Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Forest Has Ears... Part 1

She didn't even know why she was sitting at the table. Karen knew she had at least 20 other things she could and truly, should be doing right then. She stared down at the picture again. She choked back the tears as she remembered. She was so beautiful, so spirited. Her long auburn hair was only paled by the sparkling of her emerald eyes. Her long legs led up to a body that was perhaps not so perfect to anyone else, but to Derek, it was always right. Her weight fluctuated the entire seventeen years but Derek always only saw beauty. Derek was the very love of her life and so very much the reason she rose every morning from her bed. Seventeen years with him seemed more like seventeen days now. Time had gone by so quickly but she had only realized it now. She touched his face with her fingertips and traced the outline of his body with her thumb. She was outspoken but never rude, soft but not weak and she was well versed in dressing to look elegant but never, ever over-dressed nor under-dressed.
The lights flickered in the kitchen again. She was glad to be getting out of the house. The last few days the house seemed to have decided to fall apart all on it's own. Karen moved her fingers to reveal the faces of their children. Mark, sixteen and sports savvy, shared only his looks with his father. He had Karen's out-going personality as well as sharing her gift to put a person "in their place" and make them feel as if he had complimented them. He was tall like Derek and fast on his feet. She looked down at seventeen year old Jessica. Standing beside her brother, the photo stoled her true height. At five foot, ten inches, tall for a girl, Mark made her look shorter. His six foot two inch frame towered over her. She was all her mother in looks. Watching this beautiful young lady move across the basketball court at school made a lot of guys turn their heads. She was Derek in every other way. She had his smile and his desire to laugh and make others smiles. She helped out with the after school programs and gave any extra time to causes for the less fortunate. She cried seeing a squirrel hit by a car. Too much like her father perhaps, Karen thought as she stared into the picture. So perfect a family. So very much her life. So very much...Gone. The lights went off and then on again.
"Damned old house" she murmured out loud.
"Karen, we need to get finished here. I want to be at least half way before dark."
Ellie tried so hard to keep Karen focused. Her only sibling, she was 3 years older than Karen. Their parents dying when Karen was six, Ellie had mothered her through out her growing years. She was there for Karen's tears and triumphs and there when she married Derek. She was always thankful she was there for her.
"I know, Ellie, and I am trying. It is hard for me."
She hugged Karen. As she did, she felt the muscles in Karen's body tense. She began to tremble and Ellie cried silently as Karen squeezed her. She knew she was at the fire again. She always knew.
"Karen, there was nothing you could do! Neither was your fault! How many times must I tell you that before you believe me?"
She held her tighter as she relived the fire again.
"It was me they wanted, Sis! It was always me! They killed our parents and then my family!!!! They took all I ever loved from me except for you. I never asked to be this way!"
"Karen!" she said, pulling back from her so she could look into Karen eyes. "You were born special. We have always known that. Mom and Dad knew it, Derek knew it and so did your children. There is nothing you did to make that happen. It just happened! Now we have one chance to get out of here and start fresh. But if we don't go soon, we won't make it out of here! Please, I need you to focus. You've seen the lights flicker. We need to go."
"Yes, yes, I know. I am so sorry. Let's gather our things and get going.They must be close enough to cause the lights to go out. Damn!"
She watched as Ellie made her way across the front lawn. She had loaded the SUV and was walking back to the house. Karen was never so grateful to have her sister with her as she was now. Ellie smiled as she came up the front steps. Karen reached out to hug her and thank her. The expression on Ellie's face hit Karen even before the sound did. She watched as Ellie stumble across the threshold of the house. She reached out and caught her before Ellie could fall to the floor. Her blouse was red in seconds. Karen laid her down and searched frantically for an entrance wound. When she was certain there was none to be found, she laid Ellie's body gently on the floor. She poured oil over the body and watched as Ellie slowly began to breathe again.Reaching for her wand, she closed the door with Ellie still lieing on the floor.
Outside, she saw the two young women walking away from the house quickly. As one looked over her shoulder, Karen saw the fear in her eyes. She tried to pull the other woman with her. Ellie stretched out her wand in the women's direction. The sky above them turned dark and the wind began to stir. Lightening flashed around the women as they began running away. The flashes danced all around them, barring their way in all directions. They stood clinging to one another, crying, begging Karen to turn her wand away.
"I will let you live long enough to tell the others Not to send little girls to take down an Elder. Me nor my sister will be harmed ever again by the sister Coven. You tell them that! You tell Melody that! Feel my anger now before you go!!!"
Karen swirled her wand in a circle and tossed the energy at the women. In an instant, lightening exploded where the two women stood clinging tight to one another. In one more instant there was a scream of pain. The next moment... they were no more.

The Forest Has Ears... Part 2

The sky cleared almost as quickly as it had darkened. Karen turned and went back in to check on Ellie. She was sitting up, leaned against the wall of the kitchen. The only sign that she had been hurt was the blood stain on her blouse.
"Stupid, stupid me! If my head had been on right I would have seen that coming, Ellie. I am very sorry."
"Stop it, Karen. There is nothing we can do about it now. Thank goodness I have a little bit of mom in me or I would have been dead for sure. Thank you for the touch healing. That helps."
"What are we going to do, Ellie?"
"Right now, we are going to get out of here before that witch with a B sends more of her flunkies to mess with us. We can't go where we were headed, that's a given. Melody has eyes every-where. We need to find a safe place where she can't feel us for a while."
"Derek was a fool... A wonderfully, brilliant, handsome fool."
"O.k., where are we going with this, Sis?"
"He knew. He knew all along that one day being with a wiccan would cost him his life. He knew and still he stayed."
"He loved you. He always did, Karen."
"And it cost him his life! What kind of exchange was that!? Seventeen years of ducking and diving and hoping the next lightening bolt wasn't meant for you. When we walked the right of passage into Marriage, he knew then. No one has their broomstick break in half just from stepping over it. He said it was because our Love was so strong. I knew better and so did he. It foretold of his death even then. And still, he stayed."
"You have to remember that a lot of things were different with you, Karen. You were confirmed before you were ten years old. Unheard of. You were born with five stars on your shoulder, for cripes sake! At the initiation, we suddenly had a lunar eclipse. Your second Saturn return came to you before you were thirty. Anyone else is 58 to 60 years old, Sis. That's fact! No one really knew what it all meant. Mom and Dad maybe, but if they did, they didn't pass the knowledge on. All we can do is survive as long as we can. You didn't step out of the coven, remember? That was Melody and her followers. You tried to fix the tear in the fabric and..."
"And it cost me my husband and my children! What a price to pay for something I should have walked away from years ago!"
The lights began flickering again. Both ladies looked at the front door.
"Karen, we need to get out of here. We can not stay any longer. Take us to a safe place now."
Knowing the lights were not because the house was old, Karen knew Ellie was right. They finished loading the van and Ellie drove away from the house. As she turned the first bend, an explosion happened behind them. In the rear view mirror she watched as the house turned quickly to ashes. Quicker, she knew than was normal.
"Is it gone?"
"Yes Karen, completely. Where are we going? Point the way."
"There is only one place that Melody can't feel us. Head North to the forest. We can find refuge there while we figure out what we are going to do."
As they drove, a car suddenly appeared behind them. Ellie watched it in the mirror as it got closer to them. The car moved into the passing lane as it approached.
"I think we have company, Sis."
Karen looked at Ellie and then through the back window. The car was like any other car to the naked eye. To Karen, it shimmered and turned from silver to copper color and back to silver over and over again.
"It's more of Melody's girls. I can feel six of them. Keep driving and do not look back, Ellie. Do not even look into your mirror."
The car hit the back of the van. The van lunged forward as Ellie gripped the wheel tighter. "Just hold it as best as you can, Ellie. Keep your eyes glued to the road!"
Karen climbed from the front seat to the back of the van. She glanced up front and saw Ellie watching her. "Damn it, Ellie! I said keep your eyes on the road. Do you want to die!?"
"I am sorry... I am scared!"
"Me too, but I need to concentrate, please!" Ellie turned her eyes back to the road. She kept them focused on the highway in front of her, though she wanted so to watch what Karen was doing. Karen kicked the back door of the Van open just as the car struck it again. She grabbed the side of the door to keep from falling out. A bright light came through the back door and struck the floor. With a wink, the flames were extinguished. Karen stretched out her wand. It was long, longer than the traditional wand. It was a foot long and covered in every color that existed in a witches "tool kit." It was covered in Gold instead of brass and the shine from it could blind a person. The driver saw the wand first. Karen saw her eyes widen as she tried to back the car away from the van. Karen smiled.
Should have done that before you tried to kill us! Now it's my turn." Flashes were coming from every window of the car. They were striking the van on all sides and Ellie struggled to keep the Van on the road. Karen suddenly left the van and in an instant was seated next to the driver. The girls in the car began trying to hide on the floor of the car. Wands were being dropped and the driver could barely keep the car on the road.
"Don't you hate it when your leader forgets to tell you how nasty I am? You girls should have stayed in bed this morning. Now, I have to get mean. How shall we do this, ladies? Do you pull over and try to run or do we do it right here? Trap you like you did my Love and my children."
"It wasn't us, Karen, I swear it wasn't!!!!"
"Then I guess you should have just said "No", Tara. Too late for that though."
As the car came to a screeching halt, all the ladies reached for the door handles. As their fingers gripped the handles, they all heard the door-locks snap down. "Now that wouldn't be nice of you if you left just when I was about to start class, would it?"
With a wave of her hand, the car began to heat up. The windows fogged over quickly. Suddenly, Tara disappeared from the front seat. Karen turned towards the back seat.
"Tara is on her way back to Melody. She is going to tell her what happened here today. Unfortunately, you 5 will not be joining her."
"Please, please, don't hurt us!"
"It will only hurt for a minute, Selena. Much nicer than you were to my loved ones. And please don't deny it. I can still smell their presence on all of you. Bye ladies."
In a bright flash, Karen was back in the van. She watched as the car and all inside, turned to ashes. She crawled back into the front seat.
"Is it done, Sis?"
"For now. Let's get to the Forest. We can listen from there."

The Forest Has Ears... part 3

Karen slept while Ellie drove. Ellie knew the way to where Karen wanted to go. It was the same place their parents had taken them when there was danger. A place that was circled by all the elements so important to a witches world. The forest protected them from peering eyes, even the eyes that did not need be beside you to see you. Inside the forest was a lake surrounded by more trees and fertile soil. Just beyond the lake burned an eternal flame.Not a flame that could be explained but none the less, a searing heat that could turn to ashes anything within 100 feet of it's flame. All the elements present... Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Few had ever been there and fewer even knew it existed. It was near dark when they arrived.
"Karen, you need to wake up, Sis. We are here."
"So soon? I feel like we just started driving."
The tall Cedars reached to the sky and made a canopy that shielded the Forest floor from nearly all light. They walked with their belongings until they found the small cabin that was nestled against the trees. Tiny shards of light still filtered through and made it appear as if the cabin were lit up itself.Pine cones arrayed the trees like Christmas ornaments and the ground was plush with grass like a carpet. They went inside and tried to get settled.
"We are going to be here for awhile, Ellie. I am sorry for this but it really is the safest place for us. The spell that Mom placed on the Forest here still exist. Only those we wish to see us can see us here."
"Melody has gotten stronger, Sis. I could feel her presence even outside the van. She knows where we are."
"I have no doubt that she does. Foolishly, we talked Mom into allowing us to bring her here when we were growing up. Mom seldom let her guard down but twice she did. The second time cost her dearly."
"Must we always dwell on the things that are gone now?"
"Gone? Nothing is ever truly gone, Ellie. It just moves on to another plaine. You know that. You know that. We have to remember or we will be caught off-guarde and then we lose. I have called on Jennifer and Alesha. They should be here within the hour."
"If melody hasn't found them and killed them."
"I placed a protective ring around them. They will be safe. In fact, they are here."
"Yes, I feel them too."
Jennifer and Alesha entered the cabin. The girls all hugged and greeted one another.
"The stories going around the different covens are that you are both dead. Killed by Melody because you betrayed the coven. It is total calamity out there. Witches vieing for your positions and some claiming they have your wand. Some even say they took in your aura and now have your powers. The coven is in complete disarray."
"Well, we all know that none of it is true,Alesha. Now we have to figure out how we are going to fix this."
"We need to know more, Karen. How can we really be of assistance when we don't even know what truly happened?"
"You are right, Jenn.I guess it's time to tell the tale. Some you know. My father and mother were both witches. Generation witches from further back than I need to go. Mother, like me, entered her Eldership at a very young age. As everyone knows,there are good and bad witches. The birth of a new witch is always followed very closely. When I was born, everyone knew. Ellie had been born first but she carried only a part of mother with her. For whatever reason, I was given more of her gift and the Craft was deeper embedded inside of me.I grew strong quickly and my "Book of Shadows" which any witch knows is truly a diary of sorts for us, thickened with spells and rituals and was my workbook, much like your own school books. When mother realized that the dark Craft were trying to take me from her, she created this place as a hiding place for us. Angering some very powerful witches, she and Father were killed. Ellie had the wisdom to hide me away until I came of age. She brought in witches and teachers to enhance my Craft until I was of age.
Years later, after I married and had my own children, Melody, the daughter of one of the Elders that sought me, waited for her chance and took my husband and children. Derek was only semi-protected because he was not a full witch. We did not perform the "great Rite" for marriage because he was only half witch. His mother was Christian. Whether she truly had the power to destroy him, I do not know. My daughter was very strong in her craft also and though the police said they found 3 bodies, I never saw the bodies close."
"You think they might still be alive?"
"I only know I never saw the bodies, Jenn. Where we are now is this. If we do not find a way to stop Melody, she will kill each one of us and take the Coven as her own. The balance of nature and of witches world-wide would be tossed so off balance that none would know for sure who was or who wasn't true. That opens the doorway to all sorts of bad things. Witches will begin doing as they please for good or bad. The world will re-open their eyes and the witch hunts will be little different from those of long ago. What man fears, he kills. Not a good thing for us."
"What can we do do stop Melody? They say she is as powerful as you are."
"Her strengths are great but weakened by her anger. She feels I am the reason her mother died. She truly hates me."
"You did kill her, right?"
"She did NOT kill her, Jenn!!!!" She gave her the option to step down and allow good witches to take the Coven. Anastasia chose to not listen and Karen used her wand to ward off an attack. In the struggle, Anastasia fell to her death. Karen was protecting herself and her family!"
There was a moment from behind the three girls. Books fell to the floor around them. They turned to see Alesha holding Karen's "Book of Shadows." She began to move towards the door. Ellie reached out to stop her. She was tossed across the cabin and fell limp to the floor.
"You can't see!" As soon as Alesha spoke the words, Jennifer cried out and placed her hands over her own eyes. She began clawing at them.
"Stop, Jenn... it is a Magick trick. Nothing more than words!" Karen raced to her side as she watched Alesha run out the door, book in hand. Holding Jennifer's hands so she could not scratch her own eyes out, Karen knew that she had been tricked. She would have to worry about the book and Alesha in a moment. She watched, as suddenly Ellie raised her own wand to the air. Fire and wind came from it and chased out the door after Alesha. Karen simply stood and stared. She had never seen Ellie use her wand and for certain did not know she had such power. A flame lit across the grass as it followed Alesha's path.

The Forest Has Ears... Part 4

The line of fire seemed to have a mind of it's own. It burned everything in it's path including trees. They were turned to instant ashes at just it's touch. Karen stared as it snaked it's way through the Cedars as if it were searching for something... anything to consume and feed it's hunger. Jennifer stopped clawing at her eyes. She too watched the flames following the trail left behind by Alesha. Ellie held tight to her wand but she could feel herself weakening with each passing moment.
"Karen... come hold the wand with me. Hurry before I pass out and we lose Alesha."
Karen moved without question to her sisters side. She reached out and wrapped her hand around Ellie's hand. Wiping blood from her face and eyes, Jennifer knelt beside the two sisters. As her hand touched theirs, they saw her eyes widen. Her face became flush and she had to steady herself with her other hand to keep from falling backwards.
"Never have I felt such power in my life! You two together could stand against nearly any witch I have ever known. The energy is causing my head to flush. I don't know how long i can hold on to your hands."
Gently, Ellie pushed Jennifer's hand away. She smiled a weak smile at her.
"Just to know you are willing to stand with us is more than enough. We thank you for this. We are forever in your debt. Just sit and be watchful for us, please."
The flames grew in strength with Karen's added energy. They seemed to almost stand up as they traveled the distance through the forest. Nothing but ash and dirt were left in it's wake. Suddenly there was a huge flash of light. A scream followed the flash. A scream that sounded almost inhuman. There was no doubt who the scream belonged too. Karen's Book of Shadow suddenly re-appeared on the shelf again. The flames died as both ladies let the wand drop to the floor. Karen helped Ellie from the floor and took her to a chair.
"O.k. Ellie, it is time to talk. I have been with you for my entire life. Never once have I seen you display the powers I just saw. Why have you never used the energy before?"
"You mean why did I not use it to save mom and dad or Derek and the kids?"
"I never said that, Ellie."
"You didn't need to Karen. I could feel it. I have answers for you, if you want to listen."
"Ellie, it isn't anything you have to tell me. I am so sorry I put off that feeling to you."
"If you would like, I can step out for a while so you two can talk."
"No Jennifer, you can stay. You are as close to family as anyone will ever be. You should hear this too."
"I agree with Ellie, Jenn."
"I was born with the same energy as you were, Sis. Mom decided it was best to play it down, for my own safety. I was not as ummmm, energetic or passionate about the energy as you were. It was easier to keep my energy under wraps. She also felt that it might come in handy some day if the rest of the covens did not know I had such energy. I would be no threat to them that way. I had no aversions to not revealing the secret. When mom and dad were first attacked, you were too young to remember. Mom wanted to shield you from the dark side of Magick for fear it might influence you. That would have only made it easier for Melody's family to pull you over."
"What, I was a bad child? Mom didn't trust in my instincts?"
"Actually Sis, it wasn't a thing of being bad. It was the fact that you hungered so much for knowledge. Any knowledge. That was mom's concern. She trusted you or she would not have taught you so aggressively. When mom and dad were killed, I tried to save them. You better believe I did all that was within my powers to save them. Anastasia was just too powerful. Dad had such limited powers and mom could not hold her off alone. She sent me to the Forest here to protect me and watch over you. I never saw them again. When you and Anastasia fought, I hid in the trees. As she neared the cliff's edge, I gave her a little extra nudge to send her over."
"Then it was You that killed her, not Me!"
"Yes, Sis, it was me."
"Why did you let me take blame for it!? I don't understand this!"
"It wasn't about "taking blame'. It was about making your powers seem even greater until you Did reach that energy. And it worked. You are truly the strongest witch to come forth in over 200 years. Do you see now? Things happened the way they did for a reason."
"Yes, I see that now. I am sorry you have carried this for so long. I will not ever doubt anything nor short you of anything that you were or are now. I love you Ellie and I am grateful to you for all you have done. I am sure you have saved my uppity butt more times than you will ever admit to me. Thank you for that, too."
"Now you know, so there is no need to question. Together we can take Melody. But not with her full coven behind her. Her energy transferred to all of her followers would kill us. We need a plan."
Suddenly, the front door flew open. A hot wind, tainted with the smell of burnt flesh rushed the 3 ladies senses. A body crashed into the back of the cabin. What was left of Alesha lay at their feet. And then the breeze began to whistle through the trees. A voice followed the sound. It was a voice they all knew too well.
"What a beautiful little tale you tell, Ellie. So touching and sweet. It's nice to know who was really responsible for my dear mothers death. I will bare that in mind when I kill you three. Will it be a comfort to you, knowing that your baby sister will die fast and you will take the blunt of injury for her Again, Ellie?"
"Melody, how could you get in here? How did you find us? We stopped Alesha from reaching you!"
"Stupid witch! Do you think the Forest goes on forever? Did you think that there was no end to these stupid trees your mother created? The real world is right on the other side. Too bad you didn't reach Alesha before the flames burst a whole in the trees. You ummmm, left the front door open to your little world. And as we all know, the Forest Has Ears. It hears everything. All I had to do was ask."
"We will destroy you, Melody! I swear to the Goddess watching, we will Kill you!"
"Well then you better get ready for a battle, Witches. I am on my way to you now. Then we will see who kills who! Feel me, little witches? I am Pissed!"
The door suddenly burst into flames as laughter filled the cabin. A large hand, fingers out-stretched and reaching touched each of their faces. The smell of hair being seared filled the air. All three ladies pulled away from the fingers as their faces felt the scorching heat from them. They stood together, hands inter-woven together as one. The hand disappeared and the flames died away. The three stood staring at one another.
"What are we going to do, Karen? I am scared."
"We are going to fight her, Jennifer. But first, we need to see if we can patch the hole in the trees we made. It may be our only protection. After that, we finish this!"
"Or we die trying, Sis."

The Forest Has Ears... part 5

They walked through the trees, watching for any signs that Melody might still be watching. A tree would lean towards the ground as they passed now and then. A zap from a wand would send it standing tall again.
"She has managed to turn our own Forest against us. I just want one chance to end this all."
"Remember Ellie, she can hear us still, I am sure. These trees listen and she listens to them. Our oneness with nature right now is not helping us. I guess the plus for us is that the trees don't have eyes."
"We hope that they don't, Karen."
"Yes Jennifer, we hope."
The trail left by the fire was easy to follow. The erratic way that Alesha had run to try an escape it was obvious too. They walked until they found the opening from the forest to the "outside" world. A strong wind had started just as they were nearing the opening. All three were blown off their feet onto the ground.
"Stand together and do not let go of one another," Karen yelled above the thundering sounds of the wind. Trees reached down from the sky and struck them with their tops. Like giant whips, again and again they struck out at the girls. Some of the hits were like a knife cutting across their backs and arms. They could feel the blood seeping into their clothing.
"Don't let anything stop us! We have to close that opening before Melody kills us in our own safe place!"
Laughter filled the air all around them. The sound was so loud it hurt their ears. Jennifer let loose of the others hands to cover her ears. Immediately she was tossed into the trees behind them. As Ellie and Karen struggled to recapture her hands, they watched her body being dragged over the ground by an unseen force. Unseen but not unknown to either of them.
"Please, help me! I don't know what is happening!"
"It is Melody. She is trying to pull you from the trees! Mom's energy is still in the Forest. Melody's powers are weakened as long as she has to use them inside the trees! We won't let her take you, Jennifer. Trust us!"
"I do, Ellie...with my very life!"
Ellie stood up and faced the trees. She reached her wand out and touched a huge Cedar. The tree began to glow and lean forward towards the three witches.
"What are you doing, Ellie!?! They don't need any help getting to us!"
The tree began to wrap it's branches around all three of them. It leaned it's trunk towards the gaping hole in the forest. Ellie looked up at the huge tree.
"Mom, we need your help! We need you to move the trees to close the hole. Melody is trying to kill us. Please, help us."
Karen stared at Ellie as if she had lost her mind. She only looked away when she saw the trees begin to move their branches towards the hole. One by one they leaned. Ellie reached out and grabbed Jennifer's hands tight. The pull was strong and Ellie felt herself being moved towards the hole too.
"Karen, stop staring and grab my legs. Hurry!"
Jennifer's legs began to turn red as she was nearly to the opening. Small sparks came from them and she began to scream. The burning was getting worse as her feet left the confines of the Forest. Karen grabbed hold of Ellie's legs and leaned back. As Jennifer began to be pulled back into the Forest, the sparks stopped. The last of the trees leaned in and sealed the hole completely. The wind stopped immediately. Karen turned back to look at Ellie.
"Do you want to explain that one, please?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Mom!!!! I am talking about Mom! You called to her and the trees saved us. How did you know to do that?"
Ellie leaned down to begin dressing Jennifer's legs. Jennifer had passed out and was still laying motionless.
"Help me clean Jennifer up and listen. As you know, death for us occurs in stages. Not always do we move on to that final rest until things on earth are in order. Mom's energy was extremely powerful. She was able to remain close to this realm when she left. She told me in secret so it would not put anyone in jeopardy. She has done her own battles on her side of the realm."
"Battles? What kind of battles?"
"She has kept Anastasia from coming back and helping Melody. That in itself has been a non stop task for mom. But she is always near by to help us should we truly need her."
"Then why haven't we called on her before?"
"Each time we call on her, it weakens he hold on this realm. Eventually she would not be able to reach us to help."
"I understand now. Where do we go from here?"
"You are still the strongest witch in existence, Karen. Your energy can kill any witch you encounter, providing they are alone or have only a few followers. Melody will not attack us alone. We both know that. We have to have a plan and be ready for her when she does come. The trees will block the way in for now. I need you to place a concealing spell over the trees. You have the energy to do that. I do not. Melody will be able to get close to us but she won't have a way inside."
"And if she brings in a lot of help? How are we supposed to battle her? We have to expose ourselves to fight her."
"Yes we do. We will need more help. I think I know where I can get the energy we need to defeat her. Someone that is nearly equal to you in energy. You must understand something, Karen. Some of the things I have done, I did because this battle was predicted. The Elders knew it would come one day. We have been making all the preparations for it for a long time."
"And I was left out of the loop, why?"
"Because we knew that you would try to find a way to battle Melody alone. You would try to protect us as you have done so many times before. And you would have lost against her because she would never fight you one on one."
Lifting Jennifer, the sisters carried her to the cabin. Karen took time to honer the trees and all of nature. She then raised her wand and brought a covering over them. Snow began to fall over the forest and covered all of the trees and the ground. The cabin was covered also.
"Alright, that should keep us concealed from anyone looking for us, including Melody. It will buy us time to figure out how we can get this other witch here. The one with all the energy."
Ellie looked at Karen. Her eyes filled with tears. "Understand, Sis, there was no other way to do what I did. If you hate me for it, then I WILL live and die with that. We don't need to bring the witch here. She has been here all along."
"What are you talking about!?!? Tell me, damn you!!!"
"You can come out now," Ellie called towards the back room of the cabin. The door opened. Karen stared as the witch came to the opening. She stared for a moment and then fell to her knees. The world around her began to spin. Tears flooded her eyes and she convulsed as she wept. Nothing seemed real to her anymore. Everything about her world had just been turned upside down.
"I am sorry, Sis. The God's forgive me. I had no choice..."

The Forest Has Ears...chapter 6

Karen stood slowly with the help of Ellie's out stretched hand. She walked to the doorway and stared. Her heart was pounding as she looked into Jessica's eyes. Derek slowly moved to the front of the doorway. Karen could see Mark standing inside the room. Karen touched the face of the man she had loved forever. She looked at Jessica and Mark. Tears streamed down her face as she tried to process all she was seeing.These people were dead. She had already accepted that and yet here they were, standing in front of her. Suddenly she struck Derek on his cheek with her open hand. He stepped back in shock of what she had just done to him. Jessica stepped between Karen and Derek.
"Mom, No!!!! He did nothing wrong!"
"Nothing wrong!?! Faking a death, letting me believe that I had failed in some way and that all three of you were dead!!! That is wrong! That is very wrong!" Karen turned away and looked at Ellie. "And You!!!! How could you do this to me!?!?!? I hate you for this, Ellie!"
"Then hate me, if you must, Sis. I did what I had to do to keep them safe until we could get to them here. If Melody even thought they were still alive, she would have hunted them down and maybe, just maybe, this time she would have succeeded in killing them."
Karen relaxed her mind a little bit. She walked to Derek and hugged him to her. She opened her arms to welcome Jessica and Mark. She held them tight to her, never wanting to let go of them. Her moment was only broken when Ellie spoke out.
"I am sorry to stop this but we really must figure out what we are going to do about Melody. She may already be here."
"We have the energy now to defeat her. We can not stay inside the forest forever. Melody will eventually find us and kill us."
"You are right Karen but if we are to fight her, it needs to be here, inside the safety of the forest. That is where we stand the best chance of defeating her."
Outside the tree line, twenty or thirty witches moved up and down the row of cedars. Standing near the road, Melody watched as each one reached into the trees, searching for a doorway. She needed only a tiny opening to rip the trees wide.
"Where did they get such energy!? Karen was supposed to be the only one that had all the elements to reap from. I know I felt more than one energy flow when I was trying to drag the little witch out of the stand."
"Maybe Ellie has been hiding her powers from you, Melody."
A flash surged from Melody's wand and struck Melinda in the chest. The energy sent her sprawling across the pavement. The skin was torn from her belly and legs as she slid across it. Melody stood beside her now.
"Do you think I am so stupid or weak that I would not have felt her before this!? I have my mother inside of me! I can and I will kill them all, and then you will know who knew what!"
Melody walked back to the center of the Tree stand. Flames scorched the pavement where her feet touched. The witches all stepped away as she passed them. Her anger and her energy was strong this night.
"Listen to me, all of you! I chose each of you because of your strength and loyalty. If anyone wants to go, go now! Once we breach this stupid fortress, there will be no turning back! If anyone tries to run, I will kill you before you get ten feet from me. This battle does not end until Karen and her sister are both dead. Anyone with them dies also! Any questions!?!?!??"
Not a word was spoken. The witches turned back to the trees and continued searching.Melody moved against the trees and leaned her ear to one of the tree trunks.
"Talk to me. Tell me what you have heard in the Forest. I know you listen and hear everything." Slowly, she began to strip the bark from the tree. Long strips of tree skin peeled away as she raked her nails over the exposed tree. Sap ran red like blood from the tree. "You will tell me because I will claw away at you until there is nothing left. You will feel every single scrape! Now tell me, Tree, what do you hear in the forest?!?"
She listened as the tree moaned it's answer to her. Her face contorted at it's words. Deeper she dug into the tree as it whispered to her all she wanted to hear. The tree began to wither and weaken. It's branches sagged to the ground and it leaned forward like an old man trying to keep from falling over. Suddenly, Melody drove her hand all the way into the tree. She clenched her fist and pulled. A huge piece of the tree came out with her fist.
"You have served me well, tree. I will plant this heart of yours on top of the grave I bury the witches in. It will grow strong, feasting off of the witches for many years to come."
As Melody walked away, the huge tree lurched once more as if it were trying to stand straight. It stretched it's huge branches towards the sky and let out a loud moan that could be heard through out the Forest. And then... it died.
"Shhhhh!!! Did you hear that?"
"Hear what Jennifer? I heard nothing."
"Listen, Mom. The trees are talking. They are trying to tell us something."
"She's right, Karen. I can hear them too." A silence filled the cabin. They all listened. And then Ellie spoke again. "Oh My Heavens! She knows."
"Who knows what, damn it. Tell me!"
"Tell her Jennifer."
"Melody knows we are all here. She knows about Ellie and about dad and Mark and I. She tortured one of natures beloved trees and it whispered of our existence. Mom, what are we going to do now!? She has 25 witches outside looking for us. If she finds a way in, how are we going to stop her!?"
"We will stop her, Jennifer. I don't know how yet, but we will stop her, once and for all."

The Forest Has Ears... chapter 7

"How exactly are we supposed to stop Melody, Karen? She has so many witches with her."
"We stand together, Jenn, that is how we defeat her. Our combined energy will be enough as long as we do not stray from one another. Ellie, what is the best way to defeat Melody?"
"We need to reach out to some of her witches. If we can get them to stand with us, we would have a better chance of defeating her. Derek, you are our best chance for doing that."
"No!!! I am not allowing my family to be put up on the butchers block again! There has to be a better way!"
Derek moved and took Karen in his arms. HE kissed her gently. "Karen, this IS our family. All of them. One life isn't more important than the others. If you want us to live, then this is how we have to do it."
"Why you, Derek!?! You are the least enchanted of us all."
"That is exactly why we do need him, Karen. He is the one that may reach the younger witches without Melody knowing. She is tuned into us and may miss him or Dismiss him as insignificant." Ellie stopped and pointed at some paper on the table. She put her fingers to her lips to quiet them all.She wrote on the paper.
{For a few minutes, we need to write. The trees are still listening, I am sure. Our plan must be unheard. We need to send Derek out through the trees. We can cloak him for a little while. Derek can only be out for 5 minutes. Any longer and our energy will be weakened and Melody will see him.}
~~He is unsafe outside of the trees, Ellie. You know that!!!!~~
{Not for the first few minutes. He needs to the witches and see if he can turn them. We don't need their energy. We just need them NOT to give it to Melody against us. Derek is the only one that has the power of telepathy that is not going to stand out. Seek out their thoughts Derek. Find the scared ones. They will turn the easiest.}
~~If for even a moment you think Melody is on to you, get back in here, Derek. I mean that!!!~~
Derek nodded and went to the door. {We will open the doorway through the trees for only a second. You must hurry through so we can close it. We will be listening from the trees.} Derek walked silently until he reached the edge of the trees. He waited for the door to open. As it did, he rushed through it, tripping and falling as he did. When he looked up from the ground, he saw Melody standing above him. He waited for the feel of her energy to rip through his body. It did not come.
"What was that!?!? I felt a breeze come through the trees."
"It must have been just wind, Melody. Nothing opened up."
"I know what a breeze feels like, Melinda! This was more than that. Almost as if a portal opened and then slammed shut. Start looking harder!"
"The girls are working as hard as they can Melody. But if your vast powers and energy can't see through the trees, how are we suppose to do that?"
Melody's hand moved so fast that Melinda never even saw it coming. 'SLAPPPPPPP!!!' Melinda was knocked from her feet. The other witches watched, some cowered as they watched Melody swing her wand around. Suddenly her hand stopped and the wand was pointing directly at Melinda. She smiled and then snapped the wand like a whip.Melinda was tossed across the highway. She landed in the gravel. Derek seized the moment and spoke to her mind.
"You din't need to be with her. She has hurt you over and over. Be with Karen and help us destroy Melody. Your entire life will be different. It will be free and safe."
Just as the next wave of energy struck Melinda she cried out. "Yes-s-s-s-s-s-s! Yes, I will!!" She stood up as the energy ripped through her body. "You don't have to live this way, ladies!!!" She looked at every witch present. "We are not Melody's property do do as she pleases with! Do not let her kill the one witch that could make us what we are supposed to be! We are Not Slaves!!!! We ARE Witches-s-s-s-s-s!!"
A surge of energy ignited from Melody's wand. The energy was so powerful, it scorched the faces of three witches standing to near Melinda. It hit Melinda and her entire body began to shake. She wrapped her arms around herself and screamed as her hair erupted into flames. Her body was covered in flame in seconds.
"Fight ladies!! We have a friend In Karen!! Melody is wrong." And then, there was silence. All that remained where Melinda had stood moments before was a scorched body. It moved involuntarily on the highway. The witches stood staring at the body. Fear was in their eyes. They turned away from the corpse and looked at Melody. She stared back at them, growling like a Lioness that had just made a kill.
"Anybody care to challenge me!? I am the most powerful with alive. Help me kill Karen and her pathetic family and I will reward you with anything you wish for! Turn on me or help the witches in those trees... and I will burn you to ashes! I hope that I have made myself clear!"
Derek sent out a signal to the witches. "Come with me. Fight with Karen and you WILL be free. I promise you!"
Witches looked all around. They searched for where the voice was coming from. Some of them backed slowly away from Melody. They gathered as close to the trees as they could. Moving their arms, they made gestures of searching again for a doorway. Derek could feel something changing around him. A breeze was blowing across his body. A witch look down at her feet. Her eyes told Derek the frightening truth. He put his fingers to his lips and spoke, almost in a whisper.
"Please, I am here to help you. Please don't say anything. She will kill me and kill you in the process."
The witch gave Derek a nod and stood in front of him, trying her best to conceal him. Suddenly, a voice from behind him sent chills down his spine. He felt physically ill to his stomach.
"I thought I killed you once already, you poor excuse for a witch. Nice of you to come visit me though. This time, I Will Not Fail. Say goodbye, Derek!"
Derek watched as Melody lifted her wand in the air...

The Forest Has Ears... Final Chapter

"Dad has been outside for too long, Mom. We need to get him back inside as soon as we can. Aunt Ellie, can you hear anything from the trees?"
"I know that someone has died outside but it isn't your father. I know melody is the one that killed the witch. Give me a moment."
"We don't have a moment, Ellie! Derek could be dead already!"
"Karen, you and I both would know if he died."
"Really Ellie!? Because I sure didn't know he was Alive while you hid him from me!"
"Shhhh. The trees are whispering." Ellie listened closely. Her expressions left no telling of what she was hearing. She nodded quickly. "Thank you Nature. Blessings on you."
"What did they say?"
"She is standing not ten feet from the opening. If we reach out to grab Derek, Melody will follow. If we don't... Derek will be dead in a minute or less, Karen."
"Then we have no choice. Open the door! We will face Melody. We knew we would have to sooner or later! Open the trees. Ellie!"
"Sis, it will put all of us in danger. We could all die! Derek went out there knowing he might not come back."
"Open the trees!!!!!!! Open them now or I will go get him myself!"
"Mom, I love Daddy so much but Aunt Ellie is right. We are not ready!"
"Then by the Goddesses, you get ready Daughter! I am not leaving your father out there to die! Not by That witches hand!!!"
Karen flung the front door open to the cabin. The trees leaned in to try to hold her inside.
"Damn you Ellie, move those trees Now!!!!"
"It isn't me, Karen, it's Mom. She says she will protect Derek until the witches get inside."
"What witches? What are you talking about!?!?!?"
"Derek has witches that are turning from Melody. Let Mom and Derek do what they need to do! We will need all of our energy when we face Melody."
Karen stood in the doorway and cried.
"Derek, listen to me. I am going to shield you until the good witches are inside. You must distract Melody for a moment."
Derek knew Michelle's voice. He stood as Melody was moving her wand. "Wait! Let me at least stand near my wife and children if I am going to die. I will have them open the door for me. I will say it's safe. Please let me die with them."
Melody studied Derek for a moment. She wanted him dead, but she wanted the one that killed her mother more. She could have it all if she waited for a moment more.
"I will burn a hole right through you if you try anything! One hit, one hole! Understand???"
Derek nodded and led Melody away from the door. As she followed, witches began to be sucked into the trees behind them. One by one, those refusing to follow Melody entered the Forest. Karen and Ellie were standing just inside the trees to help them through. As the last witch passed through, Derek suddenly began to fade away again. Melody stopped and looked behind her.
"Damn you! I will Kill you now!" As she turned to face Derek he faded totally from her sight. Melody raced to where the last witches were disappearing. She tossed her wand at the last witch. The witches body lit afire. As she reached the door, she shoved the burning witch from the gap. Entering the trees, she began to swing her wand around. The first burst of energy struck Ellie in the chest. She was tossed into the trees and fell to the ground, un-moving. Jennifer stepped forward. She was quickly joined by Jessica and Mark. She swung her wand again and Jessica raised her hands. The energy was deflected into the trees. They were set afire and burned hot and un-relenting. Skin was scorched and witches scattered. As Melody prepared to send another energy burst, Karen stepped forward.
"No!!!! This is between you and I, Melody. If you defeat me, you can do your best with the others!"
"Fine witch, let's finish this!" The other witches gathered behind their leaders. Half circles were formed and wands were held out in front of them. As the energy bursts came out of Karen and Melody's wands, they were knocked away. The witches behind melody began to use their wands. The Forest looked like a fireworks factory had exploded. Witches on both sides were falling to the ground. Bodies were strewn all over the forest. Karen turned to reach for Jessica as a burst struck her. Melody sent two bursts at Karen and knocked her off her feet. Her wand fell to the ground.
"Now little witch, you will pay for my mothers death!" Melody lowered her wand into Karen's face. "Say goodbye, witch."
Ellie suddenly appeared and leaped in between Karen's body and the burst of energy. It ripped through her body like a rocket.
"No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o, Ellie!!!!! God, no-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!" Karen watched as her sisters body burned.
"No more!" A voice echoed through the trees. "It ends here Melody!" The witches watched as Michelle's image moved to Ellie. "I will absorb all your injuries, daughter. You will be whole. Stand with your sister and Niece. I will not be able to speak with you ever again. I love you all."
As Ellie's body healed, the witches took each others hands. They turned the wands towards Melody and her followers. A burst of energy ignited from their wands. It struck Melody directly. She was tossed to the ground. Her strength stopped the burst from killing her. She layed on the ground. Karen walked up to her.
"We can be finished now. Let it end, Melody. Relinquish your wand and be done. Please."
"Not ever, witch!" Melody lifted her wand. All the witches that were behind Melody fled the forest, dropping their wands as they ran. Energy flew from Melody's wand knocking Mark and Derek off their feet. Karen and Jessica joined hands with Ellie. melody pointed her wand once more. A huge cedar, ten feet from them all suddenly leaned forward. It covered Melody's body and knocked the wand from her hand. The tree continued to lean until bones were heard snapping. Melody screamed out and then... all was silent again.
"Thank you, my friend" was all Karen could say. The tree once again stood tall.
As the weeks went by, witches from all across the land came to listen to Karen and Ellie speak. New alliances were built, old ones repaired. Karen and her family settled in the comfort of the very forest that had saved their lives. Ellie came to visit as often as she could. Jessica listened and learned from her mother. Nature and all around them was right again.
Sometimes, while walking through the Forest, Karen would stop and smile. A gentle breeze would touch her face. "I love you, Mom. I feel you," was whispered through out the forest.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Writer Gazette...Resources at your Fingertips

You are a writer. You have finally finished that novel you had put away and taken out 20 times over the past X years. Now, the really difficult part about writing.Where are you going to send this creation? How do you know if it is "publisher" ready? What about a Query letter? What is a publisher looking for from you? And the big question you keep asking yourself. "How do I make my novel scream out "PICK ME!!??"
If you are like me, I think of seeking those answers much like I do shopping. Time is precious and so I like a store that offers everything I want under the same roof. Aisle after aisle of everything I need to start and finish a project. Less time driving from place to place, more time to do what I love to do. I feel the same about seeking out the right publisher for what I write.
Writer Gazette. When I am looking for some answers, be it publishers, writer markets, "how to" or "where to" books and e-books to get me from A to Z in the most direct, efficient path, Writer Gazette is where I go. Krista has built a writer help site that offers anything you need to find what you are looking for. She opens the doors to avenues that can take you through the process of preparation to submission as painlessly as possible. From her own books to those of writers, editors, publishers and agents, she guides you through the "maze" of becoming published. Writer Gazette enables you to find what you need so that you can get back to doing what it is you Really love to do. Write.
Have a look for yourself. I think you will like what you find. Writer Gazette... your one stop publishing site. {{Best Site in Writer's Digest magazine for: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009. #3 of The Writer magazine's "25 Best Writer Websites"}} Tell her Darrel sent you.
Darrel Day. Author of Abduction and Until Death Do We Meet.

My Novels and Me...

I have been writing for the better part of 35 years. I wrote my first novel when I was 15. We lived in the mountains of British Columbia Canada and so it seemed easy for me to write a novel about just such a family. The story grew as the years passed and I dreamed of maybe one day seeing the novel in print. Many years later, after a move to the States, a stint in the Air Force and marriage to my sweetheart, I began to write again. I started a short story about a ghost and her quest for a final resting place. It was 80 pages and on a whim... o.k. at the insistence of my loving family, I submitted it to a publisher. They read it and sent it back, asking me to please expand it to novel size. I decided to try my writing again.
In between the writing of course was life, children, a wife who was very ill and work. It didn't leave much time for writing so i bought a laptop and began taking it with me when Sheila and I would travel to hospitals far away. She would have sometimes 4 or 5 appointments a day for 3 or 4 days at places like Mayo Clinic in Rochester Mn. I would write while waiting for her at the appointments that were tests, in which I could not be with her. At night, after appointments were done and we had eaten, there was often 12 to 14 hours before her next appointment. I would use the time that she was sleeping or resting after a rough day of extensive tests, to write in the novel. The novel was 3/4's finished when I started writing another novel. A thought had crossed my mind and so away I went with the thought.
I didn't touch "Christine", the original name for Until Death Do We Meet at all while I penned the second Novel, Abduction. Two months later, Abduction was finished and I sent it out to publishers.It was picked up immediately and was published and in bookstores in 8 months. My dream, the one I really wanted to see in print, "Christine" still sat on my desk, unpublished. I decided to submit it and this novel too was picked up and 9 months and a name change later, I held "Until Death Do We Meet" in my hands. What a fantastic feeling that was for me.
Today, i sit here, wondering to myself what it takes to "get the novels read." I do my book signings, which I love so much. Few things are as wonderful as signing a novel of your own for someone that came out just to get your novel. It takes a person to places few can ever imagine. I talk about them and show them off. I make sales but none steady. The novels have never received a bad rating or review. I own all the latest "How to market your book" books and get information from on-line sources to try and boost their sales. Word of mouth they tell me sells and so i talk, talk, talk them up. But today, sitting here, thinking of the two that are finished and waiting to be printed, the one I write in now and one that will surely follow that one. Is there a secret to becoming a number one best seller? IS there a formula that I have not found yet that will open doors and have my novels spoken or, written about by the New York Times? How long before I realize my dream?
I have already been so blessed just in having published two novels. I do know this. I will continue to try and make it all happen. Just some open thoughts from my heart and mind to share with you. I hope you don't mind... And by the way, "The North Wind Calls" still sits on my desk, unpublished. Perhaps one day... Always, Darrel