Kathryn Meyer Griffith has not received any gifts yet
BLURB and EXCERPT from Don’t Look Back, Agnes-plus bonus short story In This House by Kathryn Meyer Griffith out now from Eternal Press ( http://www.eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=422 ) :
Blurb: Two short works by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. 1) Don't Look Back, Agnes.
Agnes Michaels is coming home. Home to her childhood town of Fairfield and the house her father lovingly built for her mother. A house surrounded by the woods where Agnes’ two childhood friends and her boyfriend, Tyler, were all murdered twenty summers ago when she was just seventeen. She was the only one who escaped, but not without emotional and physical scars. Agnes knows that the woods and the evil entity that lives in it have been waiting for her all these years but she has no choice but to return to Fairfield and her mother’s house when her mother falls very ill and needs her care. Agnes can no longer avoid her destiny. Because the killings have begun again and she’s the only one who can stop them. And with the help of a new friend and Tyler’s ghost, she’ll defeat the evil and save another child’s life.
2) In This House: Bernard and Althea have lived their whole lives in the neighborhood, in the same house and have grown old there. But Deer Run’s lead smelter plant has been buying out the houses around them because of lead contamination fears and now the lots are empty weeds and only their house remains. Their neighbors are gone. They’re alone. Althea’s been sick and Bernard cares for her even as he remembers how lovely she once was, all the friends they once had and all the good times they enjoyed when they were young. He loves her and he’ll never leave her. They’ll never leave their home. But they can’t stop time and they’re only waiting for their lonely daughter, Jenny, to make one last visit so they can say goodbye to her and introduce her to the man they know she’s meant to be with…then they can leave this earth happy.*** You tube book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3q9rZryFMo
Exasperated, Agnes had dropped the subject but now her questions and concerns returned. If Herb wasn’t a friend of her mother’s and he wasn’t an ambulance driver for St. Anthony’s, then who was he? Why was he bothering and misleading her?
Now here he was. Again. All she wanted to do was drive away and leave him and all the problems there in the middle of the street. Yet he was persistent, and quick, and the next thing she knew he’d slipped in the passenger’s side and was sitting next to her. Just like before.
“Okay,” she announced, as she yanked the car to the side of the road and spun around to him, “who are you really? I know you’ve been lying to me. My mother doesn’t know you and you don’t work for the hospital’s ambulance service. No one knows you.”
He seemed hurt by her anger. “They weren’t all lies,” he said, bowing his head. “I had to think of something to tell you, so I could speak to you. I knew that if I just walked up and knocked on your door, you wouldn’t open it.”
“What made you think that?”
He lifted his strange eyes that appeared to have no depth and met hers. His face was shadowed, even in the car’s overhead light, indistinct, but again so frustratingly familiar. “Because I know who you are and what you went through that summer. I know how much you hate being back here and how scared you are of the woods and what exists in it.”
Fear crowded in around her and she felt dizzy. “Who are you?”
She thought the sound that came from his throat was a chuckle but she wasn’t sure. “It doesn’t matter.” Then in a much lower voice she barely caught, “And you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Why is that?” Her voice just as low.
“Never mind. I’m sorry. But I do know your mother and I do take care of her cat. Sometimes. I only wanted to talk to you. See you.”
“Why?” She was becoming more suspicious every second, and a little frightened, though she sensed the man besides her meant her no real harm, that he was only hiding something. What happened if she was wrong?
“I’m here to help you.”
“Help me what?” She’d switched the car’s engine off. Outside, the night fog surged against the windows and cut them off from the world. She was alone with a crazy man.
She knew she should kick him out of the car and drive like a launched rocket straight to Ida’s. She’d be safe there. But something, the poignant begging in his gaze or the hopeful smile on his lips, kept her from doing that. It was as if he’d enchanted her.
“I’m going to help you find Lottie.”
Shocked, she exclaimed, “You’re kidding? You want to help me find the missing girl? That’s the police’s job. I have no idea where she is. Besides, she’s only missing. There’s no proof she’s even been taken or is in danger.”
“Ah, Agnes, you know better than that.” His voice was firm but melancholy. “She’s in the woods where you were and if we don’t find her tonight she’ll be dead.”
“How do you know that? Why are you doing this to me?” She realized she was infuriated with him because he was trying to make her do something she really didn’t want to do.
“Because you know where she is. You know and you can save her.”
“I don’t have a clue where she is. I’ll tell you what, you go save her.”
“That won’t work, I’m afraid. Alone, I can’t do it. I need you. You’re the one. We can’t find it. It won’t show itself unless you’re there.” He tilted his head and his dark hair, somehow longer than the last time she’d seen him, brushed against his shoulders. Tonight he wasn’t wearing a uniform or a dirty T-shirt. Dressed in an old-fashioned collared shirt with buttons down the front and frayed jeans, she thought he looked even younger than last time.
Agnes had had enough. “Herb, or whatever your name is, would you please get out of my car?”
“It’s Herb, kinda. And, Agnes, you’re never going to be able to live with yourself if you don’t try to save Lottie. I mean you tried and couldn’t save Sophie and the others and you’ve had to live with the guilt all these years. You don’t want to go through that again, do you? No, you’re coming with me.”
He reached out his hand, touching her, and suddenly the car was gone and they were standing at the edge of the night woods, the mist churning around their feet. Her mother’s house was behind them, so she knew where she was. A sliver of moon shone its silvery light above, just enough to see what was surrounding them. Thick night trees. Undergrowth and bushes. The woods. Hell. ***
Now, with her heart breaking, her eyes shut, her hands waving languidly over the fire, she chanted the nefarious words that would bring her husband back from the dead.
Something crashed against the door, as if something or someone were throwing themselves against it. Wood splintered, but the door held. Amadeus, who had powers of his own, was fighting mad now. It was his responsibility to protect her, protect her from herself, if need be. She heard him growling at her through the door.
Open up, Mandy. Open the damn door!
"No. I told you, Amadeus, either help me or go away."
The cat grumbled beyond the door, hissed and spat as loud as any big cat, and the battering resumed.
Amanda's eyes flew open, widened as the apparition began to take form inside the pentagram—the outline of a man, tall, his arms thrown over his face as if in defense.
"Jake?" She moaned, staring at the thing.
It lowered its hands and a ghoulish, misty face peered out at her, a face so full of torment and fear, Amanda fell back in shock.
"Don't do this, Mandy, I beg you! Remember me as I was. I don't belong there anymore." She heard the plaintive whisper, an echo on the still air. Its hands reached out to her. "Let me go. You don't know what you're doing."
She couldn't stop. The enchantment wasn't complete. It would be better when it was. He was between two worlds now and he would be frightened. Half-formed. Between two worlds.
If she wasn't careful, those unearthly denizens—shade demons, she called them—that haunted that dead world could escape into hers. So dangerous. What the hell was she doing opening the forbidden portals like this?
What happened if she was a moment off, a word wrong and the demons came through? If she unleashed them? A disaster.
Amanda steeled herself, wiped the fresh tears from her face with the back of her hand. "Damn it, I want you back, Jake. I'll have you back," she swore.
She took up where she'd left off, knowing if she stopped at this point of the spell, it could ruin everything. Everything.
The door groaned behind her under its assault (damn but that cat was strong), the wind screamed outside the windows. The candles placed around the pentagram fluttered in a strange breeze in the shadowy room.
Amanda's heart froze. She stopped in the middle of the spell, her eyes going wide with fear, her hands half-raised before her, and her head thrown back as the flames from the fire glowed more brightly across her tense face.
What was that word? Suureerustus? Summertus? Or...
She stared at the blurry figure trying to form in the circle. It was yelling at her now...something...something...she couldn't make out the words.
It was no longer alone.
Things writhed around its melting feet, flew about its head. Terrible things. Things from the dead world. Unholy things. Gaping mouths with sharp bloodied teeth, glittering fiendish eyes in deformed, hideous bodies. Some almost human, some insect like. Others indescribable. Some growing before her eyes to be taller than she was.
Monsters. Coming through the barrier, crossing the lines of the pentagram, into her world.
Amanda grabbed the nearest thing with which to fight them off, a broom, and started swinging at them.
She was so busy hitting and spewing out new spells to keep the shade demons from coming through that she never heard the door burst open; never felt the cool storm wind enter the cabin until something determined and furry flew by her face toward the pentagram, hissing all the way.
Then Amadeus was helping her herd the malignant spirits back from where they'd come. All claws, teeth, and unearthly glowing eyes. He snarled the word Sutterus at her in passing and Amanda quickly supplied it in the spell where it belonged.
The demons began to slowly dissolve in shrieks of rage.
Don't send us away! Don't send us back there! Let us out. Out!
Jake's figure returned. A shadow with hanging head. Just one or two sentences and the incantation would be complete. Jake would be there, solid, before her.
Amanda hesitated. The thing in the circle looked so pitiful. So unnatural.
Before she could finish, soft, but strong paws clamped tightly around her neck and wouldn't let go. Something howled like a banshee in her ear, as sharp teeth angrily nipped it. She couldn't breathe.
"Amadeus! Get off!" She screamed, tumbling to the floor with the huge cat on top of her, still holding on like a leech, its yowling and screeching enough to wake the dead—instead, it woke her.
By the time she'd yanked the cat off, throwing him roughly against the opposite wall so that he yelped in pain, and she'd crawled back to the pentagram, Jake was gone. The enchantment broken. ***
BLURB AND EXCEPT for THE HEART OF THE ROSE:
Bronwyn is kind and resourceful, a healer and a woman ahead of her time who cares for her aging father and two young sisters. She can entrance a man with her sweet voice, the beauty of her face. However, she’s an impoverished peasant who lives in the dark, suspicious times of fifteenth-century England where such a woman is feared. Witches are believed to be everywhere, waiting to ensnare a powerful man…like Edward the Fourth of England, who comes across her one day singing in a tavern and makes her his mistress.
Edward’s powerful adversary, The Earl of Warwick, is seeking to take over the throne of England. Bronwyn is torn between the two; one she loves, the other she loathes. One cherishes her, the other wants to possess and control her. As the battle lines form, and the country is torn apart by political upheaval and bloody carnage, the two sides wrestle for the crown. Who will she end up with? Which man, when she’s condemned to burn as a witch, will save her and which man will let her die? ***
She was so deep in remembering the past that she didn’t become aware of the men approaching until it was too late to run and hide as she usually did. Too late, she heard the crunch of boots on the icy ground and twirled around as two strong arms grabbed her about the waist. How long had they been watching her?
“Let me go!” she cried, as she was lifted from the ground. She kicked at the tall stranger, but her feet hit only air. “Let me go!”
The man laughed down at her. “Nay, sweet maid, stay a while. I must see what it is I’ve caught.” His voice was deep, and his strength seemed to mock her struggles. His grip was secure when he grabbed the arm that lashed out at him, and he pulled her up close to his large body. She was trapped. Her mind reeled at the thought of what could happen to her as she glared up into a pair of cunning eyes in the lean face so far above her. She’d been foolish to linger here in the dark.
“You’ve caught nothing, sir!” she boldly spat back at him, still fighting to free herself from his iron grasp. “Nothing that is yours. So please, put me down. I’m no wild animal. I’m only a girl.” She was angry, using it to hide her fright. She was determined not to let him see how afraid she was. Nothing will happen,she kept telling herself to soothe her fears. Nothing. It was silly to believe that this man would want to do her harm.
“Only a girl?” He laughed as his eyes raked across the length of her face and twisting body as she tried to fight him off. “You’re no girl, my sweet, but a woman to my mind,” he told her in a husky whisper, and laughed knowingly at the two men who’d suddenly appeared behind him, as if out of nowhere. His hands were roaming unbidden about her waist and then cupped her breasts possessively as his lips found hers and greedily kissed her.
Ashamed and terrified at her helplessness, Bronwyn wrenched one of her hands free and, with a cry of indignation, reached up and scratched his face from eyebrow to chin, so deeply that she could feel blood seeping from under her fingernails when she snatched her hand away.
He threw her violently to the ground. One of his gloved hands flew up to explore the wound unbelievingly. “Why, you little vixen!” His voice roared down at her as she cowered in the snow at his feet.
Horrified at what she’d done, and knowing there’d be a penalty to pay, she scrambled up and tried to run, but his strong hand yanked her back into his arms. “Hold still, you little wildcat, or I’ll snap that slender neck of yours,” he growled into her ear, as he bent her body back painfully to stare into her frightened eyes. His grip tightened as he continued to glare down at her in the dark. Glaring back at him, she didn’t cry out or whimper.
Finally, to her amazement he burst out laughing. “Wildcat, that’s truly what you are. Why, you even fight like one with those sharp claws of yours. Nay, you aren’t a girl or a woman, but a wild animal. I think I’ll teach you some manners. You have spirit. I like that in my wenches,” he said to her. “But now,” he commanded, “hold still or I’ll break your neck, pretty as it may be. I will have no animal disobeying me.”
She could tell he was used to being obeyed and, beaten at the moment by his greater strength, she went limp in his arms. There would be another chance to escape, she told herself, but she couldn’t do that if she were dead and, right now, there was murder in the man’s cold eyes. Her heart was thumping so furiously in her breast that she could hardly hear his next words.
“Yes, you have spirit. I hate women who whine and beg as if they hadn’t a brain in their heads, and I detest weeping women.” He wiped the blood from his face with the back of his hand and grinned down at her, the hunter observing his freshly caught prey. He shot a glance over his shoulders at his friends who’d watched the whole episode and were now laughing as they nudged each other.
They usually shared the wenches. However, this one was different. They could tell by the way their friend was looking at them. Hands off,his expression said plainly enough.
“Cousin, she’s yours,” one of the men said. “I’m in no mood to fight a wildcat’s claws and teeth this night. No, all I crave is a mug of hot buttered rum and a willing female. This one is all yours.” The other shadowy figure beside him chuckled in agreement, and the two men disappeared into the warm, brightly lit inn, letting the light from inside shine out into the night. The stranger caught a brief glimpse of Bronwyn’s face before the door closed again, and she fleetingly saw his face; a dark, brooding one with high cheekbones framed by lengthy ebony hair that nearly touched his broad shoulders. He was a very tall man, but it was his eyes that captured her gaze and kept her silent. Piercing eyes that seemed to burn right through her, as if he could see what she was thinking, predict her next move. Those eyes, she realized, held her prisoner more than his iron grip, for there was power in them. He was a handsome man, she thought with surprise. Handsome in a wickedly dark way, handsome like a hawk or a wolf.
He loomed over her and seized her face between his strong fingers, pulling her close to him. He studied her with a strange gleam in his angry eyes and with one swift movement reached out and freed her long hair from her hood, so that it cascaded down about her face and shoulders. She met his stare, her chin held high.
How she hated an arrogant man, she thought, trembling inside. Yet something vague and nameless was nagging at the edge of her memory as she stared at him. He seemed, somehow, familiar. It bothered her. Some inner sense told her that this was no ordinary man and to show him weakness would be the wrong move.
“Well, sir, you’ve had your fun. You’ve shamed me enough, and you’ve earned the scratch I’ve given you. We’re even. A kiss for a scratch. And you have ogled me long enough. Now let me go.” She was shocked when he not only refused to answer her, but also simply lowered his lips until they softly brushed her cheek. She shivered at his touch, though his lips were hot on her cold skin. She tried to pull away.
“Will you apologize for scratching me? Beg me to forgive you?” he said in a maddeningly calm voice. Its sinister tone made her pulse jump. He wasn’t going to let her go.
“Will you, then, apologize for grabbing me and stealing a kiss in such an intimate manner? A kiss you had no right to take?” she said angrily, knowing she shouldn’t have said such a thing the moment the words slipped from her mouth. This man was dangerous. He was used to getting what he wanted. Getting his way. Always. She shouldn’t be toying with such a man. She didn’t know enough of the ways of men to do so.
“Apologize for taking what I want?” He smiled. “Never. You’re far too pretty not to kiss. You were made for kissing. And more. All women are.” As if to prove it to her, he yanked her away from the doorway of the Red Boar and dragged her out into the yard behind him, as she frantically kicked and squirmed to escape. He pushed her roughly up against the wall of a building in the gloom and pressed his lips cruelly upon hers again. Forcing her mouth open, he thrust his tongue inside, probing. His powerful body pinned her against the wall so tightly she couldn’t move.
“So anxious to get away from me, hey, little one?” His breath was hot on her face. “Well, you shall pay for that as well as for my wound. I’ll take you here and now, because no one defies me and gets away with it. You’ll learn to enjoy it once we start. So, put away those claws and make it easy on yourself. I get what I want. And I’ll have you.” He laughed softly, kissing her again.
Panicking, she kicked at him, and they tumbled to the ground, entwined. She couldn’t believe what was happening. Wouldn’t anyone come to her aid? No, she realized with terror. No one would interfere. He was a soldier, and she was a peasant. ****
BLURB & EXCERPT from THE WOMAN IN CRIMSON:
Willowwind is a lovely Civil War era bed and breakfast that sits on a hill above an ancient cemetery filled with Civil war graves and strange stone sculptures made long ago by a woman once feared to be a witch – perhaps once murdered by the townspeople for being one.
Willowwind is run by a loving couple, Adrian and Caroline Stone, and welcomes guests every weekend.
But since Caroline’s beloved father, Edward Winter, died and was buried in that cemetery, Willowwind is also haunted. Haunted by a long dead Civil War era vampiress, Lilith, who believes the man, Adrian, is her reincarnated soldier/lover and will do anything to have him, body-heart-and soul, for her own again, no matter how many she must kill to have him. But Adrian’s wife, Caroline, along with the help of the ghost of her dead father, will do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen. ***
1863…somewhere in Southern Illinois
The men in the blue and gray uniforms had been fighting for
days without end. Miles around the land was scorched, pitted
with holes and littered with bodies in various stages of dying,
death and decay.
For a sultry evening the woman seemed out of place, overdressed
in a blood-edged gown that brushed the earth, a billowy
cape and a hat with a dark veil. She roamed the battlefield foraying
among the remnants of the carnage through a smoky haze, the
shroud hiding her face.
Around her feet rose the moans of injured men. The stench that
came with battle where men fought and died on bloody ground, as
they had so often these last years of the war, and the reek of death
were overpowering. Yet both were perfume to her. She could not
deny that the strife had created a convenient situation for her…
No one questioned a woman combing through the dying, perhaps
for a loved one. People averted their eyes and looked away,
humbled by her grief.
Carefully the woman searched, kneeling on the burnt grass to
turn over a body or murmur softly to a wounded man. She tarried
and appeared to aid one or another, but when she moved on, still
seeking, there was only death behind her.
A cannon’s boom and a volley of gunshots broke the distant
tranquility; shouts and screams echoed and died away into the
smoky twilight as the fighting moved on.
The woman paused, lifted her head, and listened. The wolves,
ghostly shapes that’d shadowed her from her home, were calling
to each other from the fringes of the woods. Great shaggy beasts
with sharp fangs, gleaming ruby eyes and fur as luminous as the
harvest moon; their howling mingled with the human noises from
the field. Since her change, the wolves, her personal guard, accompanied
her everywhere. She didn’t know where they’d come
from, didn’t know if they were real or ghosts. All she knew was
they protected her.
Unaware of the soldier whose eyes were on her, she kept
* * * *
The soldier, a Springfield rifle in his lap, was propped against a
tree because his shrapnel-riddled legs would no longer carry him.
His gaze followed the strange woman in the crimson gown. In another
life he’d been a mountain man in the hills of Kentucky, but
now wore a Union uniform of faded blue and butchered men for
reasons he no longer believed in. In and out of consciousness, he
watched. She’s an angel, he thought at first.
Then he’d seen the flash of fangs behind the black lace and the
blood spurting from the necks of the wounded as she drank. They
couldn’t fight back. He saw the men die and slowly it dawned on
him what she really was. She’s a ghoul, a creature of the night
who has sold her soul to hell for eternal life and drains blood
from mortals so she may live on. Night demon. As a child he’d
heard of these evil abominations from his mother. This woman
The wolves howled in the woods, and the soldier trembled. The
summer’s day was ending, the light waning, and he knew there
was precious little time left.
The ghoul finishing drinking from an unmoving man on the
ground and, coming to her feet, made her way to another.
The soldier raised his rifle and took aim at the ghoul in the
The crack of the Springfield shrieked through the air, and
the bullet found its target. Without a cry, the woman in crimson
crumpled to the earth. Her kind were hard to kill, so he reloaded
and prepared to shoot again. But the night demon did not stir. A
moment to wipe sweat from his brow and, when he looked again,
she was gone.
It was then the real fear began. Had he killed her or was she
somewhere out there stalking him? Making the sign of the cross
he dragged his broken body away from the tree and kept his rifle
If she finds me, I’m dead.
So he hid beneath a pile of corpses and covered his body with
human limbs and bloodied torsos. He waited as night fell, the
temperature dropping as it often did deep in the woods, and the
chill made his body shiver. Wounded and in pain, yet he didn’t
want to die. God, please save me. A farm, a wife and five children
depended on him to come home alive, and he wasn’t going to let
In the darkness he heard the night demon stumbling through
the bodies, seeking him, but he was blessed, and each time she
passed him by. Eventually, exhausted, he dozed off. When he
awoke in the morning, so weakened he could barely open his eyes,
he knew he’d eluded her and thanked God.
A group of soldiers checking through the dead came upon him
and marveled he was still breathing. They shoved him onto a dirty
stretcher and carried him to a camp where a tired doctor set his
arm and amputated one of his legs.
The soldier tried to warn them about the woman in crimson,
but no one believed him. The wounded, the doctor explained, see
many imagined horrors. It was left at that.
* * * *
The lead ripped through her body and sent her to the ground.
The pain, a searing fire, throbbed through her skin and bones. As
her world went black, the largest of the wolves clamped his teeth
around her arm and dragged her away.
When she opened her eyes she was on the edge of the woods,
a short distance from the battlefield. The wolves sat in a circle on
their haunches staring at her through shimmering eyes. The one
who’d saved her hunkered above her. She felt shock, then surprise.
Someone had shot her, yet she was alive. There were holes in
her chest, and there was blood. As she looked at the wounds they
healed in front of her eyes and left only bloodstains on her gown.
She’d never felt so strong.
The wolf tugged her to her feet and retreated with its comrades
into the shadows.
So it was true. Nothing could harm her. She couldn’t die. Her
mother, with her witchcraft, had truly given her secret to eternal
She’d been drinking blood for some years, but it was the first
time her mortality had been tested. No one must know what she
was if she were to remain safe, so she had to silence the man who’d
shot her. People wouldn’t understand. They wouldn’t allow her to
live. She looked for him but couldn’t find him, and soon her hunger,
fueled by the healing, overpowered her fear of discovery. The
night cloaked her, made her invisible, and it was nearly dawn before
she remounted her horse and rode home. She didn’t like sunlight,
it drained her; she had to be home before the day came.
Home to her sanctuary…the house beneath the willows that
stood majestically on the hill overlooking the town and her ancestral
cemetery. It was where she could hide from the world; where
she created the sculptures that her father and the townspeople
despised. The walls of the house were strong, the cellar was deep,
and she could get lost in the acres of rambling gardens or in the
tombs beneath the graveyard. It was her home. ****
BLURB & EXCERPT from BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons:
Since Cassandra Graystone was a child and her family perished in a fire she knows and sees things other people don’t…when someone will die or that a demon lurks beneath a human skin. She sees phantoms.
Yet she craves a simple life singing out with her musician brother, Johnny, and caring for her elderly aunt and uncle; to be with her friends, Sarah, a psychic, and Walter, a clown in a carnival circuit.
But when Sarah sees apocalyptic events in her tarot cards and demons are everywhere, Cassandra fears she’s going insane or something terrifying is happening in the world.
Rayner, an ancient blood demon, lodges next door. He becomes obsessed with her. Never having felt pity or affection for a human before he believes he loves her, would die to protect her.
The demon realm gathers for the final confrontation between us, Rayner warns. The apocalypse comes. You and your friends must prepare.
Cassandra flees that knowledge until an angelic being, Manasseh, appears. Your powers will grow. You must fight for humanity’s survival after the first wave is taken. Seek out others like you. Persuade them to join the battle. Only these can see and challenge the demons until the end when all eyes see them.
Cassandra doesn’t want her life to change; doesn’t want to be a nomad who battles demons. Doesn’t want to be anyone’s protector.
Until a tornado flattens Sarah’s house. Johnny’s apartment. There are monsters maiming and killing everywhere. Demons persecute her and those she loves, burn down her home and force her family and friends onto the road, as everywhere cataclysmic weather and signs of the end days make things hellish for humans.
Cassandra and her friends can no longer deny their destinies. They must fight…or see the remnants of humanity engulfed in flames. *****
EXCERPT from BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons:
EXCERPT #1: Demons destroy the Red Carpet Lounge p.29-
Beyond the windows, darkness and rain had arrived, slamming a storm surge against the glass. Thunder and streaks of electricity ripped and echoed across the sky. The windowpanes rattled in their mountings and the lightshow brightened the world. Even with the downpour, the temperature had become warmer. The humans drifting into the bar were soaked in water and perspiration and were short tempered as the heat and the noise level rose to a shrill crescendo.
Manasseh recognized demons behind several of the human faces.
More than usual tonight.
They were one of the reasons Manasseh didn’t like going into buildings where there were crowds. The ratio of demon to mortal was shifting quickly. There were demons everywhere.
Manasseh detected and avoided them and they couldn’t see him. For now. There’d come a time when the blinders would be lifted from everyone’s eyes, including theirs, and he’d have to kill them. They’d have to try to kill him.
His foot tapped softly at first and then faster. His body tensed. He couldn’t wait for the day when he could raise his sword and strike all the fiends down once and for all. It’d been coming for so long and he was tired of waiting.
There were demons, disguised as humans, drinking at a table beside the bandstand. “When’s the damn music going to start?” one griped.
“Yeah, when are we going to get some entertainment in this dump?” His friend threw the remaining contents of his drink at the waitress as she scooted past, barely missing her. He stuck his booted foot out and tripped a man returning from the restroom. The guy sprawled on the floor, stunned surprise on his face. But when he looked up at who’d waylaid him, he just lowered his eyes and stumbled off to hide in a corner. Demon mind control. The weaker the human mind, the stronger the control.
Dressed in T-shirts, ball caps, and blue jeans the demons appeared to be ordinary mortals of different ages and races. Manasseh never understood why, but most of them wore beards and never robed in bright colors. They especially hated yellow and sky blue. Most were wearing dark glasses. That he understood. In certain lights, their eyes, empty as their souls or, when angry, burning like crimson embers, betrayed them.
Manasseh could hardly bear to be in the same room. Demons had a stench of burnt blood and ash around them and their minds were as dark as the place they’d come from. They mingled among men and committed the crimes that made humans cry: arson, wife beating, torture, and murders. Manasseh scowled. If there was a heinous crime being committed somewhere, there was most likely a demon perpetrating it or somehow behind it.
They were making him angry. He had to remind himself why he was there and that his first responsibility was guarding Cassandra. It was difficult because all he wanted to do was to exterminate them.
Not here. Not yet.
Cassandra, guitar case in hand, wandered in with her brother in tow. They set up their equipment, tested microphones, got something to drink, and after tuning their instruments began to play.
The demons were instantly agitated at the sound of Johnny and Cassandra’s voices. One of them glared balefully at the girl as another snarled something to his friends, his face shifting into a sneer.
Manasseh didn’t like the looks of any of them. They were a fight waiting to happen. Malevolence glinted in their looks and their pretend smiles had no mirth. But he knew their kind. Most of them were cowards and wouldn’t hurt Cassandra or Johnny in such a public place. It’d garner too much attention and they wouldn’t want that. They usually waited until they could get the humans alone somewhere to do their damage.
An omen of things to come, thunder rippled through the sultry air and eerily mimicked the resonance of human screams. Manasseh shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
Still there was no sign of the demon, Rayner. Perhaps he wouldn’t show, though there was enough danger lurking in the crowd without him.
Manasseh listened to Cassandra and her brother. Choir music was more his style, yet their voices were harmonious and their instrument playing skillful. There was an innocent goodness in their demeanors and the messages of their songs that made their performance compelling. And behind the melodies, their souls were luminous and shone like beacons from their eyes. Both of them were pure of heart and strong, the brother not quite as much as the sister, and would need to be because the future wouldn’t be easy for either of them.
An hour went by. The songs and sibling banter were entertaining. People drank, conversed, and socialized. Rayner never showed up.
The demons behaved themselves as much as they were able, hiding their impatience behind their smirks. No doubt they were planning something wicked for after they left the bar.
He was about to see to Obadiah, when one of the demons behind him threw a bottle at Cassandra. She ducked before it made contact and smashed into the wall.
Another demon flung one and hit Johnny in the head…and the brawl was on.
Everyone shoved and kicked each other. Fists and flesh collided. The demons had instigated the clash and notched it up and that alarmed Manasseh. Though it was in their nature to cause pandemonium wherever and whenever they could, they were usually less obvious about it. Another bad sign.
The room was an erupting volcano and people spilled into the stormy night to escape the flying glasses and bottles.
Crouched down behind the bar, Maggie shouted into the phone: “Morey, you better get over here quick. There’s a big fight and everything’s being busted to hell. I’ll try to call the police–” The phone obviously went dead in her hands. “Damn!” She dropped it and ran out the door.
Someone threw a table through a window and wind and rain splattered in. Everyone was screaming, slugging each other, or trying to escape through a door or window.
One of the demons hurled itself at the two singers as if it wanted to tear them apart. Cassandra nimbly stepped aside and the fiend overshot and ended up beneath a table scrabbling to keep from being booted by a bunch of furious cowboys.
Amidst the chaos, Cassandra shoved her wounded brother towards the back exit, their guitars protectively cradled in their arms.
Manasseh followed them into the alley. He’d shield them if he had to. But Cassandra knew what to do. Survival was an instinct she’d been born with. Through the falling water, she aimed her brother towards her car and they scrambled in.
The sound of police sirens rivaled the thunder.
There were demons behind Cassandra and her brother and Manasseh slammed the door in their faces as the pair of humans drove away.
EXCERPT FROM THE ICE BRIDGE OUT Nov. 7, 2011 from ETERNAL PRESS:
After all she’d been engaged to Lucas for five years. And to break up with her in an e-mail? The least he could have done was telephone and tell her in his own voice. Well, it was over.
She fought back tears as her thoughts touched on her doomed wedding, her eyes hurting and her hands clenching on the ferry’s rail until her knuckles were white.
She shook her head, mumbling in a low voice. He’d taken a chunk of her life, a lot for a man to steal from a young woman. Oh, she hated him. Hanging would be too good for him. Electrocution would be too good. She wished she could –
“Miss, are you all right?”
She turned her head and met the eyes of a tall man standing behind her on the boat. The angry tears in her eyes kept her from seeing him clearly. Young, she registered, and though not excitingly handsome, his face was kind.
She glanced around and realized she’d been so preoccupied with her sorrow and dreams of revenge that she’d been leaning over the railing. Her cheeks were wet with tears she didn’t recall shedding. He probably thought she was going to jump or something.
No man was worth that. Not even Lucas.
But she would have liked to throw her ex-fiancé over the railing, though, and into the chilly waters below. Him and Rachel. She almost smiled at the thought of the two thrashing around in Lake Huron like abandoned baby dodos, the ferryboat chugging away as she waved goodbye to both of them.
She’d teach them to hurt other people. To hurt her.
“I’m…fine,” she sighed, composing herself, and faced the stranger. No doubt she’d had that murderous look on her face before, the one her mother warned her would scare off Santa Claus. “Just had some unpleasant thoughts on my mind, that’s all.”
She wiped her eyes and looked at the man again. He was around her age, somewhere under thirty, had brown hair that the lake spray had ruffled into unruliness and brilliant sky eyes that smiled when his lips did, as they were doing now. He wasn’t as handsome as Lucas, but attractive in a healthy puppyish kind of way. He looked sure of himself and casual in his lemon yellow shirt and faded jeans. ***
EXCERPT from WINTER'S JOURNEY out Sept. 9, 2011 from ETERNAL PRESS in e-book and paperback:
Loretta had never seen such a strong storm so early
in the season. The roads and tree limbs were ice coated,
though the falling snow wasn’t accumulating. The storm
was all wind and fury. She could see the limbs shaking
around her, dropping chunks of ice onto the road.
She’d stopped a couple miles back at a truck stop and
had tire chains put on the rear wheels. That kept her out
of the steep ditches on both sides of the highway, yet
didn’t help when the blowing snow got so thick she
couldn’t see through the windshield.
“Damn.” She finally surrendered, edged Baby Blue
onto the shoulder of the road, and cut the engine. But it
wasn’t just the snow that clouded her sight it was her
tears. She’d fought them for a while but now let them flow
How could you have left Sam like that? How could
you have turned him into the police before you’d even given
him a chance to defend himself and tell his side of the
story? You coward. He trusted you.
Her hands clung to the steering wheel and she hung
her head and let the tears come, burning her eyes. She
imagined Sam slumped in a dank cell, sorrowful and
shivering in that flimsy jacket.
What made it unbearable was not only the way her
heart and conscience condemned her but the betrayal of
her own body. It ached for Sam. Her ears wanted to hear
his voice, and her eyes wanted to see his smile. Her arms
wanted to wrap around him, and her hands wanted to be
safe in his hands. Her lips wanted to kiss his. She felt so
utterly alone, bereft, and she couldn’t stop the pain that
abandoning Sam had given her. She knew now, after only
two days, she’d begun to fall in love with him.
Should she go back and help him? She was eleven
hours away—further if the foul weather held or
escalated—from her destination, from saving her truck
and her livelihood, so how could she? She peered through
the frosted windshield into the blowing whiteness. It was
night, but the snow had turned the darkness into an eerie
twilight. With this storm, she might never get to
Cheyenne on time or safely anyway.
The truck swayed and the wind howled outside. She
needed to stay on the road but she’d seen too many
accidents in this kind of weather. It was foolhardy to keep
driving. She was better off parking the truck somewhere
and waiting it out or sleeping her eight hours—if she
could sleep—because she was running illegally. She
couldn’t stop thinking about Sam. What harm would it do
to return and wait out the storm…with him? Looking at
him through the jailhouse bars? Maybe being detained
herself by the cops?
She didn’t know what to do.
Even if she forged ahead, she could at least rest an
hour or two in hopes that the storm would abate. She was
so tired. The snow might taper off and the wind might die
down some. The tears might stop and allow her to see
again. The warmth of the truck’s cab surrounded and
lulled her as it protected her from the inhospitable
weather on the other side. She thought about Sam.
Just hours ago he was sleeping in the back. And
except for the peculiar incident with that other truck,
she’d been happy for the first time since her husband’s
death. She could always go back and see what happened
to Sam after she delivered her load. She could offer to
stand by him no matter what until she found out if he was
guilty or not.
The police couldn’t charge him with anything until
they had time to investigate and gather more information.
They needed proof, right? The bad weather would
complicate things, too. There was time. Yeah, sure, who
was she fooling?
She really didn’t know Sam all that well, did she?
Loretta shut her heavy eyes and listened to the wind.
She must have drifted to sleep because suddenly Sam was
there sitting next to her telling some silly joke and she
He pulled her into his arms. “It’s okay, Loretta.
Everything’s going to be all right now, you’ll see.” His lips
came down on hers and taunted her with their sweetness.
She wondered why he was not in jail but was too
happy to question it. Sam held her close and she felt
beautiful. “Oh, Sam, you’re really here. I can’t believe it. I
thought I’d never see you again. I thought you’d hate me.”
“I could never hate you, my love,” dream Sam said.
“You did what you thought was right. You were afraid
and I don’t blame you. A woman alone has to be careful.
There are lots of evil people out there.”
“But—” she started to protest, and Sam shushed her
gently by laying his lips on hers again. And all she could
do was give in and go mute.
Then Sam led her to the sleeper and they made love.
Nothing else mattered. She didn’t care if he were a
murderer, how he’d gotten away from the police, or how
he’d found her in the middle of a snowstorm. It was as if
time was suspended and they were in another world
where they only existed to be with each other.
Loretta forgot everything else. Sam told her he loved
her and she told him she loved him. Afterwards, she tried
to recall what had been so important that she’d wanted to
talk to him about, but she couldn’t. Her thoughts were out
of focus and she felt unreal. Sam’s face in the
semidarkness was so softened and indistinct he could
have been a ghost. His face, his touch, and his words
began to fade. No!
And then Loretta remembered what she’d wanted to
ask him. “Sam, are you a murderer?” she breathed,
shocked at her bluntness. She sat up and tried to capture
his dissolving form through the eddying mist that seemed
to be everywhere. “Did you kill those people?”
“What do you think, Loretta…am I a killer?” He
brushed her face with hazy fingers.
It wasn’t what she wanted to hear. “I’m asking you.
Did you kill those three truckers?”
Despair replaced her happiness before he vanished,
whispering, “It doesn’t make any difference now, for
you’re the one in danger. So be vigilant. Protect yourself.”
She woke up and lifted her head from the steering
wheel. Outside, the storm had gone into high ferocity and
the wind screamed like a snow banshee. If only the snow
would thin out and the layers of ice beneath it weren’t so
treacherous she could go on her way. The clock on the
dash showed an hour had passed. That was one hour of
sleep out of eight down, seven more to go. Only an hour
and all of it had been a dream. She could have wept
because she still felt Sam’s lips on hers. She touched a
finger to her mouth. Where was he now?
You’re the one in danger, he’d warned her in the
dream. She wasn’t in danger now, was she? Yet she was
aware, as she’d been for a while, that something was
wrong on this trip. Her rig breaking down the first day,
the missing spare parts, the weird Freightliner that tried
to force her off the highway, Sam, and now those terrible
murders…it all had to have some connection. It was as if
her journey were cursed.
Stop thinking about Sam, she scolded herself. He’s
gone. It’s over. Move on.
She grabbed the thermos of coffee left over from that
morning and poured a cup. It slid down her throat leaving
a cool, sugary taste and revived her. She rummaged
around until she found the remnants of the goodie bag
she’d brought along…it seemed like years ago now but
was only two days ago. Lucky her. Sam had left her an
apple, an orange, and two Milky Ways, which was better
than nothing. She’d never eaten supper that night; she’d
run away instead. She ate the apple and a candy bar,
drank the rest of the coffee, and hoped the caffeine would
keep her from falling asleep at the wheel.
She suspected, on top of everything else, that she was
lost. She’d been on a set course, but between the
snowstorm, her state of mind, and the unexpectedly
closed main roads, she’d somehow gotten off track. She
switched on the dash light, unfolded the state map, and
attempted to pinpoint her location. Somewhere around
Shawnee. She couldn’t see any road signs from where she
was, the snow and ice had covered everything.
Outside, the wind abruptly died down and the snow
slowed. This was her chance. She took the truck out onto
the road hoping to find a gas station or a truck stop to
find out her present location. ***
EXCERPT FROM EGYPTIAN HEART out August 7, 2011 from ETERNAL PRESS out in e-book and paperback:
Remembering Nefrure’s warning, I dropped my head
and tried to take in the sights and people without
actually meeting anyone else’s eyes. Hard to do because
there were men calling out to me, hooting and hollering,
urging me to stop by their tables and talk to them.
Ahhotpe led me to Ramose and then left. I looked up
to meet the inquisitive eyes of a man dressed in a shirt of
gold and a white kilt, an ornate linen headdress and, as
most of the people around us, heavy eye make-up. So
much jewelry, he shone like the sun. He looked so
different than the first time I’d seen him, I had to search
his face to be sure it was the same man who’d rescued me
from the soldier’s whip. I wasn’t, until he gave me that
arrogant smile of his and spoke to me. Then I knew it
“So the woman from the strange land cleans up well
indeed. Have you been treated properly since first we
This was going to be tricky. The room had hushed
and everyone was watching Ramose and I. I felt like an
actor in a play who didn’t know their lines. Or the play.
“Yes, my lord, I have been.”
“I can see that you have. You look much better than
the last time I saw you.” His voice was husky. “Come sit
by me and tell me more of your story and your home.
How you came to be out wandering in the desert.”
For a moment, I questioned if I was Ramose’s slave
or his guest. His manner towards me was friendly and
courteous. Who was this man and why did he affect me
the way he did? Whenever his eyes fell on me I couldn’t
take mine away. He mesmerized me. He said one thing,
but I swore he was thinking, meaning, something else
I sat down on his left after room was made for me
and that’s when I noticed the woman on his right. She
had caramel hued skin, high cheekbones accenting huge
eyes that appeared to be some shade of blue, not the
usual brown, and an ebony wig seeded with strands of
gold and pearls. Her eyes were kohl ringed, her lips pouty
and bright crimson, her face perfectly shaped. Her body,
in her clinging blue silken gown, with full breasts and
hips, was absolutely perfect. She was small compared to
me. She couldn’t have been over four foot eight or so. She
was so beautiful. Next to her, I must look like a tall, pale
But there was something in the eyes…a hard
cunningness that reminded me of a cobra. And there was
an air of possessiveness when she looked at Ramose that
told me she had to be Makere, his current concubine.
Nefrure had spoken of her. Said she was sadistic to her
servants and slaves. She thrashed them for the slightest
misstep and sliced up their faces to mar them for life. If a
slave was too pretty or caught Ramose’s eye, she’d scar
them, make them ugly, so he’d never look at them again.
Makere was watching intently, and it made me
There were other women around us and they were
all eavesdropping as well. I was the center of attention
because Ramose was speaking with me.
“I was right…you were a rare jewel hiding beneath
that layer of sand and dirt,” he said. “The clean gown and
trinkets do you much more justice than the shapeless
nightclothes you had on when I first saw you.”
I ignored the compliments and the interest in his
eyes. Ramose was used to complaisant females falling
over him, so I had to guard how I talked to him. Guard
what I said. I could never forget where I was and when. I
had to entertain him and teach him at the same time.
Teach him that I was different.
“Thank you for sending me the clothes and the
jewelry.” I touched the cloth of my gown. “It is not me.
The look, I mean. I feel…overdressed. Like a kewpie
doll.” It’d slipped out before I realized I’d made a blunder.
Already. So much for being guarded…
“Kewpie doll?” There was bewilderment in his voice
as he repeated the words.
I guessed I had to explain it. “Where I come from a
kewpie doll is a prettily dressed up child’s toy. But thank
you for sending me these garments and for helping me
“You are welcome.” His hand reached out and his
strong fingers touched my hair. Then he leaned over and
took my face into his hands. “I am a direct man. When I
see something I desire, I take it. You can pay me back
by…coming to my bed tonight.” He was looking at me,
but he still wasn’t seeing me.
“My lord, I appreciate what you have done for me,” I
mouthed softly so he alone could hear, “but I would prefer
not to. In my land, a woman has a choice of these things.
And as I said before…I am not a slave, but a free woman.
I will decide who I bed.”
Ramose seemed startled by my answer, he pulled
back and seemed to genuinely see me for the first time.
“What strange ideas you have. Do all women behave as
you where you come from?”
“And the men allow it?” I could tell he was a little
irritated but intrigued with me.
“Yes.” I met his eyes and I caught the growing
interest in their depths.
I also caught Makere glowering at me from behind
“I was told you do not recall much of you life before
being found on the desert.”
I liked the way he said found.
“That is true. I do not.” I didn’t like lying but there
was no way I could sit there and tell this man that I was
from the future. No way I could tell him who I really was.
“Then how do you know you were not a slave in your
old life? How do you know what your life was like?”
Ramose picked up a piece of meat from his plate and
handed it to me. Looked like chicken.
“I remember some things,” I replied, nibbling on the
meat. A slave slid up next to me and brought me a plate
of my own food. I was hungry so I ate. It wasn’t easy with
Ramose studying me. Half the room watching me. I didn’t
dare look at Makere again.
“You remember you are a professor at a…Boston
University…and you are an American. Yet you do not
remember how you got here?” Ramose’s glance was
sharp. He’d remembered most of what I’d said the first
time he’d met me. I almost choked. I could have kicked
myself for being so stupid and blurting all that stuff out
that morning. But then that had been before I’d accepted
I was truly back in the past.
I turned and forced myself to smile. “Yes, I am a
teacher…from America. And no, I do not remember how I
A mouth of white teeth flashed at me. “I have never
heard of this land…America.”
“It is a far distant land. Over the waters.” It was all
I could think of at the moment.
“And you are an educated woman. You can read and
“Yes,” hesitantly. Good thing I could read and write,
somewhat, ancient Egyptian.
“You are a respected woman in your land?”
“You want to go back?”
He had me there. I did want to go back but I wasn’t
sure how. Wasn’t sure I ever could. “If I could…but I do
not remember enough to do that…at this time. I would
not know where to go or to whom.” I tried to look sad.
Lost. It wasn’t hard.
“So you are my guest for a while, living on my
I understood what he was getting at but annoyance
flared up before I could stop it. It was my turn to lean
over and say in a whisper to him, “I am and I am
grateful. But that does not mean I have to pay you back
by ending up in your bed tonight. Or any other night, for
that matter…my lord.”
Ramose laughed. “You have spirit, I will say that.”
His hand briefly caressed the side of my face, then pulled
back. “Do you remember what they called you in this far
I thought he was mocking me but replied sweetly
anyway. “They called me Maggie.”
He nodded. “Mag-gie. A pretty name.
“I am Ramose Nakh-Min. I own all this.” He swept
his hand around in a broad circle. “Everything and
everyone.” His meaning was clear.
Not me, I wanted to say, but held my tongue. Instead
I gave him a begrudging smile. The beads in my hair
tinkled and reminded me I was an Egyptian princess.
“Do you know you have the greenest eyes I have ever
seen? Cat’s eyes.
“And your hair,” he murmured, twining his fingers
in the strands, “is like soft moonlight. Your skin as pale
as ivory. I have never beheld a woman like you.”
There was something so charismatic about him that
I had trouble remembering why I had to not obey him. He
was so handsome, yet his face was the face of a dark
angel you did not cross. Sharply contoured with a strong
jaw, a nose arched and well formed, and the most
beautiful dark eyes I’d ever seen, gleaming with wit and
intelligence. His arms were muscled and his chest was
broad and flat. His speech clear and educated.
He was handsome, virile, attractive to women, and
he knew it.
I’d never met a man like him in my whole life.
Maybe it was the power.
There was music now in the center of the room and
with all the people the noise level rose. I could barely
hear what Ramose was saying. Then dancers—halfnaked
women in transparent gowns—glided out and
started prancing around in front of Ramose, trying to get
his attention. He enjoyed the entertainment and I
clandestinely observed the people around us.
Sitting there with Ramose, Makere and all the
celebrating Egyptians, was for me, a scene right out of a
dream. It felt unreal. Dancing bejeweled women, singers,
musicians and drunken revelers. Tables packed with
exotic food and golden goblets of wine and beer. Drunken
soldiers ogling me, and envious women gossiping about
What would my stuffy colleagues back at the
University say if they could see me now? Dressed like
this in this setting? The thought almost made me laugh,
but I kept it to myself. I wished that I had my drawing
materials because I would have loved to sketch the
gyrating dancers and the peacock guests. What a picture
it would have made. Or I wished I had a camera. What
would these people think of a digital or a video camera, I
Yeah, what I wanted was a snapshot of Makere.
If looks could kill. I’d never understood that phrase
fully until I caught Makere’s spiteful eyes on me. I had
made an enemy and she wanted me to know it. Even
though after his first interest in me, Ramose had cooled it
and given his favorite most of his attention. Trying to
make me jealous, I imagine.
Then again, Ramose wasn’t stupid, maybe he was
aware that he was making her jealous and was playing it
smart. I was relieved. I didn’t need Makere as an enemy.
But what was Ramose up to and why was I still here at
his feast if I’d turned him down?
To show me what I was missing, no doubt. To show
me who was boss. I couldn’t leave until he gave me
At times I would catch Ramose stealing looks at me,
or he would say something in my ear or his hand would
brush my skin. There was a physical attraction between
the two of us that even I couldn’t deny. It was as if I’d
been sleeping all my life and was now waking. I had this
bizarre urge to throw my arms around him and press my
lips to his. Merge up against him. I wanted him to touch
me, hold me. Cherish me. It was the strangest thing.
And I fought it. There was no way I was going to
start behaving like a loose woman on a first date. I had to
remind myself who I was. Maggie Owen, college professor
and liberated woman. I couldn’t forget that I didn’t
belong here. My fingers grasped the amulet. It could send
me back at any time. I couldn’t get involved with anyone
here. Not anyone.
But I’d never felt this way about a man and it
unsettled me. Wrong time. Wrong place. Wrong man.
As if thinking of her made Makere act up, the other
woman started a conversation with me. “So…lost woman
from another land…what else can you do besides read
and scribble…can you sing or dance? Here, all Egyptian
girls are taught to sing and dance when they are
“No, I cannot do either.” I could just imagine what
Makere would say if I got up and did one of our modern
American dances or sang one of the Bee Gees tunes. And
watching the Egyptian dancers slithering around the
floor, I knew there was no way I could do their dances
any justice. I was not graceful enough. Not uninhibited
enough or nearly naked enough.
“You cannot dance?” Her voice sarcastic. “Oh, you
are being too modest. Every woman can dance.
“So…dance for us!” she commanded me.
I glanced at Ramose and he shrugged. This is
between Makere and you, it seemed to say.
“No.” I didn’t know if there was a title I should be
using for her. What did you call a lord’s concubine? I
didn’t know. But I could tell she, having a short fuse, was
“How dare you defy me.” Makere stood up. “Dance!”
Her pretty face turned ugly with her rage. This was a
woman, I thought, who was used to getting her way all
the time. She slapped her hand on the table. “Dance!”
“No, thank you very much, I prefer not to.”
Ramose’s face was granite. I was on my own. I
looked away, heart pounding, remembering what Nefrure
had said about Makere’s cruelty.
I had the feeling Ramose was waiting to see who had
the strongest will. Makere or me.
Makere turned to Ramose and gave him her
sweetest smile. “My love, make the new girl dance.” She
leaned her face up close next to his and ran her fingers
along his neck. “Make her dance for us.”
“Make her dance! Make her dance!” Other voices
picked up the chant and soon half the room was
demanding that I make a fool of myself. I was
outnumbered and on the spot. When I was trying so hard
to stay under the radar. But there was no way I was
going to parade around in front of the whole hall shaking
my booty. That was asking for trouble. Might as well
stick a price tag on my butt.
Ramose did something out of character then. In front
of Makere, he took my hand and said softly, “If I ask you
to dance for us, would you?”
There was something in his voice that told me I had
the right to choose and I did. “I beg your pardon, but no,
my lord. As I said I do not know how to dance. Better it is
left to the ones who are good at it.” And at the last second
I decided to appeal directly to him. “Please, do not make
“Then so be it. You do not have to dance.”
I was so relieved, it almost didn’t matter that
Makere was furious. I guess she wasn’t used to being
challenged, but I didn’t dare look at her again. She’d turn
me to stone for sure.
The Story of Witches
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith
April 21, 2011
In 1991 I’d already been writing for about twenty years, on and off (though there was a long gap where I didn’t write because of a divorce, the finding of a full time job to support myself and my son, and a remarriage…life) when I…Continue
Hi all,Just wanted to remind everyone that I'm one of five authors highlighted this week at … Continue