Today we have Brian Moreland here telling us about his witches. You might remember him from Vampire Month. The cannibal story… “Dead of Winter” (that I had to sit a side because it was way too scary) I’ve got these witch novels on my TBR list, but to tell you the honest truth….. I’m scared to read them. 😀 That’s how scary “Dead of Winter” is. Before I scare you all, I’ll let Brian take it from here.
Thank you Brian for being a part of witch month.
“Season of the Witch”
by Brian Moreland
They come from mythology, folklore and fairytales and go by names such as crone, conjurer, necromancer and witch. Male witches are called warlocks and wizards, although the archetypal figure is predominately depicted as an ugly old woman―the hag. Some live as hermits in hovels in dark forests. Others gather in secret places and form covens. They operate in the realms of magic and have the power to cast spells and charm us. They can tell our fortunes or curse us with the evil eye. Old, wicked, beautiful, seductive―witches of all forms have enchanted our stories since the dawn of storytelling.
I love a good witch story, especially when it’s scary, so I wrote three witch stories: The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House and The Jack-o’-lantern Man. As a horror fiction writer, I like to combine history and legends with scary supernatural stories. The Jack-o’-lantern Man plays on childhood fears of the bogeyman during Halloween, while the second two stories allowed me to have fun creating my own legend about a coven witches living in the backwoods of East Texas.
My most recent witch story takes place on the night of Halloween. After trick-or-treating, Corey and his kid sister, Paige, listen to their father tell a ghost story about the legendary Jack-o’-lantern Man, a serial killer who stalks their town during Halloween. After going to sleep, Corey’s night turns to terror as he fears the bogeyman is inside his house. The Jack-o’-lantern Man is available through Amazon and all eBook sellers October 20, 2014.
The Girl from the Blood Coven is a short story prelude to The Witching House. It’s the year 1972. Sheriff Travis Keagan is enjoying a beer at the local roadhouse, when a blood-soaked girl enters the bar. Terrified and trembling, Abigail Blackwood claims her entire family was massacred at the hippy commune in the woods. Sheriff Keagan knows that Abigail’s “family” is a coven of witches that inhabit the Blevins house. They’ve been rumored to be practicing blood sacrifices and black magic. When the sheriff and his deputies investigate the alleged murders, they discover what happened at the Blevins house is more horrific than they ever imagined. You can read an excerpt at the end of this article and download the story for free wherever eBooks are sold.
The Witching House is a novella that unravels the mystery of what happened to the Blevins Coven. It’s forty years after the massacre at the hippy commune. My main character is Sarah Donovan, a young woman recovering from a bad divorce and boring life. She recently started dating an exciting, adventurous man named Dean Stratton. Dean and his friends, Meg and Casey, are fearless thrill-seekers. They like to jump out of airplanes, go rock-climbing, white-water rafting, caving and do anything that offers an adrenaline rush.
Sarah, on the other hand, is scared of just about everything–heights, tight places, the dark–but today she must confront all her fears, as she joins Dean, Meg and Casey on an urban exploring adventure. There’s an abandoned house set far back in the woods, they say. The Old Blevins House has been boarded-up for forty years. And it’s rumored to be haunted. The two couples are going to break in and explore the mysterious house. Little do they know the Old Blevins House is cursed from black magic, and something in the cellar has been craving fresh prey to cross the house’s threshold.
Writing these two stories allowed me to research the long history of witches, from Biblical times, to Norse and Greek mythology, Celtic Paganism, the Christian witch hunts, as well as the modern-day practice of Wicca. In fact, Sarah Donovan’s grandmother is a Wiccan who practices light magic and becomes Sarah’s voice of reason as she is confronted by dark forces. I also studied the differences between White Magic and Black Magic, even combed through a 17th Century spell book for conjuring evil spirits. As with my other books, I have interwoven much of the historical facts that I learned into my stories to offer readers a richer reading experience.
Below is an excerpt from The Girl from the Blood Coven:
June 21, 1972
As Sheriff Travis Keagan drove through the pine country of East Texas, he had two things on his mind: drinking a cold beer and watching the second half of the Rangers baseball game. On the radio, the announcer said it was top of the fifth and the Yankees were winning five to three.
“Come on, Rangers.” Sheriff Keagan felt absolutely beat and needed his team to lift his spirits. It was the end of another long, hot and balmy summer day of dealing with traffic accidents, drunken domestic disputes and escorting a wife beater to the county jail. Now the shadows of dusk were gathering in the forest, and judging by the flickering clouds, a stormy night was fast approaching.
A woman’s voice squawked on the CB radio. “Dispatch to Sheriff. Over.”
Sheriff Keagan sighed and picked up the microphone. “Yes, Connie. Over.”
“Earl Potter called and claims he saw the ghost of a girl cross through his pasture. Says she spooked his horses.”
“Ghost…” Keagan chuckled, shaking his head. “Last week it was flying saucers. Did he sound drunk?”
Connie laughed. “Like he always does. Over.”
“Tell Earl he needs to lay off the moonshine and go to bed. I’m calling it a night. Have a wonderful evening, Connie. I’ll be at the Armadillo if you need me. Over and out.” Keagan parked his police car in the gravel lot of the Lazy Armadillo. The roadhouse and connecting gas station were isolated on a wooded road just outside of the small town of Buck Horn. Inside the restaurant, the jukebox was playing a Willie Nelson song. A half-dozen townspeople acknowledged the sheriff as he entered the bar. He knew everyone here by name, where they lived, where they worked and their nighttime habits. He knew that Dale and Judy in the corner booth were cheating on their spouses. At another table, Tommy Green was studying to be a lawyer so he didn’t have to end up selling cars his whole life like his pops. And the sheriff knew that the Kincaid brothers, who were casually playing pool, would later get drunk and start throwing fists at one another. Just a typical night at the Armadillo.
Taking off his cowboy hat, Keagan sat at his favorite bar stool, where he had a perfect view of the Rangers game on the TV. “Damn, Yanks scored again?”
Sheila, the sexiest redheaded bartender in the county, put a frosty mug in front of Keagan. “Rangers’ pitching is terrible tonight.”
“Their bats aren’t hitting squat either,” Keagan said.
She pulled out her order pad. “Your usual tonight, Sheriff?”
“Nah, I’m in the mood for a steak. Tell Jorge to burn it.”
Sheila leaned against the bar. “You know all that red meat isn’t good for your colon.” The student nurse was always looking after his health. “How about the grilled catfish with some stir-fried veggies? You’ll thank me twenty years from now.”
“Fine. But you’re not talking me out of the pecan pie.”
“Maybe I’ll have a slice with you.” She winked.
Keagan’s cheeks flushed and he felt warm all over. Since his wife left him a few years back, moving to Houston with their daughter, he missed having a woman care about him. He admired Sheila as she delivered his order to the kitchen. If the college girl wasn’t half his age, he’d ask her out in a heartbeat.
On the TV, the Rangers hit a homer with two men on base, tying the game.
Keagan cheered and waved the runners around the bases. He raised his beer in celebration and was about to drink when he heard a commotion behind him.
A man shouted, “Holy shit!”
Keagan spun around in his seat.
Standing in the front doorway was a young woman covered head to toe in blood. Her soaked nightgown clung to her body. She walked into the restaurant, stiff and grimacing, as if her bare feet were walking on glass. The girl’s face was a mask of solid red and her eyes were wide with terror. She stretched out an arm. “Help me…”
Keagan reached her first and she collapsed in his arms. She was trembling.
So much blood. It covered his hands and stained his uniform.
A crowd of onlookers gathered around, and the sheriff shouted, “Everyone stay back. Sheila, call for an ambulance. And somebody get her some water.” Keagan walked the girl to a booth and sat her down. He examined her exposed skin for bleeding wounds, but found none. It looked as if someone had dumped buckets of dark red paint over her head. Her long hair was littered with leaves and pine needles. Her gown was slashed across the chest and he could see part of one of her breasts. “Are you hurt anywhere?”
The girl looked at him, her lips quivering, and made a croaking sound.
The waitress gave her a glass of water.
As the girl drank, Keagan said, “You’re going to be okay. You’re safe now. An ambulance will be here soon. My name is Sheriff Keagan. Can you tell me what happened?”
“Dead…” she managed. “They’re all dead.”
Download The Girl from the Blood Coven for free wherever eBooks are sold.
The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House are also available in an audio book through The Audio Book Shop.
Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His novels are Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, and The Devil’s Woods. His novellas are The Witching House and The Vagrants. New stories coming soon: The Jack-o’-lantern Man, The Dealer of Needs, Chasing the Dragon, and The Darkness Inside. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is joyfully writing his next horror books.
Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianMoreland
Visit Brian’s blog Dark Lucidity: http://www.BrianMoreland.blogspot.com