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Pelion

by Karen Eastland about a year ago in Young Adult · updated about a year ago
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The Adventures of Millie and Sandra

Ether Witches by Karen Eastland

“This way sir,” the nurse whispered, and Sharon looked up to see Frank walking towards her. She stood and waited for him to reach her.

“Frank,” she said. “How’d you know?”

“I’m a cop,” he whispered, and she sent him a curious look. “Okay. I was called to Mill’s house by a neighbour, saw the blood, and called all the hospitals until I found her.”

“Thanks for coming,” she said and sat back down next to the big bed full of pillows surrounding Mill’s the elder.

Nurses in whisper quiet shoes hustled and bustled their way around the ICU.

“Would you like a seat?” a nurse asked Frank, but he declined.

“You’re not staying?” Sharon asked.

“No, you’re not staying,” he said.

“What?”

“I’m here to relieve you,” Frank said.

“But—”

“But nothing. I know you’ve got things to do to get my… to get Mill’s back. So, I’m staying and you’re going to save her.”

A warm tear slipped from her eye and rolled down her cheek.

“Thank you,” she said, stood and took his hand in hers.

“You look like you could get some rest too,” he said, “and I know there are others,” he whispered, “here… keeping an eye too.”

She gave him a big hug, said, “Thank you," and, "keep her safe.”

“I will. Now go. Save our girl.”

Sharon hugged him again, looked to the nurses in the know, and nodded. They dipped their heads with an imperceptible nod of acknowledgment knowing Sharon wouldn’t allow anyone to sit with Mill’s the elder unless she trusted them. A nurse assisted her to the door and after a brief exchange, Sharon left.

Someone brought Frank a coffee and made sure he was comfortable. once he was seated, he put his coffee on the bedside table, took Millie’s hand in his, and gently squeezed.

“Come back to me Mill’s,” he whispered. “Come back to me.”

***

“Mum,” Millie screamed. “Watch out. It’s tail—"

But before she could finish that sentence, she saw her mother dive over the beast’s tail, then heard her cast.

“Armardor sequeth restrike.”

An unearthly scream pierced the boundaries of the ether as a glancing blow wounded the beast, and Millie the elder, there through injury and not witchery, became unbound.

“Auntie,” Millie said, and Tess looked up to see her sister and was filled with a renewed joy.

“Take her hand,” Tess yelled to Millie. “Don’t let him slip away.”

No-one had to tell Millie twice, she breast stroked her way to her aunt and took her by the hand. Once they connected, a strange electrical spark moved to and fro from niece to aunt and aunt to niece. Neither could move while Millie the younger powered up Millie the elder.

“Hurry up you two,” Tess yelled and it broke the trance-like state the two Millie’s were in.

Aunt Millie held tight to her niece’s hand and together they made their way to Tess. They arrived just as a tentacle-like sucker shot out of the darkness.

“Sensoray,” Aunt Millie commanded slicing the tentacle from the beast.

Another shattering scream pierced their ears, then a voice they all recognised squalled into their hearing.

“How dare you! Attack your mother like that? I should—” it said, but its guise diminished the words effect.

“We dare,” Tess said. “We damn well dare.”

There she is, Aunt Millie thought. My sister's back.

“Theresa,” it whispered, but instead of the familiar fear the use of her full name used to have in Tess, she straightened her back, glared at the beast, and her defiance was felt by those witches with fight caught in on its web.

“What, Miryam?” she retorted.

“How dare you disrespect your moth—”

“You’re not my mother, Meryl! Even if you were, all you did was give birth to me... if I could change that to some kind of immaculate conception, I would!”

Aunt Millie laughed. She hadn’t meant to. It just bubbled up so fast, and escaped her lips before she knew what’d happened, so, just went with it. She let it all out, and her laughter had a flow-on effect to those captured in the beasts webbing.

First, Millie the younger joined in, then Tess. Before they knew it, all were laughing at the beast, and the beast did nothing.

It became quiet, and Millie the younger sensed it was feeling unsure, unsteady... then suddenly, from out of the darkness, more laughter joined with theirs as witches were freed from their bonds. They made their way to join the fight and before the beast knew what to do, a multitude of witches had formed an impenetrable wall around it.

Judith was freed also, Mill's the elder saw the moment the bonds fell away, but she was torn from the ether by their sisters. The coven had tethered her to themselves for fear they would lose her like so many other covens around the globe had lost their sisters.

Tess, her sister, and her daughter moved to the front of the wall of witches. Those who's been freed knew the fight was theirs, but made the beast suffer as they had suffered, with their thoughts alone. Tess and the two Millie’s joined hands and the strength of their familial power, filled them. Together, they were a force to be reckoned with.

Step from the shadow’s beast of pain,

Old and weak, shall you remain.

Release your hold on our powerless foe,

Expel your grip from far below.

We and our sisters command it of thee,

Undress our mother, set her free.

They said with one voice, then a chorus of voices joined with theirs.

Expel your grip from far below.

We command it of thee!

The voices recited those words over and over again, and Millie the younger felt a strange stirring from deep in the darkness, and her mind was suddenly pulled into the beasts, and if not for her family, she would’ve succumbed to its hold.

“Help me,” the beast whispered. “Help me.”

Millie was confused. The beast sounded nothing like her grandmother, though to be fair, Millie had only heard her grandmother's voice in old family videos… and since the beast raised its ugly head.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“We are Pelion,” it said, “powerful daemons from the deepest circles of hells. Meryl enslaved us with a spell her mother had hidden from her. She has been leeching off our power for longer than we can remember.”

“What?”

“We have a pact,” Pelion said, “witches and daemons. We don’t get in your way, and you stay out of ours—”

“But Sandy?”

“We are sorry for taking your sister, but you are a powerful witch and as your bloodline enslaved us, only it can free us.”

“No,” something so distorted that Millie couldn’t tell if it was a witch, daemon or human, growled.

“She’s here,” Pelion said. “Help us.”

What can I do? She was wondering when she sensed a hand slipping in to take hers, and a great power surged through her.

“Hello, sis,” remember me?” Sandra said.

Millie squeezed her twin’s hand, and they pierced the darkness where the beast had hidden, and knew what Pelion had said was true.

“So,” Sandra said. “Grandmother really is an old bitch.”

“Seems like.”

“How dare you,” she growled. “Respect me! I demand it!”

“Ready, sis?” Millie asked.

“As ever,” she said. “Mum said to tell you that even though it looks like it's just you and me here, we’re connected to her and aunty.”

“Right. Let’s do this,” Millie said, and with hands held tight, the twins sought out their grandmother, and Pelion helped them.

Meryl wore Pelion like a cloak and hood, and had extended tentacles into the daemon so deep, the twins knew it would take all their power to extract her.

“Well, this’ll be a delicious divinely scar-worthy story to tell for years to come,” Millie said, and Sandra laughed, and with her laughter, Millie felt their grandmother's grip on Pelion detract. “That’s it, Sandy—”

“What’s it?”

“Laughter,” Millie said. “I felt it earlier, but now I know. Every time we laugh, genuinely laugh, she loses her grip on Pelion.”

“Just us, or do we have to make Pelion laugh too?”

Millie was about to respond when a burst of deep laughter filled the dark matter around them.

“Guess it’s Pelion too,” Millie said.

“So,” Sandra began, “a pastor and his wife came to dinner. While mum prepared everything just right, you sat behind the sofa Mr. and Mrs. pastor were sitting on—”

Pelion’s laughter about a story they knew so well, preceded the end of its telling.

“My twin sister, four at the time, didn’t know she wasn’t allowed to practice magic when dad was home, or if they had company, especially fire magic… but guess that’s also a family thing, anyway," Sandra continued, "without any need for an introduction to fire safety, you…”

Millie was laughing so hard and their connection to their mum, aunt, and all the witches set free was breaking Meryl's hold.

“Said, “Let fire be free,” and because you didn’t have any rules to confine your magic, fire shot out your nostrils. It wasn’t a lot but enough to set the sofa ablaze…”

Sandra’s words trailed off and got lost in the hilarity of it all.

“The debbil, the debbil, the minister’s wife kept screaming,” Sandra continued. “Mum caught the end of the show. She was quick thinking though. Threw a box of matches and a couple of dead ones on the floor when she saw the last of the flames disappear.”

“How’d she know to do that?” Millie asked.

“Aunt Millie told her to be prepared—”

"Oh. I do recall you being with me... are you sure you didn't help?"

“Yes, and no, anyway, the minister's wife... it was so delicious, Mill’s,” Sandra said, and the twins and Pelion were in fits of laughter. "Was screaming, "The debbil, the debbil—”

“Enough!” their grandmother's voice rose out of Pelion. “Who cares if it’s delicious? And what does that even mean?”

Someone’s pissed, Millie said psychically. Reckon it worked?

Guess we’re 'bout to find out, Sandra replied.

“That wasn’t very nice,” Sandra said. “What kind of grandmother are you? You’ve hurt my feelings—”

“Your feelings?” their grandmother said, “your feelings? What about my ears? I’ve had to listen to your drivel for years waiting for an opportunity. If I was alive, you’d be the death of me—”

“Let’s see what we can do about that,” Millie said.

With generations joined, the twins reached out, and plunged their joined hands into the Pelion’s chest. They snatched Meryl’s essence from within and suddenly Pelion was free, and Meryl, a weak, poor excuse of a dead witch was vunerable. The twins stood with Pelion to end the reign of terror she’d inflicted.

The women of the Marcotte family, two generations removed, with one voice, spoke.

Broken lines and shattered memories,

Hateful lies and lack of brevity,

Pin this creature into her hells,

May her reach lose its power.

Craft the image it once did hold,

Exchange its fit from young to old,

And with one last wish we do declare,

Hell’s bitch be cast from wind and air,

Never to be see again,

Held back by the laws that govern,

Womyn in this hour.

Mill’s the elder thought she’d never see such great power in her family,never thought Tess would come around, but while she bathed in the joy of their union, she realised nothing was happening. Millie the younger was floating, holding tight to her hand and she sensed her confusion.

"What is it, Mill's?" she asked.

“Nothing’s happening,” Millie said. "Something should be—”

“Surely," Sandra said. "Oops, here we go.”

The Marcotte witches moved out of the way. Grandmother was about to blow and no-one wanted to be in the blast range.

That was a great spell, Mill’s the elder thought, when a sharp pain pierced her chest and before she knew what’d happened, Mill’s the younger was ripped from her grip. Their link had broken when Millie disappeared.

“Where’s Mill’s?” Sandra asked, with panic. “Mill’s? Mill’s?”

“Millie?” Tess called, while Mill’s the elder looked for her with her mind.

***

“What the?” Millie asked herself when she found she’d been locked away in her own mind and her grandmother was wearing her body.

She smelled like rotten eggs and there was a putrid warm fluid splashing from one side of her body to the other. She contemplated the disgusting old dead witch who'd taken her body, but had no clue what to do. A surge of power moved through her, just as it had when she held the hands of her family.

They're still together. They can save me, Millie thought, and hope returned.

Millie wasn’t like Sandra. She knew how to focus her power, and grandmother, oh gods, she thought, she’s been sucking the life, the power, from all those witches for all those years.

She straightened herself and prepared to take on the grandmother she didn't care to know.

You’re an evil woman unworthy of great power, she whispered, and we will end you.

Ha! Meryl said. You’re mine now, you stupid little girl. I own you and your power.

Let’s test that theory, shall we? Millie said.

Millie had already seen how it ended, being a precog and all. She took control of their minds. Her grandmother tried to fight it but had no power of her own. Millie’s body started to glow and she burned bright with a power her grandmother never had. She sensed her fear, and it pleased her. Millie felt Meryl tremble with fear, and it excited her.

She dragged her grandmother into the light, to where her family, and all those she’d made suffer, stood waiting. She threw her head back and white-hot rays shot out through her eyes. Her grandmother screamed, and Millie’s stomach muscles clenched and release with excruciating pain.

A small price to pay, she thought as another wave of pain shimmered through her.

She knew her grandmother felt it too. Her confusion, her suffering... it was exhilarating only urging Millie to go deeper.

Fry you beast, she thought, and saw Pelion take hold of her grandmother to make sure she felt the full force of the blast millie had been brewing. Together they reveled in her screams of torment.

Millie burnt a hole through Meryl’s grip on her body and set herself free. With her grandmother writhing in pain, Millie moved back to join with her family. Meryl had become the hideous beast she had portrayed. It was more evil, uglier than the daemon she'd enslaved.

The Marcotte witches couldn’t tell what she’d become, but the twins were expecting her to scream, “I’m melting, I’m melting,” as a group of flying monkeys watched on.

When she finally exploded, it sent shock waves through the ether, the shields, and all the covens around the world and they knew it was over. More and more witches woke. They were confused, in shock, and rescued by their sisters. Sadly, those witches who'd died after Meryl had sucked them dry, could never go home, but their sisters would know what happened to them.

Wonder where grandmother went? Millie thought.

Why, I’m right here, girl, came a voice so close to her ear she thought by turning around, she’d see her grandmother standing there, but she wasn’t. Thank the gods.

“It’s not over,” Millie said, and saw those witches who'd stayed for the fight, to watch the beast, Meryl, come to an end, were moving towards the light.

“What do you mean, Mill’s?” her aunt asked.

“She’s still here.”

“Meryl… I mean, mother?” Tess asked, but her voice had lost the fear that had always turned her into a shivering shell of a woman.

You’re a warrior now, sis, Aunt Millie thought with pride, then got the surprise of her life.

I know.

Mill’s the elder and Tess, the almost elder, turned and looked at each other. Both were smiling.

“Oh,” Mill’s the elder said. “Where’s the tin?”

“Tin? Oh,” Tess said. “You had it last. I remember.”

“Very funny," Aunt Millie said. "Notice I’m not laughing.”

She rubbed her lower back at the memory of the tin hitting her, and her hitting Tess's dining room wall.

“Well, we have to find it,” Tess said.

“Why?” the twins asked.

“Cause if… she’s not gone—"

“Witches, the lot of you,” Meryl’s voice rang out, bellowing her bile into the ether. “Dirty, disgusting witches. Trust me to add two more to their ranks. They’re not what you think, girls. They’re powerless. You won’t find a better deal than the one I can make with you. Just lend me your bodies.”

Sandra looked in the direction of the voice and said, “Shut up, Grandma.”

“Snap!” Mill’s the elder said and something that’d been directly in front of them, though invisible, popped like a water balloon. “We’ll be waiting for you, mother, though it’ll be different this time. We're true witches... unlike you.”

“Let’s get out of here,” Tess said, and all agreed.

But what about the tin, aunty? Millie asked psychically, fearful her grandmother would hear.

And what’s in it? Sandra asked.

After a quick consult, Tess and Mill's gathered the twins in a huddle. They floated in the ether and told the twins what was in it.

Your grandmother she was never a real witch—

Barely a magician. Party tricks were more her thing, Tess said, and Mill’s the elder looked at her as if to say, “May I continue?” You go, Mill’s.

She did have one power, but because she knew she had nothing, she didn’t recognise that power until your grandad died, Mill’s continued. She had the gift of sight—

Barely, Tess said.

But, Aunt Millie continued, she could only access that power through the use of a tool—

A crystal ball, Tess said.

Yes, what your mum said, and When she… died—

You mean, killed? Millie asked.

Yes, okay, killed, Aunt Millie said, your mum and I, with a powerful spell, destroyed the ball, but because it was magic—

Marcotte magic, Tess said. We could break it up but had to keep its fragments with us.

So, I buried it down at the creek, Aunt Millie said. I was the only one to use the creek... apart from you, Millie. Then there was you, Sandy. Controlled by Meryl, granted...

So, who has it now? Millie asked. And what if grandmother's still around? Could she make herself whole again by fixing it?

There was silence for seconds before Tess said, we’ve gotta find it… and don’t tell your dad.

Oh, dad, Millie said, unable to hide her concern. He’s hanging upside down in the basement.

Mill’s the elder laughed, and their mum smiled.

Ah! It’ll do his back good, sweetie, Tess said.

All right, I’m glad we’re a family again an all, but could we please get back to the land of the living? Sandra asked. I don't like the ether.

Before another word could be thought, they each returned to their bodies. Tess and Sandra woke up in the basement. Tess put a forgetting spell on the twin’s dad, she and Sandra untied him, and Tess floated him up the stairs and put him to bed.

Millie woke surrounded by witches.

“You’re back,” Judith said pushing through the others, as she rushed in for a hug.

“Knew ya could do it,” Rhianna said, but before she could say a word, chocolate was being rammed into her mouth.

***

Mill’s the elder, had given everyone, especially Frank, a fright. For over an hour her body had been close to death. If not for those nurses who knew, Frank might’ve had a heart attack.

“She’ll be all right,” a nurse said. “They’re watching over her.”

“Here, drink this,” another said handing him a cup of hot sweet Ovaltine.

He’d just put the empty cup down when Mill’s woke up.

“Mill’s? Mill’s?” he called. “She’s coming round.”

“Shush,” someone whispered. “Mill’s?”

“Frank?”

“Yes, it’s me, Mill’s. Oh, thank goodness your all right,” he said, his concern was written across his face.

“What’s going on?”

“You smacked your head on the bricks,” he said. “Took me ages to find you. Do you know who did this to you?”

“What?”

“I know someone, or something,” he whispered, “did this to you. You’ve got hand marks burned around your ankles.”

“I what… the fog,” she said, and tried to sit up. Frank put a firm hand on her shoulder and made her lie down. “Oh, Frank, it’s in the fog.”

“Thought it looked odd,” he said. “It’s all round your place.”

“There’s something in the fog, Frank. Keep—”

“Calm yourself, Mill’s,” he said. “It looked odd from the get go... thought it tried to take a bite out of me at one point."

“Stay away from it. Stay away from the fog, Frank. Keep everyone— the tin?”

“Yes… I mean, what tin?”

“Anzac biscuits," she said. "The Anzac biscuit... tin. Did you find it... near me... the front door?”

“I didn't see one, but CSI’s been all over—”

“Get them away—”

“If you let me finish,” he said. “CSI’s been there but I already told them to stay away from the fog until we get it tested. "Might be poisonous," I said… but I’ll go check now you’re awake.”

“Would you? Thank you so much… if you find the tin, Frank—"

“Let me guess. Don’t touch it, right?”

"No. Hide it," Mill’s said and smiled.

“Get hold of Judy. She'll know what to do.”

“I will,” Frank said and got up to leave.

“And Frank?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for being here for me.”

“Anytime, Mill’s. Anytime,” he said, squeezed her hand, and made his way out of the ICU.

He took a seat outside its doors to steady himself. He really thought he was going to lose, his… Friend?

Don’t dwell old man. Just find that damnable biscuit tin, he thought, grabbed a drink of cold water from the cooler and drank it on his way out, an' stay away from the fog.

Young Adult

About the author

Karen Eastland

I write primarily, Urban Fantasy, but because my style sits on the cuff of several genres moving into paranormal fantasy was an easy step. I became a Vocal+ member to provide interactive access for my readers.

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