he explained.  “Werewolves are more powerful than you think.  When they are young and are newly turned, or in some cases born, they can’t help themselves like you said.  But when they are older they can change at will without the help of the full moon and they can also hold onto their human thoughts and emotions.  Some wear special stones to help them transform into other creatures and they have other stones to heal them should they become ill or injured in their transformed states.  But these stones are rare and hard to come by.”

“So you said you think this wolf is behind the disappearances.  Why are you and your siblings getting involved?  I thought you hated these kids.”

“We do.  But there is also a teacher missing now and my uncle is very worried.  But Willem and Faith are idiotic to go out hunting it without any protection.  You see, we are not true vampires because we were born, not made.  We do have some weaknesses that the true vampire does.  One of them is werewolf saliva or venom as we call it.  Should a vampire, true or half, be bitten by one, it is deadly to all of us.  Almost always instantaneous once it reaches our hearts.  Beating or not.”

“Tell me more about you and the other vampires.” I asked.

“Me and my family are called Sun-Walkers.  I had a human mother and a vampire father.  Our father got our mother pregnant when she was twenty in 1845.  She raised us until she died from pneumonia and then our uncle took us in.  We can eat food like a human but we also need blood to survive like you need oxygen to live.” He lifted a chain that was hidden under his sweater and pulled it out.  Hooked on it was a tiny glass vial filled with a red liquid.  “In case of emergencies.”

“Blood?” I asked stupidly.

“Yes, human blood.  We don’t actually drink from humans so we get blood from butcher shops or steal from hospitals.”

“Why don’t you drink from humans?” I hesitantly asked.

“I don’t have long enough fangs for one thing and another it could turn us.”

“Turn you into what?”

“An Eve-Walker.  That’s what we call the true vampires.  They call themselves vampires and call us halfies.  But if I were to drain you dry right now it would turn me into one of them.”

“Is that how they’re made?  Were they all once like you?”

“No almost all were turned vampire by another.  But they can reclaim their souls and be just like us if they repent and pay for their sins.  They’ll still have all their strengths but they’ll have their soul and their conscience and will once more walk in the sun.  Like us.”

“Have you ever met one who did that?” I asked.

“Well, yes, Leonard.  You’re ancestor showed him the way.” he explained.

“Josephine?” I asked.

“Josephine Aloise Black.  Hell of a witch.” Leonard’s voice startled us as we hadn‘t heard him come in.  “For one hundred and twenty-five years I walked this world a monster until I met a marvelous witch who showed me the way to walk in the sun once more.”

“Whoa, you’re really old.” Was all I could think of at the minute but it made Riley and Leonard laugh.  “So you knew her?  You knew Josephine?”

“Yes, she saved me but alas I was too late to save her.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I stayed with her for a while after she helped me reclaim my soul.  But I left one day to find my way in the world with my new lease on life.  It was right around the time of the Witch Hunts.  Someone saw her children doing something that should not be possible, so, while her back was turned for just a second, they grabbed the kids and took them to the water and tried to drown them, but they wouldn’t.  Every time they pushed them under they popped back up and floated on the surface of the water.  Josephine found out where they had taken them and she killed the two men who were trying to hold her babies under the water.” I gasped.  “She disappeared in front of the angry crowd with the babies in her arms.  She took them out of town and left them with a friend.  She returned to Salem to gather things for her children but the mobs were waiting for her and they caught her.” Another gasp from me.  “By the time I’d heard what happened I was too late, I knew it but I ran back to Salem as fast as I could all the same and found a crowd at the gallows.  She was there with the noose around her neck, she caught my eye, and she winked at me and called out ‘I will return.’  The masked man next to her pulled a crank lever and the floor vanished under her feet.  As she fell she disappeared but this wasn’t like before when she disappeared in front of the crowd.  She was gone, her life had been taken but just as she promised, she returned.”

“When?  When did she return?” I asked.

“I think you know the answer to that question better than us, Billie.” He said gazing down at me.

 

I looked away, everything was finally sinking in.  I was a reincarnated witch with unknown powers, a heritage hidden from me by my own parents.  I thought I might snap, go crazy.  Just like before with my grandmother and aunt, Riley and Leonard were now arguing over my head about stuff that I wouldn’t listen to.  I couldn’t take it and now things were happening all around. A burning and humming feeling exploded within me as the lights started flashing on and off and rain began to pound on the windows.  The floor began to vibrate and the furniture started whipping about the room in violent motions.  “Billie, look at me!  You need to calm down.” Riley said grabbing my upper arms and forcing me to meet his gaze.  I pushed him aside and ran for the door when it burst open with a non-existent wind.  Out I ran into the whistling wind and brewing storm.

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