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Authors: Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Tags: #paranormal, #supernatural, #witch, #witchcraft, #horror, #dark fantasy, #Kathryn Meyer Griffith, #Damnation Books

Witches

BOOK: Witches
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Praise for Witches

“For my #10 challenge (Reader’s Choice), I read Witches by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. Amanda Givens is a white witch - a witch who uses her powers for good. She lives alone in a cabin in the woods of Canaan, Connecticut with her feline familiar, Amadeus. When Amanda is wrongly blamed for a rash of ritualistic murders committed by a Satanic cult, she is inevitably drawn back in time by the ghost of Rachel Coxe, a dark witch who was drowned for practicing black magic in the 17th century.

“Now, as Amanda tries to rehabilitate Rachel’s reputation in an effort to save her own life, she has to rely on a sister’s love and magical knowledge, and a powerful sect of witches named the Guardians to help Amanda get home safely. I give this romantic horror story an A+! I thought it was great.”

—Emeraldfire

“Witches is a wonderful, easy read. It is a good versus evil story with romance and family mixed in. It is interesting and fun without all the blood and gore. You get the idea of evil without having it described in gruesome detail. It is a book I read every year in the fall/Halloween time. (hint: I’ve read it several times over!) I understand she is to write a sequel....I for one can’t wait.”

—Melissa on Amazon

“Meet Amanda a very powerful white witch or good witch. Meet Rebecca, Amanda’s sister, also a white witch though not as powerful. Meet Rachel a black witch from the 17th century.

“Rachel was hunted as a witch, caught and thrown into Witch’s Pond to her death. Now centuries later she’s looking to come back and Amanda is her ticket if she can kill her. A Satanic cult has moved into Amanda’s town and is killing innocents leaving Amanda’s name as the calling card. Amanda is determined to find the cult and rid the world of them. In her attempt she loses her powers and is sent back to the 17th century, the time of Rachel, as Rachel. Here she again finds love, her Jake in another life. It’s up to Rebecca to bring her back. Rebecca will find the Guardians are real and she’s much more powerful than she thought.

“This is an excellent book with lots of adventure, witchcraft, love, and loss. I read this book in 2 sittings. I would not label this horror as there was nothing to keep me up looking in the dark corners of my bedroom. If you are looking for an excellent read, I highly recommend this book to the young and older readers.”

— Mercedes on Amazon

“The author of the book does a good job with grabbing your attention initially upon reading the book. Characters are well developed and most references appropriately made. The only let down comes with the conclusion of the book. If you are an avid reader of horror novels, you come to expect a climatic show down of the “Good-vs-Evil” theme. ... Overall, a good book to read to help the time go pass. Oh yeah, pregnancy from a man that lived over three hundred years ago, to be born in our era is a stretch, even for horror readers! If that is the case, Amanda could have easily brought Joshua into our era.”

—LJM on Amazon

“This book moved me in the same way the writer Terry Brooks has tickled my curiosity and imagination over the years. Griffith’s book is full of high magic, suspense, a good wholesome sense of spirit, and plants in readers a concern for the well-being of the main characters in this book. I’m very Wicca-friendly and found this writer’s work to be an interesting twist on the world of Wiccans. Witches may not accurately reflect all of the beliefs of Wicca but it will likely help open the doors of tolerance and appreciation for people who follow different kinds of paths to their Higher Power (or all of the Powers-That-Be). As a work of fiction, this book was very well done.”

— Barnes & Noble customer review

“Very surprised. The author paid attention to many of the small facts regarding witchcraft. I was gripped from the opening and stayed up to read this novel in 2 days. Can’t wait to sample other offerings from this author.”

— Raymond Gibney

“This book grabs you right away.. you can’t put it down. She is not an evil witch but a good one and the time travel has got a twist to it..I could read this again and again.”

—Amazon.com review

“The author weaves the story well. It had me spellbound from the beginning. This is a great read. I could not put it down.”

—Amazon.com review

Witches

Author’s Revised Edition

By
Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Damnation Books, LLC.
P.O. Box 3931
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998

www.damnationbooks.com

Witches

Author’s Revised Edition
by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Digital ISBN: 978-1-61572-355-3

Print ISBN: 978-1-61572-356-0

Cover art by: Dawné Dominique
Edited by: Alison O’Byrne

Copyedited by: Barbara Legge

Copyright 2011 Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Printed in the United States of America
Worldwide Electronic & Digital Rights
1st North American and UK Print Rights

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form, including digital and electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the Publisher, except for brief quotes for use in reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

For my cherished sisters, Carolyn, Mary and Dorothy who are in no way witches of any kind…good or bad.

Again thank you, Kim Richards of Damnation Books…for believing in my novels and me.

Prologue

Near Canaan, Connecticut

August 1694

The witch ran through the sweltering woods, her heavy skirts tangling and catching at the thorn bushes and bracken, the tree limbs cutting and bloodying her skin. The woods were eerily silent except for the noise she and her pursuers were making.

With a stifled cry of rage, she stumbled to her knees over a low branch. Her blue eyes held more anger than terror as she glanced behind her and listened.

They were close now. Any second they’d find her, and they couldn’t, not yet...not until she hid that damn book. Her diary, the one with the spells and incantations scrawled throughout its pages. Black magic. Witchcraft. If they caught her with it, it’d be the worse for her. A short trip at the end of a rope.

She pulled herself up from her knees, gathering her dark skirts in her trembling hands. She was exhausted and could barely stand, much less keep evading them. Her raven-hued hair had come undone and it hung in long sweat-drenched strands about her face.

Her lungs were screaming and her feet were bleeding in her tightly-laced boots.

She kept going. The mob of townsmen and magistrates were behind her. Six men with hats pulled low over austere faces. She could smell them. Smell the bloodlust that surrounded them like a vile cloud. They were a lynching mob, she had no doubt of that.

To make matters worse, she had no powers to fight them.

Her Master was punishing her for defying him at the last Sabbath when she—heady with her growing powers—had refused to yield to his wishes and kill her married lover, Darcy. She hadn’t wanted to. Not yet. Darcy had proved to be a goodly lover and she’d become besotted with him, hadn’t wanted to give him up. She’d thought she was being so clever, pretending she would kill him anon, but always putting it off.

Well, now Darcy was dead anyway, the Master had seen to that—and she was soon to follow him, if the rabble led by that witch-hunter, Sebastien, had any say in it. He’d been hunting her relentlessly these last few days and wasn’t about to give up now when he knew she was so close, even if the day was waning.

They believed she’d murdered Darcy. Cut him into bloody pieces and strewn him about his home. His widow had shrieked for vengeance. Everyone in town knew whose bed Darcy had been sleeping in, besides his wife’s.

Gasping for air, dizzy, she rested, leaning against a tree. She could only allow herself a few seconds, she had no more than that to spare. Sweat trickled down her face. It was hot, and she was thirsty. She wasn’t accustomed to want. It was hell without her powers. Even her goat familiar, her beloved Beelzebub, had abandoned her. Then again, he’d only been on loan to her; he was really under the Master’s command.

Horses’ hooves thundered somewhere behind her through the darkening forest, the beasts snorting and neighing. Coming closer.

If she could hold out until dark, the night would hide her. The night would scare her pursuers away because godly men, such as they, were afraid of the dark.

In the morning, she could make her way into Massachusetts—if the Indians, bears, or the Master didn’t get her first. Massachusetts where there were no sanctimonious Calvinists. She’d had a bellyful of the witch hunters and Canaan.

Shouts rang through the air around her. They’d picked up her fresh trail.

No time left.

She broke through the hedges and came upon a twilight-misted pond sentried by a young willow tree. She knew this place. Black Pond. Her witches’ coven had held Sabbaths here.

Falling to her knees on the ground under the tree, she clawed at the dirt until a hole appeared, tossed the leather-bound book into it, and then quickly covered it up again with leaves and grass.

At least she’d managed to hide the book.

The witch hunter and his men were nearly upon her. She shoved herself up and away from the pond, sprinting with everything she had left, her breath coming in ragged sobs as she scurried through the trees.

She’d grown soft, depended far too much on her magic. She couldn’t escape. They were too close.

Her legs collapsed beneath her, pitching her to the burnt grass in a weary heap. She could have scraped together a pile of leaves and twigs, tried to burrow under them into the forest floor like a mole. She could have crawled behind a tree. Alas, her pride wouldn’t
let her do that, and she wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of seeing her grovel like a beaten cur. She rose to her feet to face them, her chin held up in defiance, her mind racing.

They wouldn’t dare try to touch her. They knew what she was and weren’t aware that she’d lost her powers. Perhaps she could bluff them.

Bloodthirsty howls of anticipation echoed and ricocheted through the forest when they discovered her.

Her cold eyes watched as the men on horseback circled her, their hatred—their fear—wavering in their eyes. She could see death in their grim smiles. They held back.

They were scared of her. Some had seen firsthand what she could do. They weren’t fools.

“I will give thee one last chance,” she snarled, flipping her sweaty hair away from her flushed face. “Leave now and I’ll send no harm to thee, thy families, livestock, or crops.”

Sebastien rode up, reining in his horse within inches of her. “We are not afraid of thee, witch, or thy evil spells.” He spat at her. “God’s power is greater than Satan’s and I am under his protection.”

He turned in the saddle to address the men behind him, who were but blurry shadows in the twilight. “No harm will come to thee as long as ye are with me.”

His fanatical eyes returned to the woman. “Stop thy running. It will do no good. Accept thy punishment, witch. Confess to thy crimes and God will forgive thee.”

She tried her magic one last time. Still nothing.

Her teeth bit deeply into her lips, drawing blood. She would never renounce her Master, no matter what He’d done to her. She knew His power too well. She’d rather die than face Satan’s wrath. This tiny, meaningless sliver of reality in exchange for eternity. Not a bad trade.

“Nay, I will never confess,” she hissed up into his face.

In that moment, staring into Sebastien’s cruel eyes, she knew that this was
to be her punishment.

He was a poor excuse for a man; rake thin with greasy ebony hair, beady eyes in a pockmarked, arrogant face. No wonder he detested women so—none would have him.

They said he’d accused, tortured, tried, and hung over three hundred people for witchcraft since God had called him to the task.

“Deny Satan, and be cleansed.” Sebastien bent low in the saddle to peer into her face.

“Never! I warn thee. Leave me be,” she whispered, her eyes slitted menacingly at one horseman after another. “Anyone who lays a hand on me will live to rue the day he did.” She was still bluffing, for all the good it did.

The horsemen were hedging her in.

Bringing his hand down in a decisive gesture to the others, Sebastien ordered, “Take her.”

When they hesitated, he chided them harshly. “She cannot harm us.”

No one moved.

Shadows hid the woman’s expression, but she was smiling.

With an impatient sigh, as if the witch hunter had been in the same position before, he lifted a coil of rope from his saddle horn and tossed the looped end over her head. She barely had a chance to slip her fingers between it and her throat before Sebastien set booted heels to his mount’s flanks and rode back into the woods, dragging her behind him.

“There be a pond a ways back. We’ll take her there,” he yelled over his shoulder as the others trotted their horses to catch up.

“She has children, Sebastien, what of them?” One of the men had ridden up beside him, his eyes never leaving her terrified face as she ran behind them.

“Witches’ spawn.” Sebastien’s voice was heartless. “When we are through with her, we will seek them out and destroy them, as well. I will leave no little vipers alive in the nest, Richard.”

The woman struggled against the ropes, but couldn’t get free.

“I have had no trial.” She cried out, stumbling behind the horse through the darkening woods, trying to stay on her feet so it wouldn’t drag her.

“By thine own words thou has condemned thyself, witch,”
Sebastien said. “Evil deserves no trial.” He beat his horse into a gallop, refusing to listen to anything else she had to say.

She fell to her knees, but the horses didn’t stop. Night beat them to the silent water.

Rough hands yanked her to her feet because she could no longer stand on her own, pulled the rope from her neck, bound her bloodied hands behind her back, and tied her feet together. By then all the fight was gone from her, her body broken and bruised.

They lifted her from the ground, and carried her to the water’s edge in the darkness. Some had torches to light the way.

“I will have revenge on all of thee!” she mumbled through swollen lips before they flung her body into the air above Black Pond. “I curse thee!”
Her last scream echoed on the air, until she hit the water with a loud splash that abruptly cut it off.

The murky water closed over her head, cutting off the air to her lungs, and her body sank to the bottom.

When she could no longer breathe, as water filled her lungs, a great wrath—an eternal fury—lodged deep in her heart and soul like a malevolent sickness.

As her life drained away, in those final moments when the pain became too great for her to bear, she repeated her curse, her mouth moving silently in the water.

I
will have my revenge on all of thee and thy town forever! Someday I will have revenge...I swear.

The water’s surface rippled into a calm, hiding the body and the crime.

The night creatures cried. An owl screeched, a wolf howled mournfully at the rising moon, a dirge for her death. No one would ever search for her or find her body.

* * * *

Some of the men stared at the pond, guiltily, the blood fever already dying, as if they expected the witch to suddenly reappear. In the gloom beyond the flickering torches, the shifting shadows seemed threatening. Unearthly-sounding creatures hooted and whispered, skittering through the underbrush. Vermilion eyes glared at them from the gloom. Watching. Waiting.

Suddenly, they remembered who they’d killed. If the rumors were true, she was a powerful witch. She’d cursed them. Cursed all of them
.

An unnatural chill settled on the air, burrowing under their clothes and skin, deep into the marrow of their bones.

One by one, torches held high to keep the darkness at bay, they climbed into their saddles, and slunk home to their families.

All except Sebastien, who, taking some of the men back to a poorly made thatched cottage on the edge of the forest, found the witch’s children, and put them both to the knife.

Then, after a good night’s rest, he rode on to the next town to find, and execute, the next witch, and the next. Never looking back, never feeling the least bit of remorse for what he’d done. He never did.

The townspeople, though, as time went on, grew ashamed, not so much for what they’d done—they all believed she’d been guilty—but for the brutal way they had done it.

For as long as any of them lived, nothing was ever said again about the night they murdered the witch, Rachel. It remained their shameful secret until the day they died.

Though none of them ever forgot.

BOOK: Witches
6.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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