It's that time again. My favorite day, the first Sunday of the month, which I have declared Free Short Story Sunday! This is where I'll publish a short story of mine to thank all of you for registering on my webpage and supporting The Blood Prophecy Series. Some of the short stories will be horror and some won't.
Hope you enjoy this month's horror story, The Missionaries and the Witch.
All the other short stories I've posted are always available in my past Blogs, so be sure to check them out!
Hope you enjoy the stories as much as I do writing them.
Edited by the talented Liane Larocque at Mystic Canyon Publishing.
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READER DISCRETION ADVISED, this may not be suitable for all audiences.
If you enjoy my short stories please consider trying my books, The Blood Prophecy Series, a vampire adventure extraordinaire, and Inferno of Secrets my first mystery.
The Missionaries and the Witch
It was just after dark in New England in late October, which is around 6:30 PM, when the knock came at my apartment door. It was odd that anyone would be here, let alone after dark, since I rarely had visitors. I had been divorced for a little over two years and had still not found my way as a single woman after thirty years of marriage. I was making some toast in the kitchen, trying to conserve food since I was still unemployed. In my depressed state of not finding a job, I impulsively had adopted two eight-week-old kittens two weeks earlier to ease my loneliness. One of the kittens had become sick, and I had spent over six hundred dollars in vet bills, which only added to my anxiety even though I was willing to spend every penny I had to make him healthy again. The stress of my adorable baby being sick and the difficulties I was having finding a job at my age, had begun to drive me to distraction.
My phone was ringing as I prepared my meal in the kitchen just as the knocking came upon my door. I ignored the phone, most likely another robocall wanting me to extend my car warranty, which I received dozens of each day. Instead, I went for the door. Two young men in crisp suits and dark ties with perfectly combed hair and clean-shaven faces smiled outside as I stared in surprise through the window next to the door. I had already consumed a glass of Merlo, and even with my light buzz, I knew better than to open the door and opened the window instead.
"How can I help you," I asked in a pleasant voice.
"We're from the ministry and would like to talk to you about our redeemer, The All-Mighty Lord," The tall twenty-something blond with perfectly manicured hair said with a cold smile.
"It's rather late," I said to the strangers standing outside my door. Before either could say another word, I smiled warmly. "Have a good evening and God Bless," I said as I closed the window, making it clear that our brief interaction had now concluded.
I thought the cool breeze I felt was nothing more than the air that had come in from the open window as I went back to finishing my evening meal. A strange feeling came over me. I couldn't shake the uneasiness that the two young men had made me feel. There was something — something I couldn't put my finger on, but it left me unsettled just the same. As I ate my toast and sipped another glass of wine, I wondered why, after all these years, did these boys from the ministry show up tonight? They had never come by before. How odd that they'd be out looking for converts days before Halloween. Didn't they know? Couldn't they feel it? I hurried to light a black candle. I wouldn't let it burn for long since my poor kitten was fighting a respiratory infection, and I thought the scent of it might bother his already struggling little lungs. Perhaps, that was why the boys felt safe to come to my door. I hadn't been burning my candles for a week now since little Bran had become sick. Had my wards gone down?
I burned my candles every day, many times all day long. One red, to bring harmony and love into my space. One green for healing and prosperity, one yellow to surround my home with joy and good cheer, and one black to ward off any troubled spirits. But as of late, it seemed that the candles weren't working as well as they had in the past. Something stronger was pressing their energy down, leaving me feeling vulnerable. Fear had crept into my heart, and I found myself not wanting to venture far from my apartment. I had put out a call for a kitten months ago with no response and left it up to the fates on whether I'd be getting a new familiar. I hadn't been right since losing my last one; our twenty-year relationship had come to an end fifteen months earlier. Grief and uncertainty kept me from replacing him for as long as I did, but the time finally arrived, and I began the search for a new one. The day the text came asking if I was still looking for a kitten came, and I thought for sure that my long dark night of my soul was about to finally come to an end. In all the years that I had kept a familiar, it had always been only one, but when I went to pick up my new kitten, something prompted me to get two. I didn't understand why, and I didn't question it, so two came home with me that day. A new pulse of hope rang through me.
Alas, the joy I felt from my new fuzzy connections to beyond the veil was short-lived as little Bran became sick not three days after I had brought him and his sister, Arya, home. The fear I had felt before, returned as I worried for my sick little kitten. It had taken only one look at them to fall madly in love, and now I worried that he might not pull through only to have my heart broken once more. It was as if that strange energy that pushed the power of my candle magic down was after my familiars.
The following evening, again while I was preparing my dinner, I heard footsteps coming up the back stairs. I hadn't given it much thought, and moments later, all had gone quiet again as I continued my task of bringing my soup to a boil, after filling my bowl and taking it to the sofa where I ate most of my meals in front of the television. I no sooner got comfortable when a soft knocking came upon my door. Two nights in a row? That can't be. At first, I thought it may have been to my neighbor's door. The walls were thin and most sounds were heard throughout the entire building. Dismissing the knock as for someone else, I continued to eat my dinner when the soft knocking came once more.
An icy breeze blew through the room as my skin rose with bubbles of goose flesh. The sensation of fear from before filled my mind from the same unknown source. Cautiously, tip-toeing to the window, pulling the curtain slightly to one side, I peered out into the darkness. Again, it was the same two young men from the night before, clean-cut and holding a small leather-bound book in their hands. Their bright blue eyes sparkled in the dim porch light. I opened the window, but only partway, "How can I help you," I asked in a pleasant voice.
"We're from the ministry and would like to speak to you about our redeemer, The All-Mighty Lord," The tall twenty-something blond with the perfectly manicured hair said with the same cold smile as before.
As the night before, I answered the same, "It's rather late. Have a good evening, and God bless."
As I began to close the window once more, the blonde-haired young man lifted his free hand into the air.
"I know it's late, but if you could spare just a moment, it will make all the difference to your soul."
"My soul is intact, and that's the way it will stay. So, good evening to you both. Please, be on your way."
I shut the window with great speed and pulled the curtain closed to make them disappear from my vision. The fear I felt was worse than before. My insides crawled as if filled with live spiders, and a shiver ran through my body as if I were naked and had been standing in deep snow. My hands trembled as I lit all my candles and repeated a prayer to bind the young men from forcing their way in. All the while, they stood outside my door, chanting some words I couldn't understand. I prayed, they chanted, and my new familiars mewed in a loud howl until I got the last black candle lit. As the flame from the candle danced skyward, everything went quiet, and I settled into a calm spirit. A warmth filled the room, and the kittens settled. In a matter of a few minutes, it appeared as if nothing had ever occurred.
Two uneventful nights passed, and my nerves settled into focusing on making my Bran well. Feeding him every few hours and filling the humidifier to fill the air with a warm mist and passing on lighting my candles. Nursing him back to health was all I could see. It was on the third night, long after I had forgotten about the young men at my door while making my dinner, when the footsteps returned up the back steps. This time, I didn't wait and pulled the curtains shut and made sure the door was locked and prayed they'd just go away. But tonight was different, it was all Hollows eve, and the veil was now thin, and the young men were more determined than before. They shouted outside my door.
"We are from the ministry, and we must speak to you about our redeemer, The All-Mighty Lord!" The tall twenty-something blond with the perfectly manicured hair said with the same cold voice as the night before.
I answered the same.
"It's rather late. Have a good evening, and God bless," I shouted through the closed door.
"I know it's late, but if you could spare just a moment, it will make all the difference to your soul."
"My soul is intact, and that's the way it will stay! I know you are demons, and I command you to go away! The spirits of good are on my side, and you will not enter here no matter how hard you try!"
My kittens howled and sweat ran down my face. Ice crystals exploded across the glass of my windows. My hands trembled as I lit my candles, and I repeated the prayer, "I am of nature, and the spirit of good is my shield. My familiar's open the veil, and only good things will prevail. Demons be gone, go back to your hell and leave us in peace, for you have no power here!"
My windows began to crack, and I feared we were doomed as the wind hollered outside with growing intensity and ominous gloom. I repeated the prayer, louder and louder. My kittens meowed, and tears ran down my face until a loud woosh of cold wind blew inside, and all my candles went out. Darkness reigned supreme, my kittens went quiet, and the terror disappeared from the room like mist warmed from the sun in high noon. The young men were gone, and the smell of lilacs filled the room. My little Bran rubbed against my legs, his eyes bright, and his illness was gone. His sister danced next to him at my feet, and the demons were defeated until the next time we meet.