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UNTO THE EARTH by Patrick C. Greene

excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVER


UNTO THE EARTH
By Patrick Greene

Landon Stower strolled with his dog Shucky along a clean white sidewalk, contented in the placidity of the neighborhood he’d called home since his release from the hospital two years before, sporting a battered baseball cap insigned with the logo of his favorite team, the Baton Rouge Buzzards.
Whistling as he went, Landon waved to his next door neighbor as he turned into his own fenced yard and closed the gate behind him, removing the leash from the panting black lab. He gave the dog a vigorous cheek rub. “Niiiice boy, Shuck.”
Entering his house, Landon was greeted with an exotic, redolent scent and the rhythms of a soft voice.
“Mm!” Landon sniffed the air. “Agnes!?”
When his wife did not answer, Landon set aside the leash and followed his senses to the kitchen. Dressed in hospital scrubs like the day she attended him after his accident (and stole his heart in the process) she was working over a steaming pot, humming “Row Your Boat” as she twisted and crushed dried herbs into the boiling concoction.
“Uh oh. Another voodoo spell?” he joked.
Mildly startled, Agnes laughed and turned to kiss him. “VO-dou,” she corrected in her rich French-Haitian argot. “And no, it’s dinner, my silly handsome boy.”
“Boy?” He drew her into his arms. “Mmm. You do keep me young, I think.” Agnes’ embrace was warm, comforting, enrapturing. Landon breathed of her neck and hair and the scrubs top, loving even its antiseptic hospital smell, as long as it was accented by her.
She finally pulled away and returned to the stove. “Aaaaah don’t leave me hanging!” he protested. He grabbed her ass, kissing her neck.
“Ooooh I don’t deserve you,” she teased. “You do want your special dinner don’t you?”
“…How special?”
Her smile was wide and playful, as she gestured at the pot with her wooden ladle. “You said I keep you young!”
“So it is a voodoo hex!”
“VO-DOUUUUUU!”
Landon went to the living room, laughing as he tossed his good luck charm Buzzards cap onto the couch and sat beside it, switching on the television to watch the cap’s namesake team play.
But there was only static.
“Dammit!” he got up and checked the hookup. “Hey Aggie? Did you pay the cable?”
“Oh! I thought so!” she called.
“I don’t think so,” Landon muttered, rubbing his face. “First game of the season tonight, Ag.”
His mood ruined, Landon muted the television and picked up a magazine–finding it was in French. He tried a Newsweek–also in French. “You subscribed to these fucking magazines in my name but they’re in French!”
She only continued to hum the childish song.
“You read English, but I don’t read French. Didja know that?”
“Oh, you should learn!” was her cheerful response.
Landon frowned. “Maybe YOU should just..!” He trailed off, rubbed the bridge of his nose. “…nevermind.”
Her humming shortened the song by a few notes, becoming more monotonous. Landon’s stomach growled at him. “How long till dinner?”
“Oh…an hour.” Even more cheerful–and annoying. The humming began again; only five notes this time, and off key.
“Shit…” Landon whispered under his breath.
It seemed to grow louder, to echo throughout the house and his head, filling his ears, becoming grating.
“Agnes…AGNES! STOP!”
She did not. Landon stared at the static, the magazines, the open doorway from which the discordant notes reached his burning ears, and he began to seethe. He sat still for several minutes, hoping she would stop, or at least change it up some. But she didn’t.
“Are you listening to me!?” He was suddenly standing, taking impatient strides toward the kitchen.
He entered the kitchen, his love for Agnes absent as he stared at her back, sure she knew he was there, though she just worked and hummed and hummed, offering no acknowledgement.
“STOP, GODDAMMIT!”
She turned and looked at him. There was no sense that she had been startled this time, no expression at all-and she continued to hum.

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


 

Patrick Headshot 433x650As a toddler, Patrick C. Greene was creating horrors in crayon and magic marker upon every available surface. Not surprisingly, he soon discovered comic books and immersed himself in the fantastic worlds found therein. Horror fiction and films came next, and despite spending nights of terror hiding under covers, he always found himself drawn back to tales of dark fates.

Greene cut his fangs in the screenwriting business but found his true calling in the world of prose fiction of the kind his heroes King, Barker and Koontz create.

With the success of his first novel PROGENY, and the upcoming THE CRIMSON CALLING from Hobbes End Publishing, Greene presents a brand of horror as emotional as it is terrifying, as engaging as it is suspenseful.

Living at night, deep in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Greene answers the call of his morbid muse when not enjoying monstrous helpings of horror, kung fu and doom metal.

You can keep up with Patrick at www.patrickcgreene.com or http://www.facebook.com/patrickcgreene

NOT THIS TIME by Mike Lester

excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVER


NOT THIS TIME
by Mike Lester

I decided to take a walk.
Melanie would have liked that.
The day was lovely, breezy, bright under a blue sky, bluer than I ever thought possible. Not at all the kind of day I expected it to be. The grass was dry and golden and waist high. Soon it would be taller. Tall enough to hide in. Tall enough to get lost in. Almost. I ran my fingers through the grass, blade tips tickling my palms like blinking eyelashes.
I looked back to the house, back the way I had come, my path a darker shade running through the field. I picked up the bucket and kept on. The bucket was heavy. The wire handle dug into my fingers and I had to keep switching my grip from hand to hand, careful not to spill.
They were all still inside, eating and drinking and telling stories about Melanie, no doubt. As if they knew her.
Up ahead, I could see the lane and the tall trees that lined it, tall and straight, two green, even rows falling all the way back to the highway. I remembered foggy mornings. Walking along the path. The tops of trees shrouded, swaying. Melanie and I would always run ahead of the others, trying to get lost, thinking the fog would take us away, away from the paths and the field and the world. But then Uncle Brad’s voice or footsteps or some other human noise would reach through and bring us back.
I had seen the look in her eyes and recognized it.
Not this time. Soon.
That was a long time ago.
I stepped out of the dry grass and onto the lane. Looked up to the tops of the trees, half-expecting them to be blotted out like before. But no, not today. Today they were golden and green and bright yellow, leaves flickering like shiny coins. I set the bucket down in the gravel and looked back home again. Chimney. The roof, smaller now, far off on the other side of the field. Solitary. A dollhouse.
Mother wouldn’t let me take my tie off, not even after the service. Not even up on top of the hill with the sun beating down on us all. It was hot and still and I couldn’t look when she was lowered. Not because I was sad though. I could hardly keep from smiling. At one point I thought maybe Uncle Brad had noticed, and so I started to feel bad and did my best not to smile.
Now everything is different. Now I could smile if I wanted to and I even whistled a bit. Just a bit.

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


lesterMike Lester is the author of An Occasional Dream, published in 2002 by indie crime publisher UglyTown. His story “The Courtier” will appear in Aaron J. French’s upcoming expanded edition of The Shadow of the Unknown. He currently lives in South Carolina.

THE RISING SON by James Glass

excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVER


THE RISING SON
by James Glass

Crowley was a prick. Virgil Calahan, Jr. came to the conclusion as he watched the man move through the crowd, how everyone smiled and laughed at the poorly told jokes only because no one wanted to seem stupid to a foreigner. Moreover, he seethed at the way Cherry clung to the man’s arm in spite of the insipid, resinous cloud of scented oils permeating the air around him.
He knew he had no claim to the gorgeous redhead, they adhered to the tenets of polyamory, but to see her showering another man with affection – Crowley of all the people! It was too much. He slammed his drink glass on the bar top harder than was necessary and pretended it was Crowley’s face.
The bartender’s smile was tight as he silently refilled the empty glass and disappeared into the shadows once more. Calahan clutched the drink to his chest, his eyes narrowed to slits as he continued to watch the man he now thought of as his own personal arch-nemesis.
“Chin up, old boy, she will be back.”
Calahan turned to see his father, one Virgil Calahan Senior, lounging against the bar. The old man also watched Cherry, the lustful expression not one his son had seen on his father’s usually bland but cheerful visage.
“But once a man has spent a night with the likes of her, one cannot return to any semblance of normal.” At his son’s sharp intake of breath he added, “Oh come now, old man, you can’t mean to tell me you had no idea we’ve all had a taste of Cherry?”
“When?!”
“The night after your birthday. She was very… accommodating.”
Calahan the son glared into his whiskey and said nothing, but he could feel his cheeks becoming red with fury. If it had been anyone but his father who spoke those words, the man would be nursing a black eye and possibly a broken jaw at that very moment. He cleared his throat and downed the rest of the amber liquid, then slammed the glass again on the bar top, this time hard enough to send a shard of glass flying into the space between himself and the gathering of revelers.
His father placed a hand over his. “Son, it was nothing personal, merely a good time.”
At Calahan’s continued silence, the older man studied his son’s face. Sudden realization dawned in his piercing blue eyes.
“Good heavens, boy, you can’t have fallen in love with her!”
Calahan pulled away from his father’s touch. “Well what if I had? What good does it do me now, knowing she’s been with everyone I know?”
“Cal,” his father’s voice was gentle, “She is a whore.”
Calahan rolled his eyes, his voice choked by sarcasm. “No kidding?”
“What I mean to say is she is a prostitute. We bought her for you for your birthday.” His father’s expression was filled with pity, and he patted Calahan’s arm, frowning. “I’m sorry, son. We thought you knew.”
With that, the old man wandered off into the crowd and Calahan stared after his father, disgust mingling with hate and whiskey in his churning gut. As Crowley’s accent carried over the crowd he gritted his teeth and stormed out onto the balcony of the lushly appointed hotel. He caught Cherry’s eye as he passed by her, and a small frown curled the corners of her perfectly drawn red lips.
The combination of being away from the party-goers and the chill of the night air cleared his anger only slightly, and he glared over the railing of the balcony into the glittering few electric lights mingling with gaslight below. He heard the latch of the French doors click behind him and he sighed, expecting Cherry to approach him with excuses. Instead his brother touched his shoulder.
The angry words meant for Cherry died on Calahan’s lips at the sight of his sibling. The younger man seemed upset by something, and the signs of laudanum addiction colored his pale features. This was a new addition to a chaotic repertoire of drug use.
“Billy?” Calahan said in way of greeting.
“Cal.” His brother stared over the railing with fever eyes and pulled at his clothes as if they didn’t fit quite right.
“Are you feeling,” Calahan paused, unable to say the word he had intended ‘anything’, instead substituting, “unwell?”
“You can say that, I suppose.” He spun to face Calahan and his elder brother stepped back as if physically assaulted by the mania creeping into his voice.
“I think you’ve had too much to drink,” Calahan said, voice quiet so as not to upset the delicate balance of his brother’s mood. On a typical day the young man’s behavior was erratic, partly due to his mental state and partly as a result of his self-medication.
Billy laughed and shook his head. “The problem is, Cal, I have not yet had enough to drink!” He stared at the lights below for a moment, his voice dreamy when he at last asked, “Have you spoken with Crowley yet?”

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


james glassJames Glass enjoys his privacy, but frequently finds that he plays an unwilling host to Xircon. When not visiting red light districts of red light cities, he can frequently be found contemplating life in the seediest of libraries.

Find James Glass on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesRGlassII and HERE

 

STORIES I TELL TO GIRLS by Michael G. Williams

excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVER


STORIES I TELL TO GIRLS
by Michael Williams

“I’m not trying to pry, Auntie Ann,” Maria said to the crone of the Book People, lying badly and showing the disregard for it of young people everywhere. “But why don’t you ever tell us stories about your life?” She asked it with that infuriating innocence of youth, the way a child can go straight to the heart of the hidden.
Lorraine, high priestess of the Book People, froze at the half-open library door.
Auntie Ann as usual said nothing. Lorraine had heard Auntie Ann speak many times but for a specific reason: the older woman was trying to pass on what she had learned in her many years of crafting magic, preparing Lorraine for when she would become the coven’s crone.
That was what the Book People were: a coven working magic through the written word. As the wheel of the year turned they gathered together, trespassing at some library or another to reach into the vast expanse of condensed intention; to make meaning out of the cast dice of a billion words. They broke the law to do their work because magic often requires a sacrifice. The Book People set their own respectability before the gods as an offering they were prepared to burn.
This night, however – Halloween, or Samhain, or any number of other names –the Book People were on their own turf: a little branch library near the tiny town of Pittsboro. Technically they were trespassing there, too, but they had found a key, left out as though just for them, and they took it as a special kind of blessing.
“Is something wrong with the door?” Warren was the scribe, recording their rituals in a great tome he carried.
“No,” Lorraine said. “Just… thought I heard something.” Maria asking Auntie Ann about her past, tonight – this night, when the dead were close enough to touch with the lightest of effort… A chill ran up Lorraine’s spine. Dressed in her usual array of spandex-cotton blends, Lorraine looked the part of the mother of the group, ready to cheer on a soccer league or pilot a mini-van straight into outer space. She felt ice in her heart, though. Maria, the energetic young maiden, had a way of being the first one to stumble onto something and last to understand its significance.
“I just feel like we could learn a lot from you,” Maria said. She smiled, but it was coy.
Auntie Ann’s voice cracked when she spoke, like a piano that hasn’t been played in too long. “I try not to dwell on what’s dead and gone. It has a way of showing back up if it thinks it’s been invited.”
Maria’s eyes lit up with the flame of curiosity almost rewarded. “Oh, but please? Please tell us one story? Just one?” Maria’s pleading eyes turned to Lorraine for just a second. “I bet you’ve told Lorraine all kinds of stories.”
“Oh, girl.” Auntie Ann let out a great big breath with a lot of years behind it. “There are stories I tell to women,” she said, “And stories I tell to girls.” She smiled, though. “And you are still a girl.”

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


Michael G. Williams is a native of the Appalachian Mountains and grew up near Asheville, North Carolina. He describes his writing as wry horror or suburban fantasy: stories told from the perspectives of vampires, unconventional investigators, magicians and hackers who live in the places so many of us also call home. Michael is also an avid athlete, a gamer and a brother in St. Anthony Hall and Mu Beta Psi. You can find him here: http://www.robustmcmanlypants.org/perishables/ and here: https://www.facebook.com/perishables.novel

PIGEON by Eric Nash

excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVER


PIGEON
by Eric Nash

Sitting on the playground, fingering the amulet which adorned her wrist, Maddie thought that the clockwork conspiracy was genius in the way it dictated her fall.

If Jack, her ex-boyfriend and ex-boss, hadn’t made that girl pregnant, he would not have left Maddie. If she hadn’t been forced to quit her job because of his unreasonable behaviour then she wouldn’t be working in the Estate Agents doing weekend shifts, and would not have been taking her lunch-break in the park. She would not have been watching a magpie swagger through the grass as she listened to her sister waffle on about how fantastic her holiday was – second already that year and it still only July – while her nephew walked along a balance bar between the swing and the climbing frame. If her sister, who never liked Jack and still frequently informed Maddie of this fact, hadn’t told her about her new job, the pay increase and the flirty fit bloke that had interviewed her, she would not have walked over to her nephew, who then would not have bet her that she couldn’t walk all the way along the bar like he had done twice. Maddie stepped up. She would have reached the end if a motorcycle hadn’t backfired and the magpie hadn’t leapt into flight, but it did and so did the other, and the frantic fluttering of wings came inches from Maddie’s face making her twist and flail and fall left off the narrow beam.

Even though she hadn’t landed exactly on the left hand path – the path was some distance away on the other side of the park – she felt that the act of falling to her left counted as the same thing. Now that she had fallen she was, of course, duty-bound to explore her desires and maximise her satisfaction.

Or maybe, Maddie just needed to give herself permission to repay Jack for the three years of pills caused by his betrayal.

Whatever the reason, her liberation began with the removal of her amulet. It was a plain silver band, around which she had wrapped a lock of Jack’s hair. Back when he wore it long. Back when he was hers. To secure the hair she had bound it with red silk. It had protected her from harm every day she and Jack had been together. After, it had been very successful in keeping him near.

Abandoning her nephew to the whims of his self-obsessed mother, Maddie unravelled the silk and let it trail behind her in the dirt, discarding it at the park gates when she turned left to take the Number 9 bus. Knowing what she was about to do had her heart skipping over her hollow belly. The act of allowing herself to do it swept away the many inhibitions that contained her, and made her body tremble with excitement. At the bus stop, she couldn’t help but play hide-and-peek with her reflection, each time lingering a little longer to marvel at the upward curve of her lips and the universe revealed in her eyes.

All the while, Maddie crushed the hair in her fist.

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


Photo Credit: boj32

Photo Credit: boj32

Eric Nash writes dark speculative fiction. As yet he has not won, or been nominated for, any awards for his literary works. However, he is working on this and will be sure to let you know when he does. He lives in the south-west of England, possibly with his wife and children but he can’t be sure as demons have lashed him to his writing desk and bolted the door.

He has a website, http://eanash.wordpress.com, and can also be found on social media at http://www.facebook.com/EricNashauthor.

INTO THE LIGHT by Solomon Archer

excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVER


Sekhmet Press is excited to announce that Wrapped In Black contributor

Solomon Archer

has been named the

2014 Masters of Macabre Winner

by horroraddicts.net

macabre logo

Congratulations, Archer!


INTO THE LIGHT
by Solomon Archer

Elliot thought back to when it all started, before the gatherings became ceremonies. Before the rituals demanded sacrifices. Before his gift became a nightmare. Before his life became Mother’s.

Back then, he thought, as if the world before the coven had been simpler. Sundown meant heading home to set the table for dinner, pedaling his Schwinn as fast as he could. Back then, he responded “treasure hunting pirate astronaut” to any adult who inquired what he wanted to be when he grew up. He wasn’t a sullen eighteen-year-old who lived with his single mother on a dead farm, in a state where the only excitement came in the form of questionably regulated rides at the county fair or an occasional late summer hailstorm. Back then, he had a family and a life. He had a father and friends and all of suburban Newton Highlands as his playground.

But most importantly, he didn’t stay up until dawn, sweat-soaked and panicky with his heart in his throat, listening for the sounds of creatures stirring in the fields outside his window. Or hold his breath when they stopped.

Then, sixteen months ago, he met Deacon.

It had been a Saturday in mid-April, and rather than spend the day turning his dead grandparents’ former dream home into his own Midwest nightmare, unpacking the moving boxes that doubled as cardboard furniture, Elliot opted instead to explore the deserted back roads of Delphos, far from the disappointed stare of his mother. He rarely needed to use more than three or four gears on his bike in the flat expanse of Ottawa County, but that was more than enough to generate a welcome rush of spring wind through his hair. He had just passed the county line ten miles from his house, enjoying the solitude and peace, when he struck the pothole.

He hadn’t been watching the road, so he never saw it coming. The front tire dropped into the depression, pitching him over the handlebars. He stiffened reflexively as the ground rushed up to meet him, and hit the road with both hands. The road tore into his shoulder, elbow, back, and legs as he landed hard. He writhed in pain, moaning and cursing at dozens of scrapes, cuts, and tears that had suddenly erupted all over his body.

He sat up slowly, turning his left hand over in his lap and wincing at what was undoubtedly a sprained wrist. The asphalt had shredded the meat of his palms and the pebbles, dirt, and debris burrowed into his skin like powdered acid. A midline scar on his right hand, the result of a playground accident when he was ten, was lost in a map of angry red cuts.

He gingerly took the cell phone out of his back pocket. The screen was cracked, and dark. His bike lay on its side like mechanical road kill, the disengaged chain dangling from the crankshaft like a metal intestine.

Favoring his left leg, Elliot got to his feet, picked up his bike and steadied himself on it as he walked it back in the direction of town. The front tire wobbled on its warped rim and Elliot had to coax it along like a wounded pack animal. It was over half an hour before he spied a vehicle on the watery horizon. It crossed the center line and slowed to a crawl, stopping only a few feet in front of him. The muffler offered a low chuckle and shook impatiently as if it were attached to a sleek classic muscle car rather than a mid-70s Lincoln Continental. The dark brown finish was faded, its exterior coated in dust. Though the do-it-yourself window tinting was pale and bubbled, Elliot couldn’t make out the driver.

He gave the car a wide berth as he walked past, when the window rolled down and a gaunt man with a shock of fluffy white hair leaned across the passenger seat.

“Looks like you’ve had quite a scrape.” The driver’s voice was deep and raspy, belying a lifetime of cigarette addiction if not throat cancer.

“Yeah,” Elliot replied, an automatic response. “Just a little scrape, no big deal.”

“Would you like a ride?”

Elliot tensed. “No. Thanks, really. I’ll be fine.”

The man’s gaze fell on the ruined tire and dragging chain, glided over Elliot’s legs, wandered past the abrasions on his hips and elbows, and came to rest on the blood-soaked handlebar Elliot clutched in a vise-like grip. He shook his head slowly, deliberately.

“And you’re planning on walking back to town?” The driver’s voice had a pitying, amused quality. “How long do you think that will take? Two hours? Three maybe?”

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


solomon archerSolomon Archer is the 2014 Masters of the Macbre winner for his short story SURFACE TENSION. A criminal psychologist by day and writer by night, Archer is currently the Chief Psychologist of the XXXXXXX State Department of Corrections. He spends much of his time working with serious and dangerously mentally ill offenders, some of whom are not so disorganized that they couldn’t figure out a way to free themselves from their restraints and stab him in the head with an altered food tray. (Incidentally, the going rate for shanking a psychologist is two pounds of coffee and three bags of Top tobacco. You know, just in case you were curious).

Archer’s short stories have appeared in Wrapped In White: Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits and the new Wrapped In Black: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult.  His book PSYKU: A Work of Forensic Prose will release later this year by Sekhmet Press. Follow the lives of criminal offenders, as distilled into 17-syllable snapshots of dark humor and morose commentary, by a forensic psychologist with a Disciple Complex and a rampant case of cynicism.

You can find Archer here: http://psykubook.wordpress.com/

and here: https://www.facebook.com/psykuofficial

BEAUTIFUL, BROKEN THINGS by Rose Blackthorn

excerpt from

WRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVER


BEAUTIFUL, BROKEN THINGS
by Rose Blackthorn

He noticed the store-front within the first week of moving into the neighborhood. The broad window was curtained with sheer black hangings and a coral pink neon sign flickered Open over an array of oddities. There was no business name over the mirrored glass door, just a hand painted plaque with a large black crow holding an eyeball in one clawed foot.
The street was filled with little shops, all of them grimy and worn in the ever-present overcast. There were pawnshops, tattoo parlors, adult book stores, and little food stands with two or three tables or a narrow counter with barstools. This was not the best part of town to work in, let alone live, but Trey didn’t have a lot of options. Unless a person had the money to pay for walls and security, this was the best he could get.
“Have you ever gone in?”
Trey started, glancing at the painted girl who stood near him. She had candy-pink hair and wore a white sequined dress that left little of her browned figure to the imagination. “Huh?”
The girl laughed, a tinkling sound that was decidedly out of place. “To the Morrigan’s. Have you ever gone in?”
He looked back across the street, to the wooden sign displaying the crow and eyeball. “No. What did you call it?”
The girl pulled a case out of the beaded bag dangling from her wrist, opening it to reveal tiny iridescent tablets. She put one under her tongue before returning the case to her bag. “The Morrigan’s.”
“What is it?” Street lights made pools of dingy gold on the dirty pavements up and down the street, and vehicles skimmed past on their silent airfields, sending bits of paper and plastic wrappers scooting along the cracked sidewalks. Trey kept from asking about the tablets. He was clean now. He repeated it as a silent mantra, clean now clean now clean now.
“My name is Nousha,” she said breaking through his inner monologue. “You’re new around here. What’s your name?”
“Trey,” he answered, clean now clean now ran on in the back of his mind.
“The Morrigan is a magic shop.” Her dark skin shimmered, picking up the yellow of the street lights and magnifying it.
“Like card tricks, sawing someone in half?”
She laughed, more tinkling. “No, not that fake stuff. Real magic. Spells and hexes, love potions and such.”
He stared at her, half hypnotized by the glimmering shifting colors on her skin. “No such thing.”
Nousha shrugged, her bright pink hair like the neon signs along the street. “You could see for yourself. Or not.”
Trey looked back at the dark window with the Open sign stuttering against the glass. Past the glass, behind the sheer black curtains, he thought he could see someone standing there looking back at him. But it could have just been a reflection. Or maybe he’d caught a partial high off the painted girl’s glittering skin.
A car pulled up and stopped, window opening to reveal a heavy-set man of middle age. He glanced at Trey, then to Nousha. “Feel like a party?” he asked, voice gravelly and low.
“If you’ve got the creds, I’m up for anything,” she said in a sexy purr. She winked at Trey, then got into the car. Her skin picked up the blue and violet lights from the interior, glimmering hyacinth and wisteria before the window slid shut and the car’s airfield whisked it away.
Across the street, the Open sign buzzed and flickered. If anyone had been standing behind the curtain before, they were gone now. Trey felt as though he buzzed and flickered, clean now repeating again and again in the back of his mind. He turned and went down the street to the barred security door, punched in his access code, and went up two flights of dingy stairs to what was now his home.

Read the entire story in

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014


roseRose Blackthorn writes speculative fiction from the high mountain desert of eastern Utah.

She has published online and in print, including “Stupefying Stories”, “Necon E-books”, “Cast of Wonders” podcast, “The Wicked Library” horror podcast, “Interstellar Fiction”, “BuzzyMag”, “Books of the Dead” and “Jamais Vu”. She is also included in the anthologies “A Quick Bite of Flesh”, “Horrific History” and “Shifters” by Hazardous Press; “New Dawn Fades”, “The Ghost IS the Machine” and “Fear the Abyss” by Post Mortem Press, “Eulogies II: Tales from the Cellar” by HorrorWorld, and “Equilibrium Overturned” by Grey Matter Press. She has stories scheduled for release from Sirens Call Publications, Sekhmet Press and Eldritch Press. She is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.

Visit Rose at: http://www.facebook.com/RoseBlackthorn.Author
or at: http://roseblackthorn.wordpress.com
or on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/rose_blackthorn

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