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Basilica, part one

The dog stayed tight to her side as she climbed the worn steps and entered the black lacquered doors to the church.

Through the narthex they walked, and up the center aisle, pausing briefly before the altar, then turning left. Her steps echoed through the great hall.

The nun was at the door to greet her. “Child, you know you can’t bring that animal here.”

“Sister, you know I’m not a child.”

The nun said nothing more, but opened the door for Maddie and her familiar.

 

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Posted by on October 13, 2018 in October 2018

 

Maddie

It’s been a minute since I tried to sit down and write with any regularity. And it’s been a longer minute since I was able to do so and produce anything readable. So, if you’ve made it this far into October with me, thank you.

I’ve been writing up bits and pieces of Maddie’s story as an excercise to see if I could even remember who she was or who I wanted her to be when I started writing her two decades ago. And yeah, she’s still here, always with me. She and her brother and the dog. And the nuns. And the werewolves. Always here.

I think it might finally be time to get her full story written down. Poor little rich girl, spirited away in the dead of night and into a world that really cannot exist.

If I ever sell her story, I’m absolutely certain it won’t see an Italian printing. If you ever read the full story, you’ll know why.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2018 in October 2018

 

Fog

It drifted in slowly at first, this first fog of the season. Rising from the water of the harbor, slipping silently over the boats in their moorings, across the docks, up the roads into the tiny town.

It formed halos around the few streetlights that were still functional, its tendrils reaching into the shadows they cast.

There was no sound but for that of the water lapping at boats in the harbor and a barking dog in the far distance.

Alone, she walked, down the sloped main street of the deserted town toward the harbor. She was resolute, determined. The dog trotted silently at her side.

But it didn’t feel right. Her stride slowed almost imperceptibly as she braced for something she could not yet see.

The dog cut out to her right, fading into the shadows, nearly invisible now in the dark and fog. She scanned the street, but his was the only movement she saw.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2018 in October 2018

 

Ouija

The ouija board had been on the shelf in the hall closet for as long as anyone could remember, above the vacuum cleaner and the winter coats, next to the old party hats and the phone books no one had used in years.

It sat, box unopened in a generation, waiting.

The oldest of the sisters had reached for it once, curious, but had pulled her hand away quickly when she felt a sudden cold. She never told anyone.

But it called to her. She couldn’t make out the words, but she knew what it wanted.

She read about ouija boards online in her school’s library, nervously looking over her shoulder as though she might be in trouble for reading something taboo. She read about openings into other dimensions, about the veil between worlds. She read about people using the ouija board solely for entertainment, to play pranks on their friends. She read about people who did not find entertainment, but something infinitely darker.

And she decided she wanted to try it.

Her parents were out for the evening, leaving the three girls at home with delivery pizza and Netflix. The car was barely out of the driveway before the oldest sister took th ebox from the shelf in the hallway.

The two younger girls, the twins, were giddy. They hadn’t done the reading and research their older sister had, but they understood the basic premise. “We will speak with a ghost,” one whispered as they gathered around the table in the darkened dining room.

“We will call forth a spirit,” said the other in her best spooky voice, lighting tealights at the corners of the table.

“What will we ask it?”

“We’ll ask it the same things we ask the Magic 8-Ball. We can see if the answers match.”

The older sister sighed. “It might not even work.”

But again, she felt suddenly cold. She took the board form its box, and placed the planchette on top of it in the center of the table.

“Do you feel that?” one of the twins asked.

“I need a sweater,” said the other.

The three stood silently as the planchette began to move.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2018 in October 2018

 

Coven

Coven. The word made them laugh, but that is what they were, these three women.

These three women with their rosaries and their sensible shoes. A coven of nuns.

These three sisters had decades of experience between them, weaving and casting and binding.

Two had come to their calling early in life, as teenage novitiates. The third arrived much later, after years of experiencing a very, very different life.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2018 in October 2018

 

Water

A heavy mist, the moon rising, the sound of rushing water nearby. Maddie paused in the dark, listening, the dog at her heel.

The dog’s ears flicked forward, and Maddie followed him deeper into the darkness. She knew he’d heard something, but whatever it was hadn’t reached her yet. Go closer, be cautious, she knew both were necessary.

The dog lead her to a small stream and they followed it for several hundred yards, keeping to the tree line.

The stream emptied into a pool surrounded by large boulders, though some of the stones looked to Maddie as though they had been shaped by something other than nature. She crouched next to the dog and scanned the edge of the pool.

A movement on the far side caught her eye, and she tried to focus enough to make out the shape of whatever it was that had moved.

Before she could, everything went black.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2018 in October 2018

 

Wolf

She’d been given a new passport when she was 13, with a new name.

Wolf, it said. Madeleine Wolf.

Her education began among the wolves, though she didn’t know it at the time. The oldest of them, Valdyr, was something of a lord. He was fierce, but kind, and was immediately intensely protective of Maddie and her brother.

The children stayed there on Valdyr’s highlands estate for several months, learning to ride, being tutored in Italian and French, and beginning to understand the very basics of what their lives would be like.

And it was there that Maddie met the dog.

“You’ll soon leave here,” Valdyr told her. “He will accompany you on your journey and stay with you as long as you wish. He’ll be your protector and companion.”

“He’s terrifying,” Maddie answered. She’d never been fond of dogs.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2018 in October 2018