Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Witch of Whidbey Island

The following morning Ethan and Brian were enjoying breakfast in their newly blessed home. Even Brian could feel that the energy in the house had shifted leaving him with a sense of peace since Ethan’s ritual. As Brian was pouring his second cup of coffee that morning, there was a knock at the door. Ethan leaves the table to answer the door and Brian swipes an extra piece of bacon from Ethan’s plate.

“Yes.” Ethan says opening the door to see a sandy-haired young man carrying a grocery bag in one hand and a clipboard in the other.  “Can I help you?”

“Albertson’s, delivery.” the young man says matter-of-factly.

“There must be some mistake,” Ethan replied “I didn’t order anything.”

Confused, the boy simply looks at the address on his invoice again and then checks the street numbers attached to the house. “Nope” the young man replies after a  pause “this is the right address.”  

“I’m sorry” Ethan explains “but as I’ve already told you, we didn’t order anything.”

“Hmmmm.” the young man offers looking at his invoice again “It says here that it was ordered last night for early morning delivery by….” the young man pauses and all the color seems to drain from his face and he slowly reads “Ernestine Rutenganger.”

“Ernestine Rutenganger?” Ethan asks

“I believe” the young man replied “that’s your neighbor, sir. This is a gift delivery. See here’s a card.”

The young man hands the grocery bag and an envelope over to Ethan, who notices that the delivery boy has grown much more anxious in the last few moments.

“Could…could you sign here, please?” the young man asks nervously pointing to a line on his invoice “to accept delivery.”

Ethan sets the bag down inside his door and signs the invoice. “If you could just wait here a second longer, I’ll get you a tip.”  Ethan says as he notices the young man now shifting his weight from side to side growing more and more agitated with each passing second.

“No,” the young man replies inching away from the door, “No tip needed mister.”

“Have a good day.” Ethan offers as the boy quickly makes his way back to his car.

“Who was that?” Brian asks coming into the living room putting on his coat before leaving for work.

“We got a gift-delivery from our neighbor.” Ethan says pointing towards the bag on the floor with his nose and he opens the envelope that came with it.

“A delivery?” Brian asks opening the bag.

“Welcome to the neighborhood.” Ethan reads aloud off the card so Brian can hear “Sincerely, Ernestine Rutenganger”.

“Hmmmm” Brian murmurs.

“What’s in the bag?” Ethan asks.

“A gift bag” Brian explains “but the funny thing is it only has two things in it.”


“Bread and some salt.”

“Interesting” Ethan replies.

“Does that mean something to you?” Brian asks

“It’s an old Jewish custom.” Ethan replies “to give a gift of bread and salt to new home-owners. The bread is supposed to ensure that there is always enough food in the house, and the salt is for prosperity.”

“Well, we can certainly use a bit of both” Brian says as he gives Ethan a peck on the cheek “I have to get to work.”

“Don’t remind me.” Ethan says following Brian to the door.

“Oh yeah” Brian replies, “How is your job search coming?”

“Not much work for writers right now.” Ethan says “I’ve sent out some inquiries for some freelance stuff and I’m going to see whose hiring around town today.”  

Later that morning, Ethan had filled out several online applications at his computer and was eager to stretch his legs. Noticing the bread and salt still by the front door where he had left it, Ethan decided to be neighborly and walk next door to thank Ms. Rutenganger for her gift. Throwing on a coat and walking out into the chilly morning, Ethan walks down his steps, out to the sidewalk, and over to his neighbors walkway.

“Hey, mister” a little girl cries out as she runs up to him dragging a jump rope behind her.  

“Yes.” Ethan replies looking around to make sure the girl is talking to him.

“You’re not going in there, are you?” she asks pointing to his neighbor’s house.

“Yes, I am” Ethan replies.

“But, don’t you know who lives there?” the wide-eyed girl asks.

“Well” Ethan begins patiently, “I know her name is Ernestine Rutenganger and she’s my neighbor. She sent me a very nice gift this morning and I want to thank her.”

“But…” the little girl begins but doesn’t finish her sentence

“What’s your name?” Ethan asks


“Well, Lisa” Ethan replies “Is there something you want to tell me?”

The girl simply looks at him but doesn’t respond.

“Something about Ms. Rutenganger?” Ethan prods the girl along

The girl nods

“What is it?”

“She’s a witch!” Lisa blurts out quickly as if saying it faster would make it more believable.

“A Witch?” Ethan asks surprised “What makes you say something like that?”

“Everybody says so Lisa explains “And besides, I heard our neighbor Mrs. Taylor telling my mom she went to Ms. Rutenganger and got her fortune told.”


“Yes, and you know what” Lisa replies “She told Mrs. Taylor that her husband was cheating with a woman in his office and the witch told her how to bring him back.”

“And did he come back?” Ethan asks

“Yes, and that’s not all” Lisa explains “Everyday she goes down to the beach to feed the seagulls bread with blood baked in it. They say that the seagulls are her familiars that they help her cast her spells and that if you tell lies they’ll swoop down and peck out your eyes….”

“That’s a really interesting story” Ethan says cutting off the girl.

“Lisa Stein” an approaching mailman asks “What are you doing down here, I just saw your mother looking for you.”

“Ooops I gotta go, mister” Lisa says as she begins skipping rope back towards her house “Don’t forget what I said.”

“I wont, Lisa” Ethan replies.

“Hi” the mailman greets Ethan with a practiced smile.

“Hi” Ethan replies as he turns to go up to Ms. Rutenganger’s door.

““You can’t go up there just now, son” the mailman says placing some envelops in Ms. Rutenganger’s box and closing the door.

“I’m sorry?” Ethan asks

“The blinds are closed.” says the mailman pointing up towards the large bay window at the front of the old lady’s house.

Ethan gives a confused look.

“You must be new around here?” the mailman asks grinning to himself as if he’d revealed some great mystery.  
 “Yes.” Ethan replies “ I just moved in next door.”

“I thought so.” The mailman explains

“Why can’t I go up there just now?” Ethan asks

“You see,” The mailman begins “Ms. Rutenganger is something of a local legend around here. They call her the Witch of Whidbey Island.  She has a reputation for being a fortune-teller.”

“Oh” Ethan replies.

“Don't get me wrong, she's a nice old lady," he continues “but I think its a bunch of marlaky. Old woman gets lonely with no family....she convinces people she can tell fortunes or cast spells so she can get some company. That's all it is.”

“I see” Ethan replies

“Anyway, whenever those blinds are closed,” the mailman explains “it means she’s with someone. Doing her thing…whatever that is... doesn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Oh, well I wouldn’t want to disturb her when she’s working.”

“Ok” the mailman nods in reply having educated this newcomer “I better get back to my route, you have a good day now.”

“You too.”

As a writer, Ethan understood that inspiration could come at any time and so he had become accustomed to keeping a small notebook and pen on him at all times which he now takes out of his pocket and jots down a quick note.

“Dear Ms. Rutenganger,

Thanks for the lovely gift. I stopped by to see you but was given to understand not to call on you when your blinds are closed. If you’d accept an invitation for dinner soon, my husband and I would love to have you over.”


Ethan Knox-Lewis

Walking up his neighbors steps, Ethan folds the note in half and then gently opens the front door to wedge the note in the jam. For a moment he could hear two muffled voices. Then one clearly drowns out the other

“I’ve told you for the last time. I will not help you bewitch that man. He doesn’t share your…well your tastes…it would be WRONG. Now get!

Not wanting to get caught eavesdropping by Ms. Rutenganger’s client, Ethan hurried down the steps and back to his own home. 

Carolina Dean 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Home Again


Chapter One: Home Again 

“I still can’t believe we’re here!” Ethan slowly exhales sitting at a table in the kitchen of his new home. Before him on the table are several eggs, a sage-stick, and a large bell, among other items.

“Yeah” says Brian, his bleary-eyed husband. As he leans over to give Ethan a kiss on the cheek from behind, he notices an old book on the table that he recognizes as Ethan’s Book of Shadows. It is opened to a page which reads How to Make a House a Home. “You’ve said that before.”

“I’m sorry” Ethan says picking up an egg and writing on it with a pen “It’s just that I never dreamed of ever leaving South Carolina and now here we’re in Oak Harbor, Washington!”

“You’ve come a long way, baby” Brian smiles pouring himself a cup of coffee “What are you doing to those eggs there? I hope that’s not my breakfast”

“No,” Ethan begins “There’s a plate of grits and eggs warming in the stove for you.” pointing towards the stove.  “Now that we’ve got all our furniture just where we want it, I decided it’s time to bless the house.”

“But I thought you blessed the house the first day we arrived, before we moved all the furniture in?”

“No, I just cleaned it.” Ethan explained “You know this house was empty for a long time before we bought it. There was dust everywhere and the previous owners left trash here and there. The energy was all mucky.”

Brian looked at Ethan over his breakfast but didn’t respond.

“You see,” Ethan continued, “before you bless a house, you have to clean it physically and remove all the clutter so that energy can flow freely.”

“Oh” Brian offered, taking a sip of coffee. Though not a practitioner himself he’d seen enough of Ethan’s witchcraft to know that there is defiantly something to it even if he didn’t quite understand all the rules.

“So today,” Ethan continued “I’m going to clean the house spiritually with this sage-stick and holy-water and then setting up some wards.”

“Wards?” Brian asked glancing at his watch.

“Yeah, wards” Ethan answered. “They’re to protect the house and...”

“That’s really interesting, babe” Brian interrupted “and I’d really like to hear more about it, but if I don’t leave now I’m gonna be late for my first day of work.”

Glancing at the clock above the stove Ethan jumps up and helps Brian on with his coat and follows him to the front door and out on the front porch.

“I shouldn’t be home too late.” Brian says moving towards the steps that lead down from the house and toward the street to his car. “My shift ends at 5 pm.”

“Brian” Ethan moans curtly.


“Haven’t you forgotten something, darling?”

“I don’t know, have I?” Brian asks distractedly and he checks his pockets for his wallet and keys.

Ethan gives an exaggerated look of hurt and then coyly points to his own cheek.

“Oh Sorry” Brian apologizes “How could I forget?”

Brian climbs back up the steps and gives Ethan a peck on the cheek.

“I think we can do better than that.” Ethan says placing his arms around Brian’s shoulders.   

With that Brian grabs Ethan firmly dips him backwards and kisses him passionately for what seems like an hour.

“That ought’a hold ya till I get home” Brian jokes.  


“Uh oh,” Brian exclaims looking in the direction of the street “Looks like we’re giving the neighbors a show”

Ethan looks in the same direction as Brian and sees an old woman next door looking back at them and leaning on a broom that looks like, Ethan thought, it could have been owned by Mary Ingleman herself. For a few moments the three individuals simply stare at one another as if frozen in time.

“I’ll…. I’ll see you tonight” interjects Ethan breaking the spell between the three watchers and Brian heads towards his car as the old woman returns to sweeping her walkway. 

“I love you” Brian gives over his shoulder.

“You too” Ethan responds.

Later that morning, after Ethan had washed the breakfast dishes, put away the laundry and given the house another once over to ensure that everything was in its proper place, he was ready to perform his house-blessing ceremony.

At his refrigerator, Ethan removes a bottle of sea-water he had personally collected at the beach the previous day and pours it into a crystal bowl. He carries the bowl of water to his living room and sets it on the raised platform before his hearth, inside of which he has kindled a small fire. Nearby there is a sage-stick, and a dish of coarse salt.  

Kneeling before the hearth, Ethan grounds and centers himself, then says:

Holy art thou, Lord of the Universe,
Holy art thou, which nature hath not formed;
Holy are thou, Vast and Mighty One,
Lord of Light, and Darkness!

Finally, he crosses himself saying at the four points: Atah (at the forhead) Malkuth (at the solar plexus) Vegeburah (at the right shoulder) Vegedulah (at the left shoulder) Layolam (hands together as in prayer).

After a brief pause, Ethan tosses a handful of salt in the fireplace and for a few moments the fire rises up and turns bright blue and he lights the sage-stick from it's flame.  Ethan then carries the smoking sage through every room in his home as he chants:

Averte Malorum Spiritis, Averte.
Averte, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

When he has smudged every room in his house, Ethan returns to the hearth where he tosses the remaining sage-stick in the fire. He then picks up the bowl of water and carries it to the front door. There he dips his finger in the water and then draws a pentagram on the door incanting Maximum Praesidium” several times as he visualizes the star glowing with pure-white energy. In his mind’s eye, Ethan could see the star vibrating with power on both sides of the door.  When he is satisfied he repeats: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.

He then moves clockwise about his home performing the same action at every window and at every door leading to the outside world. For a way out, Ethan knows, is also a way in. When he is done, he returns to the hearth and tosses the remainder of the salted-water into the fire without extinguishing it.

Next, Ethan goes to his refrigerator and removes the eggs that he had prepared earlier that morning. Outside he walks to the Northern Corner of his home where he digs a small hole. He takes the egg out of the bowl on which is written the name Uriel and places the egg in the hole.

Ethan crosses himself once more and then says, “Uriel, Archangel of the North. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the North to do us harm.”

Ethan covers up the egg and then draws a cross in the dirt saying “Amen.”

At the Eastern corner of his home, Ethan removes the egg labeled Raphael and performs the same action saying, “Raphael, Archangel of the East. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the East to do us harm.”

And at the South, “Michael, Archangel of the South. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the South to do us harm.”

And finally, at the West “Gabriel, Archangel of the West. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the West to do us harm.”

He then takes some salt and draws a large circle around his house connecting the four tiny graves as he chants, Averte Malorum Spiritis over and over. When he is done he stand with his legs a few feet apart and grounds and centers himself again. Connecting with the universal flow of energy, Ethan visualizes his home surrounded by circles of light through which no evil can cross and four archangels standing guard at the four directions.  Finally, he affirms "Maximum Praesidium. Averte Malorum Spiritus. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti! Amen."

Completing his ritual, Ethan stands satisfied with his work when he notices his elderly neighbor standing in her own backyard where she had been working in her garden and is now staring intently at him. It is then that he realizes that the old lady has witnessed his bit of witchcraft. When their eyes meet, the old lady simply waves at Ethan with a smile and then enters her own house through her backdoor with a basket full of freshly harvested herbs in one hand and a silver knife in the other. 

Carolina Dean

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Black and Blue Magick

"Where am I?" the figure standing in the triangle asks no one in particular. 

"It's you!" Ethan replies 

"Ms. Curry!" Brian exclaims

"I was expecting..." Ethan's words trailed off without finishing his sentence. 

"We'll who?" Brian asks "You were expecting who?"

"How did I get here?" Ms. Curry asks confusedly. 

"Are we really going to have to do this?" Ethan asks Ms. Curry "Just admit it, you're the hag!"
"I...I don't know what you're talking about." Ms. Curry replies "One minute I was at the Inn folding laundry and the next minute I was here."

"Are you sure she's the hag?" Brian asks Ethan "Maybe we did something wrong."
"Ok if you're not the hag" Ethan says drawing back to toss the hex bag "then this should have no effect on you."

"NO!" Ms. Curry screams "Don't!"

Ethan tosses the hex bag at Ms. Curry and Brian follows suit. The hex bags explodes against her body melting her skin to reveal the bloody Boo-Hag underneath. Her feet twist around to their natural position so that her toes point behind her.

"My skin!" sobs the Hag sinking down on her knees "My beautiful skin!"

"Ah, Ethan," Brian begins "I thought your potion was suppose to destroy her?"

"It was supposed to. Why didn't it work?"

The two men regard each other unable to fathom an answer to the dilemma before them as a rumbling laughter begins to climb out of the Hag from a place so deep it seems as if it began in hell eons ago and is just now reaching their ears. 

"You can't do it!" the Hag explains "but I can destroy you!"

"Oh yeah, I'd like to see you try," Brian responds "when you're trapped in there and we're safe out here!"

"Brian, please don't taunt the Hag."

"Fool, this puny trap can't hold me forever." The Hag screams as she begins beating the floor with her powerful hands. 

"Stop that!" Ethan orders her but the Hag ignores him as she continues to beat the floor in a berserk-like rage. shaking the entire shack.

"Ethan" Brian exclaims "the floor, she's tearing it apart. She's gonna get out!"

Before Ethan can make a move the shack can take no more of the Hag's punishment and all three fall through the floor into a cavern below. 

"What happened." Ethan moans peering through the darkness as the debris settles around him. He looks around and surmises that the abandoned shack had been built over one of the old shafts leading into the coal mines. Suddenly he sees Brian unconscious and bleeding from the head. 

"Brian!" Ethan cries and he crawls over to him and begins holding his head."Brian, can you hear me?"

"Now, who's got who trapped?" whispers the Hag from out of the darkness.

"Get out of here you bitch!" Ethan orders "Or I'll....."
"You'll what?" the Hag replies "dust me with some more of your powder?"

"Why are you doing this?"

"Haven't you figured it out yet?" the Hag replies her voice seemingly coming from all directions as she moves about the space "Mr. O'brien and I were lovers. I begged him...BEGGED him... to leave his wife so we can have a life together. Instead he chose her over me!"

"That's no reason to kill him." Ethan replies as he looks around the room for some kind of weapon to defend himself and Brian.

"I didn't want to kill him." the Hag explains with a hint of regret in her raspy voice "I tried to kill his wife but he fought me and I....I only meant to get him out of the way so I could get at Mrs. O'brien"

Ethan ponders what he has just heard as he tries to hone in on the Hag's location in the darkness. He could tell from her voice that she seems to be circling him in a spiral coming closer and closer to him. He spots a candle lying nearby whose flame is still burning. He picks it up and tries to cast some light into the shadows.

"And now" the Hag continues I will destroy you both for interfering. And when I'm done with you I'll go back and kill Mrs. O'brien and maybe even the snot nosed kid."

"You'll never get away with it!" 

Suddenly the Hag appears before him, a dark bloody shadow, and grabs him by the throat. He is thrown on his back and the Hag hovers over him poised to suck out his life's breath. 

"Oh I always get away with it." she explains "Do you know how many dead wives I've left in my trail? I'll finish you off and then move on to another town...another man....."

Finally, Ethan throws the Hag back away from him with a telekinetic push and tosses the lit candle at her. The Hag's body ignites in a blue flame and explodes into a thousand tiny pieces. 


"Your story checks out." Sheriff Bostick explains to Ethan and Brian "It seems that Ms. Curry, or whatever her real name is, has been a person-of-interest in several murders all over the country. She always disappeared and changed her identity before she could be thoroughly investigated."

"How do you know she the same person?" Mrs. O'brien asks

"Well, they finger printed her once down in Georgia and those prints matched the ones we lifted from your laundry room." 

"I can't believe it" Mrs. O'brien explains "She was always so nice. I mean, I did suspect Brad of having an affair a few months ago I could never prove it. I guess I didn't want to believe that it could be true."

"What will you do now?" Brian asks

"Well, I've decided to sell the Inn to the Bakhtak Corporation and move back to the North East where I have family." she explains "They've made me a generous offer."

"What do they want with the Inn?" Ethan inquires. 

"They think the land here would be a great investment. They plan on building a resort."

"Well Sheriff ," Brian begins "if that answers all of your questions, can my husband and I get on with our journey now that our car is repaired?

"Oh yes" the Sheriff replies "and you can stop by the station on your way out of town to pick up your piece."

"Good, we'll be leaving in the morning after breakfast" Brian says as he and Ethan walks away "thanks again, Sheriff."

"Ok" Brian says when the two men are far enough away from the Sheriff and Mrs. O'brien, "They bought our story that we were hiking in the woods and came across Ms. Curry burying her bloody clothes from the night we found her in the O'brien's bedroom. But you never told me how you made her blow up?"

"Simple chemistry" Ethan explains "When we fell into that old mine-shaft I remember a crucial ingredient that we had forgotten at the grocery store."

"What's that"


"I still don't get it?"

"Brian, it's easy" Ethan responds "What do you get when you mix sulphur, saltpeter, and charcoal together?"


Brian stops and stands across from Ethan resting his hands on Ethan's shoulders. Now that you've taught me all about chemistry, how about a lesson in biology?"
Before Ethan can answer Brian leans in and give Ethan a passionate kiss. 

"You're crazy." Ethan replies. 

"Over you."

The two men take each other by the hand and run up to their room to begin their last night on Moonshine Mountain. 

The End of The Fool's Journey 

Ethan Knox will return in 


Tuesday, April 26, 2011


"Sea Salt, Salt-Peter, Kosher Salt..." Ethan writes hurriedly on a scrap of hotel paper trying to remember the formula for destroying the Hag. Lost in his own thoughts he didn't even register Brian trying to speak to him. 

"Ethan," Brian finally yells exasperated "What happened here?"

"Oh" Ethan replies, "I didn't hear you come in." He looks around the room recalling how he had found it in such disarray. "Someone...or something...came into the room and stole the spell I need to destroy the Hag."


"Well, obviously, it was the hag" Ethan explains as he continues to write "She must have tracked me the same way I tracked her...or maybe she recognized me from somewhere, it is a small town."

"Ok" Brian offers "this is getting out of hand. We need to end this now. I found a place for you to do your ritual. There's an old abandoned chicken shack in the woods, do you have everything you need?"

"I think so" Ethan explains "luckily I had just read the ritual the other day, I think I can piece enough of it together from memory to make it work. I just need to pick up a few supplies at the market and then we can do this."

"Is the car ready?" Ethan asks tucking his list in his pants pocket and throwing a satchel containing his magickal implements over his shoulder.
"Not yet, but it should be ready in the next few days." Brian explains "Until then, I'm afraid we're gonna have to walk."

The two men walk to the local market where they casually begin searching for the various items they will need to perform the ritual. Neither men speak.

"You're awfully quiet for someone who's about to do battle with the spirit world." Brian offers finally breaking the silence between them. "Are you scared?"

"I wouldn't be human if I said no." Ethan answers as they head to the checkout area "but right now I'm mainly trying to remember the incantation....something that rhymes with essence..."

"Oh hi, boys" interjects Mrs. O’brien waiting in line ahead of them. 

"Hi" Ethan replies "what are you doing here?"
"Oh I needed to pick up some extra washing powders for all the laundry," she offers as she glances in Ethan's shopping cart.

"What do you want with all them salts...sea salt, kosher salt, rock salt, and sulphur?"

"I'm a bit of an aspiring chef" Brian explains quickly "I wanted to stock up on some herbs and ingredients while I was here on Moonshine Mountain...everything is so cheap."

"You cook with sulphur?"

"Oh that." Brian begins to answer

"The sulphur is for when we go camping" Ethan speaks up "A ring of sulphur around the tent keeps insects out."

"Oh I see" Mrs. Obrien replies "You boys want a ride back to the Inn?"

"No thank you" Ethan offers "we have more shopping to do and we're going to take in a few sights while we are out."

"Ok" Mrs. Obrien sighs "see you later."
"Boy she has some presence, doesn't she?" Brian whispers to Ethan as Mrs. Obrien gathers her bags and walks away. 

"Brian" Ethan exclaims "that's, it!"
"What's it?"

"You just gave me the final piece of the puzzle I needed for my spell! Now let's get out of here and show me this chicken shack."

Brian takes Ethan to the abandoned chicken shack he found deep in the woods behind a row of unkempt houses. As they make their way to the shack, Ethan notices the rusted tin roof and dilapidated walls and wonders to himself if the shack will collapse on them. 

"Here's a diagram I need you to draw on the floor?" Ethan tells Brian handing him a piece of paper and a chunk of chalk.

"What is it?"

"Its a devil trap" Ethan explains "it will hold the Hag prisoner so we can destroy her. Draw it just like you see it on that paper, about three feet in circumference."

"How are you going to destroy her?" Brian asks

"By combining.... the five earths." 

As Brian draws the devil trap, Ethan sets out a small mortar and combines the rock salt with the sea salt, kosher salt, and salt-peter. He mixes it well and adds a portion of sulphur chanting his incantation over the mixture as he grinds it together.

"....this fire of earth and earth of fire now becomes your funeral pyre...."

"Ok I think its ready" Brian says as Ethan completes his incantation. "How does it look?"
"Great" Ethan replies handing Brian a burlap sack into which he has placed the five earths "here take this."

"What is it?"

"A hex bag."

"What do I do with it?"

"I'm going to summon the hag and when she appears we're going to throw these hex bags at her."

"And then what?"

"Well" Ethan says "if I've done this right she' goes poof."

The two men share a laugh at Ethan's comment to shake off their fear. Then Brian comes forward and kisses Ethan passionately for what seems like an eternity. 

"What was that for?" Ethan asks. 

"In case I die, I just want you to know that I love you."

"I already know that." Ethan replies "are you ready?"

"As I'll ever be."

Ethan takes his place at the edge of the circle as Brian stands across from him on the opposite side each holding on to the hex bags.

"Ancient hag, bringer of death, 
I cast this spell to stop your breath;
I summon you now into my presence, 
to destroy your body and essence!"

Carolina Dean

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Room With a Clue

“I’ll have two eggs over-easy” Brian says to the waitress “with a side of grits and bacon.”

“Ok, and you sir?” The waitress replies looking towards Ethan.

“I’ll have the grits with scrambled eggs and bacon” Ethan offers handing her his menu “and can I get a few pieces of toasts”

“Sure thing, I’ll have that for you in a jiffy,” the waitress says as she gathers up Brian’s menu and walks away.

Brian waits for the waitress to walk out of earshot before speaking “So you think it was a hag that killed Mr. O’brien?”

“Yes” Ethan begin, “its like I told you back in the room, I followed its psychic footprints on the astral plane.”

“Astral Plane?”

“Well the Astral Plane is …….”

“Excuse me, sugar, would you like a refill on that coffee?” the waitress asks Brian.

“Um, sure.” Brian replies.

As the waitress refills Brian’s coffee the men sit in silence. When she leaves they resume their conversation.

“Ok, what were you saying about the Astral Plane?”

“Forget about that for now, our priority now is to find the hag and destroy her.”

“Are you sure about this hag thing?” Brian asks “I’ve heard stories about hags all my life, but nothing like this.”

“Well these myths often have a ring of truth about them. Since many of these stories come down to us from word-of-mouth there are bound to be variables.”

“Like what?”

“Well, some cultures believe the hag to be a spirit.”

“That’s can’t be true, I mean we actually saw one in the flesh. That ugly thing sure weren’t no spirit”

“Right” replies Ethan. “Many of the ancient legends have a few things in common. Hags are always female. During the day they are thought to be either ugly old women, or beautiful young ladies. The young and beautiful ones are thought to love luxury and comfort so they attract and marry rich young men. At night they shed their skin and sneak into unsuspecting people’s homes to sit on their chest and suck out their breath.”

“Here you boys go.” the waitress says placing Ethan and Brian’s plates before them. “Can I get you anything else?”

“No thanks.” Brian replies for both of them.

“So they feed off a person’s vital energy?” Brian asks

“Right.” Ethan replies

“How can you tell who’s a hag?”

“Hags aren’t like you and me” Ethan offers “their feet are on backwards. During the day, they twist their feet around to appear normal.”

“That’s disgusting, Ethan.”

The two men share a laugh and they continue to chat and eat their breakfast.

“So, what are you going to do go around town and check out every woman’s ankles?” Brian asks.

“No, there’s actually a ritual in the Book of Shadows to attract and destroy a hag.”

“Ok, so what do we do?” asks Brian.

“That’s it? No argument, just what do we do?”

“Babe, I shot that thing multiple times at point blank range and it still came at me. If you hadn’t come in and sent that bitch flying I’d probably be dead now too. The way I see it we take her down, or she keeps killing people and we can’t let that happen.”

“Good, cause I’m going to need your help?” replies Ethan.

“What do you want me to do?”

“I’m going to need a secluded place to perform the ritual. We can’t have people snooping around when we confront the hag.”

“Ok, I’ll work on that after breakfast. I have to go check on our car today anyway. What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to go back to the hotel to consult the Book of Shadows. I’ll have to gather some supplies to perform the ritual.”

The two men finish their breakfast and then go their separate ways. Brian to Hambone’s Garage to check on their car and Ethan back to the Come On Inn. As Ethan approached the Inn, he notices a stretch limousine outside.

Walking inside Ethan approaches the front desk to check for messages he notices a woman wearing a $3000.00 black Versace pants-suit and $400.00 pair of Milano Bilonics, and carrying a $4500.00 Gucci handbag who he surmised was not from Moonshine Mountain.  As he waits to speak with Mrs. Curry he can’t help but overhear their exchange.

“I’m sorry but Mrs. O’brien is still in the hospital” Mrs. Curry says to the woman in black “and I just oversee the cleaning staff.”

“If you could just give her my card” the woman in black replies “I’d appreciate it very much.”

Mrs Curry takes the card and holding it out at arms length slowly reads the print. “Faye Powers, Bakhtak Corporation….”

“Yes. I’m very interested in speaking with Mrs. O’brien as soon as possible.”

“What would some big corporation want with an Inn owner?” Mrs. Curry asks

“Frankly, we are interested in buying the Inn.”

‘The Inn? Why would you want to buy the Inn?”

“I can’t comment on that at this time, but please see to it that Mrs. O’brien gets my card.”

Faye Powers turns around abruptly to leave and runs into Ethan, who she hadn’t noticed standing behind her.

“Oh, excuse me” she says dropping her purse.

“I’m sorry” Ethan replies, as he stoops down to get her purse “It was my fault entirely”

As he picks up the purse, Ethan notices that though the woman’s shoes are quiet beautiful her feet and ankles seem to be bruised.”

“Do you like them?” Faye asks

“Like them?”

“The shoes? They’re Milano Bilonics. Beautiful as hell, but murder on the feet and ankles.”

“I didn’t even notice.” Ethan replies handing the woman her purse.

“That’s the price of beauty” she says walking away.

“Mr. Knox” Mrs. Curry says “back from breakfast already? Where’s your….um brother?”

“My husband,” Ethan replies is at the garage checking on our car.”

“Oh, I see.” 

“Do either of us have any messages?”

“Nope, nothing at all.”

“Thanks Mrs. Curry”

“Have a good day.”

Ethan walks up to his room and unlocks the door to find that it has been ransacked! He quickly steps inside and shuts the door behind him. Preparing himself for a possible attack he searches the closet and bathroom for any sign of the intruder.

Ethan is relieved to learn that he is alone in the room and he begins to inspect the damage. It is then that he notices his ancestral Book of Shadows open on the edge of the bed. Walking over to the book his relief turns to terror as he realizes the spell to Attract and Destroy a Hag has been torn from the book!

“Son of a …….”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Into the Woods

“Are you going to stay in there all night?” Brian asks frustrated “It feels like you’ve been in there for months!”

Ethan’s astral form flew around the building and to the window of the room in which the attack occurred earlier that night. Hovering at the window he looked inside and saw the dark energy that lingers in a place where a violent death has occurred.

“Good.’ Ethan thought to himself “Don’t see any spirits hanging around. Hopefully Mr. O’Brien crossed over quickly.”

Ethan knew what could happen to a spirit that lingers on the earth plane after its body’s death. These spirits often feel that they must avenge their death or right some wrong before they can have closure. Some spirits even become trapped in loops re-living their horrible deaths over and over again. Often when they don’t get that needed closure, the spirit becomes angry, even violent towards those whose space it shares.  

“You know I’m not going to sleep until you’re in bed with me?” Brian asks now standing at the door to the bathroom which he discovered was locked. When Ethan failed to reply he hit the door once “Oh, ignoring me? That’s real mature, Ethan!”

Brian returns to the bed, grabs the remote to the television turns it on and begins flipping through the channels in an effort to distract his mind from his frustrations.

Ethan notices an astral substance on the window ledge that glows a dull green.  As his attention becomes focused on this substance it became clearer to Ethan that the energy leads out of the room, into the nearby woods and beyond.

“Energy flows where attention goes.” Ethan thought to himself as he followed the trail of energy into the woods.

“In other news…” read the announcer over the television “reports keep coming in that an unknown party continues to buy up tracts of land on Moonshine Mountain. This sleepy town was once the hub on the coal mining industry…..”

“Ethan, this is getting old and I’m getting tired” Brian calls turning off the television “When are you coming out of of there?”

Walking through the woods as if he were in his own body, Ethan’s spirit continues to follow the trail of energy. He notices that the energy seems to hover above strange footprints in the earth below. Where the energy trail leads him towards the West, the footprints appear to have been made by someone, or something, walking to the East.

“Hello?” Ethan calls noticing a shadowy figure ahead in the darkness. “Who’s there?” Ethan begins to move faster to catch up with the figure.

“What am I doing? Ethan stops and asks himself “No one is going to be able to see or hear me, I’m on the astral plane…”

“Who ARE you?” the scratchy voice of the figure came out of no where.

“Where did you come from?” a startled Ethan asks the figure “Wait, you can see me?”

“Of course I can see you, you disgusting creature.”

“I’m disgusting? Most not be a lot of shiny surfaces where you come from, Lady. I notice your feet aren’t like us humans.”

“What of it?”

“The skinless body. The backwards feet. I know what you are.”

“And what is that, sunshine?”

“A hag.”

“Ethan, this isn’t funny anymore” Brian yells at the door “Either answer me or come out of there, you’re scaring me!”

“Enough of this!” the hag exclaimed. She didn’t count on this human having the advantage of knowing what she was. Fearing that if Ethan knew what she was, he may also know how to destroy her she attempted to change the subject. “Why are you following me?”

“You killed a man back there. You almost killed his wife, and the man I love.”

“Now I remember. You’re the one that threw me out the window…from across the room?”

“I couldn’t let you hurt them. I came here to stop you from killing anyone else.”

“Ok that’s it” Brian says “This door is coming down!”

“And now….you are the one who’s going to die!” cried the figure as she pounced on Ethan.

“Oh, look at that.” Ethan replied as the hag moved harmlessly through his astral body falling hard on the ground below. “Can’t touch this!”

Brian crashes through the bathroom door and seeing Ethan unconscious in the tub runs over to him.  “Ethan! Ethan, baby, wake up.” Brian whispers to Ethan gently tapping his cheeks.

The instant Brian touches Ethan’s body, Ethan’s astral form returns and he wakes up.

“Brian?” Ethan asks

“Yeah, it’s me, baby. Are you all right?

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” Ethan replies “I….I just feel asleep, that’s all”

Brian helps Ethan out of the tub and wraps a towel around him.

“That’s all” Brian says “You’ve been in here almost an hour. I was calling you and calling you.”

“I guess I just got relaxed and fell into a deep sleep.” Ethan explained.

“Are you sure you’re all right.”

“Yes, I’m fine”

“Ok. Put your clothes on and let’s go to bed.”

“I’ll be there in a minute.”

Ethan walks towards the dresser to get a pair of underwear and sweat pants to sleep in, but moves over to the window instead. There he stares out the window into the dark night and contemplates his next move.

Carolina Dean

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fly By Night

“So” sighed the Sheriff, “let me get this straight. You and your friend here were unpacking in your room. The one you share together…..and you saw someone climb in the window across the way….”

“Yes, that’s right” replies Ethan

“Let me finish, son” said the Sheriff admonishing Ethan


“You…Brian, that is… brandished your weapon with the intent of confronting the intruder. You knocked on the door, identifying yourself as police, which we’ll get to that later…. and when you heard suspicious noises you forcibly entered the room.”

Sheriff Bostwick paused collecting his thoughts. The older officer had seen many strange cases in his time but this one took the cake.

“Upon entering the room” Sheriff Bostwick continued, “you witnessed a bloodied up figure, possibly female, attacking the victim. You ordered the perp to get down on the floor but he or she rushed you and you shot him or her at point blank range and they escaped out the window. Is that it?”

“Yes, Sheriff” replied Brian “in a nutshell.”

“And you ah…Ethan is it?” asked the Sheriff

“Yes, Ethan Knox” replied Ethan

“What were you doing during this time?”

“Well Brian told me to stay in the room and call 911, which is what I did.”

“Until you heard the shots fired?”

“Yes, Sheriff, after I heard the shots fired I got worried and ran to check on Brian.”

“Mr. Knox, do you make a habit of running into danger like that?”

“Well when someone I care about might be in trouble.” Ethan replied putting his hand on Brian’s shoulder.

“I see” observed the Sheriff noncommittally

“Sir!” an officer called approaching the men “His story checks out. Up until two weeks ago he was a detective with the Shadow Falls Police down in South Carolina.”


“Yeah, they say he resigned to take a job out of state” Officer Hinton continued “just like Mr. Lewis said.”

“Well Mr. Lewis” the Sheriff began “it looks like your story, at least part of it, checks out. We’ll be keeping your piece for the time being but I’m gonna have to ask you two not to leave town.”

“I understand, Sheriff” Brian offers taking Ethan by the arm to return back to their room.

“Um, Sheriff” Ethan asks breaking away from Brian “what about the couple? Are they all right?”

“Well I don’t suppose it would hurt to tell you now.” replies the Sheriff “Small town like this, you can’t keep any secrets. The couple were Brad and Janet O’Brien….they owned the Inn. Brad is dead, his wife will live.”

“Oh” Ethan muttered “What about Kaleb, their son? He checked us in earlier.”

“Slept through the whole thing” replied the Sheriff “he’s been taken to the hospital with his mother. We’ll take care of him. We take care of our own around here. Now go on back to your room, Mrs. Curry will be here in the morning to take care of the Inn while Mrs. O’Brian is recovering.

“Mrs. Curry?” asks Brian figuring Ethan had asked enough questions

“Yes” explains the Sheriff “She oversees the housekeeping staff.”

“Thanks again, Sheriff” Brian says walking away with Ethan.

Sheriff Bostwick and Officer Hinton watched as the two men walked back into the Inn.

“You think they got something to do with this, Sheriff?” asked Officer Hinton

“My gut says no,” replies the Sheriff “but something about their story don’t add up.”

“Yeah, um, I think they’re gay sir.” Officer Hinton observed.

“You don’t say.” replied Sheriff Bostwick giving the young officer a knowing look “That’s obvious enough. I mean if he shot this intruder where is the blood? We looked that room over and there’s no blood?”

Wisely the officer, embarrassed about his earlier comment, chooses not to reply but rather shrugs his shoulders.
Back in their room again, Brian begins securing the door and windows while Ethan takes his Book of Shadows out of his suitcase and sits on the bed as he flips through the pages.

“Ok” Brian says checking the locks again “Whatever that was, it wasn’t human, so what was it?”

“I don’t know” Ethan offers “From what I observed I’m thinking a Succubus, a Hag, some form of Vampire...can’t be sure until I know how Mr. O’Brian died…”

“Are the police gone?” asks Ethan as he spies Brian looking out the window.”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Good” he replies closing the book “Stay here, you’ll be safe.”

“What do you mean?”

“I conjured the room when you weren’t looking” Ethan explains “you’ll be safe as long as you stay in the room.”

“You’re not going anywhere.” Brian commands blocking Ethan’s way.

“Like you can stop me.”

Brian stands his ground.

“I have to go after that thing, whatever it is.”

“That’s just it” Brian explains “you don’t know what it is, you don’t know how to fight it…”

“But I have to try.”

“Ethan, you are not leaving this room to go after that thing. Not tonight. Not if you love me.”

“Fine” Ethan acquiesced figuring that Brian was right and that he didn’t know how to fight the thing.

“Good, now let’s go to bed.”

“I want to take a hot bath first,” explains Ethan

“There’s no window in there” Brian observes “you can’t slip out.”

“I just want to unwind. You go on to bed.”

“I’ll go to bed” Brian says “but I won’t go to sleep until you’re in here with me…in my arms….where you can’t get away….”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ethan offers entering the bathroom and turning on the faucet.

When his bath is drawn, Ethan removes his clothes and slips into the hot water. He lies back submerging his head for a second and then relaxes into perfect calm taking several deep, cleansing breathes. When his mind and body are completely relaxed he begins to chant:

“Unshackle the soul held within,
the bonds of mortal frame;
that it be free to ascend,
and move about the astral plane.”

In an instant Ethan finds himself standing over the bathtub looking down on his own naked form still soaking in the hot water. He turns towards the bathroom door and walks through it and over to Brian who is sitting up in bed with his arms crossed. Ethan stands before Brian waving his hands in front of Brian’s face to confirm that Brian can’t see him. He then walks over to the window.

“Here goes nothing.” Ethan says to himself as his spirit form leaps out the window and flies into the night.

--Carolina Dean