The Witch Bridle

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Chapter 27

When Louis arrived on the second floor of the house he saw his sister standing guiltily in the hallway. As the siblings occupied adjacent rooms, the sight of seeing his sister in the wide open hallway was to be expected. That there was no greeting or acknowledgement from his sister was also nothing new and no cause for alarm. But it became an entirely different story when Thankful knocked politely on the door of her own room. And that begged the inevitable question, “Who is on the other side of the door?”

Before he entered his own room, Louis shot out a quick, “Hi,” in the direction of Thankful.

There was still no acknowledgement from his sister. And for a second, Louis felt fear. His sister had totally ignored him. “Something is not right, not normal.” Louis picked his words carefully, words loud enough for his sister to hear, and he closed the door behind him. “Maybe she’s breaking up with one of her imaginary friends. And the fear would not leave Louis completely. Ghosts choose who see it.

Everyone seemed to accept Thankful as Thankful, who in spite of her powers, was a normal model of childhood imagination, exuberance, and purity. And lately what Thankful appeared to be to others was in very stark contrast to who she had really become. She was terrified both of Lucia and the fear of the consequences of failure. The child-witch adapted rather quickly and built an odd comfort zone to surround her through troubling times. And while outwardly she appeared normal, that is, as her usual moody, passionate, and engaging self, Thankful’s self-denials of late left her as a cowering kid in the corner of her room, too scared to tell anyone – not Oona or the rest of her family, including Louis – and barely able to go about her regular five year old business.

“I feel it necessary to remind you of the consequences of failure,” the dark lady told her. And as the terrified five year-old looked on, Lucia took the shape of a creature, dressed like a hideous scarecrow. “I am Krampus and I shall take you to my lair!” Krampus was the most terrible beast of Alpine folklore.

Thankful took a deep breath, and the girl asked, “What’s a lair?”

“You shall find out soon enough young maiden. I am Krampus and Krampus serves me, and he shall put you in a filthy sack and take you there. My lair! There you will rot slowly in and among the company of other wretched creatures. Her eyes glowed. “And if you are especially naughty you shall never see a new year. Serve me, and stop asking questions!” Her voice, through Krampus, steadily rose with each cruel word.

Thankful looked directly at the ugly monster and knew it was she.

What the girl did not notice was that the dark lady’s “soft” body grew stronger each day. Though not quite physical, the young girl was sure now that the dark lady was real.

Lucia approached a subtle body as her ghost and spirit strengths transformed into substance. In league with Krampus, the dark lady would control and trick the child-witch to action.

“Go young witch and bring me an article of clothing, a dress garment, which has touched the flesh of the witch named Oona.” Then the dark lady transformed from Krampus, back to the familiar image of herself, though in a more subdued tone. She vowed to “lay claim to that which Oona guards, and shall wreak havoc upon this family should anyone stand in the way of The Great Book of Spells and Magic!”

For Lucia, her ability to shape shift was testament to her increased strength and proximity to Pi Gran Liv. Her physical mass had increased as well, and could now manipulate objects of increased size and complexity. How Lucia hungered for Pi Gran Liv and would, with the help of the willing child-witch, take the Great Book and fulfill her vow to avenge those who abused her.

Thankful, the faithful instrument for her mistress and lady, agreed to steal a dress of Oona’s, though this posed an important inner conflict for the young girl. She had learned that to steal was always wrong. Now she was told to steal by the mysterious and powerful dark lady. And to the amazement of the one she had conjured, Thankful descended into an emotional conflict with herself.

“I never stole anything, My Lady.”

The lady stared and said not a word.

“Can I pick any dress?” she politely asked.

“Any dress that has touched her bronze skin,” she instructed. “She has more than a few.” During her own life on Earth, Lucia never possessed more than one or two dresses at a time.

Lucia planned to use the dress to drain Oona’s physical strength and control her, then take from her the precious mantle of stewardship for Pi Gran Liv. Lucia knew of Gran Liv and its great powers for as long as she could ever remember. She coveted it for over three centuries in her deathly obscurity. For Lucia, Gran Liv was legendary among the witches and users of St. Lucia, as it was on all of Hispaniola.

“Now, through my atonement and my recitation on that day of my execution, I shall rise from the dead with the Great Book held to my bosom.” Lucia had drawn to Gran Liv through the conduit named Thankful, and was invigorated by it. It was unbelievable for her to have been drawn successfully from Oblivion by the Great Book, and she never imagined the time or the place of her salvation. Now she felt as if it were all predetermined.

“And I shall crush the witch-guardian Oona like the hopeless fool that she is.” Then with a fortified spirit, Lucia, born of slaves in the year 1666, vowed, “In this the twenty-first century, I shall snare the ill-fated descendants whose blood stains the air of this region, and strike them down with my hand of merciless vengeance.”

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