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Authors: Cate Tiernan

Dark Magick (6 page)

BOOK: Dark Magick
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I looked down. Were the tools bound to me now? Had I done it correctly? I had followed the instructions. I had felt the power. There was nothing else on the paper Alyce had given me. Blinking, feeling suddenly incredibly tired, I gathered everything up, blew out the candles, and crept downstairs. Moving silently, I unscrewed the cover for the HVAC vent in the hallway outside my room and put my tools, except the athame
,
back into my never-fail hiding place.
Back in my room, I changed into my pajamas and brushed my teeth. I unbraided my hair and brushed it a few times, too tired to give it any real attention. Finally, with relief, I got into bed with Maeve’s Book of Shadows and opened it to my bookmark. Out of habit I held my mother’s athame
,
with its carved initials, in my hand.
I started to read, sometimes pointing the athame to the words on the page, as if it would help me decipher some of the Gaelic terms.
In this entry Maeve was describing a spell to strengthen her scrying. She mentioned that something seemed to be blocking her vision: “It’s as if the power lines are clouded and dark. Ma and I have both scryed and scryed, and all we get is the same thing over and over: bad news coming. What that means, I don’t know. A delegation is here from Liathach, in northern Scotland. They, like us, are Woodbanes who have renounced evil. Maybe with their help we can figure out what’s going on.”
I felt a chill.
Bad news coming.
Was it the mysterious dark force that had destroyed Belwicket, Maeve’s coven? No, it couldn’t be, I realized; that hadn’t happened until 1982. This entry had been written in 1981, nearly a year earlier. I tapped the athame against the page and read on.
“I have met a witch.”
The words floated across the page, written in light within the regular entry. I blinked and they were gone, and I stared at Maeve’s angular handwriting, wondering what I had seen. I focused, staring hard at the page, willing the words, the writing to appear again. Nothing.
I took the athame
,
passing it slowly over the blue ink. Splashes, pinpricks of light, coalescing into words. “I have met a witch.”
I drew in my breath, staring at the page. The words appeared beneath the athame
.
When I drew it away, they faded. I passed the knife over the book again. “Among the group from Liathach, there is a man. There is something about him. Goddess, he draws me to him.”
Oh my God. I looked up, glanced around my room to make sure I was awake and not dreaming. My clock was ticking, Dagda was squirming next to my leg, the wind was blowing against my windows. This was all real. Another layer of my birth mother’s history was being revealed: she had written secret entries in her Book of Shadows.
Quickly I flipped to the very beginning of the book, which Maeve had started when she was first initiated at fourteen. Holding the athame close to each page, I scanned the writing, seeing if other hidden messages were revealed. Page after page I ran the knife down each line of writing, each spell, each song or poem. Nothing. Nothing for many, many pages. Then, in 1980, when Maeve was eighteen, hidden words started appearing. I began reading, my earlier fatigue forgotten.
At first the entries were things Maeve had simply wanted to keep hidden from her mother: the fact that she and a girlfriend were smoking cigarettes; about how Angus kept pressuring her to go “all the way” and she was thinking about it; even sarcastic, teasing remarks or observations about people in the village, her relatives, other members of the coven.
But as time went on, Maeve also wrote down spells, spells that were different from the others. A lot of what Maeve and Mackenna and Belwicket had done was practical stuff: healing potions, lucky talismans, spells to make the crops perform. These new spells of Maeve’s were things like how to communicate with and call wild birds. How to put your mind into an animal’s. How to join your mind to another person’s. Not practical, perhaps. But powerful and fascinating.
I went back to the passage I had found a few minutes ago. Slowly, word by word, I read the glowing letters. Each entry was surrounded by runes of concealment and symbols I didn’t recognize. I memorized what they looked like so I could research them later.
Painstakingly, I picked out the message.
“Ciaran came to tea. He and Angus are circling each other like dogs. Ciaran is a friend, a good friend, and I won’t have Angus put him down.”
Angus Bramson had been my birth father. Ciaran must be the Scottish witch Maeve had just met. Previous entries had detailed Maeve and Angus’s courtship—they’d known each other practically forever. When Belwicket had been destroyed, Maeve and Angus had fled together and settled in America. Two years later I had been born, though I don’t think they ever married. Maeve had once written about her sadness that Angus wasn’t her
mùirn beatha dàn
—her preordained life partner, her soul mate, the person who was meant for her.
I believed Cal was mine. I’d never felt so close to anyone before—except Bree.
“Today I showed Ciaran the headlands by the Windy Cliffs. It’s a beautiful spot, wild and untamed, and he seemed just as wild and untamed as the nature surrounding him. He’s so different from the lads around here. He seems older than twenty-two, and he’s traveled a bit and seen the world. It makes me ache with envy.”
Oh, God, I thought. Maeve, what are you getting into?
I soon found out.
“I cannot help myself. Ciaran is everything a man should be. I love Angus, yes, but he’s like a brother to me—I’ve known him all my life. Ciaran wants the things I want, finds the same things interesting and boring and funny. I could spend days just talking to him, doing nothing else. And then there’s his magick—his power. It’s breathtaking. He knows so much I don’t know, no one around here knows. He’s teaching me. And the way he makes me feel . . .
“Goddess! I’ve never wanted to touch anyone so much.”
My throat had tightened and my back muscles had tensed. I rested the book on my knees, trying to analyze why this revelation shook me so much.
Is love ever simple? I wondered. I thought about Mary K. and Bakker, boy most likely to be a parolee by the time he was twenty; Bree, who went out with one loser after another; Matt, who had cheated on Jenna with Raven. . . . It was completely discouraging. Then I thought about Cal, and my spirits rose again. Whatever troubles we had, at least they were external to our love for each other.
I blinked and realized my eyelids were gritty and heavy. It was very late, and I had to go to school tomorrow. One more quick passage.
“I have kissed Ciaran, and it was like sunlight coming through a window. Goddess, thank you for bringing him to me. I think he is the one.”
Wincing, I hid the book and the athame under my mattress. I didn’t want to know. Angus was my birth father, the one who had stayed by her, who had died with her. And she had loved someone else! She’d betrayed Angus! How could she be so cruel, my mother?
I felt betrayed, too, somehow, and knowing that I was perhaps being unfair to Maeve didn’t help. I turned off my light, plumped my pillow up properly, and went to sleep.
6
Knowledge
“If you hum that song one more time, I may have to kick you out of the car,” I informed my sister the next morning.
Mary K. opened the lid of her mug and took a swig of coffee. “My, we’re grumpy today.”
“It’s natural to be grumpy in the morning.” I polished off the last of my Diet Coke and tossed the empty can into a plastic bag I kept for recyclables.
“Tornadoes are natural, but they’re not a
good
thing.”
I snorted, but secretly I enjoyed the bickering. It felt so . . . normal.
Normal. Nothing would ever be normal again. Not after what Cal and I had done.
There’d been no mention of a body in the river in this morning’s paper, either. Maybe he’d sunk to the bottom, I thought. Or snagged on a submerged rock or log. I pictured him in the icy water, his pale hair floating around his face like seaweed, his hands swaying limply in the current. . . . A sudden rush of nausea almost made me retch.
Mary K. didn’t notice. She looked through the windshield at the thin layer of clouds blotting out the morning sun. “I’ll be glad when vacation starts.”
I forced a smile. “You and me both.”
I turned onto our school’s street and found that all my usual parking spaces were taken. “Why don’t you get out here,” I suggested, “and I’ll go park across the street.”
“Okay. Later.” Mary K. clambered out of Das Boot and hurried to her group of friends, her breath coming out in wisps.Today it was cold again, with a biting wind.
Across the street was another small parking lot, in back of an abandoned real estate office. Large sycamores surrounded the lot, looking like peeling skeletons, and several shaggy cypresses made it feel sheltered and private—which was why the stoners usually hung out there when the weather was warmer. No one else was around as I maneuvered Das Boot into a space.Wednesday, after school let out at noon, I had an appointment to take it to Unser’s Auto Repair to have the headlight repaired.
“Morgan.” The melodious voice made me jump. I whirled to see Selene Belltower sitting in her car three spaces away, her window rolled down.
“Selene!” I walked over to her. “What are you doing here? Is Cal okay?”
“He’s much better,” Selene assured me. “In fact, he’s on his way to school right now. But I wanted to talk to you. Can you get in the car for a moment, please?”
I opened the door, flattered by her attention. In so many ways, she was the witch I hoped someday to be: powerful, the leader of a coven, vastly knowledgeable.
I glanced at my watch as I sank into the passenger seat. It was covered with soft brown leather, heated, and amazingly comfortable. Even so, I hoped Selene could sum up what she had to say in four minutes or less since that was when the last bell would ring.
“Cal told me you found Belwicket’s tools,” she said, looking excited.
“Yes,” I said.
She smiled and shook her head. “What an amazing discovery. How did you find them?”
“I saw Maeve in a vision,” I said. “She told me where to find them.”
Selene’s eyebrows rose. “Goodness.You had a vision?”
“Yes. I mean, I was scrying,” I admitted, flushing. I didn’t know for sure, but I had a feeling scrying was another thing I wasn’t supposed to do as an uninitiated witch. “And I saw Maeve and where the tools might be.”
“What were you scrying with? Water?”
“Fire.”
She sat back, surprised, as if I had just come up with an impossibly high prime number.
“Fire! You were scrying with fire?”
I nodded, self-conscious but pleased at her astonishment. “I like fire,” I said. “It . . . speaks to me.”
There was a moment of silence, and I started to feel uneasy. I had been bending the rules and following my own path with Wicca practically from the beginning.
“Not many witches scry with fire,” Selene told me.
“Why not? It works so well.”
“It doesn’t for most people,” Selene replied. “It’s very capricious. It takes a lot of power to scry with fire.” I felt her gaze on me and didn’t know what to say.
“Where are Maeve’s tools now?” Selene asked. I was relieved that she didn’t sound angry or disapproving. It felt very intimate in the car, very private, as though what we said here would always be secret.
“They’re hidden,” I said reassuringly.
“Good,” said Selene. “I’m sure you know how very powerful those tools are. I’m glad you’re being careful with them. And I just wanted to offer my services, my guidance, and my experience in helping you learn to use them.”
I nodded. “Thank you.”
“And I would hope, because of our close relationship and your relationship with Cal, that you might want me to see the tools, test them, share my power with them. I’m very strong, and the tools are very strong, and it could be a very exciting thing to put our strengths together.”
Just then a familiar gold Explorer rolled into the parking lot. I saw Cal’s profile through his smoked window, and my heart leaped. He glanced toward us, pausing for a moment before pulling into a spot and turning off the engine. Eagerly I rolled down my window, and as I did, I heard the morning bell ring.
“Hi!” I said.
He came closer and leaned on the door, looking through the open window. “Hi,” he said. His injured wrists were covered by his coat sleeves. “Mom? What are you doing here?”
“I just couldn’t wait to talk to Morgan about Belwicket’s tools,” Selene said with a laugh.
“Oh,” said Cal. I was puzzled by the flat tone in his voice. He sounded almost annoyed.
“Um, I feel like I should tell you,” I said hesitantly. “I, uh, I bound the tools to me. I don’t think they’ll work too well for anyone else.”
Cal and Selene both stared at me as if I had suddenly announced I was really a man.
BOOK: Dark Magick
3.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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