January 23rd, 1932
I would love to say that this day is a fond memory. Indeed, in this case, it was not. The business had been slow since Christmas. This was usually the way it was shortly after the New Year and right before Valentine’s Day. I admit that even I found those times to be quite the relief considering the amount of time I spent with my hands firmly grasped around a person’s wrist or calling to the spirits for guidance. Before you jump to conclusions, I am not a sham. Many like me have already been given the reputation of providing false connections with the spirit world. I, on the other hand, have not been given such a horrible reputation. Nobody had been able to prove any of my connections as a spoof of any sort. Trust me many had tried.
I was closing up shop on this fateful day, minding my own business humming the sweet symphonies that I had grown up hearing. The door opened, and I turned to see two men staring at me intently. They looked similar, but their faces were too close together to be a father in son. The spirits around me were screeching in terror as the younger boy’s eyes shot around my tiny shop until they finally rested on me. Shivers are not the right word to explain how I felt at that moment. They were present for a reason, and I feared that what was about to happen was not going to be in my best interest.
“I’m sorry, but I’m closing up for the day.” I stumbled over my words as I swooshed my hands through the air in an attempt to calm the raging spirits.
“You sure you don’t have time for just one more?” The older of the two gentlemen asked as he held up a stack of American dollars. I eyeballed the money greedily. This was more than anyone of my culture could make in ten years.
I looked at him intently and prayed that what I was about to do did not turn out as deadly as the spirits were speaking. Money was a necessity to live. It paid for me worn down hovel, the rent for my tiny shop, and my clothing. Money is the lifeblood of the human culture, without it you are nothing. What he was holding in his hands was more than enough to get me passage to America and put me up in a lovely lavish home where I could live my days in peace with the spirits. I looked around my beautiful shop with all its oddities and went against the spirits requests.
“Take a seat. I will be just a moment.” I instructed pointing towards the small table in the corner of the shop.
“I appreciate this milady.” The older man smiled and turned towards the other. They both walked with the same speed and manner to take a seat. Again their relations baffled me as I felt that they were not brothers but were related at a deep level.
I made my way to the back of the store so that I could freshen up my face before I returned to complete their request. Many decades I had lived in this town continually morphing my image so that I could continue to live the same miserable life that I had started after my banishment. Now here I was, yet again, in another situation that could very well cause me to flee from my home in terror. What was I doing?
“This is suicide.” The spirits were chanting around me. I could feel their cold prickly hands touching my skin.
“Yes, I know,” I said out loud hoping that the men could not hear my argument with one of my essences. “What harm could they do?”
“They are not natural.” The loudest spirit pointed out.
“That’s preposterous!” I exclaimed as I turned and hurried back towards the table, fixing my hair as I walked.
They were sitting there with their hands crossed on the top of the table engaged in a silent exchange of some sort. They didn’t feel unnatural, but then again the spirts always knew things that I didn’t. As I approached, they both looked at me with steely eyes.
“Are you gentlemen ready?” I asked attempting to ignore the blankness in their expressions.
“If you don’t mind madam I would prefer that we complete this exchange in your true form.” The older man’s voice was flat as he made his request. The younger one looked at me and smiled brightly.
I do not get customers that know what I am. I am never asked to shed the false exterior to show the true person under. This was an odd request, and I was taken aback. I stared at the man for an extended period of time before I dared to speak. The moment the words left my lips a cold sweat ran down my back.
“Excuse me?” I stuttered.
“For this to work I believe that we are going to need to see your true form.” The man requested. His eyes were hard. He was dead serious.
The spirits around me began to speak in unison, and I finally understood why they were asking such an odd request. These men were Hunters. At least one of them was, the other had the blood of a Hunter, but something about him was off. He was mixed with something Supernatural and when the scent finally registered I felt the need to flee from my shop and run until they could never find me. The second man was a Hunter with incredible powers. He may have the same blood as the older man but under that was the magic of a high warlock.
“I still do not think I understand.” I tried to play it off as if the spirits had not spoken to me at all. I didn’t want to let down my guard for even one moment.
“It took me thirty years to find you.” The older man was becoming upset at my persistence.
“And who might you be?” I asked raising my eyebrows hoping to keep the fear concealed just a little bit longer. Hunters do not sniff out the unnatural unless there is a reason for their visit. From past experience and knowledge, those that had a run in with one rarely made it out alive.
“Excuse my father’s manners.” The younger of the two spoke. “I am Phillip, and this is Alexander.”
I continued to stare at the two men. There was no possible way that this man in front of me was the offspring of the other. Their features were similar, yes, but their assumed ages would have put the father near puberty for the conception. Then I realized that Hunters, even with their human blood, lived far longer than any other of God’s creations. They did not age as other humans did. Many of them lived hundreds of years until they finally died of old age or were bested by the creature they were after.
“Gretel,” I spoke as sweetly as I could. I wasn’t going to be murdered in my shop for being rude to their kind.
“Nice to meet you, Gretel.” Phillip, the youngest, reached out from his spot at the table to take my hand.
“Enough of the pleasantries, we are on a deadline. Would you please drop your glamour and allow us to see your real face?” Alexander, the oldest, was becoming more and more irritated the longer he had to sit at my table.
The spirits were against it, screaming demands at me. I chose to continue to ignore them and released the wards that were around my true identity.
For twenty years I had been living my life as Mildred Houseman, a spiritual medium. Now I stood before them as my younger self. Blonde hair hanging to my waist, blue eyes red from the lack of sleep, thin features due to my inability to digest human food regularly, and my skin color was as pale as a vampire. I was not unfortunate looking but rarely did I look at myself in my true image. I had lived many lives this way, switching from one identity to the next passing down my shop from one image to another. When it was time to move on, I would often disguise a deceased homeless person as the corpse of my previous self. The process had seemed infallible for the last four centuries.
“That wasn’t so bad was it?” Phillip gave me a reassuring smile as I took a seat across from the two of them. I awaited my fate.
I shook my head from side to side, wide-eyed, scared.
“No worries Gretel we have no intentions of harming you so long as the request we have is fulfilled. You came highly recommended by one of my associates.” Alexander’s eyes were staring directly into my soul, and I felt even colder than I had before.
“What can I do for you two?” I asked mustering the courage to actually speak.
“I need you to reach out to a spirit.” Phillip started the request.
“Who might it be?” I asked situating myself into the chair. As long as I completed the task without incident, I would be able to walk out of this place alive.
“Elizabeth Bradly,” Alexander spoke the name with a flat affection.
“Wife? Ex-Lover?” I asked waving my hands to shoo away the invading spirits.
“She’s my mother.” The younger one said excitedly.
“I am truly sorry for your loss,” I said sympathetically. I had never known my real parents. An old lady had found me crying in the woods as an infant and raised me to maturity never fearing the constant change in appearance. She had taught me to embrace what I was.
“It was many years ago.” Phillips’ eyes softened. I could tell he still missed her.
“Might I ask what happened?” I inquired. For me to channel the right spirit, I needed information about the deceased. It wasn’t always as simple as calling out a name, sometimes I had to prove that I truly had their family in front of me.
“Thirty years ago when I was just a boy a woman slit my mother’s throat in an alleyway.” Phillip looked at his father as if searching for some kind of hidden approval.
“I sure hope they caught the person that did it.” I was sincere. In all the years that I had been performing these tasks, I had learned that most times the person that I called upon didn’t even know that they had passed from one world to the next.
“No,” Alexander said irritated. “We just need to speak with her.”
“Of course.” I closed my eyes and reached out with my mind searching for the woman.
The spirits hissed and cursed as they tried to get me to stop. I didn’t know why they would be against me helping a poor child reach his mother after such a long time apart. When I saw her, I understood. Even in her spiritual form, Elizabeth Bradly radiated with power. I had suspected witch in the young man’s blood but never a supreme witch of her strength. She looked at me curiously then approached quickly. The next moment I was no longer in control of my body.
“Who dares to disturb me?” Elizabeth’s voice had overridden my own. She was inside of me, possessing me.
“Mom?” Phillip’s voice cracked.
“Phillip?” The witch’s voice was faltering as she turned my head to look at her son.
“Yes.” He smiled at me knowing it was her that was seeing through my eyes, feeling with my body.
“Help me, my boy.” She requested weakly sounding as if the afterlife was destroying her remaining essence.
“What do you think we are trying to do Elizabeth?” Alexander’s voice broke through the shell that the witch had created around her and her son.
“I’m not sure what you are doing here? You are the reason that I died in the first place.” The witch used my mouth to spit the words at her ex-lover.
“I had nothing to do with your death. I can promise you that.” He showed no emotional attachment towards the creature that was inside of me.
“She worked for you. There was only one reason why that woman would attack me. She was the only one powerful enough to catch me off guard.” The witch was pushing my essence towards the back of my body. If I didn’t regain control, she would take me over completely.
“What can I do to ensure that I had nothing to do with it?” Alexander asked leaning towards me his face mere inches from mine.
“Bring me back!” The witch demanded.
“And how am I supposed to do that?” Alexander demanded.
“Find me a new body.” She forced me to lean back and crossed my arms. “Not this one. She is strong, but she lacks the capacity to allow her magical growth. Besides she isn’t the type of creature that I need to walk on land again.”
“Anything for you.” Alexander looked at his son. I could tell that this quest was not meant so much for him but as a way to make up to the man that had been raised without a mother.
“She knows things.” The witch spoke through my lips, and I felt my own essence shiver. She was speaking of me as if I was another party in this three-sided conversation.
“What does she know?” Alexander demanded.
“Necromancy, reanimation, she knows it all.” Elizabeth forced my lips up into a cruel smile and shot out of my body but remained close whispering in my ear.
“Mom?” Phillip called out unsatisfied that she had fled before he could speak with her again.
“She’s still here just weak.” I lied to him. Elizabeth was very much near and still had extreme strength. She had removed herself from my body because I was not the host that she had wanted in the first place.
“Can you tell her that I’m not going to rest until I see her again?” Phillip requested his face softening like a child’s.
I went silent as the witch whispered in my ear.
“She says that she cannot wait to hold you in her arms again.” I tried to smile at the loving gesture of the woman in my ear. Something felt off like the connection; on his end, it was mother and son; but on hers, it was something far more sinister than believed.
“That will be all for today Phillip.” Alexander hushed the man and looked at me intently. “What was she talking about?” His questions had now been turned towards me.
“She speaks of Necromancy. I’m sure someone of your stature knows exactly what that is.” I tried to keep calm. I knew people but I sure as hell wasn’t going to send them a Hunter without first forewarning them.
“Yes, and I know that your power is not in that area. That means that you know someone.” He crossed his arms and glared at me. He lacked warmth, far too hard for being as young as he was.
“I would have to think about this for a day or two. I have met many people during my time.” I said casually. I was more apt to give the information to his son than I was to him. Alexander was going to have to work for it.
“That’s fine. But I will tell you this. If you do not have a name for me in two days’ time, I will not hesitate to detach your head from your body.” He stood up from his spot at the table and snapped at his son. Phillip gave me an apologetic smile.
“Please don’t read too far into his threats. I know you will come through for us.” He raced off after the other man leaving me vulnerable and in my true form at the table.
“What was that all about?” I asked the spirits swimming around me. Elizabeth was still near, I could feel her essence radiating over me like a poisonous cloud of doom.
“They will make you rich beyond your wildest imagination if you come through for them. I saw an image in your head the moment I mentioned Necromancy. You shock me with your knowledge of the magic underground. Yet, I fear that you disappoint me not knowing who I was in life.” Elizabeth’s spirit took a seat across from me at the table. Her power allowed her to appear almost humanoid as she crossed her hands and smiled at me with red lips.
“My world is more or less new. I have served for many queens and kings, worked within the magic underground as a source, and even hidden my true image to maintain the balance in the human world. I met the person you saw in Egypt about a hundred years ago. She was nothing more than an explorer at that time.” I placed my hands on the skirt of my dress and looked about my tiny shop.
“She is powerful? I can see in your face that you fear her.” Elizabeth’s spirit flickered a moment then maintained its nearly solid form.
“The things that I saw her do were beyond the laws of nature. If I give her name to your lover will he maintain her life whether or not she is able to bring you back from the dead?” I asked eyes wide.
“I promise I will let no harm come to my child while she is working to bring me back.” Elizabeth gave me a creepy smile. I could only assume that was her known affectionate side.
“Lidia, her name is Lidia Nor. Most people just call her The Doctor.” I latched my lips shut. I had said what I had meant to say.
“Send word to her at once that my son wishes to speak with her concerning a rebirth beyond her greatest imagination. Necromancers thrive for the ability to rebuild the human soul. In this case, she would be bringing back the Queen of all Witches.” Elizabeth giggled and disappeared.
“I will do this at once,” I answered knowing that even though I couldn’t see her, she was nearby watching my every move.
“Also send word to my son. I wish to speak with him privately tomorrow. Then I will speak with Alexander alone the following day. Get plenty of rest and make no additional appointments. You are going to be near exhaustion by the end of each conversation.” The demand hit me hard. Never had a spirt required me to bring the loved one to them. They had always hovered around me waiting for that person to make an appearance.
“Then I need to feed,” I whispered. I hated having to replenish strength.
“I will bring you a monster by nightfall.” She promised and vanished. I only felt the weak voices of the other spirits around me now.
Her promise had frightened me beyond explanation. Nobody knew what I needed to nourish my being with. Nobody knew what I had to do to maintain my lifeforce. Dealing with humans, I only had to feed once or twice a month. Even then it was never enough to actually kill the monster just enough to sustain. In this case, I was going to have to end some poor creature’s life in order to attempt to save Elizabeth’s. The idea frightened me, and yet it brought back so many memories of that first moment.