She’s eluded the authorities during the first round of arrests, but when the crows gave the alarm, she knew that she was lost. She barely had time to throw her grimoire into the flames before they began to bang on her door. Knowing that all was lost, she tried to cut her wrists; however, her resolve faltered and the constable was able to seize her before she could do herself any harm.
Her hands were tied behind her back before they trundled her off to prison. Curious crowds began to coalesce along the road to the capital. Some only shook their fists at her, but others with more energy chose to pelt her with dirt and stones. “Burn the witch!” They shouted. “Hanging is too good for her!” She kept her composure during the entire ordeal, even though the cart in which they placed her pitched to and fro as it bumped down the weed-choked road.
Vennatia Breadlow dipped her hands into the babbling stream. The cold water was bracing and made the her fingers ache. With a cupped hand, she dabbed her cheeks. It was a hot summer day. Despite the shade of the forest, the heat seemed to permeate her entire being, making her cranky and sluggish.
It had been a long day, yet she knew that her trials and tribulations were only beginning. When the local priest accused her of practicing the black arts, she just managed to elude the authorities, but she was on the run. She thought about seeking refuge with another of her kind, but she realized such recourse would only implicate others. Circumstances forced her to hide during most of the daylight hours in barns, under hedges, wherever she could conceal herself.
Resting for a moment on her back, she looked up at the tree branches. The venation of the leaves reminded her of the watershed in the valley below. She found it interesting that certain patterns in nature were repeated from a tiny scale all the way up to the landscape. I’ve seen the riverbeds from on high! She mused. Remembering the rush of the wind through her hair made her smile. Why could she not fly through the air now? Had her master abandoned her in her hour of need?
Monica suppressed a scream as she stared into Maxwell’s eyes. What she saw reflecting back to her from those glowing orbs was her own personal vision of Hell. Impossible to describe to anybody else, Monica recognized it as her own. She felt trapped, locked into position, almost frozen solid.
“Go ahead and scream,” said Max. “It might make you feel better.”
“That’s impossible, Monica!” Said Karl to his wife, the Mrs. Snapjaw. He put the highball to his lips and swallowed its contents in a vain attempt to clear his head. He could feel the scotch burning its way to his belly.
“But it’s true, Karl! It’s true! I’m not saying his lips move, or anything like that, but he gets into my head somehow and I hear him. I hear his voice. I’d recognize it anywhere.” She gazed sideways at Max and then whispered, “It’s kind of effeminate.”
“That cat? That cat right there?” Karl pointed at Max. “He speaks to you? And just what exactly does he say?”
Mrs. Monica Snapjaw stared intently into the brew that filled her crystal punch bowl. Murmuring words from a forgotten, distant past, she inhaled deeply. The odor of the mixture was that of sweetness and corruption. Arms akimbo, she leaned more closely to the surface in order to see her reflection. When she exhaled, her image broke into an infinity of circles.
Envisioning the horror that she hoped to invoke, Monica cried out in a hoarse voice, “So mote it be!”