Nail in Her Coffin (Devil's Witch Book 1)

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Chapter 20-Not So Familiar

The glowing red hex sign below me fades away. I pull out my phone and use its light to get a better look of our surroundings. I can’t believe I actually teleported, I hope the officer is okay. I’ve never heard of a witch teleporting with a human.

“Officer?” I say into the night.

I turn around and stagger backward, not seeing him anywhere. What if I did something wrong and he ended up in Hell because of me?

With a shaky breath, I shine my light back on the portal. It’s freezing cold out here and I cough, breathing in an icy gust of dry air.

Maybe he is out here and walked off somewhere, I peer into the infinite amount of tall pine trees surrounding me. It’s strangely quiet, not hearing the chorus of tree frogs or crickets out here. Maybe a storm is coming because the only thing I can hear is the soft trickling of water coming from the creek a couple feet behind me.

“Hello?” I shout loudly, shining my phone’s light into the darkness around me.

Something dark and shiny darts out from the grass next to the cellar doors of the portal and I jump back, seeing a giant fat black snake slither onto the portal. The snake moves underneath the door handles and onto the grass on the other side of the portal. It must be around six feet long. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a snake this big, but down here in Alabama some of the snakes do get pretty large. It very well may be a boa constrictor...

Hopefully, my light scares it away.

“Go away...” I whisper in fear, seeing the large snake slow down in its trail, it turns then and begins to slither on the grassy forest floor.

In my direction.

It stops completely a couple yards away from me, staring up at me with its beady red and black eyes. Its long body is aimed right at me, in a completely vertical line. A cold sweat breaks out on the back of my neck and I step away from the freaky creature.

“Nice snake, just stay still...let me on my way.” I whisper while trying to think of a spell that may get rid of it.

Suddenly, the big black snake’s head raises off the ground as if it were about to attack me. It’s not hissing, maybe it is just getting a sense of its surroundings...and me.

“Valerie?” I hear the officer’s voice say in panic. With a racing heart, I scan the woods around me.

“Officer?” I question frantically, shining my phone light around with an uneasy feeling.

Where could he be out here? I hope he isn’t lost because I do not know these woods at all. The McCasters would be his only hope at getting found up here.

He says my name again and I turn my head, hearing his deep voice come from the direction of the snake.

“Down here...” He says in a gentler tone and with a sinking feeling, I look down. Seeing nothing, but the snake I gulp. He couldn’t be...

The snake remains completely still, then darts out at me and I stumble backward, tripping over some kind of pile of cloth at my feet. The snake races up to me and stops at my feet, mute by my own fear I glance down at the animal and what I just almost tripped over. The officer’s clothes are all crumpled up, his police hat resting on top of them.

Before I have time to react, the snake’s cold moist body races up my leg and squeezes with immense strength. My leg starts to feel faint and I squirm against the creature’s hold.

“Ah!” A scream rips through my throat.

“You did this to me ma’am. I thought you witches didn’t collect familiars anymore,” I hear the officer say sounding quite relaxed, despite his new predicament.

He actually almost sounds satisfied. Clearly, he does not know how much witches beat and tortured their own familiars in the past.

Most of them were demons they found, instead of exorcising them they tortured them by putting them in the bodies of animals and essentially making them their own personal slaves. The other kinds of familiars were simply animals they bound to themselves as pets to lessen the chances of them running away or being stolen.

I have to change him back, he isn’t a demon or an animal!

This policeman has the capacity to think and feel, and to suffer being cursed by a witch like me on accident...

He foolishly told me to embrace my powers, if only I hadn’t listened. I’m still not good with my magic and I should have known better after the freak accident with the rats than to mess around with it again.

“T-tell me your name. I think I can change you back.” I stutter, hoping I’m right.

He slithers backward. “Nick."

Crystal had chanted a spell on a hamster to mark it as her familiar, but maybe if I reverse the phrasing I can undo it. Still though, I never knowingly used the familiar spell on Nick. There’s not a doubt in my mind some other kind of magic besides mine was mixing in the hex sign that got us here, it had to of been black magic. I must have done it, it had to come from me and I hate the necromancer even more for it.

Now this innocent policeman has to be cursed along with me.

"Creatura meus, Nick, et liberabo te de tuos alliges duplicia,” I chant quickly, focusing my magic on the big black snake.

So long as he remains calm, and stays still, I may have him fixed.

A burst off my magic falls over the big black snake, but nothing happens when it settles over him.

“I think I may have control over it if I focus on my human appearance...” I hear the officer, Nick, say.

His black snake-body travels over to a bush behind the portal. The leaves in the bush rustle and my hope soars.

“Bring me my clothes please, ma’am,” he says quietly.

I scurry over to his clothes and pick them up, trying not to breathe in the strong spice scent that radiates from them. Hastily, I avert my eyes from the bush and toss them in hoping he can find them on his own from there.

I retreat to where I was standing in front of the portal, hearing him put on his clothes I sigh in relief.

“Officer?” I holler, not wanting to use his real name so casually after I just accidentally cursed him to me for life.

He probably has no idea what this means, even if he is able to have some control over his shifting. Familiars cannot be unbonded from their ‘owners’.

He steps out from the bush fully clothed and I clench my phone tightly, wondering how I am going to explain to him how I’ve basically just ruined his life.

“I have heard stories about this. To become a witch’s familiar. I admit I am not against the idea. Having this kind of power may be quite handy in my line of work. I could get information so easily, chase away burglars...scare thieves.”

“No! No this is not a good thing, how could you be happy by this? Your soul is binded to me for life! In modern witch terms, you are no more of value than a pet. If this were a hundred years ago, you would be looked at as a slave! Now some hunter or poacher could kill you just for a trophy! You may be able to shift back and forth since you are human and have a conscious, but if anyone sees you shift they will call you a demon. I don’t even know how I did this to you...I’m so sorry.”

He was just a human trying to protect society. Of course, I couldn’t have accidentally cursed a criminal. It had to be someone like him.

I need to get this curse mark off me so I can actually see what’s going on with my magic.

“Don’t be sorry. Just tell me exactly what being your familiar means for me.”

“You will essentially have an invisible leash on you. A ward is around the both of us, me being the central point within that circle. You will be unable to leave it. Think of it as a twenty-yard wide bubble you will be stuck in for eternity until one of us dies. I’ve never heard of a human turning into a familiar though, most familiars are demons witches curse into animals as a way of torment,” I explain in a worried voice, expecting to see his frown deepen, but it doesn’t.

“Doesn’t sound so bad. I can still somehow manage my day job I’m sure,” he decides.

“Don’t you have family? I mean, we don’t even know each other. I’ve taken your freedom...” I mumble feeling terrible.

“My life was boring before, my family is dead to me. I’m not involved in any relationships at the moment, I do suppose my living conditions will have to change. How are we to adapt to this twenty-yard boundary?” he asks.

I can’t help, but swoon over his smooth southern accent. How could someone as attractive as him be single?

Stop staring at him like that, you cursed him! You’re no better than the necromancer! my mind screeches at me.

His question puts my heart into overdrive though, I never even thought of that. With my luck, he probably lives on the other side of town. At any rate, we should focus more on how I can find some way to give him his normal life back, why of all animals did he turn into a snake? Just what was eating at my mind when I transported us? The black magic must have been feeding off my fears about Darren and the demon.

“Where do you live?” I ask and he scratches his silky looking blonde hair from under his police hat.

“I only recently got hired as an officer in Wixton. I’ve been staying at a hotel downtown,” he murmurs.

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