Healing the Beast Within
By Jaxx Steele
Cursed for a crime he did not commit, Keith Turner had given up on love.
Even after making that decision, he still spent every night being tortured.
His brother Kevin was confident that they could find a way to break the curse, but it wasn’t until Keith met Marcello that he ever took Kevin’s ideas to heart.
Salem, NC - 1750 AD
The soft glow of light was more prominent as a figure glided smoothly through the trees toward the clearing. In the small space between the foliage were seven cloaked and hooded people standing close in an incomplete circle around the fire.
One person stood apart from the rest and nodded to acknowledge the newcomer’s presence. The arrival bowed her head and knelt before them. The individual removed their hood revealing the softened features of an aged woman. The crackling blaze lent its radiance to her well-preserved beauty. Her voice was gentle and feminine when she spoke.
“We have come together many times to intervene where justice for women was needed, but it has been a long time since we have gathered. Why have you summoned us here to call upon the powers of darkness, Olivia?” she questioned.
“My granddaughter has been treated unfairly by her betrothed. I seek to punish this man, Veronica.”
“Six months ago Dominic McNeal promised to return and marry her. When he arrived on their wedding day, he was already married to another, breaking his pledge some time ago.”
Shocked gasps spread across the clearing. Veronica sighed and shook her head.
“Granted, sister, leave it to me. I know what to do.”
Olivia rose and walked toward the people within the circle. Someone offered her a cloak to don before she joined the circle.
Veronica raised her arms. The coven members mimicked her movements, closing the circle with their clasped hands. Veronica hummed and the rest followed her lead. As their combined voices rose in crescendo the flames burned brighter. The small inferno went from bright yellow to pale red as the droning continued. Veronica didn’t speak again until sparks jumped violently into the air.
“As we call upon the powers of darkness seeking justice for one of our own, we offer a sacrifice of blood.”
One of the cloaked figures passed an athame down as Veronica paused. Olivia stepped forward with her arm extended over the heat. She took the knife handle with her left hand. With no hesitation she quickly slid the blade across her right wrist. A small yelp came from her lips. The murmurs increased. Bright red blood trickled in a steady stream falling into the fire making it blaze and sparkle even more. The flames licked at her arm and her wrist healed. The dripping stopped, Olivia returned to her place in line and Veronica continued.
“We ask that you condemn this man, Dominic McNeal, for dishonoring our sister’s family. Not only must he pay, but those that come from him will pay as well. For humiliating one of ours, the first son born of his bloodline will be a creature of the night! That is our prayer! Knowing that they will never experience the joy of being happy with a woman again will be our revenge!”
As Veronica grew silent the humming ended and the small conflagration exploded with a loud popping sound. Veronica lowered her arms.
“It is done, sister. Go in peace, until we meet again.”