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

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Chapter 8-Out of Town

For the last couple of days, the McCasters had Will teaching me how to cast offensive and defensive spells to be prepared in case the necromancer shows up unexpected.

None of the spells are very deadly, just simple things like levitating rocks and in my case, pebbles. I need to practice more. William and I also took turns tossing a flame ball back and forth to each other. I did get burned a few times, but none of the burns left more than a blister.

What I really want to do is get my sight back, so I can see auras again. I doubt that will happen any time soon, Mr. McCaster told me there is a potion to cure it, but the ingredients are rare and expensive. Not only that, there’s no guarantee it will work. If I had my sight, I would be able to identify the necromancer or at least tell if they were using a lot of magic, which necromancy would require. Auras burn brighter when witches use a lot of magic.

The McCasters are leaving for Niagra Falls tonight, which is why they may have been teaching me so many spells in a hurry. The coven forces its members to go on vacation once a year. It’s part of nationwide coven law. However, I’m not part of their family so I won’t be allowed to leave with them.

Mrs. McCaster felt bad about it and I think she even called Patty. By some miracle, Patricia Gild agreed to let me stay with Stella instead of with her. Well, really, Stella is staying with me. Since I still can’t leave their property.

They will only be gone for the weekend and Mr. McCaster wasn’t too happy he had to close down the hayride. A lot of angry people called yesterday wanting refunds for their tickets because apparently, he forgot they were scheduled to leave this weekend.

So, Crystal and I spent a long time yesterday transferring money online and sending out a lot of emails to help her parents. It took Mr. McCaster and Will all day to put a lot of the decorations away and lock up the attraction.

Since breakfast this morning, they have all been packing up their things for their trip. Even Will is here helping.

“I think that’s everything!” I hear Mr. McCaster holler from outside, shutting the trunk of their van.

Stella and I watch them all leave, a tiny part of me feels sad seeing my cloak the only one left on the coat rack.

Stella never wears hers.

“Good riddance,” Stella grumbles while shutting the door.

“They really aren’t that bad, honest.”

I plop down on the couch. Then I turn on the tv and watch the news to discover another house caught on fire today.

“Seriously, what is up with the fires?” Stella probes while sitting down next to me.

She makes a dramatic sigh and stands back up as if just remembering something. Then she walks over to the door where she left her purse and pulls out a book with a red cover. The book is titleless and she thumbs through the pages.

“What? It’s my mother’s. I’m only borrowing it. Aha!” she exclaims, pointing to a page.

She walks back over to the couch and I stand up, peering over her shoulder down at the book.

In the center of the page is the same exact hex mark tattooed onto my stomach.

Stella reads over the page quickly while I’m still struggling to comprehend the tiny jagged handwriting belonging to her mother, “Mark of a demon elder, non-revocable. Used to conceal usage of black magic. Common in dealings between demons and supernaturals or humans. Warning, if marked report to coven elders immediately. If you do not live in a coven, to erase mark, visit page two hundred and three.”

Demon elder? Well, I never interacted with one! I’ve been set up.

Like I’m going to hand myself over to the coven to torture me if they don’t kill me immediately after seeing the mark that is.

“What does it mean erase? I want the hex gone,” I say with frustration. Stella reads over the page again.

“From what I understand, it will only hide the mark. Whatever black magic the demon infused you with is embedded in your aura. If we lift the hex, you might be able to see auras again, but your tainted aura will be exposed,” she says while flipping further back in the book.

She stops on page two hundred and three.

Seeing the title is exorcism, she shuts the book and tosses it onto the couch.

“Maybe we should try it. I know it will be painful, but the mark is painful already. If I can get it gone this way we should try.”

“No! We are not that desperate. Besides, there is no demon in you. Only black magic. Your soul could be permanently damaged if we screw up the spell,” she argues sounding firm. I sink back down into the seat of the couch.

“By the way, how is your mark? Is it hurting now?”

“No, it was bothering me a little when I woke up this morning. I don’t feel anything now.” I admit and a smug smile grows on her face.

Stella puts the book in her duffel bag she also brought and pulls out a messy pile of skimpy looking dresses. With a wary look, I look up at her when she snaps her fingers. A blue sparkling shimmer goes from her head to her toes, when the shimmer disappears, I find her wearing a new outfit.

Her leggings are now black and white striped, and she wears a white overall corduroy dress that reaches mid-knee with a black long-sleeved shirt underneath and black heels to match. She pulls out a small makeup bag and gives me an expectant look.

“Oh no. We cannot go anywhere. We’re staying here like we are supposed to,” I say, repeating what Mrs. McCaster told us.

I think he mind is already made though because she’s already doing her mascara, “Val, you’ve been stuck in this icky cabin for a week. You’re coming with me. My friend Joanna is a barista at Joe’s, she promised me a discount and I’m about to take her up on it. Plus, they always are hiring waitresses and once you move out of here, you’ll need another job.”

A cotton ball dips into her jar of blush and powders her face by some unseen force, magic. A lot of witches use magic when doing their own makeup it makes applying it so much easier.

“Put it on,” Stella sings after seeing me eye the other dress on the couch.

Just what kind of bar are we going to? I pick up the short thin orange dress. The outfit is identical to hers except the colors are different. The leggings are designed with orange and black stripes. The corduroy dress is orange and the undershirt are identical to Stella’s.

“It matches your hair and yours...” I mumble.

“Matches your hair. This way we can coordinate, and it will be easier to find each other, especially that bright orange,” she cuts in and I cringe.

It’s too flashy. However, feeling my friend’s patience thin, I hurry over to the bathroom and change not wanting to use magic for dress up. When I come out dressed in my dress, she claps her hands.

She beams, “It’s a Halloween party.”

“Stella, we can’t go. Your mother probably has the house being watched anyway,” I tell her quickly.

“No, she doesn’t. She doesn’t care about our safety. She cares about finding the necromancer.” Stella corrects me in a darker tone and I avert my eyes, seeing new anger flash across her face.

Maybe she needs to get out just as much as I do.

“Alright...I’ll go with you. What are we supposed to be anyway?” I ask her while twirling around her.

“Witches, duh. It’s a human party and I doubt many other supernaturals will show. Go get your broom, I’ll be in my car.” She tells me while pulling a tall pointy black and orange striped hat out of thin air and placing it on my head.

She puts her own black and white striped witch hat on too and heads for the door.

***

I hope it isn’t too crowded. If Joe’s still has the reputation it used to ten years ago, it won’t be. They opened it the year I died and not many people knew about it. Stella worked there a little bit as a waitress.

By the time we pull up to the bar, the parking lot is so crowded we have to park across the street. Secretly, I’m glad I’m not driving because I hate parallel parking. When we get out, Stella puts a couple of coins in the street meter. It’s screen flashes white, indicating the time is 7:00 pm.

I look across the street and then mumble to her watching the large sea of people dancing and drinking inside, “Stella, I don’t know about this. It looks packed. Everyone’s auras are going to be blended together and it will be impossible to tell if someone dangerous is around.”

I never drank before I died either, I wasn’t of legal age. I don’t even know if I’d be able to make it to the bar in there anyway, there are so many people.

“Relax, I’ll stay alert. You forget my mother is the headmistress,” she boasts and then continues, “No one is going to mess with us.”

I hope she’s right because something tells me a necromancer wouldn’t care.

I need to stop being so paranoid, Stella’s right. Being cooped up in the McCasters’ house has really put me on edge. Maybe I just need to have a little fun, even if just for a night.

A man in a lion suit walks passed us and Stella giggles at his ridiculous costume. We walk across the street and I kind of feel a little silly carrying my broom with me. No one else is carrying any props so big.

Stella must realize it too because once we enter the hot, crowded bar she leaves her broomstick in the corner by the entrance. Hesitantly, I set mine down next to hers and prop it up against the wall.

The humans are all dressed up in costumes too and some of them are quite comical looking. It’s rowdy with the music blaring, even though the band is in the back they must have speakers all around the room because it sounds like it’s right in my ear.

A fog machine on the floor behind Stella and I puffs out green spooky smoke. Giant strands of stretched cotton formed into fake cobwebs dangle above us.

Purple, yellow and orange black lights are lit up everywhere. Of course, to satisfy the sports fans in the room, the flat screen above the bar is showing the latest rundown of our state’s football game.

Drinks splash, bodies dance and everyone seems to having a good time.

Stella shrugs. “I only see a couple blue auras and maybe...yeah there’s a group of werewolves in the back. I see a red aura around the bar, but it’s too smudged to pinpoint who."

I don’t know how she can be so relaxed in here.

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