First Page: Unnamed PNR
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Lucy rose from the loom and with an enormous stretch attempted to unkink her spine. Outside, the Midsummer’s Eve celebration was in high gear. The strains of a terrible rendition of Mustang Sally drifted in through her window. No one wanted to be the one to hurt Phil’s feelings by suggesting that maybe this year the band shouldn’t get back together. Or maybe no one was ever sober enough to realize how terrible his band really was.
A knock sounded on her open door. Audra stood in the doorway looking like a tipsy fairy queen with her flower crown hanging askew in her blonde curls. She clutched a bottle of champagne in one hand and a chocolate frosted cupcake in the other.
“You missed it,” Audra said. “Charles tried to jump the bonfire and singed his dangly bits. Also, I think Jane and Emma are back together because they’re making out in the bushes.” She lifted the hand clutching the cupcake. “Plus Bethany made cupcakes. I’ve eaten like seventeen of them so it’s all kale juice and chia seeds for me for the next couple of days.” She took a bite of the cupcake. “But so worth it.”
“Sorry, I really needed to finish this.” Lucy gestured toward the tapestry on her loom.
Audra drifted closer. “Is that you?” She pointed at the dark haired woman pictured clasping the hands of a golden haired man in a forested glen.
Lately the scene dominated Lucy’s dreams. Finally she’d woven it in the hopes that pinning it down on a tapestry would remove it from her brain. It was probably nothing more than a random image generated when her sleeping brain was mucking about. But still, Audra’s innocent question made her uneasy. “Why do you say that?” she asked.
“I don’t know, just something about her,” Audra said. She made a waving away motion with the cupcake before changing the subject. “I’m here to make you have fun. How often do we celebrate being witches? Most of the time it’s just a lot of hiding. But tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1999. But 1999 B.C., not AD– you know, before all those nasty rumors about consorting with the devil started.” She punctuated her speech with a swig off the champagne bottle.
Lucy was tempted to kick off her shoes, get drunk,and run wild with Audra. The Coven rarely got together as a whole, and most of the witches present she only saw a few times a year. Members of the Coven of the Sword, of which her father was the leader, tended to pop in and out, staying various lengths of time. So the majority of the year, she rattled around with just her father in this huge mansion that had once been a private school.
Rumor had it that the school had actually been more of a warehouse for the troubled children of the wealthy. A place for kids whose parents would rather throw money around to make them disappear than deal with any behavioral issues. It certainly accounted for the ten foot high wall that surrounded the expansive grounds. Plus, it was in the middle of nowhere, perched at the edge of a cliff that plunged into the ocean. But that expanse of land, sea, and sky was also perfect for witches.
But as much as she wanted to join the revelry outside, the greater part of her was drawn to a building set at the far edge of the property, well away from the bonfires. She’d visited it multiple times since the night its occupant was escorted in in chains. Enough that simple curiosity should have long been assuaged.