Never mind. Here's an excerpt from one of the new stories in A Succubus for Halloween. The sultry witch, Annette Brite, is up to more mischief in "Serving the Earth Mother":
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Aaron felt a sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach as he heard the clipped, perfect enunciation of the new voice. His yell for help had caught the attention of someone.
“It’s difficult to judge the amount of force required to knock somebody out, and it would have spoiled everything had I swung too hard and caved your skull in.”
Brite stood in the entrance to the stone cell. Her pale face looked white and insubstantial in the dim candlelight. She wore the same voluminous black dress as before, with a necklace of large wooden beads around her slender, elegant neck.
“What do you want with us?” Aaron asked.
“You’re a witch,” Andrea said. “You follow the Earth Mother, you know the Rule of Three. How can you do this?”
“It’s a curiosity how language changes down the centuries,” she said. “Words that mean one thing can come to mean another. The same word can take on many different meanings. Many different meanings can even come together under the same word.
“What you call witch is a practitioner of Wicca. The word also has an older, darker meaning, a label given to those that seek knowledge and power through blacker arts. The old fairy tales were not so far from the truth.
“I am not a practitioner of Wicca.”
Brite took off her necklace and slipped out of her voluminous black dress. She was wearing nothing underneath and—like her face—the rest of her body was pale and flawless. She had a fantastic figure—soft and curvaceous around the breasts and hips, but lean around the waist and legs. In other circumstances Aaron might have thought her very sexy. Currently, sex was far from his mind.
“What do you want with us?” he asked.
Brite busied herself in the corner of the room. She painted a complex circle on the floor with a substance that was black and sticky like tar.
“The entities I call upon are more demanding and have darker appetites than your Earth Mother, I’m afraid,” she said. “And they are far less forgiving if their conditions are not met.”
She finished her design and stood up, examining each line and symbol carefully for possible errors.
“It won’t work,” Aaron said. He tried to ignore his fear and the chains around his wrists. He needed his voice to sound calm, a rational knife to cut through the woman’s obvious insanity. “It doesn’t matter how you sacrifice us. They won’t answer. They don’t exist. It’s all nonsense.”
It might be nonsense, but it wouldn’t make Andrea and him any less dead after she’d sacrificed them to her mythical deities.
Brite paused and her supple red lips curled up in an amused smile.
“I love this era,” she said, “so sure in your truth of the world even though you’re as innocent as newborn babes.”
She opened a black canvas bag and pulled out a roll of ancient parchment. She unrolled it and Aaron had the uncomfortable feeling he was looking at a tanned square of human skin.
The shopkeeper’s voice rose as she recited words in a language Aaron had never heard before. It sounded dry and long dead, like dust blowing through long abandoned temples. The words echoed and reverberated off the cold stone walls and sent shivers rattling up Aaron’s spine. The words sounded completely alien, as if the vowel and consonant sounds were not designed for human tongues.
Mumbo jumbo, he thought, products of her madness. They didn’t mean anything.
Brite finished reciting the words from the scroll. There was an expectant hush, as if the room itself was holding its breath.
“See, I told you nothing would—” Aaron started.
He didn’t finish.
The black candles standing around the circle Brite had drawn on the floor started to fizz and crackle. Thick plumes of brown smoke welled up from the candles like exhaust fumes from Hades. Rather than disperse through the room, the smoke coagulated into a thick brown cloud. A vile stench assaulted their nostrils, like a mixture of meat gone bad and stale flatulence.
Parlour tricks, Aaron thought. Nothing but—
The smoke slowly dissipated, revealing...
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That reveal will have to wait until Oct 21. ;)