Authors: Peter Saenz
Tags: #Fiction Horror
Coven of Wolves
Copyright (c) 2012 Peter Saenz
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopying or recording, except for the inclusion in a review, without permission in writing from the the publisher.
Published in the USA by
8675 Falmouth Ave #306
Playa del Rey, CA 90293
Item no. DQP-FICN-1002
Cover illustration by Geoffrey Prince.
Cover Design by Amanda Mullins and Allan T. Duffin.
Printed in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to my husband Joseph.
Your encouragement, thoughts and love have given me so much over the years.
As with so many other things, this is just one dream we've seen come true together.
Here's to many more to come.
• • •
The night is cold and dark, causing the moon shadows to stretch and flow past me as I run through unknown alleyways. A fire escape railing becomes black prison bars on a brick wall and an overflowing trash dumpster becomes a black rectangular monster several times my size beside it. I keep running, blindly turning corners in my search for solitude. Every once in a while I come across a homeless person sleeping under a pile of newspapers, or secret lovers packed into a hidden doorway. Flashbacks of my own homeless years come back to me but I push them to the back of my mind. I move past each group as quickly as I can without drawing attention to myself. The moon continues to rise. With each passing moment I have to calm my thoughts and focus on the goal at hand lest my fears completely consume me.
After what seems like an eternity I find what looks to be a deserted warehouse. There are a few broken windows but the place carries a strong air of dusty abandon. I peek through a window for a few minutes, squinting through the dirt and grime. When I'm confident no one is inside I squeeze my way through a large crack in the foundation. Once inside I find a crate light enough and use it to cover the wall opening, pushing it with all of my body weight into place. I look around, feel the silence. Aside from a few rats I'm the only living being in the place.
I carefully find my footing among the litter of ropes, crates and abandoned machinery in my newly acquired shelter. Along one wall I see an especially dark cubbyhole, perfect for someone hiding from the world to get lost in. Once I reach it I feel the darkness envelop me like a long-lost lover. I feel around and find a broken crate the size of a washing machine. I run my fingers along the surface until I find a hole just big enough for me to move through. I thank the goddess to discover that its previous contents have long since been removed. After I shimmy my way in I sit and rest my head against one of the sides. It's cold and dirty but I smile weakly.
Exhaustion hits me and I find myself drifting into the land of Morpheus. Too tired to struggle, I let go all of the day's anxiety and heartache and allow the sweet bliss of unconsciousness to ripple over my entire being.
I find myself back in my childhood home, blissfully playing alone in the backyard. In one hand I have an action figure, in the other, a toy plane. I make each prized possession fly through the air as the sounds of arguing come from the house behind me. I block out the sound of my mother yelling at my father by racing my toy friends around the yard. After a few moments I hear a crash and see my father storming out of the house. He has a strong face and a light brown beard. His large hands find their way to my shoulders and as he drops down to one knee says, "Don't ever run from what you are son. Embrace the hand life gives you. When the time comes, you'll find me." He stands and leaves the property, never to be seen again.
A mist drifts across my vision and I find myself several years older, packing a bag in my old bedroom. After I'm done I swing the bag to my back and take one last look at my sanctuary. Posters of musicians and magazine clippings of celebrities litter the walls. I walk into the living room and I see my mother passed out on a sofa with an empty vodka bottle on the floor beside her. Despite her condition, you can just about see the class the blonde before me still has within her. I take an envelope marked "Mom" from my back pocket and leave it on the coffee table. Taking one last look at her, I walk out the front door.
The mist reappears and when it clears I see myself standing on a city street corner at night. I'm a year or two older now and quite a bit scruffier. An expensive car pulls up and the passenger window winds down. I get inside the vehicle and we drive off. I find myself surrounded in mist again. Far away I see figures moving to and fro. As I focus my vision the mist lightens, causing the figures to become closer. I realize that I'm seeing my coven.
Malik's nostrils flare in anger when he sees my cell now empty. His blue eyes almost spark electric as he searches room after room, angrily hoping to discover me still present in the manor. I smile smugly to myself, knowing that he is looking in vain. Watching him this way I can see what initially drew me to him. The chiseled face, slick charcoal hair, strong hands and olive skin ... Even the way his clothes cling and sway off of his perfectly formed body drips with sex. To anyone else Malik would seem to be a dream come true. A gorgeous middle-aged runway model that could swing an ax with the best of them. Looking at him now, all I see in Malik is a sadistic jailer who made my last few months of life a living hell.
Standing in the upstairs hallway I can see Malik barking orders. Five other figures move into frame. Luke, a dark-eyed blonde with pale skin; Tobias, earthy with sandy brown hair; Cole, tall with green eyes to match his jealous nature; Kevin, a puckish youth; and lastly Zack, his angelic face neatly hiding his dark persona. Fury overcomes me as I look at the entire group standing together. Malik had always surrounded himself with beauty, talent and ambition. His coven was the jewel of that union. Against them individually, I stand a chance. Together, I'm hopelessly outmatched.
Wallowing in my sorrow a little too long, I almost don't notice Zack scanning his surroundings in confusion. He whispers something to the others. Just as he locks eyes with mine I force myself back into my body and awaken. Shit! Stupid, stupid, stupid! I calm my thoughts and find my spiritual center. I quickly whisper a cloaking spell, hoping it will buy me some time before Zack is able to zero in on where I am. I helplessly realize I just signed my death warrant. My mind races to remember every magical trick learned and I spring into action.
Leaving my hiding place behind I go into the open center of the warehouse. From my pocket I pull out a piece of white chalk and begin to draw a large circle on the dust-filled floor. Within the circle's line I scribe protective runes and symbolized incantations. From my satchel I take out what few herbs, crystals and blessed stones I was able to grab during my escape and strategically place them along the circle's edge. I take off my shirt and sit cross-legged in the center of my creation. I close my eyes and enclose the pendant hanging from my neck between my palms. Finding my spiritual center again, I breathe inward and tap into my body's energies. I feel my inner power swirl and quietly envelop me in a cocoon. I allow that energy to expand to encompass the protective circle. The symbols and objects glow with my power and take life. The spell takes shape and I can feel powerful magic surrounding me in a protective womb.
I open my eyes and from the soot-stained windows see the moon continuing to reach its peak position. The circle grows stronger in anticipation. For countless centuries the moon has held a special place in magic. Tonight, having a full moon fall on the night of the Fall Equinox, witches everywhere, no matter what their level of power, can feel her strength. The feeling is intoxicating, a welcome change of emotion.
My pendant feels warm against my bare skin. Inside resides my blood and my oath to nature. Literally, a piece of my soul. To an outsider, it's just a trinket, probably bought from a trendy website or boutique. To a witch, though, it is a sacred item of devotion to the Craft. Not all tokens are the same. For some it is a necklace, to others it's a charm, and to yet others in this modern day world of exhibition and pain it is a marking of the skin. No matter what form the oath takes, it is held near the witch's being and never removed. Over the years it's provided me strength and insight. The more skilled the witch, the more powerful it becomes. When I die, a portion of my soul will live on within my precious token. This is why when a witch dies they will often pass on their totem to a loved one with potential for the Craft. They add their essence to the item, causing it to increase in power and value. Modern witches who mark their bodies either forget this ancient custom or choose to selfishly hoard their power, into death.
On an especially sensual night Malik allowed me to hold his family pendant as he forced his affection upon me. Malik comes from a long line of witches so his pendant is very old and seethes with strength. He wanted me to hold it in hand so that I could see him and his power as a glorious prize. How dare I not give myself over to him otherwise, right? In the end I learned that he saw me as the true prize, an object to be won and controlled. Several of the others would have given anything to be Malik's kept pet. Zack, especially, made no secret about wanting the post. If he only knew how I would have gladly handed it over long ago.
Malik used his and the others' desire to his own advantage and would often pit us against one another. A coven should never hold such animosity among its members. The circle becomes dark and broken. It was because of this that I broke one of the most important Wiccan rules: a witch must never forsake their coven. To do so means death. I had already become emotionally dead, being Malik's puppet, so initially the consequence really didn't matter to me. I attempted to leave several times. Malik would always find me and force me back with a painfully severe warning. I was his property or I was no one's. This last attempt at freedom will allow no forgiveness, though. This time I will be made an example. This time I will be killed.
Somewhere in the back of my head I feel their calling. They are searching for me. I cast my fate to the winds and decide to try my luck at a diversion. I close my eyes and breath inward. Tapping into my mystical energy, I call for my spirit self to move forward and out of my body. A moment later I feel myself floating above the ground, looking down at my physical body's shell within the protective circle. I laugh at the sheer joy of freedom. I then divide my spirit self into three and cast them off to wander different sections of the city. I still feel the calling, but now also confusion. A few moments later the call becomes more subtle and I realize my plan has worked. My best guess is that the coven has split up to better track me down, or more accurately, my various spirit selves. I allow myself to remain separate from my body for several more minutes but can feel the energy needed to supply such a trick lessening. Just before I can no longer maintain the split I call back all of my selves to my body. Reunited, I release a huge gasp of relief. The others will figure out what happened, but for now I allow myself elation that their power is temporarily split as well. I take advantage of my gained time by meditating within my protective circle to gather my strength.
After what seems like an hour I sense a magical presence. To my surprise Cole steps out of the shadows. Cole is the least-skilled witch within the coven so his being able to find me first is surprising. I can't sense anyone else in the area but keep my guard up for a possible ambush. I say, in the most authoritative tone I can muster, "Hello Cole."