Here’s how it works: each week, I’ll be building on a serial story based in the Hayle Universe. I’ll add a few lines, but where it goes from there is up to you! The most popular suggestion will dictate where the story goes from there…
You can find the full first segment HERE in case you missed it.
And now, onward!
Mom retreated to the basement to check on the family magic while Gram grumbled and mumbled her way down the hall, slamming her bedroom door behind her.
Way to just abandon me after announcing our coven was under attack from a neighboring family.
And the fact that family decided to pay us a visit.
Sassafras sashayed his way into the kitchen, silver tail twitching. I followed him, stomach still churning, Quaid close behind me.
“So who are they?” Mom had ignored any further questions after her little pronouncement, pulling her secretive coven leader routine. But Sassafras didn’t have the same restraint.
My demon cat hopped his fat butt onto the kitchen table and fixed me with his amber eyes.
“You’ve never met them,” he said. “They are—
Part Two:—the Millstons, and their leader, Petulance, has had it out for Miriam for years.”
Petulance? Witches had the weirdest naming traditions ever.
“So, Mom’s not going to just take this attack lying down, is she?” I fully expected a pack of Enforcers to arrive at any second with this Petulance witch’s head on a stick.
Sassafras shuddered, fur puffing out as his ears flattened out. “Your mother,” he snarled, “shielded the attack as soon as it happened.” He snorted, fire flaring in his gaze. “No evidence.”
She’d lost it. “But why?” I sat heavily in the chair beside him as Quaid came to stand next me, arms crossed over his chest. “Wouldn’t it be easier to just charge her and move on already?”
Mom emerged from the basement, face pinched in anger. “Because,” she said—
Part Three:—“what’s between Pestilence,” um, Mom, I think you said her name wrong, “and I is personal.” Her scowl reminded me of, well. Me. Wow. “And I’ll take care of it.”
“Mom,” I said, feeling panic rise at the thought of my normally calm, cool and collected coven leader losing her crap over some small-minded little feud. “Is that a good idea?” What, me? Preaching tolerance and patience? Holy, had our roles reversed all of a sudden. “Think of the safety of the coven.”
“I am,” Mom snapped. Literally, power crackling like she’d stuck her finger in a socket. “Eliminating that woman,” oh boy, “from my life,” not good, “and from this plane,” Mom was spiraling out completely, “should be considered a public service.”
Sassafras swatted the air in front of him, amber sparks mingling with Mom’s continual cascade of irritated magic. I’d never seen her act like this before. She was usually so composed, the calculating manipulator. What was it about Petulance Millston that made her crazy?
“Miriam,” Sassafras said. “Before you do something we’ll all regret—”
He didn’t get to finish—
Part Four:—not when someone crossed the wards and knocked on the kitchen door.
None of us moved. Mom froze as though she’d been dipped in dry ice. Sassafras’s head whipped around, eyes focused on the door, but made no indication he planned to answer.
As for me, I honestly didn’t know what to do around the sudden surge of adrenaline and pounding of my heart. What waited on the other side? Some hideous monster sent by the Millstons? A curse in human form just waiting for someone to open the door?
Or maybe whoever waited was harmless.
Yeah, because that was my life, right? All kinds of harmless went on, yup yup.
I was a little surprised when Quaid finally jerked out of his own stasis and strode across the kitchen, hand reaching for the knob—
Part Five:—turned it. Opened the door.
A black-robed woman stood on the other side. I exhaled in relief at the sight of Varity Rhodes, her tall, lean body striding through with a nod for Quaid, wrinkled face grim as she fixed her gaze on Mom.
“Just the witch I’ve been looking for,” the ex-Enforcer leader said. “Miriam, you’ve got trouble coming.”
Mom sighed. Nodded. “Petulance Millston.”
Varity stopped in her tracks, frown deepening as Gram rolled her eyes at her friend.
“Tell us something we don’t know,” my grandmother snapped.
Varity prodded Gram with a finger of blue magic. “You’re welcome.” Turned back to Mom. “I’ve been tracking Petulance and her coven for years,” Varity said. Shook her head, bits of hair escaping her iron-gray bun. “Since my days as leader. Have never found proof, but I’m certain she was tied to the mess with the Purity family.” Her lips thinned into a gash of anger. “Considering she was one of Naudia’s best friends, it’s hardly a surprise.”
Mom released her anger, visibly, temper running out of her like water through a cracked glass. “No,” she said, “but—
Part Six:—my cousin has never had a brain in her head,” Mom said. “So why would she start now?”
Wait, cousin? I don’t have any cousins, do I?
Mom sighed at me. “You’re great-great Aunt Benella had three kids, all latent.” Mom ground her teeth. “And they stayed that way, the whole line. Until Petulance came along.”
Gram poked her head around the corner, as though unable to keep her silence any longer. “I should have done something about that little witch years ago,” she said. “Just be glad I didn’t let her stay when her mother tried to get me to welcome the brat into the coven.”
Mom’s teeth grinding reminded me of my own when I was pissed off. “Maybe we should have allowed her to join us,” she said. “So I could keep an eye on her.”
I think of Celeste Oberman and how not kicking her ugly ass out of the coven served Mom so well. “Who did she join?”
Gram grunted while Sassafras answered.
“The Dumonts,” he said. “At first.”
“Then the Puritys,” Mom said.
“And the Asters,” Gram went on.
My eyes widened as I glanced at Quaid. His eyebrows lifted in surprise.
“And now,” Varity finished, “she has her own coven.”
The Millstons. “She left before the Puritys attacked?”
Mom crossed to the table and took a seat. “Just before,” she said. “Leaving me to think—
Uh-oh. Think what?Guess we’ll just have to wait until next week to find out…
Thank you, Dee Lane Mock, for the suggestion of the week! Look for a signed postcard in the mail 🙂
Join me next time—and don’t forget, this is your story! Make a suggestion where it should go from here. I’ll send a personalized post cardto you, just like Dee, if I use your idea.
Interested in my books? Find them at http://bit.ly/PattiLarsen