“Some folks treated the past like an old friend. The memories warmed them with fondness for what was, and hope for what was to come. Not me. When I thought of long ago, my insides curdled, and I was left feeling sour and wasted.”
Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried.
Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…
“We found my ‘grandfather’ sitting at his dining room table. An entire scorched pot of coffee dangled from his shaky hand. His skin was the ashen gray shade of thunderclouds, not the rich mocha from the photo I’d seen. There were dark blue circles under each swollen red eye. A halo of white hair skirted his bald head, a crown of tangles and mats. Corpses had more life in them.”
Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.
After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas.
Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of paranormal-horror-action novelettes by author E.J. Wesley. These stories contain language and content better suited for mature readers.
Blood Fugue Excerpt 1 (SHORT)
A yellowed photograph of my grandfather, the phantom who’d drawn me into this room for the first time in over a year, brought me back to my mission. He wore a headdress, and tribal paint was smeared on his cheeks for some kind of reenactment or ceremony.
The photo struck me as odd, because my very few memories of him were only a child’s caricatures of her grandpa. A gap-toothed old man laughing. The smell of cedar and pipe tobacco. A giant hand engulfing my own. Certainly nothing John Wayne would’ve gotten riled up about.
Sure, there was a lot of Apache blood on Mom’s side of the family, but I hardly looked the part. Basically, everything cool about being Native American—beautiful, dark skin, spirituality, and artistic aptitude—had been lost on me. I was pale every month but July, unbelieving, and had never so much as sketched a flower in my life.
My thumb traced along the feathers of his headdress.
“What secrets are you keeping?” I whispered to the empty room.
As if it’d been lodged in the plumes, a long hidden memory was set free, slamming into me so hard I flinched.
I hurt so badly. Like a fatality in a gory fighting game, a gaping hole had been ripped into my chest. I’d never be whole again. Through a prism of tears, I could see two men literally tearing my father away from the casket so they could finish lowering her into the ground.
I was standing alone, when a man with shiny, graying hair in two long braids and skin like wrinkled brown velvet, knelt in front of me. Grandpa. He smiled deeply, as though the expression were a cup trying to catch his own tears.
He handed me a single crimson feather. “It belonged to your mother.”
The memory jumped forward. Just Dad and I now, riding in an impossibly long car with rain-speckled windows. The feather clutched to my chest, I sobbed as he told me things were going to be different.
Dad reached for the feather. I screamed and bit his hand. He slapped me across the face. It was the first and only time he’d ever laid a hand on me, but the sting of his slap would stay on my cheek for years. The window lowered. The influx of frigid, damp air sucked the cries from my lungs. Dad shoved the feather out into the nothingness after them.
He thought we could just throw away the memories of Mom, and I’d hated him for it. Always.
Back in Granny’s room, I sucked in a ragged breath as it all came back to me… The times I begged to see my grandparents. How Dad had blamed them for Mom’s death, because she’d been driving back from a visit when she’d fallen asleep at the wheel. And my father’s immediate retreat into his work and the bottle that would eventually kill him, too.
It was all there. A fresh steaming pile of shit heaped on all the old shit, when I was already sick to death of the smell.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, E.J. grew up in a land of good earth and better people. He holds degrees in psychology and counseling, but prefers to spend his time in the heads of imaginary people to real ones. He writes and lives in South Texas, and loves to chat about movies, books, music, food, and family.
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