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A Witch's Tale

By Rory Howard All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Fantasy


Rory, Keilum, Alicia and Raven live in a quiet town in Northern Ireland where not very much goes on, blind to the dark fate before them. The Harbinger of an ancient, damned family seeks the four out to clear his family name and destroy those who banished his ancestors. With the disappearances and harrowing discoveries, Rory begins to piece together the truth, though even his open mind refuses to believe the evil before him, and in a time where the Veil of World's begins to rip and tear, there can be no minute spared on ignorance. Prequel to the Toto Caelo trilogy.

Bad Omen


Alicia sat there pondering what social nightmare she had gotten herself into this time. A predicament she found herself in all too often. She didn’t even like the people attending the house party, the host of which she didn’t know, but of course she was talked out of her comfort zone again; there was this white guy who had been messaging her on some sleazy dating app. He had a nice jaw and seemed not to be deliberately racist, but of course he drops the bomb that he’s ‘never been with a black girl before’. What more could a black girl want; to be fetishised and objectified. She batted him off with more grace than he deserved. He dropped her off at this drab party and he’s away to get them cigarettes. she plans to be gone by the time he comes back, get to a safe WiFi zone and block him from all social media and live happily ever after.

The house was an average house, not much about it. The last house party before school starts next week so obviously it has to be a rager right? Wrong. Her date must have bailed leaving her alone; bittersweet, as she started to worry about how she was going to get home. ‘Why am I here? I don’t even drink.’ Alicia glared at her cup filled with vodka and coke, she’d been sipping it for an hour.

The only positive that came from this was the music. Everytime Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda came on, or any song featuring Beyonce, it was the only time she felt like it was an actual party and not one of those white backyard gatherings. She hated the back yard, garage vibe. It was more Rory’s scene, in fact she was surprised he wasn’t here with Keilum. Raven should be about somewhere though....

Alicia turned her head around and saw that people were starting to stare at her, panicked she glanced up at the neutral walls. They even had neutral furniture, everything was a different shade of brown; beige, cream or chocolate. ‘So fucking vanilla’. She heard them laugh again and self-consciousness swamped her mind when she heard the muffled giggles and sniggers wave towards her. Teenagers had some kind of wicked power to be able to alter someone’s confidence so easily with only a few hushed laughs. She often told herself it was just jealousy, her mother, of course, told her the same. A black girl, asexual and proud of the fact in this shit hole of a town was certainly something to marvel at.

Alicia walked to the bathroom down the corridor, to shut out the laughing; she examined herself in the mirror. Wild, natural red hair the colour of rust; her father had left something on her before he decided to ditch. She had contoured her face well tonight, it was the first time in a while she had gotten dressed by herself and without a friend. It gave her a strange sense of independence. Her favourite feature by far was her lips, large full and something Kylie Jenner would pay for. All natural, all Alicia, all perfect.

Alicia leaned in closer towards the mirror and let a small smile crinkle her heavily freckled face which ran under her eyes and across the bridge of her nose; over forehead and on her midriff which was revealed with her crop top. Her eyes twinkled like topaz crystals, especially when she smiled, she could hear her Nigerian mother now telling her how beautiful she was, ’My little fire princess’. She liked that title, the fire part made her seem fierce and warrior-like, though princess gave her femininity, it was certainly far better than the other undesirable nicknames thrown at her from the neighbourhood ghouls.

Alicia strutted out of the poky, little nautical bathroom with a newfound confidence. Her hair acting as her shield, repelling the unneeded comments, it was all jealousy and bitterness. This train of thought made her feel beautiful, not just look it.

She cat walked down the hall from the bathroom; the smell of cheap cologne, cheap makeup and cheap alcohol drowned her lungs and made her scrunch up her nose in a rather snobbish disgust. Alicia looked over the landing hoping to see someone she knew and to breathe away from the fumes of the less desirable people around her, though not seeing anything of the sort, she did spot Rory on his phone, kitted in all black.

“Oh thank god,” she said into herself.

Rory had auburn hair and looked like he hadn’t slept in two weeks. He looked nervously towards the ceiling, then down at his phone and all around trying to look busy, but she knew he wasn’t, as she pulled that trick before. Alicia walked towards him with her confidence adding the spring to her step.

“Hello,” she smiled at him.

“Oh, thank fuck it’s you,” he sighed with relief hugging her. “I didn’t think this was your thing.”

“It isn’t believe me. Are you here with Keilum?” she asked with a coyish grin, already knowing the answer.

“Yeah, but he always arrives late,” he was fiddling with his hands at his sides; cracking his knuckles and clicking his nails.

“Hopeless honestly. What about Raven, have you seen her? You look miserable, come sit down,” she took his hand and led him to one of the seats not too far away. “So how are you?” Alicia had seen little of him over the summer.

“Jesus, you must be bored. You’ve asked like thirty questions!” he laughed, she did to, “No I haven’t saw her actually. Maybe she’s here with Kirsten or Rosie? I am fine though, I haven’t had anything to drink.” he frowned comically.

“God, here take this then you messy bitch,” she handed him the vodka and coke still grinning.

“What is it?” he said taking a sip.

“Vodka and coke, iconic,” she grimaced as he downed it as if it were water.

When he finished he flung the empty bottle somewhere behind him. “Who did you say you came here with? Why didn’t we all arrange to come together, we could’ve got Adam and Timothy in on this,” he debated aloud.

“I didn’t say, and did you hear about Adam and Raven?”

Rory was a blessing to have as a friend. He wasn’t racist, respected her Nigerian culture and aptly defended her, a queer woman of colour. Not that she needs to have a white saviour, but in a country that doesn’t allow gay men to give blood or is more racially ‘pure’ than Nazi Germany, she viewed herself lucky to have someone so understanding and on her side. He was a good friend, a true friend, and her best friend.

“No, fuck off what happened?” he said intrigued.

“Adam and her have started going to the same gymnastics class. I’ve heard from her that she has seen him shirtless and well, she is ready to mother his damn kids. She is so thirsty! It’s a whole other level as well,” Alicia gabbed.

“He has commented to me about how her body is nice but I didn’t think anything of it. Well, the thirst is mutual at least. He always goes on about this girl Rachel something, he said you didn’t like her either,” Rory asked.

Alicia began to fan herself, she loved to vent her issues on others onto others; it was a catharsis for her. She looked around to make sure the mysterious Rachel wasn’t here, “Fuck me Rory do not even get me started on that bitch. I swear to God right she has some fucking nerve on her. I’m repeating my poetry module, ’cause I wanted to get an ‘A star’ and me, Adam, Timothy and her were all having lunch and she is sitting looking at me while I’m saying that’s what I’m doing. Right and I’m thinking, she must have a fucking staring problem or a glass eye or some shit cause her nasty ass glare has been pointing my way for too damn long.”

Rory was nearly in stitches laughing, Alicia knew she was a gifted orator, “Did she say anything to you?”

“Did she say anything? She said something with that damn snooty ass tone of hers, thinking she owns the damn place. She says to me: ’Oh well I didn’t need to repeat any of my exams because I actually revised’. I’m sitting there like… Excuse me bitch, but what divine intervention made your dry, crusty white ass even speak those words!”

“What did you say in return?” Rory was hooked on the story, look of delight ready to hear the climax was painted on his white face.

“I knew she didn’t get the grades she wanted because Adam had let that slip while he was plastered at that party remember?” Rory nodded, “Well, she got two B’s, and a C’s and her ass wants to do medicine? So I’m pursing my lips looking at her, Adam is looking at me knowing I’m about to scalp her where she stands. I call her shit right the fuck up. I say: ‘Rachel, sweetie, I hear you want to do medicine, but with the grades your ass got the only way you will see the inside of a medical school is if your ass is a patient, hunty’. Honestly, I cannot stand her, Adam is right to dislike her!”

Rory and Alicia both burst out laughing when they felt a firm grasp on their shoulders.

“Who are you two slabberin’ about now?” said a brash, obnoxious boy.

The top of his hair was dyed red and spiked into a fohawk. Icy blue eyes contrasting the vivid crimson dye and an arrogant grin was on his face, the catalyst being Peach Schnapps with a Capri Sun mixer.

“Keilum! Fucking finally, I’ve been waiting for you for ages.” Rory snapped at him.

“Hey Keilum have you seen Raven?,” Alicia asked. “I’m here with someone I don’t want to be with and would love to find her so I can get a way home.”

“Yes actually, she’s outside talking to someone. She’s fucking hammered though. I’m taking care of her like no sweat.”

Alicia noticed Rory was huffing at Keilum being two and a half hours late. ’Rightly so’ she thought. He let out a subtle ’hmph’, to voice his agitation.

“I’m sorry Woey,” Keilum put on a pout, and a baby accent, knowing he had annoyed him.

A smile crept along Rory’s face,“It’s fine. Just don’t be fucking late, oh my God.”

“Right cool,” the puppy dog act left him rather quickly. “Look who has managed to stumble over here!” he laughed looking at Raven

Rory and Alicia turned to see the walking mess stumble over in six inch chelsea boots. A pair of black tights and an oversized jumper made her look very grungy. She screamed when she saw Alicia, and she screamed back. Raven was always the life of any party.

“I thought you weren’t coming! Oh my god, you have to tell me about tu chico!” she was so drunk. She spoke with an upward inflection to everything and her mother language was spilling through.

Alicia could smell the vodka off of her. Rory and Raven both challenged each other to drinking games and there was often no winner. Drinking vodka straight only makes losers out of people. Raven had naturally pretty features, with naturally thick, bushy eyebrows that framed her face and eyes like black coffee.

“Raven, honey, you’ll be coming home with me okay? You can stay at mine, do not leave Keilum’s side,” she turned to Keilum, “Please don’t lose her. Rory and I are away to socialise some more, you can come with.”

Keilum nodded, “Aye sure. Let me get Bambi to walk in a straight line first”

Alicia helped Rory to his feet. He had been taking random drink given to him by friends from school. He would probably never understand the fear girls have of getting roofied and why they always cling to their drinks. They walked down a hallway littered with people neither of them knew all too well. Whoever is hosting this thing must be exceptionally popular to have such a wide variety of friends.

Alicia was walking rather quickly as was Rory to get out of the cramped hallway. A brunette girl stumbled out in front of them suddenly. Hair, like chocolate silk, cascading down her backless navy shirt and just kissing the top of her plaid skirt. Her legs looked so long in the high waisted tartan mini. Alicia looked at her shoes, platform vans; she must’ve fell straight from 1994. She turned her head to face them and a look of surprise befell her smoky eyes.

“Rory,” she said hugging him with a sultry Russian accent, “I haven’t heard from you in a while. What’re you doing here?”

“Mila,” he said with false enthusiasm, hugging her back, obviously surprised to see her. “I’m just a plus one. What about you?”

“I know the host,” she winked.

“You seem to be the only one” Alicia smiled.

The femme fatale eyed Alicia, judging her, a slow glance over her pear-shaped frame; her rusty hair to her platforms. Mila adorned a polite, uptight smile, “Who is this?”

“Oh this is my friend Alicia. I’ve told you about her before. Keilum, Raven, remember?”

“Hi,” Alicia said nervously

“Oh, yes I remember now! Replacing me already?” she laughed hugging her, “Oh there is Keilum, I’ll say hi to him as well,” with a gorgeous, gleaming smile she was teetering off in almost cringingly grungy outfit and greeted Keilum and Raven with a great hug. Keilum looked at Rory nervously and he just laughed.

Alicia waited until she was out of earshot, “Who the fuck was that?” she said, barely able to believe the encounter.

“Oh my ex, we broke up a few weeks ago, she’s a very nice girl. I only really told Keilum and Adam, but it wasn’t for me you know?” he smiled at her. Alicia was slightly hurt at the fact one of her best friends would not disclose a Russian femme fatale as a potential lover, but Rory works in mysterious ways...

Rory and Alicia began talking again; the party was in full swing. Finally, another Beyonce song came on and she was able to let loose with Rory. Single Ladies was all time favourite. Rory kept drinking spirits, though he kept his cool and didn’t even appear to be affected by it. He was usually paralytic after a ten glass. They relocated Keilum again, looking preoccupied and by himself,

“Hey guys, have you seen Raven? She wandered off somewhere.”

Rory or Alicia didn’t often see Keilum worried about anything, “No, sorry dude. Want us to help?” he said

“I literally told you like an hour ago not to lose her,” Alicia frowned, “We’ll help anyway, it’s a big house like.”

They both got up, unfortunately they all had something to drink. Keilum, though giving a tough guy persona, was always the one who worried or panicked the most, especially when it came to people he cared about and their well being. Alicia and Rory both knew this too well.

The began their search upstairs and worked their way down, still no sign of her. Rory caught sight of Mila walking out of the bathroom, “Hey Mila, wanna help us try to find Raven? Keilum’s pretty worried.”

“I’m not,” he lied crossing his arms looking over the landing.

“Sure, I doubt she’s in trouble,” she smiled with a breathy laugh at the end, mocking Keilum’s worry.

Even Alicia felt slightly attracted by her distinctive foreign accent. Again they researched the whole house. Asked as many people as they can, all of them shrugged them off, to busy with their own dates and affairs to care about anyone else’s.

“How has nobody seen her?” asked Keilum rhetorically, still worried brushing his hands through his hair. “I mean, you can hardly miss her!”

“You did,” said Alicia.

“Maybe she went home?” suggested Rory logically.

“No, sure I said she’ll be coming home with me,” Alicia reminded him.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Keilum panicked.

“Jesus Keilum she’s hardly dead,” Alicia frowned.

“You have a bad feeling for everything Keilum. Calm down man,” Rory said patting him on the shoulder, “I’m sure she’s alright,” his tone was that of an older brother consoling the younger one. “She’ll turn up.”

They tried the upstairs bedrooms. Rory knocked before entering hoping not to repeat the same mistake he did earlier by walking in on a couple in a rather intimate position.

No response.

He felt it was now safe enough to open the door. There a girl sat deathly still facing the closed window staring out into the night. All of them entered, Mila closed the door behind them; the atmosphere felt dark, corporeal and malignant. Keilum went to tap the girl on the shoulder, Rory held him on his to reassure his best friend he was there no matter what.

Keilum tapped the girl once and she fell sideways onto the floor. They all jumped, Alicia clutched Rory’s hand and Mila screamed.

“Fuck me!” Mila yelped, her hand on her heart.

“I… I can’t do this,” said Keilum turning to Rory, “I can’t.”

“Hey, don’t worry, just focus on keeping calm. Come-,” Rory began but was interrupted.

“I’ll do it,” spoke Mila from the back, gaining some bravery and recovering from her apparent heart palpitation.

No one said a word as the Romanoff walked through them poised, she tied her hair back before she crouched. The girl was on her stomach, “There’s blood,” she said coldly, devoid of all emotion

“Oh my God,” said Rory, his voice tinged with worry as well.

Keilum turned to look at the door and closed his eyes, Roy placed his free hand on his shoulder

Mila got her index and middle finger and placed it on the girl’s throat to check for a pulse, “There’s a faint pulse. Keilum go get help immediately and I’ll call the police.”

“Who the fuck is it?” Alicia demanded.

Mila heard her, phone to ear she stepped over the girl’s unconscious body and lifted her hair. She put her hand over her mouth in shock, “It’s Raven.”

Rory ran to her side to see if there was anything he could do. Alicia stood, frozen to the spot from shock. Then Keilum came running in, eyes widened in horror, “No one’s out there!”

“What?” said Alicia aghast, “What do you mean? Where did they all go?”

“I don’t know guys something weird is going on?” his voice was shaky, on the verge of crying. “This is all my fault.”

“Keilum, this isn’t your fault. You didn’t hurt her, it’s alright,” Rory said reassuringly. “Who would do this to Raven? Who the fuck preys on drunk girls? What kind of sick fuck?!”

“I fucking hate cishet men so much,” Alicia fumed. “I will gut the fucker when I find him.”

“No service,” spoke Mila slipping her phone into her purse, “Rory help me turn her.”

Immediately Rory and Mila very delicately overturned the body, revealing a gaping wound in Raven’s left breast. Mila checked to see if she was breathing, she wasn’t. She began the mouth to mouth resuscitation, then checked her pulse. It had returned to a normal rate. She did the resuscitation again and Rachel coughed and spluttered up a lot of blood, before taking in long, deep breathes.

“Oh thank god,” said Rory hugging Mila. Alicia noted the sexual tension and burning chemistry.

“What happened? It’s so cold, I was just at the bathroom and someone… someone,” her voice was weak and croaky.

Keilum leaned down beside her and Rory and Mila got up, “She’s losing a lot of blood, we’ll have to close the wound,” she pouted.

“Yes but with what? We have to get her to a hospital first, we aren’t professionals,” Rory argued.

“You’re right, but we’ll have to at least clean the wound and reduce the bleeding,” she said rationally, “I have a bottle of vodka, I’ll go get some toilet roll. You put as much pressure to subdue the bleeding, okay?”

“Okay,” he replied

Rory began to get to work on healing Raven. He moved Keilum out of the way and told him to hold her hand. He ripped the black shirt he was wearing revealing a pale, toned body, “Okay, Raven, don’t worry. It’s Rory and Keilum here, you’ll be fine now, just keep talking. You will experience some pain but you’ll be alright,” he reassured her.

He poured the alcohol onto the wound and she screamed and cried out in pain. Rory, using his shirt dabbed away the alcohol, “Alicia, go get a thing of water from the bathroom. Where the fuck is Mila?!”

Alicia ran to the ensuite but was stopped on her tracks when she saw a man at the bedroom door. She screamed, even louder than Raven when she saw him. He was all in black, and as dark and cruel and mysterious as the atmosphere. It was too dark to distinguish who or what he was, which made him all the more sinister.

“Good on luring them all here,” he spoke to an unknown source. His voice was as gritty and grimy as the clothes he wore.

Keilum stood up valiantly, “Who the hell are you?”

In one swift slash of light, Keilum fell to the floor, blood gushing from his throat. He was on the other side of the room to the malignant being.

“Keilum!” Rory screamed dropping to his knees placing his hand over his friend’s neck in a feeble attempt to stop the bleeding

Alicia backed into the window, as the fearsome man stepped over Rory, ignoring him. With a whack of his hand he slapped her and she fell out the window, plummeting through the air; just seconds before her body crashed to cold, hard ground she woke up.

Alicia was covered in a cold sweat when she jolted awake. Rory, Raven, Keilum… all of them she knew. Her best friends tore down in front of her so cruelly. Though she doesn’t know Mila, or has ever heard her mentioned by anyone. It was strange, it was a nightmare, but it felt so real and so vivid. Everything to the conversations to the smells, it felt as though it was all happening in front of her.

Alicia got her phone and opened the groupchat and messaged them to see if they were all alright. When she heard her mother storming down the corridor she hid her phone.

“Alicia! What’s wrong?!” she was ready for a fight. When she saw there was no intruder she leaned against the doorframe.

“Nothing mum, just a nightmare,” Alicia was visibly teary.

Her mother approached and sat beside her daughter. Alicia smiled and rested her head on her shoulder.

She pet her daughter’s mane for a moment, “You scared me my little joka. Are you nervous about tomorrow?” she said.

“Yeah, a little, it’s an all boy’s school mum,” Alicia said frowning.

Her mum rapped her over the head, “You’re a grown woman. You are independent and you’re Nigerian. Those damn white boys need to be nervous, ’cause you are coming baby. You are going to do better than anyone that says you can’t. Do I need to list of your achievements? Captain of the debate team, debate champion, highest GCSE results in English, R.E.” she said smiling, holding Alicia tighter, “Now get yourself to sleep, you have to be up early in the morning and if you miss that damn bus on your first day Alicia Adenike Huntern you better not come back to this house.”

Alicia smiled at her mother before she left. She lay her head back down on her pillow, before falling asleep she likes to imagine all these amazing and perfect things happening to her. Though her nightmare plagued this peaceful release. Her conscious faded and she fell asleep, feeling bittersweet about tomorrow. She hadn’t told anyone she was transferring schools so she’ll get a varied critique on her boisterous actions.

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