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The Witches Trap

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

A white light falls over Tasmania, like the webbing of a million spiders protecting, shining, turning to silver beneath the light of a waxing moon powered by every witch near and far. From across Australia, they gathered in Zoom, by phone and by word-of-mouth. They combined their magic with their Tasmanian sisters under siege before they woke Millie.

With at least a week of battle ahead of them, the principal of the twin’s high school, a one Molly Fougnut, scryer extraordinaire and active member of the coven, cleared the way. She made certain no-one would contact their parents about absences, but secretly worried what she would, or could, do if Sandra showed up. In the utilities closet in her office was an obsidian mirror to keep a watchful eye. For those times of panic, she kept a black bowl full of water to maintain a connection to the coven, and an amethyst crystal sphere for a sense of calm.

She needn’t have worried. Sandra, or the beast, had been psychically pounding against the coven’s shields since 5-am.

“To keep up that kind of attack for that long,” Rhianna said, and Sam agreed. “It’d have to be somewhere quiet.”

Where it can’t be disturbed, Susan was thinking when Margaret suddenly said. “Tess.”

Margaret had been exploring the astral plains to make sure all areas were sealed, that the shield was holding up. Sharon was at Mill’s the elder’s bedside. Aunt Millie had been put into a medically induced coma due to her head trauma and blood loss. She was also an open vessel for the beast to attack... or use.

What could go wrong? Sharon thought, taking her seat next to her ICU bed.

She held Aunt Millie’s hand and remained by her side. She hadn’t moved since relieving Stacy that morning… when the beast began knocking on the door.

“And the—”

“Fog?” Stacy asked, and Margaret nodded. “Contained, but not controlled. It’s moving down stream fast. It’ll hit Launceston within hours.”

“Hm,” said Margaret. “We’ll deal later."

“What about Tess?” someone asked, and a wave of nausea move through the elder women.

What happened with their mother, Meryl, had been hardest on young Tess and the coven secretly kept an eye on her… she was, after all, a non-practicing sister.

Tess feared she would become her mother and old mummy dearest worked her darndest to keep Tess close. Millie had already left home and was couch surfing with friends, some of them part of the coven. She hated leaving Tess in that house, but she had well and truly been worked on by their mother. Tess was too fearful to leave.

It wasn’t until Tess had the twins that she let her sister, Millie the elder, back into her life. Millie cried the day Tess phoned. She’d missed her so much, but it was when young Millie manifested powers at such an early age that Tess invited Millie into her home more often, until they once again became a family.

“Sandr— the beast. It has her,” Margaret said, and a gasp filled the air. “Wait. She’s still sleeping… will she be safe?”

“Tess’s shielded?” Sam asked.

“Don’t panic,” Stacy said, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “She’s never been un-shielded.”

It was time.

Covens around Tasmania had been on high alert. Sharon and Stacy were taking shifts to watch over Mill’s the elder, and Judith was in a room separate from Millie’s. They all prayed, hoped, she’d return to her body once the battle was over, but all those witches captured in the ether played out like an old movie in Sam’s mind. Their image sending electric shocks to attack her at fifteen-minute intervals.

We’ll get them back, Margaret psychically whispered to Sam, her soft hands grasping hers in a warm embrace.

Thank you, Margaret. I needed that.

“Millie?” Sam whispered, sitting on the bed. “Millie?”

“Sandy?” Millie asked, caught between dream and wakefulness.

“No. It’s Sam, sweetie.”

“What? What is it? Is it Sandy?”

“It’s time,” Sam said, “to bring Sandra, your family, home.”

No one knew for sure what the creature dwelling in Sandra’s body was, but thanks to Sam, they knew it was evil and could therefore kill it. Layer upon layer of silver webbing continued to fall across land and sea, in preparation for the battle that lay ahead.

“We found Sandra,” Sam continued. “She’s–”

“She’s where?” Millie asked, sitting bolt upright.

“Trapped. She’s trapped,” Sam said with a stutter while she thought about the best way to warn Millie of the dangers ahead.

“Where?” Millie asked.

“In the ether—”

“In the… What? How do we get her out?”

“Well, that’s the question of the day, isn’t it?” Margaret said.

With all the powers and abilities on parade in that room, all knew the only way to save Sandra was if young Millie could extract the beast from her body and cast it into the fiery flames of hells deepest circles. What had everyone nervous was, once the beast was out, it’d be in its native form, and no-one knew what that was.

Marianna, who stood with one foot in one world and the other in another, was integral to the plan. She made up part of the shield covering the dark, the astral plains; to ethereal doorways, and the expanse of nothingness, Marianna joined her essence with hundreds, maybe thousands, of witches in their efforts to shield Tasmania... to contain the evil.

They were in the firing line and the evil knew them.

“Where’s my aunt?”

“She’s at LGH,” Stacey said.

“What?”

“Don’t panic,” she said. “I dropped her off last night.”

“Is she okay?”

“Got a nasty knock on the back of her head but found her just in time. Any longer…”

Stacey stopped talking, dropped her head, and stepped back into the circle of witches surrounding the bed.

“Is she… I mean, she’ll be all right, right?” Millie asked, but got nothing. “Is she still in her body?”

“No,” Sam said. “She’s not, but she is with Sandra… And Judith.”

“In the ether? We’ve gotta save them,” Millie said, and pushed the blankets back to get out of bed, but Jacqueline put a soothing hand on her shoulder.

Jacqueline—teacher, mother, and friend to all— said, “There’s much to learn and not much time to learn it, Millie.”

“Why? Why isn’t there much time?”

Her panic was rising. She was barely masking the actual panic she was experiencing. Sahlah, high priestess, stepped forward and took charge.

“We know our sister, Mill’s the elder, has been tutoring you in the ways of the witch,” Sahlah said, “which is why we have to teach you how to enter the ether, talk to your sister, your aunt, to find out how we defeat the beast living in your sisters’ body.”

“I’m ready now,” Millie said. “Aunty’s taught me how to focus, to see beyond what’s in front of me, in front of us all.”

“But there’s much more to it,” Sam said.

“I don’t care,” Millie said, “I know enough, and I can learn along the way, but we have to save them now.”

“Righto Mill’s, here’s the skinny,” Rhianna said. “You’re goin’ where no witch wants to go, and you need a few tricks up ya sleeve. Now, I don’t know you very well, but know you’re a quick study. Here’s the thing, if you go in half-cocked, then ya mother, sister and aunt’ll die unless ya listen. Right?”

Millie was taken aback. The blood drained from her face when she asked, “Mum too?”

“Yes,” Margaret said, “but she’s sleeping, so should be okay if we can kill the beast.”

Millie realised they were right, and although the journey ahead was for her alone, the coven could guide her until, I’m out of their reach?

“The ether has a way of distorting things,” Sam began. “Not everything is as it seems. It can play tricks on you.”

“Like what?”

“Like… it can make you think you’re talking to someone, but it’s not really them.”

“Okay.”

“To make sure they are who they say they are, ask them something only, and I mean only, they would know,” Sam said.

“Ya grandmother conjured tha beast,” Rhianna said. “We’ve fought it, but never got to see what it was she conjured.”

“You mean she—”

“Died before we could separate it from her body? Yep, that’s what I mean.”

The room fell silent, while Millie absorbed everything. Delilah, and Jacqulyn barely held back their laughter. Rhianna was so direct. The others cringed, but let her finish. Sometimes hard truths are what’s required when times are bad.

Mill’s the elder had always said, “If you upset Millie… Well, she’s got some power… might want to step back.”

“All right,” Sam said. “Margaret?”

“I know.”

“You might want to take a toilet break before you begin,” Susan, the dimensional Guardian, said to Millie. “Trust me. I’ve been there before.”

A few of the witches laughed, recalling the time Susan got caught up in an argument with some creature trying to crossover. She’d been in stasis for 3 days, and it had nothing to do with Meryl. It was just some cheeky outworlder trying to sneak across. Millie used the toilet, brushed her teeth and had something to eat, maybe not in that order. Susan and Sam schooled her in the many ways her journey could go wrong.

“Right,” said Susan, “no time like the present. What do you say, Mill’s the younger?”

Millie giggled at the term. She liked it.

“Okay. What do we do?”

“Only we, Susan and me, can escort you to the ether,” Sam said. “Susan will keep the barrier between dimensions open and safe, so there’s a way out. I‘ll take you as far as the trench, but can’t go any further—”

“Why?”

“Because we have limits, Mill’s,” Sam said. “I got sucked into the trench on my last trip, and until I prepare myself, I can’t go there again… You’ll see why.”

“Okay then, let’s go.”

Susan took Sam’s hand, tethering herself to make sure she didn’t get lost, but Millie couldn’t be tethered for long. She was on her own. Some worried, but the elder women did not. They sensed great power, believing her dominant power would eventually be precognitive.

"A great power in battle," they'd said to Mill's the elder.

Handy in a fight, Rhianna thought.

No-one was sure if Millie could do it, but the further she went, the more confident she became. Her aunt had pushed her when they scried for Sandra, and she had a knack for knowing what to do moments before doing it.

Sam and Susan didn’t know what’d happen once Millie was untethered.

“Remember,” Sam said, “if you see Sandy, it’ll be—.”

“The beast. I know,” Millie said, and lay back on the bed.

Just hope you make it, Mill’s the younger, Susan thought.

On one side was Susan, on the other, Sam. They lay their hands on her, Sam placed one hand on Millie’s brow, the other on her stomach. Susan placed a hand on the crown on top of Millie’s head, the other over her heart. Then chanted.

Secrets unbid, hidden in ether,

Guide this child of light.

Seeker of truths led by love,

She weaves a path in dark of night.

Gift this child, thy sacred glove,

And teach her your power.

Reveal all hidden in the ethereal realm,

Direct this child in this hour,

And allow her light to devour,

Those who seek to harm.

Millie fell into a deep sleep, and at first it was pleasurable, comfortable, until she realised there was no end, no light in sight. She was falling and had to work hard to bring herself to a stop. When she did, Millie found she was floating as if in the deep of an ocean, though knew it was the dark of the empty. She’d heard about the empty, and it’d frightened her. She caught her breath and was surprised. She expected water and got air.

Aren’t you tricky? she thought.

“Millie?” she heard emanating from the darkness.

It was barely a whisper, but she was certain it was her name.

All right, what would aunty know that the beast wouldn’t?

Even though she knew she wasn’t in water, she found the best way to move in the direction she wanted to go, was to breaststroke.

Must be like walking in space.

With no idea how big the empty was, it only seemed like seconds before she entered a partially lit valley. It was full of witches, both young and old. They were bound by some evil being, feeding off their essence.

“Welcome, dear,” a familiar voice said close to the back of her neck that she turned to see who it was, but no-one, nothing was there.

“Who’s there?” Millie asked, then saw her sister. “Sandy? Is that you? Sandy?”

Moving to where she was bound, Millie tried to release her from whatever was holding her, but her binds were invisible and tight.

In truth I seek, in light I pray

Break down all barriers in my way,

Snap!

She said, but nothing happened, so said it again. But whatever had a hold on Sandra wasn’t letting her go and she had an odd, familiar odour about her.

It was just like the perfume Millie had found in a box in their basement, marked, “Old witch.”

“Grandmother?” Millie asked, but got no reply. “Sandra?”

Before she knew what was happening, the empty began to swirl and, with a head rush to rival hanging from a bungee over a deep, dark, mine shaft, Millie was in their basement.

Is that… dad? Where’s mum? Oh, may the gods give my breath fire to breathe.

Hanging in front of Millie, was her dad. His feet had been tied together, and he’d been hung upside down from a rafter in the basement. Her mum was tied to an upright, and was bound so tight Millie worried she couldn’t breathe.

She manifested a candle, then chanted:

Shadows cast,

In earth and hearth.

Release those binds,

Without causing of harm,

Snap!

Millie whispered, then pulled back, took a deep breath and exhaled a yellow fire onto the rope around her mother, but nothing happened.

“Silly, silly girl,” the beast wearing Sandra said, turning to look at Millie in the astral plain.

“How can you—”

“What? See you?” the beast asked, and laughed an otherworldly cringe worthy laugh.

“Step out of there. Come visit us, sis,” the beast said.

“No,” Millie said. “You come in here.”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. You should know better. You must respect your elders, Mill’s the younger. I do believe Mill’s the elder told you that not too long ago.”

Millie didn’t know what to do or think.

Not apologizing if that’s what it wants.

Really? The beast said telepathically. Oh yes, you’re certainly a Millie, aren’t you?

Millie pulled back until she was in the empty again, until she bumped into something, or someone. Turning, she saw her aunt, then Judith, floating next to Sandy. The glow of a blinding white flash of light lit up the trench and Millie saw the valley of witches.

There's thousands of them.

In a moment of blind panic, she took her aunt’s hand in hers and tried to reach Sandy’s, but she was too far.

Take a deep breath, Mill’s, she thought, and closing her eyes, she attempted to calm herself, but when she opened them again, she saw something in the light was catapulting towards her.

It’s the beast, she thought as an image of her sister came into view, but there was something being dragged along behind it. As it neared, Millie's heart skipped a beat.

“Mum?” she asked, clearly shocked. No, just the beast playing games with me.

Then she saw it in her head. The fire she’d flared to loosen her mother’s binds had worked, and Millie didn’t have to ask her a secret question. It was her mum.

“Mum? What are—”

“Not now, sweetie, mums busy. Now take my hand, it’s time for this witch to die once and for all.”

Series

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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