Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1960239-Ch1Hidden-Memories-Witches-of-the-Light
Rated: E · Novel · Occult · #1960239
An unexpected visitor and a dream warning.
Revised: Jan 29/14

Chapter 1- Hidden Memories          

         A coyote stood close to the river’s edge. It sniffed the air, searching for something in the summer’s breeze. Head tilted, he looked curious and interested in the wind. Was he listening to a voice carried in the breeze?

         Caleigh watched from behind a crumbling wooden beam. Branches scraped against the stone chimney. She was not afraid of the wild animal. She didn’t speak nor breathe too heavily. She didn’t want to alert the coyote of her presence. She stood still, watching the coyote with black tipped ears.

         The coyote turned away from her, as if to jump into Birch River and swim away from Berwick Village. Suddenly, it stopped and pawed at the gravel. It looked toward the abandoned house. She sighed as the coyote took a step in her direction. She was fascinated with the coyote’s behavior.

         Nothing ever exciting happened to Caleigh and her friends. A whistle in the wind. What could the canine be searching for around one of the four rivers in her sleepy town?

         Sniffing the ground and pawing at the soft dirt, he continued searching for something.  The coyote ran and jumped on a boulder. It yipped, answering the wind. The animal lunged off the rock and turned, once again in her direction and yipped, once more.

         Caleigh jumped. “Okay, so maybe a little scared.” She clasped her hand over her mouth, to prevent a scream that was creeping up her throat.

         He sniffed the air and scratched at the dirt. He tilted his head, as if listening to the wind, waiting instructions, and then stopped moving.

         She stared at the unmoving coyote, focused on her breathing. The words of her mother returned to her. ‘Remember, animals share our home. They possess feelings and souls. Children and animals are curious. Don’t fear the woods, especially those residing amongst the trees.’ She took a deep breath and then left the safety of the rotting wood from the hundred or more year old abandoned cottage. She walked around the crumbling stone steps and the rock foundation. She sensed no danger from the wild animal, merely curiosity.

         “What are you looking for little guy?” Caleigh asked, without a quiver in her voice.

         The coyote stopped, angled his head, as if trying to comprehend her words. Did he recognize her voice? His yellowish eyes gazed at Caleigh before looking toward the ruins. What was he searching for? He turned his caramel face toward her and twitched his black nose. Better yet, who was he pursuing?  Slowly, he crept closer toward her, wagging its tail.

         Confusion crept over Caleigh. Photos of coyotes flipped through her mind. Was a coyote communicating with her or was the creature someone’s pet and he was lost in Berwick. Seconds passed as they observed each other, neither moving. Caleigh barely breathed. He sniffed the air. Was he inhaling her scent?  Maybe to be able to identify her should their paths cross another time.

         “Are you hungry?” Caleigh swung her crimson red and forest green plaid canvas backpack from her shoulder.

         The coyote, black tipped ears perked, watched like a dog waiting for a biscuit or a favorite chewy toy.

         Rummaging through her bag, she found a sandwich wrapped in plastic wrap. “I always bring extra carrots for rabbits and sunflower seeds for the birds and squirrels. How about a roast beef sandwich?” She reached toward the coyote, sandwich in her hand.

         He sniffed toward, displaying a little nervousness. He took a step closer, she could smell his breath.

         “Mom also told me, ‘Never be scared of coyotes, wolves or foxes.’ I would never be afraid of dogs so why a coyote.”  The warm breeze tickled her bare arms.  “It looks like it’s been awhile since you’ve seen people. I won’t hurt you, I promise.” Caleigh tossed the sandwich at his feet.  Dead pine needles swirled in the air, encircling her sandals.

         The coyote pounced as if it was a juicy T-bone steak and not just roast beef from the previous night’s supper. Caleigh smiled as her new friend devoured her lunch. A wolf howled from somewhere across Oak River south and west of the ruins, toward Logan’s house. The coyote stopped eating, looked around and his gaze rested upon Caleigh, long enough that she recognized fear clouding his eyes. The coyote raced down the river, hiding behind the row of birch trees. The coyote was afraid of a wolf?


         Crissy put the maroon Camaro in park at the end of Kiera’s lane. “I love Full Moon Baking Days. You must be exhausted from the hours of mixing and baking this morning, hundred muffins and dozens of four different kinds of cookies. My favorite cookies - chocolate chip and coconut,” Crissy said.

         Kiera smiled. “We gave away two dozen cookies after lunch. All the children, mouths’ watering, patiently waiting at the tables. I so look forward to sharing our treats with them, every full moon.”

         “Emily loves helping out at the coffee shop. Now, she’s with Caleigh and Alexis for the afternoon at the river.” Crissy tapped her fingers on the steering wheel.

         “She loves eating our baking.” Kiera handed Crissy a lilac-colored round tin box. “Here are some chocolate chip and coconut cookies, for later.”

         “You take such good care of us.” Crissy opened the lid and snatched a cookie. “Later? No way.  Love them.”

         “And there’re six or so banana-nut muffins, for Emily.” Kiera grabbed the door handle.

          “Thanks. You sure you want to walk? Really, I don’t mind driving you home.” Crissy glanced out the window.

         “Oh Crissy, you know I love strolling down the lane, looking for birds and rabbits. I say hello to my gargoyles and embrace my surroundings. I love spending time at the coffee shop, especially with you, but I prefer to be home, away from villagers. I feel safe behind the stone wall.”

         “Kiera, the hermit.” Crissy laughed.  “You’re only twenty-five. We’re safe, Kiera. It’s our home.” Crissy paused as if searching for the words. “Emily and I should just move in. She’ll lively up the place with her  music and chatter. You know you love Bon Jovi too. Doesn’t he remind you of someone you used to know?”

         Kiera knew who Crissy referred to, but they hadn’t seen him in many years. She remembered his smile and the way his azure eyes sparkled as he spoke. His wavy blond hair brushed his broad shoulders. “I miss him so much that at times it hurt to breathe.” Her soul crumbled just a bit. She smiled instead of cried. One day, she hoped her family would be reunited.

         There was a hint of sadness in Crissy’s voice as she spoke. “I know how you feel, Kiera. I hear his laugh in the breeze. I see his eyes in his son.”

         Kiera heard the sadness fill her voice. She knew that Crissy would always miss her friend and lighting a blue taper candle would assist in Crissy’s sorrow, with a dash of guilt.  Kiera placed a comforting hand on Crissy’s acid wash jeans. “I’m fine alone. Basil isn’t fond of loud noises, and she loves her freedom.”

         Crissy raked her fingers through her spiky hair. “The house needs to be filled with children of your own. Remember when we were kids, running around the house and the trees in the yard. And sneaking out at nights? Anyways, I need a hot shower.” Crissy switched topics like a wind changing directions. “And you, my friend, have a walk ahead. Besides, don’t you need some fresh sage for the full moon ritual at midnight?”

         “Yes. See you after sunset?” Kiera asked.

         “Not tonight. Emily and Jaeden are watching ‘Friday the Thirteenth’ on video. Young love. I’ll sit on the back deck and enjoy the moon’s presence.”

         Kiera grabbed her denim bag and opened the car door. “It’s a warm summer’s day, not a rain cloud. I’ll be fine.”

         “Watch out for wolves.” Crissy giggled.

         “Crissy, we’ve lived here for how many years? When was the last time we saw a wolf or a coyote?”

         “Too many. I do miss them though.” Her voice cracked.

         Kiera knew the return of both would signal danger, but still missed the canines of the wild. “See you later,” she said and closed the door.

         With a honk, Crissy pulled away and dirt flew into the air.

         “Crissy and her Camaro.” Kiera shook her head. She enjoyed walking and promised she’d never own a car. Crissy was always in a hurry. That girl needed to slow down and enjoy nature. “She’ll never grow up.”

         A thick line of raspberry bushes bordered the well-worn path, leading to the sentries of cedar and stone wall of Corrigan Manor. Kiera listened to the squirrels chattering in the branches of the trees hiding the river to her right.

         A rabbit scampered across the path from the direction of the woods and river. Nature’s creature stopped, sniffed the air.

         Kiera knelt to the grass, her bag open, and then she withdrew a handful of carrot sticks from a plastic container. She placed a few crunchy veggies on the path. “A tasty snack for you.”

         The rabbit twitched its nose, thumped its paw and then hopped closer.  After peeking up at her, it scurried back to the forest, with a carrot in its mouth.

         Kiera sighed. “She’s so cute.”

         The sun warmed her back as she continued toward her sanctuary. She enjoyed baking days with Crissy and Emily; however, lately she had been finding it more difficult to leave the stone wall. Could the darkness be creeping around again? She feared the people’s curious looks. Would the villagers discover her secret? She didn’t wish to abandon her home. Crissy had been lucky for she feared nothing, whereas Kiera, at times, required reminders of her inner strengths.

         Pausing at the entrance to her private domain, she turned and spoke to the gargoyles. “Continue to guard and defend.”

         Nature whispered a greeting. Butterflies fluttered amongst the roses, pansies and daisies snuggled against the corner rock garden, while a few brushed against her long dark hair. Humming birds hovered close and then vibrated to the flowers waving along the front steps of her two-story family-house.

         “The ivy is coming along nicely.” Repeating her grandmother’s words, she muttered, “Nature is very much alive. Talk to plants and nature. Nature always responds.”

         The breeze whispered in the leaves.  A few steps past the pair of walnut trees, she sighed and gazed toward the charcoal remains from last night’s fire in the bricked firepit. Her hand lingered on the back of the wooden bench. Solitary Full Moon Ritual tonight. She missed her parents and grandparents. She gravely missed her sister and cousins. A single tear sketched down her face.

         Reaching over, she clutched the handle of the hay-colored wicker basket. The scent of sage welcomed her as she approached the herbs growing in the shade near the east stone wall. Kiera knelt on the grass and gently tore off a few leaves into the basket. “Sage for the full moon ritual. It’s too bad that Crissy won’t be here.”

         Kiera knew the only place to gather the remaining herbs for the evening’s full moon ritual lie beyond the enclosed yard - the rocky circle of her family’s ancient garden. Exiting through the opening, she strolled down the pathway, swinging the basket. The grass tickled her sandaled feet. Stepping between boulders of various sizes, piled to create a barrier, she made her way to the meadow where she stopped for a moment, taking in the fragrance and the view.

         Kiera touched the first tree of the Corrigan family garden--ash. “I still have the staff father crafted from one of your branches.” Motionless for a brief moment, she then continued along the path.

         The dried leaves crunched beneath her feet. Kneeling on the ground, she collected some of the withered oak leaves, along with some acorns. She picked up a fallen branch. “Perfect for a wand.”

         Within a couple of steps, the fragrance of mint greeted her. She knelt in the patch of minty herb and chewed one of the leaves. A field mouse watched as Kiera gathered a handful of the green leaves. She dropped them into the basket.

         A yip echoed through the air. “Coyote?” She shook her head. “No, it had to be the neighbor’s dog.” The field mouse skittered among the grape vines and disappeared through a small hole in the stone wall. Another yip. “Maybe only a coyote passing by the village.” She shivered with the thought of a wild canine residing in the nearby woods. Danger followed coyotes. “Enough with worrying about coyotes.” Still on her knees, she inhaled he minty fragrance as her hand brushed the herbs. “Now, what else do I need for the Full Moon Ritual? Rosemary, that lies beyond the rowan tree. Something else…” She rose to her feet and felt the weight of exhaustion in her muscles. A yawn escaped her mouth. It has been a long day. “Perhaps I’ll find just gather rosemary and then head to Birch River. I need a drink.”

         From the higher branches of the tree at the eastern point, birds tapped several rowan berries to the ground. She gathered the tiny fruit. “I’ll add these to my ritual, a gift from the birds.”

         She rubbed the needle leaves between her fingers to release the rosemary’s pine fragrance before dropping the sprig into her basket. The shadow of the walnut tree crossed her path, and she caressed its bark, her hand lingering against its ancient trunk.

         Kiera lowered the basket to the ground, and then placed a hand on a flat white rock. Birds and squirrels joined together in a welcoming symphony while the village dogs barked in the distance. She left the basket behind and skirted between the rocks.

         On the other side of the circular rocky barrier, the summer breeze dangled willow branches. They brushed her shoulder and back, caressing her skin like a mother’s touch. If only her mother were with her now. They waved goodbye as Kiera headed to the edge of the river. She knelt beside the water and rinsed her hands and face. A mouthful of the cool liquid soothed her dry throat. From the shallow water at the river’s edge, she selected a stone and placed it in her jean pocket. Later, it would be placed on the window sill for a moon’s cycle to be charged for future charms. Or perhaps added to her rock garden. She ran her fingers through her dark hair, and gently pulled a few loose strands and flicked them into the water - an offering to the water elementals.

         Kiera glanced to the opposite side of the river where a grey wolf loped along the river bank. She recognized the canis lupus with the midnight black splatter on his face. She shook her head in denial. “No, it can’t be for he hasn’t been around since Grams lived in Berwick. First, I hear a coyote and then I see the wolf.”  It had been decades since any resided in the nearby trees. Wolves knew and saw all. With a howl, the creature disappeared among the trees that bordered the river.

         “I’ll be calling Crissy to let her know our friend, the wolf, has returned to the village.” Her face warmed with the anticipation of his return to be a positive experience, but she truly doubted it.

         Returning to the rocky circle, she picked up the wicker basket, and then continued her journey. Within a few strides, she arrived at the fifth tree - Hazel. She placed her hand on the bark, at waist height. “Earth, air, fire, water and spirit. The Goddess of Solas and the moon always observing and whispering. Ash. Oak. Rowan. Walnut. Hazel. Five sacred trees and five points of the witches’ pentagram.”

         Kiera glided to the center of the pentagram. She placed the basket on the grass, and twirled beneath the warmth of the sun. Colours of the buttercups, daisies and other wildflowers sprayed out in various directions as if the sun struck a crystal hanging in a window.

         She stopped and knelt to the ground. Mixed aromas swirled as she crushed flowers beneath her knees. The music of the wind and the fragrance of the flowers seeped into her mind and body. She stretched out and relaxed, then closed her eyes and drifted to sleep.

         The dream crept over her sleeping mind in the form of a vision. Her grandmother with shoulder-length, wind-swept brunette hair fluttering in the breeze approached from the distant oak tree, her long skirt skimming the grass. Kiera knew that her feet would be bare beneath the white silky cloth.

         Her delicate fingers waved as the distance between the two disappeared, and the older woman caressed her grand-daughter’s hair. “You look so much your mom, especially pulled back in a ponytail. It shows your beautiful face.” Her mouth quivered. She blinked away tears.

         “I miss her too, Grams.” Kiera wiped a tear from her own face.

         Her grandmother clasped Kiera’s hand and spoke. “Call upon the names of those lost: Iarrthoir de Solas, Loach, Witches, and Ndan de Ceithre. Call upon your sisters and brothers of the Coven of Solas. Call upon all the Loaches. Warriors and Witches will come together as one. Evoke the ancient ritual.  Scathanna is growing stronger. It must not capture another Loach de Solas.”

         “I know the spell.” Kiera paused. “I also remember when he was taken. I will call upon the entire coven.”

         “The lost Loach is one of our warriors.  He must complete the quad. Always four. One perished, years ago. The innocent and untrained warrior must be summoned. He must hear your call. It is imperative. Your magic must include all the Loaches and Iarrthoir, not only the Witches of the Coven. Scathanna will not destroy another.”

         Grams turned to the outer trees and her gaze returned to her grand-daughter. “Iarrthoir of Solas, his sight is stirring. He sees the white lightning. The future of the worlds rests on your words and inner strength.”

         Kiera squeezed the older woman’s hand. “Yes, Gram.  Our Goddess whispers to all of the Witches of Solas, and Loaches, all of the Warriors of Solas.”

         “The messages you burn tonight will reach them, as well. Our coven needs to be united. The children--Ndan de Ceithre--must gather and know their destiny.  The prophecy made centuries ago is unfolding. It is time, Child.”

         Kiera recognized the urgency in her voice. “Grams are you sure? I haven’t sensed Scathanna. It hasn’t been in this realm for centuries. The last time Scathanna escaped, a Loach was over-taken by Dorchados and we lost him forever.”

         “Dorchados …” Grams said. “You remember your ancient Irish. You’re not so modern.”

         “But Grams, Darkness doesn’t even begin to describe the evil that is Dorchados. It’s beyond demons and monsters. Scathanna can’t invade any more souls. It transforms all to evil and Dorchados will destroy all life. Ndan de Ceithre needs to be found … years have been lost. They’re so young and innocent. They weren’t raised in the ancient ways. Will they be able to use their powers in time to save the worlds? Everything will surely crumble into dust. Scathanna cannot destroy life as we know it.”

         “Yes, my sweet child. It has been seen in the Whispering Waters. Kenzie witnessed the vision herself.”

         Kiera gasped.

         “Scathanna will return and extinguish all life.  We must defeat Dorchados, the ultimate evil of darkness. Scathanna must be destroyed, along with its allies. Cast the spell of the witch tonight under the full moon’s power. The missing ones will find their way to the stone wall and to their destiny. The Gathering is near.  The coyote is searching for his son. They can’t reunite. The wolf has warned us. Be ready, my child.” Grams kissed her on the forehead and faded away.

         Kiera awoke. “It is time! The coyote is searching for his son.  The Goddess is closer during the full moon. Her light will aid in my spell. Ndan de Ceithre will be awakened tonight.”

         She gathered an armful of wild flowers. “I need daisies, lavender and heather for the spell. And Iarrthoir de Solas and the lost Loach must be identified. The warriors must return to full strength and each quad must be four. It is time. Ndan de Ceithre—the four needs to see the runes tonight, before it’s too late.”

         Kiera stretched her arms over her head, the flowers dangling from her fingers. A coyote yipped. She turned toward the noise and saw the animal stalking close to the barrier. Her breath caught in her throat. Motionless, she observed the coyote staring back at her. “No!” Kiera gasped, and then placed her hand over her mouth to prevent a scream from escaping her lips. I’ll be brave. Courageous as she knew Crissy would be in the same situation. Her friend was fearless and strong. Silently, she summoned the elements. Birds flew out of the trees.

         The coyote didn’t approach the rocks. She knew the animal would not touch her within the pentagram. Kiera was safe. Her breathing relaxed.

         From the distance, the wolf howled.  Kiera recognized its cry.

         The coyote growled and then disappeared into the forest.

          “Grams, you brought him to me. Coyote is the omen of danger. Scathanna is growing strong. It shall not pass through the portal.” Kiera had been waiting for many years, nevertheless she also feared the time when it would come.

          “It is time!” Kiera cried to the ravens swooping overhead. She focused on her breathing as fear and memories struggled in her mind. “It’s time for brewing potions. They will know and they will come to me. Ndan de Ceithre has to be awoken. Solas must defeat Dorchados or the world will crumble.”

© Copyright 2013 Bree (breec at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1960239-Ch1Hidden-Memories-Witches-of-the-Light