The Daughters of Warring: Part 10
Suzette knew trouble was coming the day she saw Paula in the general store.
She hadn’t heard from or seen Paula, Janice or Katherine since Isabel’s trial, and she counted that as good fortune. Before Katherine left town, she told Suzette that there was a score to settle between them. Paula’s message certainly meant that Katherine was now ready to see that debts were repaid.
After she returned home from the store, Suzette looked in the bushes and around the outside of her house. She was looking for any signs that one of the witches might have left something behind–a sack of herbs, a folded piece of paper, anything that might have indicated a spell.
She found nothing, but that didn’t ease her fears. Later that evening, while her family slept, she sat by the window, staring out at the moon.
Suzette had never really believed in the power, until she saw it in the others. Gathered in a circle, she watched as Katherine called forth fire. She felt the wind blow up in a gust of humid air when Janice called the winds. The cold ground turned warm beneath Suzette’s feet when Paula called to Mother Earth.
Katherine told Suzette that she sensed a power within her. They had taken time in approaching her – a Reverend’s daughter could obviously be a dangerous choice, if she were not willing to leave behind the beliefs that she grew up with. It was a secret. You feel different than the others in your family, in your circle of worship, don’t you? Katherine had whispered. You must know that you are set apart.
Suzette felt privileged, part of something bigger than herself. For the first time, she was included.
The others each taught her a different part of the craft . She learned about herbs used to cleanse, the invocations used to call up the spirits. Though her knowledge was nothing compared to Katherine or Paula, she was able to perform simple spells.
Suzette’s sisters may have teased each other about Stephen’s good looks and social standing, but she was sure that he was what she wanted from the beginning. It was an unpleasant surprise when she realized that he was interested not in her, but in her youngest sister, Isabel.
Suzette went to the coven.
“I need powerful magic. Something that will make him hate Isabel.”
Paula shook her head. “It doesn’t work that way. There is balance in nature. That’s something you must not forget. Whatever you do returns to you, many times over.”
“There are such spells,” Katherine said. “ But there is no use in making him dislike Isabel. What you really want is a spell to make him desire you alone. It is always easier to draw something to yourself than repel one person from another.”
“Do you love him?” Janice asked.
Suzette looked at her with a raised eyebrow. Love was not her consideration. The life that he could afford was her utmost concern.
“Well there’s the answer for you,” Paula sniffed.
“Rather hard to do a proper love spell for one you don’t care for. You’d have better fortune doing a spell to draw a stranger to you,” Janice said.
“I’ll give you instructions,” Katherine said. “It’s an incantation to make him desire you. You can manage it on your own. Two things you must remember. Cleanse the space you’re in before you do your ritual. And prepare yourself. No thoughts about Isabel, or how you might dislike her. You’re not to think about anything concerning the two of them together. Concentrate on Stephen.”
Suzette said she would.
Maybe that’s what went wrong , Suzette pondered, looking up at the moon. She hadn’t been able to keep her mind clear of her anger. The week after she cast the spell, she followed Stephen and Isabel into the woods. She watched as he held Isabel in his arms and kissed her mouth.
Shaken from her thoughts by a gentle clicking sound, Suzette stood.
The knob of her bedroom door was turning.
Margaret was sleeping.
Though she was exhausted, Margaret had been at the edge of her wits all night. Worrying about Isabel. Worrying about her parents. The low gnawing of fear curled up in her stomach and made her ache.
On her bed, she tossed and turned.
In her dreaming, she heard strains of music. It was a Christmas song. A favorite of hers, one she sang every year as a child. A hymn about the appearance of the angel Gabriel.
Margaret dreamed that she stood in the snow, amongst a group of carolers. The melody flowed from her lips true and clear. It was a while before she realized that though she kept the melody, the people around her were singing other different words.
Their eyes were wide, pools of blackness. Curls of darkness surrounded them–the curve of black, silken wings.
Reverend Warring had just gotten home when he heard a scream from upstairs.
“Margaret,” he cried, running into her room. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
“I was…dreaming,” she said, pulling her covers around her. “I’m sorry, I….”
“Where’s your sister?” he demanded. Margaret brushed her hair away from her face. She realized that her Father was trembling. Still wearing his coat and gloves, water dripped from his coat. In the moonlight, she saw the outlines of his face, twisted by anger. And fear.
“What?” she said.
“Where did Suzette go?” he yelled. “She’s not here.”
©2010 Lori Titus
You can keep up with the author’s latest scribblings on her blog, The Darkest of Lore at: http://loribeth215.wordpress.com/ , or follow her on Twitter as Loribeth215.