Haunted Moon (A Moon Coven Series Novella)K. B. Miller / Fantasy
A Moon Coven Series Novella
Copyright © 2012 K. B. Miller
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form is forbidden without expressed written permission from the author.
This book is a fictional work by K. B. Miller. All names, characters, places, and events either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
To my Dad, Russell E Burks Sr.
I love you.
Cover by: Covers by Magical Design
Photo Credit: Mr Korn Flakes
Edited by: Brittany Carrigan
Scottish Gold Editing
Willow Cross -
You inspire my writing daily, because you are an amazing writer. xoxo
Jenny Needham -
As always, you are my right hand ..., Love you.
Authors that I love, and that you, the reader, should check out:
J.H. Glaze, Jennifer Malone Wright, Lm Preston, Mary Ting,
Joann Buchanan, Gracen Miller, Julieanne Lynch,
Nely Cab, AJ Sweeney, Monique O’Connor James,
In addition, the amazing Willow Cross.
O happy childhood! Blessed youth!
But once we know thy potent power;
But once we live all careless free;
No cross to mar our love-lit bower.
ARDELIA COTTON BARTON
November 20, 1947
I am finally writing in my very own grimoire. Ma gave it to me yesterday. I wanted to get started writing immediately, but I had to do things properly, which meant the first entry that I made had to be my family tree. I finished that just a wee bit ago. I hadn’t realized how powerful our family line was. Drawing it out myself, and hearing the stories were two totally different things, altogether.
One of the interesting things I found out was my ancestor, Ana Moon, was a spirit witch. I asked Ma what that meant exactly. She wouldn’t go into great detail, but she did speak about the vast powers they possessed, and how rare they were. Ana’s powers drove her mad after her fiancé was killed. It was a sad story.
I’ve been wondering what other kinds of mysteries Ma’s books hold. She has many of them, as she writes often. Last night, Colleen and I blathered on for hours about the interesting secrets our mother must have hidden in there. I certainly hope to find out ... one day.
Blessed Be ~ Leeny
I had just closed the black leather cover and rested my pen on its pristine surface when a floorboard creaked behind me. I whipped around and faced my younger sister.
“Leeny, why can’t I go with you and Ma?” Colleen’s wildflower blue eyes filled with tears.
“Colly, you know the rules. You have to be sixteen to be initiated into the coven.” I said softly, as I crossed our bedroom floor, reaching her tiny frame in just three steps. I wrapped my arms consolingly around my best friend, hearing her sobs of frustration.
“I just want it to be my turn ...”
In unison, our heads turned toward the closed bedroom door. Her golden locks mangled with my brown.
“Aileen-Fionna, get a leg on it, won’t you child!” our mother yelled.
“Coming, mother,” I bellowed in return. I looked into my sister’s pained face, wishing that I could stay longer to soothe her. But, one thing that I had learned over the years about my mother was that when she called for you, you skedaddled.
“I promise to tell you everything that I learn tonight, alright?” I pleaded for her understanding, as I held up my pinky. She curled her smaller version around mine, in our secret sister oath. Her features softened in apparent agreement. I kissed her cheek and bolted for the door, grabbing my black wool shawl from the foot of our bed. I had to calm myself before I crashed head first down the wooden stairs that led to our kitchen. Maturity needed to ooze from my pores or else my mum would have given pause in the commencement of my training. Inhaling deeply, I drank in the fantastic smells coming from somewhere below me. My fingers finally found the rickety old railing to steady myself just as my foot touched the landing.
“There you are, child.” My mother’s voice was solemn.
“Yes ma’am.” I said, trying desperately to conceal the excitement in my voice.
She narrowed her tired and aged blue eyes in my direction. “I’ve made rose hip tea. Have a cuppa. It’ll help take the bite out of the air on our walk.” I nodded and skipped over to the counter where she had already prepared the scrumptious Wiccan remedy against the cold, while my mother followed the sound of my baby sister, Isadora, and my father’s voices, disappearing into the other room.
Grabbing the mug, I allowed the scent of honey and roses to envelope me. Those particular smells had always mollified me as a child. I’d finished my tea only a second before my mother re-appeared in the archway between the cozy sitting room and inviting kitchen. I waited with bated breath, catching my mother’s twinkling eye. Sometimes, I could see the ghost of that frivolous young witch my grandmother used to talk about, playing inside of my mum.
My mother did not disappoint, she flicked her wrist at the wooden table where the bayberry candles sat in a perfect circle.
“Fire!” she said with authority.
Immediately, flames sprang to life, obeying her command. The flickering light cast magnificent shadows, causing magickal images to bounce off of the walls in every direction. I felt the familiar admiration for my mother welling up inside of me. She crossed the room resting her cold hand on my cheek, which sent a chill down my entire body. Her lips twitched revealing the most beautiful smile I had ever seen.
“Soon, Aileen-Fionna, you will also be able to call the flame at will. Like me, your element is fire.” I beamed at her words. I wanted to be just like my mother, Rose Moon, the most powerful witch in all of Galway Bay.
I pulled my shawl around my narrow shoulders as we made our way through the old Oak door that my father had crafted with his own two hands, into the cold, crisp Irish night.
The wind was impossible; it whipped my hair back and forth, leaving a slight stinging sensation every time it lashed against my cheeks. With the new moon invisible in the sky, the darkness swallowed us up, making it impossible to see my hand right in front of my face as I tried to tuck a few stray strands of hair behind my ear. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the tiny pebbles shifting under my feet gave me the slightest perception of familiarity.
I was still trying to secure my bearings as my mother began my first initiation drill.
“I need to make sure that you are giving the craft its due diligence. My secret library and all of its contents are now at your disposal. You must remember that being a witch is a responsibility. There are dangers out there that you can’t possibly imagine. But, it’s time you are exposed to the reality of the creatures that will haunt your dreams, and consume your every waking thought.” Her tone was sobering.
“Your initiation into the coven is mere weeks away. Let’s see what you’ve been studying, shall we? If you were going to perform a simple protection spell, deriving power from the element, Earth; how would you execute it?” she questioned.
“Yes, Mother,” I responded.
I silently recounted the sacred writings. I had reviewed them for the umpteenth time just a few short hours ago.
Ahem. I cleared my suddenly dry throat. “I would use a piece of clear quartz and obsidian, both blessed in the light of the full moon, and recite the following spell ─I stand before my Goddess enveloped in her love, hear the cries of your daughter in need, send power from below and above, to the one who adheres to her wiccan rede. After I had finished, I would bury one stone on each side of my house.” I imparted, glancing at my mum apprehensively.
“Very good, Leeny. I’m glad to see that you have been actively devoting time to your studies. I know that with your regular schoolwork, this is a lot, but I have faith in your dexterity to manage both. I was frightened that my daughters sat about all day speaking of things that merit no matter to young ladies about to become witches, such as clothes and... boys.” She arched an eyebrow.
“I understand, Mother,” I answered.
“Your steadfastness will be rewarded with the ability to do things that are beyond your wildest dreams.” She declared softly.
My eyes had finally adjusted to the indistinct night. I was able to see my mother watching me with probing blue eyes.
“Mum, can I ask you a question?” I blurted out.
“Of course,” she replied.
“Why are they afraid of us? I mean, why does our town fear witches? For that matter, the whole world,” I said meekly, looking down at my shoes as I continued. “We’ve begun learning about the witch trials at school.”
My mother placed her hand on my shoulder and turned me slightly, so that we faced each other.
“Listen to me carefully, sweet child. People are afraid of what they don’t understand. That’s why we keep our existence a secret. If they were aware of the true monsters that we protect them from, their aversion to us would have been short lived,” she replied fiercely.
We resumed walking, I with a new sense of honor in my step, further down the cobbled path until we reached the clearing used for the sheep. My mum beckoned me to follow her. I didn’t like this spot in the light of day, and being here after dark sent a shockwave of goose bumps throughout my entire being. Old and gnarled Ash trees, the very timber that the covens used to produce the blessed stakes that were supposed to assist us in eradicating the vampires, rose up causing a canopy that surrounded us on three sides. My mum stopped abruptly, and threw her arm out in front of me.
Umpf. The force of her blow knocked me backwards to the ground.
My eyes followed my mother’s, scanning the tree line for the source of her concern. My breath caught as I focused on the glowing, crimson eyes that peered back. They were the eyes of a monster, and they were approaching with preternatural speed.
“Fire!” my mother screamed.
The flames lashed out at her command, narrowly missing the hulking figure charging directly at her petite form. The spectacle that played out in front of me was not an exercise. My mother was in a very real fight to the death with a...vampire. Moreover, I was defenseless to help her.
“I’ve been waiting for you, witch. Mm... And your little girl too!” he snarled.
His appearance pulled me up short. I had been taught my entire life how utterly horrifying vampires were, but this... he was just a man. The only oddities that marked his affliction were those crazed eyes, and his remarkable speed. I was yanked from my arbitrary thoughts by the disturbing banter between my mother and her quarry.
“You’re not strong enough to kill me, Dillon,” my mother purred. I watched the audacious witch circling the man that she should have feared, but obviously didn’t.
“Mum, what do I do?” my trembling question went unanswered.
Dillon’s brown hair ruffled as his head turned in my direction. Those red eyes zeroed in on mine. His handsome face suddenly became a monstrous parody of a man’s; his grotesquely disfigured smile revealed remarkably white, razor sharp fangs.
“Rose. Sweet, simple, little Rose. You of all people should know just how delicate your species really is,” he boasted, never once withdrawing his horridly playful gaze from my face.
I began to feel funny, not at all in control of myself, as if I wanted to offer my very life up to him. From the corner of my eye I watched as my mother sent a flame at the suave abomination, making him jump to the side breaking his focus. I jerked my head toward my mother, comprehension flooding my foggy brain. He had tried to compel me. I had reviewed that very subject thoroughly yesterday with Colleen, and knew the warning signs, but again I was impotent.
“If my recollection is on point, you should remember that I am far more powerful than my sister was. And dealing death to vampires does not weigh on my conscience the way that it did Annie’s,” she stated. From the sound of this, they had already made each other’s acquaintance.
My mother reached under her cloak, pulling out the long shaft of whittled wood that I recognized. I had seen my Dad making them for the coven. It was phenomenal how my eyes had adjusted to the almost non-existent light. I saw the wild glint in her eyes, making the woman who’d given me life seem like a complete stranger. I couldn’t comprehend what either of them was playing at, with their continuous running dialogue.
I tried to persuade myself that he was not a man, not human. Therefore, if my mother took his life, it was of no consequence to me, or at least it shouldn’t have been. However, I found myself praying silently to my Goddess for this to end. I had just started to regain control over my body when the deadly dance that I was watching abruptly ended. From my vantage point, it looked as if they were entwined in a loving embrace, that was until my mother stepped back allowing Dillon’s body to slump to the ground. The stake protruded from his chest.
“Leeny, come!” she called.
I hesitated. I did not want to see death up close, but I obeyed. I reached my mother and my eyes drifted to the harrowing display on the bare earthen floor. Dillon’s body, once intimidating and pale, started to turn brown resembling aged and worn leather. His mummified remains began to shift again. I tried to turn my head to look away, but my mother was adamant that I needed to witness the end. It took less than a full minute. What was left of his sarcophagus imploded in on itself, quickly turning to ash. Warm tears left trails down my cheeks. I harshly wiped them away, not wanting my mother to see any more of my weaknesses tonight. With such finality a hard gust of wind hit the remnants and blew the ash into millions of tiny particles. He was no more.
“Blessed be. Let’s go home,” she said softly turning on her heel.
“What if another one attacks?” I asked, petrified, unable to look away.
“This is what your future holds, child. It’s best for you to abandon your fear now, get a firm grip on yourself, and prepare,” she stated brusquely.
I was lost in the turmoil of my own thoughts as we walked in silence the rest of the way to our cottage. My father’s voice jolted me back to reality. “Aileen, love, what’s wrong?” he asked. Worry laced his tone.
“Nothing, Da. I’m just sleepy,” I lied, forcing a smile without meeting his watchful eye.
“May I be excused to go to bed?” I directed my question to my father, the only parent I now trusted. First he searched my face, and then my mothers’. After a moment, he nodded his approval and I raced up the stairs. I threw open my door and found our bedroom empty. I moved, in haste, to change into a dressing gown, kicking my shoes into the corner. I needed to do something before I went to hide under my blankets. I threw open the dresser drawer that I had stashed the grimoire in, and rummaged through the freshly laundered clothes until my fingers felt the leather. I yanked it out. Making sure to grab my pencil on my way to my bed and began writing.
November 20, 1947
I don’t know where to begin. I’m trying to assemble my jumbled thoughts. I had, of course, known about the vampires. In addition, that after my initiation, I would begin learning how to kill the vile creatures, but to actually see one in person...
The nightmarish images of this evening’s events are forever etched into my memory. Ma and I were walking the cobblestones discussing the plans for my Wiccan education. When a man, at least I thought it was a man at first, ran toward us at an unnatural speed. My mother pushed me out of the way, pulling a blessed stake from under her cloak. It was over in a matter of a few minutes, but it felt like hours. She had plunged the wood deep into the man’s chest. I was so scared. On our return journey home, Ma just told me to pull myself together. That one day I would be expected to perform the exact same task, defend myself, and my family from the vampires. I don’t want to be a witch anymore...
Blessed Be ~ Leeny