The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Stacey Turner
She summoned him in the forest, where she knew her power was at its peak. She held the glass orb, glowing with unearthly light, and spoke the words of a forgotten language—old even before time had begun. Focusing on her intent, she put every ounce of her ability into the summoning, then collapsed to the forest floor, pine needles making a prickly cushion. She laid panting, ears tuned to the slightest sound.
First, a grey fog began to form, shrouding the trees standing sentry around her clearing. Then the mist moved forward, as though it were a tongue, tasting the air, searching for salt. It licked the borders of her circle, flinched back, and then proceeded to form into a vague shape. A shape which solidified into a man. The beauty of his features struck her. Shouldn’t a demon appear grotesque? This form was entirely too desirable. But any flames of lust were dowsed at his words.
“You dare to summon me to your bidding, Witch? I am not a lesser devil, called to wait upon those who walk the Earth.” His voice was deep and raspy, but unmistakably cold.
Petra cocked an eyebrow. “Yet, here you are.”
He hissed. “You are bold, temptress. I may have answered your summons, if only to see what so presumptuous a creature might look like, but that does not mean I’ll carry out your command.”
“You find me tempting?” Petra laughed softly, huskily. “Do not think of this as a command, think of it as a request.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. Pretty sorceresses are common. Intelligent ones, however, are rare. And I will think on any transaction we might conduct as a bargain. My assistance, once given, is never free. I hope you are prepared to pay.”
“As you wish, Demon. Let’s get down to haggling then. I want eternal life for myself and my father.”
“I never haggle.” He grinned, and Petra shivered—icy tendrils racing down her spine. Fear was an emotion she had rarely felt and completely detested. It made her peevish. She squared her shoulders.
“Fine, name your price.”
He chuckled. “So brave for one so young. Or maybe naïve. It matters not. My price for immortality is a soul. Twice the immortality, twice the souls.”
“And how do you plan to collect if we never die?” Petra rolled her eyes.
“There is no such thing as true immortality, my sweet. Nature will not allow such. There are laws. And if I’m especially lucky, there are loopholes. I’m rather fond of testing my wits against my petitioners.” He shrugged. “Take the offer or don’t.”
“How can I make a decision if I don’t know what the rules are?”
“You should have studied harder, Enchantress.”
His casual nonchalance infuriated Petra, and she stamped her foot like a spoiled child. He laughed, a grin splitting his face wide open.
“This is going to be fun. I do hope you’ll take me up on my offer.”
“Fine,” Petra said. She stared straight into his glowing green eyes. “We’ll see who has the last laugh.”
“Indeed we will.” He waved his hand, scaring off a murder of crows which had been perched in the tree above his head. Their cawing became a cacophony as Petra’s body floated up from the ground, spinning slowly in a circle. Her stomach lurched at the sensation. She’d barely regained the ground, when she glanced back to where he’d stood. He was gone, leaving behind only the stench of Sulphur and the mocking echo of his laughter.
Fiction © Copyright Stacey Turner
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Stacey Turner:
Finding Fiona: A Pine Haven Novel
What happens when a witch has no idea she’s a witch?
Mayhem, that’s what. When Paranormal Bureau of Investigation (PBI) agents Kyle Gibson, Cian O’Malley, and Larry De Groot, travel to a small Midwestern town to neutralize a rogue paranormal, they don’t expect to find an untutored witch unaware of her legacy of power.
Fiona MacDougal has never felt like she belonged to her oh-so-perfect family. She’s a klutzy, curly-haired, mess who always seems to have the strangest accidents. But when she meets the members of the PBI and learns she’s a witch, she’ll have to decide between fitting in with the normal world or embracing the paranormal possibilities. Can she survive the danger and heartbreak her choices create?
Please don’t forget to visit the other WiHM 11 projects taking place!