Sacred Magick

 

Sacred Magick, published in 1879, is a book of occult philosophy and Mina Germond’s only work and key text within all arcane magickal studies. Though the work has often been criticized as the plagiarized writings of a hysterical woman, with scholars noting how Germond extensively copied ideas from many other occult writers of the time while drawing her own conclusions, it is still recognized by modern scholars to be a fundamental work within Western Occultism and Witchcraft.

Sacred Magick discusses occult science and the hidden and unknown forces of the universe, exploring such subjects as; curses, omens, dimensions, familiar spirits, elementals, psychic phenomena, magick, spirits, angels, demons, dreams, time, and the complexity of the totality of human beings.

The book is argued by many modern scholars such as Mathew Laurence-Gray to be a fundamental work within Occultism. Germond gathered a number of beliefs within the magickal community and interpreted them in relation to current developments within science and through the insight she gained through her experiences within the arcane practices. In doing so, Sacred Magick reflected many contemporary beliefs and engaged in a discussion that appealed to intelligent individuals interested in practices of magick and Witchcraft. It was Germond’s combination of original insights, backed by scholarly and scientific sources that accomplished a merging of science and spirituality that had never before been academically presented.

Detractors often accuse Germond of extensive plagiarism, a view first seriously put forth by Gérard Encausse shortly after publication. He expressed that, “Sacred Magick combines religion, spiritualism, pseudoscience, and fantasy in a mélange that presents superficial research and unacknowledged borrowing.” In later works published by Encausse some of the material originally presented in Sacred Magick appeared within it unaltered, drawing in question among those in the occultism community as to the true author of Sacred Magick. Germond asserted when questioned that she, without any contributions from Encausse or any other published occultist, authored her work.

Chester J. Farrar, a contemporary journalist and magician, described Germond’s work as “an assortment of absurdities, pseudo-science, mythology, and folk-lore, arranged in chaotic fashion, with an utter disregard of logical sequence.” While it is unarguable that Sacred Magick makes use of many sources that were popular among occultists of the time, occasionally directly copying lines of text, Germond was a woman who had original thoughts and unprecedented insights to some of the most complex theories within occultism. Through her writing she sought to integrate the history of the occult sciences and esoteric movements with the practicality found within folk magick and European Witchcraft and in doing so she formulated a unique and powerful expression of thoughts and ideas that would be proven to catapult magickal practitioners into the modern era. Occultism gained a level of sophistication through the adoption of many of Germond’s insights presented within her work, Sacred Magick.

 

The Blood Omen

The Blood Omen
(as translated from original text)

And when She carries Her child it can be heard, as it were the knocks of a wormwood beetle; come and see. Behold the earthen beds of Her garden; and the blossoms that grew once were colorful: and now lay dead; the soil bleeding.

And when She carries Her child it can be heard, as it were the call of a barred owl; come and see. Behold the lodging given unto Her that she lives therein to take shelter; and that She should sleep for many a season is twice stricken by the warmth of Thor.

And when She carries Her child it can be heard, as it were the song of the coyotes; come and see. Behold lo, the corpse candles; those that flicker. And hang above the land when it is hidden by the darkness; two measures for her; and three measures for him.

And when She carries Her child it can be heard, as it were the caw of the crows; come and see. And behold a murder; and they fall from the heavens, as the power of flight is taken from their wings. And as they drop dead upon the ground Kermes’ hail descends from Elysium.

And when She carries Her child it can be heard, as it were the shrieks of a fisher cat; come and see.

Behold the coffer of treasures that were assembled for the Beauty of mankind, and for the memories they possess; Their walls are shattered by the echo of Mjölnir, the remnants collected by He who doth not judge and whose own blood remains upon and within.

And when She carries Her child it can be heard, as it were the screeches of the hawk; come and see. And a black serpent from the blossom’s earthen bed slithers upon the ground beneath Her feet

And from under the cover She opens Her eyes from slumber to find it upon Her chest; tongue flickering against Her lips that She should speak as it is fulfilled.

And when She welcomes Her child, twenty-one days before the date, lo, there is a great pool of crimson as the Moon sheds Her blood and He withdraws behind the curtains. And all the children are murdered before their birth by the hand of Eir; and all the mothers, and all the sisters, and all the daughters say to the child, Take us within, and merge with us for the Great Day of Vengeance is come; and none shall be able to stand against thee.

And when She welcomes Her child, before the Sun is at its peak, there is silence about the space of thirty breaths. And the Ancestors which stood before The Mighty Ones; and to them were given Her child. And Her child does not cry, bearing the Mark of Blood; is given much power that shall be harnessed within, a timeless and everlasting power that is irrefutably attributed to Spirit within the blood. The child which bears the Mark shall merge Spirit and Blood and pour it out upon Midgard avenging the wrath of The Mighty Ones upon mankind.

 

Short Hiatus

After writing 64 chapters of this fictional series, which spans over 4 years, I am taking a short hiatus to work on a writing project with a partner. During my hiatus I encourage you to catch up on Angie’s adventures either here on the website where you can find all the chapters or if you’d rather read it in physical form head over to Amazon where you can purchase Volume I, chapters 1 – 35 and where Volume II, chapters 36 – 64 will be available shortly … I am anxiously awaiting my first proof copy.

If you are interested in reading more of my writings head over to my author website: SBKreitner.com where you can find links to my other works of fiction and non-fiction books and short stories. And don’t forget to keep checking back here or on my facebook page to find out when Secrets of Syn will be returning with new chapters!

Chapter LXIV

Within a large number of religions and spiritual paths blood represents life and death due to its biological importance to the physical body. This body fluid performs numerous vital functions within the body including: supplying oxygen and nutrients to cells, transporting metabolic waste from the cells, circulating white blood cells, detecting foreign material within the body, responding to broken vessels with the process of coagulation, transporting hormones throughout the body, regulating core body temperature, and signaling tissue damage. Without blood human beings and animals would die.

Blood is an excellent source of human DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which is the molecule that contains the genetic code. Each human being inherits a combination of the genetic code of each of their biological parents, which is comprised of about twenty-four thousand different genes, each contain a few hundred to a few thousand base pairs of DNA code. There is a cultural emphasis on family genealogy because of this genetic bond between direct birth descendants as traits and characteristics are passed through a family bloodline.

 

During holiday parties and other social gatherings that my parents’ hosted when I was younger I had been witness to my father’s claims that our family carried clout throughout the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, that all one had to do was mention the name Williams and “previously closed doors would open”, “opportunities would present themselves”, and “prominent people would clamor for the chance to be seen with a member of the Williams family”. I never witnessed the influence he bragged about. In my limited understanding it had been all unverified boasting on his part. I doubted the validity of the clout he claimed our bloodline carried, but what I did understand was the power we held in our veins. I knew of it intimately. I wielded its power a number of times on my own behalf as well as for the benefit of others. The idea that our family bloodline carried clout may have been how my father interpreted this inherited power and perhaps it was clout that served him in the realms of business and finance, but as a teenager it held no real meaning for me and carried no purpose. None of my peers were impressed that I was a member of the Williams family. None of them bowed in submission to the name, but they did bow, even if unwillingly, to the power I held within my blood; that type of influential power is universally acknowledged and understood and those who had been a witness to my manipulating and harnessing that power recognized it, even if they would never be able to speak of it to another living person.

According to my father our family carried such weight because our lineage could be traced back to the Williams of Salem, Massachusetts, and were a prominent family even years prior to residing there, but I was skeptical having never once seen proof of his claim. From my uninformed perspective it was my father’s desperate grasp at notoriety or just plain wishful thinking, but as I sat in the library glancing at the pages of the worn leather journal in front of me on the table, the skepticism I had unwaveringly clung to as if it were a life preserver completely vanished. Each yellowed page bore the unique script of the many individuals, my ancestors, who had recorded the genealogical information of each Williams member that had been born as far back as the year 1660. The first name recorded in the book was Abigail (Williams) Rogers.

I studied the penmanship of each entry of the journal as I slowly turned the pages. Some of the writing was harder to decipher than others and I considered that I might spot a familiar script, one that matched the writing in my copy of Sacred Magick that I purchased from Elizabeth Bennet while visiting her shop, Luminosity.

“I’ll be right back,” I announced as I jumped up from my chair and scurried out of the library, leaving my confused father sitting at the table alone.

I rushed through the foyer and ascended the stairs; my feet pounded the crimson carpet as I climbed, intent on reaching my bedroom as quickly as possible, hoping to keep my father engaged in our conversation. I knew I had threatened the connection we made when I vacated the library, but I considered that maybe he was still interested in continuing our discussion, that he was anxiously awaiting my return and hadn’t shifted his focus to something else, such as work

My father was the sole financial provider for our family and he spent a significant amount of personal time away from the office dealing with work related issues. It wasn’t unusual to find him sitting at the desk in his study or here in the library working on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, staring at the computer monitor with a glass of whiskey in hand and mumbling to himself; that was what a degree in finance from Columbia University gained a man; a position as a Senior Analyst with a local Fortune 500 company earning a high six figure salary with little time for anything else he might desire to pursue, including any resemblance of a relationship. I knew that my parent’s marriage was falling apart and that any social interactions apart from his usual visits with Aunt Rachel had vanished and I wondered how much of that could be blamed on his career or if this was just a symptom of whom he was at his core; disinterested in people and more involved in intellectual pursuits.

I was relieved to discover that my Mother had abandoned her morning task of cleaning her curio cabinets, though the bottle of glass cleaner and neatly folded microfiber cloth she had been using were set carefully near the antique oak breakfront that held the many pieces of Burmese glassware she had collected over the years. I glanced around the hallway searching for any indication that she would be returning as I dashed to my bedroom. I didn’t want her interrupting my hasty trip and postponing my return to the library. With no sign of her, I threw opened my bedroom door, grabbed my treasured copy of the occult book that had been lying opened on my bed, and held it against my chest as I retraced my path downstairs.

I entered the library to find my Dad still sitting at the table, but he had opened his laptop and was staring at his monitor which displayed his email account. I noticed that he had numerous emails waiting to be opened.

“Where’d you run off to?” he questioned, closing the laptop as I reclaimed my chair beside him.

“My bedroom,” I responded, “for this.”

I placed the large, heavy tome on the table with a thump and slid it over to him. I opened the cover, flipped to the title page, and pointed to the black inked scribble. My Dad retrieved his reading glasses from the inside pocket of his suit jacket that hung on the back of the chair he was occupying. He placed them on his face before leaning over the book to study the scribble.

“I wanted to see if it matched any writing in the journal you showed me,” I explained as I pulled the old leather bound genealogical journal towards me to compare the pages of the two books.

“Where did you find this?” he asked, flipping to the outer cover to look at it then back to the title page. The smile on his face was of genuine joy. “This is amazing.”

“It is, isn’t it?” I agreed.

“Yes. Truly,” he nodded and tapped his index finger on the writing, “This dedication …”

“I think it says: ‘With loving devotion, on this a special day, your mother, Savannah Rae Williams’,” I offered.

My Dad peered closer to the page then nodded after a few moments of consideration. Without a word, but with the smile still lingering on his lips he flipped through the rest of the large tome before returning to the title page. “This is in really good condition. Where did you get it?”

“I bought it at a little shop I found in Bridgeboro the weekend we went to close up the cottage,” I offered. “I went for that walk when you and Mother were talking with Aunt Brenda and Uncle Steven.”

Dad nodded as he removed his glasses and leaned back from the book.

“Do you know who Savannah Rae Williams is?”

“Yes,” I admitted. “My Great-great-grandmother.”

My father reached over me and grabbed the genealogical journal. After a few seconds of flipping pages he stopped and handed the open book to me. I scanned the entries searching for the same handwriting. I felt my breath catch as I spied the slanted lines and loops of the letters that formed the entry:

Born to John Edward Willliams and Savannah Rae Wardell –
Lillian Elizabeth – the 17th day of August 1928
Robert James – the 8th day of September 1933

I was in awe of the fact that my treasured copy of Sacred Magick had belonged to my Great-grandmother Lillian … a gift from her mother, my great-great-grandmother Savannah Rae. The simple confirmation brought tears to my eyes. It was as if somehow I was personally being validated at that moment. I had reclaimed a piece of me, of my family history when I purchased the book and I contemplated the way in which I had found it. Or maybe, perhaps the book, that piece of myself, my history had found me. When I found the book on the shelf of Elizabeth Bennet’s shop I had questioned her and she informed me that the book was one of the occult items contained in a box of things belonging to a distant relative of a friend of hers. I wondered if it was possible that her friend was in some fashion related to me and my family. I was intrigued by the idea.

“Did you show this book to your aunt?” my father asked as he rubbed his jaw with his hand, the smile that had shone from his face had been replaced by a pensive expression.

“I did.

He grunted with a nod. “What did she say when you showed it to her?”

“She thought it was amazing,” I was honest with my response. “And she wanted to know if I had shown it to you.”

“Because she knew I would love it,” he added. The smile reappeared on his face as he closed the hefty tome and placed his hand palm down on the embossed leather cover.

“Yes,” I paused before continuing. “Then she wanted to know if you knew I was reading it.”

With a weighted sigh he closed his eyes. We sat in silence for a few moments; my Dad with his hand still on the cover of the book and me with my focus on him. I wanted to continue our discussion. I wanted to ask him questions, but I wasn’t certain how much to probe him. I was concerned that the more I told him or the more detailed questions I asked, the greater the chance that he would become alarmed or concerned about by mental health. I didn’t want to bombard him with questions or overwhelm him with my personal revelations to the point where he would withdraw or shut down. While I had fantasized about speaking with him about our family history and my abilities, I hadn’t planned how I would broach the topic because honestly I never believed the moment would manifest. But here it was …

“Aunt Rachel didn’t tell me about my birth, not because I didn’t ask her. I asked her. I asked her about a lot of things, but she wouldn’t talk to me about them because she said that she couldn’t,” I said. “She said that you made her promise not to talk to me about – .”

“I did,” he confirmed before I finished my thought. “Your aunt and I didn’t always agree. And your Mother and Rachel never did. But it didn’t matter to Rachel. She never hesitated to tell me when she thought I was doing something wrong. She shared her opinions even when she wasn’t asked, especially when it came to you.” He looked sad, regretful as he continued, “But I knew she would never disrespect my wishes. If I asked her to do something or in your case not to do something, I knew she’d keep her word. We trust each other. We’re loyal to each other.”

“She said that she owed you her life,” I offered, hoping he would expand on what that meant.

“I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration,” he smirked. “Rachel can be a bit dramatic.”

I agreed with his assessment, but I was aware that he was a deflecting and that he wouldn’t be sharing the story behind her declaration. Well, at least not in that moment.

“I’m worried about your aunt,” he admitted to me as he stood from his chair and grabbed his suit coat. “I know that I told you that she was in Europe, but I don’t think that’s true. She does go to Europe every year for gallery visits, but I don’t think that’s where she is now.”

“It feels like a lie,” I stated.

“Yes. Yes,” Dad agreed. “A ruse.”

“What about Christian? Is he really with his father?”

Dad nodded. “He is. I called Keith yesterday just to verify that he was there and Keith confirmed.”

“Where is she, Dad?”

He slipped on his suit jacket. “I don’t know.”

 

Chapter LXIII

I hadn’t expected my Dad to engage in a conversation with me about the diaries when I asked if he knew what they were so I was surprised when he placed his laptop on the table next to them and sat in the vacant chair beside me. It had been years since he and I shared a meaningful exchange about anything other than my mental health and even those few discussions were more instructional than conversational. I was suspicious about my father’s intentions as I felt the finger of paranoia stroke my brain sending the familiar tingles of apprehension and doubt throughout my psyche. What if this was an ambush? Perhaps my Dad was laying a trap for me so that he might collect evidence that I had stopped talking my medication and then he could show Mother and Dr. Worth his proof and they’d send me back to the hospital. Well, if that was what was happening then I would have to be careful with my questions and not freely offer my father information that he didn’t already possess about my current state of being. I was not returning to the hospital. I didn’t belong there and I wouldn’t allow them to put there.

“Does Mr. Stokes have you researching the Salem Witch Trials?” Dad inquired, gesturing to the diaries. His question was innocent enough and he seemed genuinely curious about my reason for having the journals in my possession.

“Oh no. I mean, he has given a lecture about the Trials, but I was more interested in our family history,” I admitted. “And I remembered that you always told me that our family could be traced back to Salem.”

“Indeed it can,” Dad nodded, standing from his chair and strolling over to one of the tall bookcases that lined the room as he spoke. “Our ancestors were some of the first settlers of the most significant seaport in early American history. The roots of our family tree go back to the Williams of Salem.”

I watched as he scanned the books on the top shelf and retrieved a tall leather bound journal that looked old and worn, similar to the diaries I had received from Elizabeth Bennet. He retraced his steps to the table and handed it to me. “Pertinent information about our family’s heritage has been recorded in this journal.”

“It has?”

I was shocked. I had been unaware that our family kept records of anything and to hear that such a document had been shelved in the very room where I spent copious amounts of time with my tutors was an unexpected revelation.

“Yes, it has,” he smiled; his face seemed to glow. “This journal has been passed down from generation to generation so that an accurate record of our family’s lineage could be preserved. It was given to Rachel a few years before your grandmother died.”

“Why do you have it?” I asked. “I mean if it was given to Aunt Rachel, why is it here in our library?”

He shrugged his shoulders as he removed his suit jacket and hung it on the back of the chair he occupied “I don’t recall. It’s been here since Daniel was born. Rachel gave it to me so I could record your brother’s information and then yours. I guess she just never reclaimed it, knowing it was safe here with us.”

I placed the journal on the table beside the diaries and gingerly opened the cover. I was curious as to what sort of information had been documented. Were there simply the names and dates of our family members scrawled in black ink or would I find more detailed information? What had my father written about my brother? About me? I carefully flipped through the book scanning the words written in the penmanship of different individuals on each of the yellowed pages I passed by searching for names I recognized. I soon discovered that some entries documented were simple; date, name, location, weight, length, and hair and eye color, while other entries included additional notations that were anywhere from a paragraph to a page in length.

Dad reclaimed the chair he had vacated and studied me with an expression I had difficulty reading.

“I knew even before you were born that you were going to be special, but I don’t think,” he paused then corrected himself, “No, I know I didn’t understand how special you were or how you would impact our family.”

Was this my opening? He stated that he knew I was special, but what exactly did he mean by “special”? Would it be unwise for me to mention my abilities? Have him listen to my MP3 player and show him what I had done with Josh Keyes, Ryan Fuller, and his colleague, Peter Morrell? Or was there a better approach? Did he know that Aunt Rachel was “special” too?

“Your aunt knew that you were going to be born earlier than your due date,” he explained, reaching out his left hand to absently caress the edge of the top leather journal that sat between us on the table. The face of his wrist watch peeked at me from beneath the cuff of his shirt and I found myself captivated by the ticking of the golden minute hand as he continued relaying his story. “She called the day before your Mother went into labor hoping to prepare her, I imagine, but of course because your Mother is … well, your Mother, she didn’t give any credence to Rachel’s warning and because babies are often born early I, too, was unconcerned. But your aunt, well, she was upset, which seemed rather odd to me, so me, being me, I grilled her about it until she reluctantly told me that it wasn’t just that you were going to be born early, but that she had witnessed a number of other circumstances and events surrounding your Mother’s pregnancy, that when she added them to your premature birth –  it troubled her.”

Aunt Rachel was troubled by circumstances and events that surrounded Mother’s pregnancy and my birth? Something about this thought, this idea that Aunt Rachel was concerned incited fear within me, followed quickly by an instinctual knowing. I held some sort of knowledge or memory of the reasoning for my aunt’s apprehension.

“What do you mean ‘circumstances and events’?” I asked; my heart beating loudly in my chest. I knew what he was referring to even before he revealed anything more.

“I was at the office when your Mother called me,” he continued without acknowledging I had asked him a question, but I didn’t think he heard me; he seemed lost in his memory. “I knew something was wrong because she rarely phoned me while I was at work. She told me that she had made arrangements with Rachel to come by the house and bring her to the obstetrician’s office. She had been awoken by what she believed were false contractions, but once she got out of bed and began moving around, she found that she also had some lower back pain and pelvic pressure and she was concerned that perhaps she was in labor. When your aunt arrived at the house and spoke with your Mother, she quickly made the decision to bring her to the hospital instead of the doctor’s office, a wise decision, because only minutes after arriving at the ER you were born. Three weeks early, just as your aunt predicted.”

“In a pool of blood,” I added, which snapped my father back into the present time with me.

“Did Rachel talk with you about this?”

I shook my head. “No. Daniel was the only one who’s ever said anything about my birth. When we were kids he told me that he overheard Mother talking with Aunt Brenda about how it was hard for her to push me out and that she lost so much blood she almost died.”

“Yes, indeed there was a lot of blood,” Dad confirmed my brother’s words, “and I’m not put off by the sight of it, but I admit I was concerned that morning; everyone in that room was concerned not only about the blood loss, but by the dramatic drop in your Mother’s blood pressure and the spike in her heart rate. There was a general consensus with the doctor’s that she was hemorrhaging and even though they attempted to stop it in the ER she had to be rushed to surgery.”

My Mother’s conduct had been finally made clear to me. Up until that moment I hadn’t understood why she was so harsh with me, so critical and cold. I had internally rationalized her behavior as self-centeredness and a fondness for material possessions, without fully comprehending the source of her cool detachment, but as my Dad explained the circumstances surrounding my birth, I understood that my previous reasoning was inaccurate or perhaps just incomplete. I was to be her only biological daughter and her last child. With my birth any hope of future children had been lost, ripped away from her as I tore myself into this world, and into her life. As I inhaled my first breath I snatched away her choice for more children.

“She blames me for her hysterectomy,” I disclosed to Dad my current revelation. “And she hates me for it.”

“What?” Dad exclaimed in shock. “No, no, Angie. You’re wrong. She doesn’t.”

“Yes, she does, Dad.”

“No, Angie. She doesn’t,” he emphasized. “You misunderstand her. Your Mother doesn’t hate you, she doesn’t blame you. She’s afraid of –”

“Me? She’s afraid of me?” I asked both shocked and angry. I wasn’t convinced that my Dad knew my Mother. Perhaps he was living in a state of denial about what really motivated his wife.

He reached across the table for my hand and squeezed it. “Yes.”

I looked into his eyes. I hadn’t realized how much they resembled Aunt Rachel’s. I felt my throat tighten as I watched the tears gather in his eyes.

“Are you?” I choked out in a whisper.

“Afraid?”

I nodded.

“Yes,” he said. “I am afraid, but not of you. I’m afraid for you. I don’t want you to get hurt and I’m constantly thinking of ways to ensure your safety.” He paused, holding my gazed as the tears slowly spilled down his cheeks. “But I realize that you are no longer a little girl and you’ve grown beyond me, beyond my ability to protect you.”

“Dad,” I began, “I don’t think you ever could.”

Chapter LXII

The nature of a human being is complex; it is not as simple a physical body and a spiritual body, but rather a human being is comprised of seven distinct layers or doyens that, though unseen, all seven are vital to the completeness of a human being. The absence of just one of these layers would be detrimental to the individual and would by its construct be defined as something other than human. All other living creatures that share life on earth with human beings (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians) do not possess seven doyens; they possess only four. While human beings are individualized and upon death retain their memories and personality which are reincarnated into a new physical body, animals are not and upon their physical death return to the group-soul from which they incarnated.

Hauntings and ghostly apparitions can be simply explained as the appearance of the astral body of an individual or animal within the physical realm. The astral body is the evanescent layer of the non-physical body and is the conduit between the physical body and all other doyens of the living creature. This spiritual body develops as the physical body does and accumulates all life experience projecting itself into all realms of existence. Though of ethereal nature the astral body is limited and will only possess the memories and knowledge of the physical body. At physical death the astral body is no longer required to linger within the physical body and will therefore assimilate with the non-physical realms without need to be “crossed over” or “encouraged into the light” by a spirit medium or other psychic individual.

 

I walked through the foyer carrying the leather bound journals I had received from Elizabeth Bennet along with a large spiraled notebook. I intended to settle at the large table in our library where I normally sat for my lessons with Mr. Stokes to ensure that I remained focused and would not be distracted. I wanted to concentrate on the diary entries and absorb all I could about the women and men who wrote them. I planned to learn the secrets of our family that I was certain were being kept hidden within these old journals and being in the library would focus my mind on academic study, which was exactly the approach I desired to take when reading them.

My brother had met me in the upstairs hallway as I passed his bedroom. He was as curious as I was about what was recorded in the diaries and informed me that he would join me downstairs after he had showered. He wanted to learn about our family’s history and what role he was meant to fulfill in regards to our family’s future. I was more than pleased by his interest because it would give us an opportunity to rebuild our relationship and in some ways become even closer than we had been as children.

Daniel entered the closest of the three upstairs bathrooms as I walked towards the stairs hoping that my Mother, who was cleaning the contents of one of her antique curio cabinets that lined the upstairs hallway, would ignore me, but with no such luck. As soon as I was a few feet from her she turned to me, an opaque colored piece of her treasured glassware still in hand.

“Good morning, Angie,” she smiled. “What are your plans for today?”

I shrugged, clutching the journals tightly. I had no desire to engage in banal conversation with her. My mind was filled with the more exciting and mentally stimulating ideas of the occult. The leather bound books I held were written by women who lived during the infamous Salem Witch Trials; these women who were my family, my bloodline, and I was eager to read their transcribed words.

Mother carefully replaced the yellowish-pink glass basket in the vacant spot on the shelf, which she had just finished wiping down. She neatly folded the cloth she had been using and placed it next to the bottle of glass cleaner set by her feet on the hardwood floor.

She pointed to the diaries I held against my chest. “Will you be spending time reading those?”

“Yes,” I responded, determined not to give her any more information than what she requested of me.

Honestly I just wanted to get myself downstairs and into the library so I could open the journals and start reading. I didn’t want to get into a long drawn out conversation with my Mother because she never had anything positive to relay to me about anything I enjoyed. She always found fault with my interests; either they were childish, or morbid, or vulgar. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say about the journals and I didn’t want to have to fight her to read them. I wasn’t sure what she would say if she knew the contents of the old books and I didn’t want to find out.

“They look rather old,” she commented as she reached out her hands and gestured for me to hand her one of the journals. “May I?”

I wordlessly started at her outstretched manicured hands unable to form an acceptable response. I knew better than to be confrontational with her, but I couldn’t find anything agreeable to say.

“Angie. Really?” she sighed, removing the middle diary from the pile in my arms and examining the leather exterior presumably for a title, though she would find none.

She glanced at me before opening the front cover and reading whatever words were written on that first page. I watched her expressions carefully, attempting to determine what she was thinking. Her eyes skimmed quickly over the sheet of parchment as her brow furrowed and mouth puckered. She reached up to turn the page when the sound of a metallic ping filled the air. She looked up from the opened diary and over her left shoulder towards the French styled Louis XV curio cabinet. It was the one positioned directly next to the antique oak breakfront that held the Burmese glassware she had been attending.

While I was considering the possible causes for the noise we had heard, one of the gold trimmed glass doors of the hand-painted cabinet slowly creaked open.

“How peculiar,” she said, clumsily closing and handing the diary back to me.

Mother walked over to the opened door, bent over, and retrieved the small gold key that had dislodged from the lock and fallen to the floor. She closed the door and locked it before attempting to reopen the doors. Satisfied that the cabinet was once more secured, she admired the numerous Royal Doulton and Dahl Jensen figurines she kept on the shelves within, tapping her fingernails against the glass as if vying for the little porcelain figurines’ attention. The interior lights flickered twice then went out. My Mother frowned and reopened both cabinet doors before reaching in and examining the light fixtures on the inside. I knew she wouldn’t be able to determine what was wrong because this incident with the electricity wasn’t a new occurrence, that particular curio cabinet of hers was eerie.

I took advantage of the distraction and scampered down the hallway descending the stairs, eager to settle myself in the library to read. I walked through the foyer, passing the mahogany side table that usually held Mother’s house plants, but instead was now occupied by a large Edwardian silver bowl set on a white lace doily and filled with red and white dahlias from her garden. A large legal sized manila envelope hung slightly off the edge of the table beside the flower bowl. I paused to examine the printed label, but didn’t recognize the name or the Massachusetts address. With a shrug, I continued towards the library, passing the opened door to the morning parlor. I absently hummed along with Mother’s music box as the notes of a song from the musical Les Misérables drifted through the foyer as I passed by.

I paused just outside of the library door; the sound of my Dad’s voice caused me to hesitate. He had left the door slightly ajar and while I hadn’t made the conscious decision to eavesdrop on his conversation the mention of Aunt Rachel’s name caught my attention. My own fears concerning the well-being of my aunt kept me rooted in place and I justified to myself that if my Dad had really desired privacy then he should have ensured it by securing the library door.

“Rachel didn’t know what was best for herself,” I heard him snap. “She couldn’t know what was best for someone else, let alone my daughter.”

I pushed the door opened a few more inches allowing me to peer into the room. My Dad stood at the large windows overlooking Mother’s garden with his back towards me. He wore his usual business attire, dark trousers with a matching suit jacket, causing me to wonder why he was home and not at the office. He held the cordless phone in his left hand while his free hand rested on his hip. His opened laptop lay abandoned on the desk behind him, where Mr. Stokes often sat during our weekly lessons.

“It’s not my problem,” my Dad explained as he flung his free hand out in front of him, pushing the caller’s words away. “Gerald has a responsibility to her now and he will teach her.”

Who was he speaking to and why were they discussing me? Was the Gerald Dad mentioned Mr. Stokes? Who was on the other end of the phone line? Who did Dad know that also had any dealings with Aunt Rachel, me, and Mr. Stokes? I brazenly opened the door a little wider.

“No, she’s not,” he said, taking a few steps to the left while still gazing out the windows. “She’s Rachel’s … And I did, Gerald’s here.”

There was a long pause. I assumed it was because he was listening to the words of the mysterious person on the other end of the line. I wanted to know who that person was, but was unsure of how I would be able to attain that information without just asking my Dad.

“No. Caroline would never allow it.”

Mother would never allow what? What was it that the caller was suggesting?

“Alright. Alright. We’ll be there. The three of us,” he relented then pushed a button on the receiver disconnecting the phone call.

Three of us? Who was ‘the three of us’? Dad, Mother, and I? And where was ‘there’ exactly? I pushed opened the door to the library wide enough for me to walk through and entered the library.

“Dad?” I feigned surprise.

“Angie,” he smiled as he turned and place the phone receiver on its base set on the desk. He closed his laptop without turning it off. “I didn’t think you had lessons today.”

“I don’t. What are you doing home?”

He watched me with apprehension as I placed the diaries and my notebook on the table in my usual spot and sat down in the empty chair.

“Are you okay, Dad?” I asked with hope that maybe I could pry some information from him about his mysterious conversation.

“I’m good,” he picked up his laptop and checked his wristwatch as he walked around the desk and over to where I sat. He placed his free hand on my shoulder. “What about you? How are things with you?”

I looked up at his face, which seemed to have claimed a few more wrinkles since I had last studied him. He was clearly stressed and I contemplated the cause; did the phone conversation concern him or did my brother’s expulsion from Saint John’s stress him? Perhaps he was worried about the disappearance of his colleague, Peter Morrell, because it meant that he now had a heavier work load than usual. Or maybe he simply had too many situations in his life that created stress and what I was noticing was the overwhelming sense of anxiety about life in general.

“Things are good,” I responded. Of course I had my own concerns and yes, the one person I believed could have been a mentor and support for me in dealing with all the unusual shit I experienced was gone, or on a European Gallery Tour depending on who you chose to believe, but overall in comparison to my father’s life, my life looked good.

“Good,” he nodded. “Good.”

I had so many questions to ask him, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to without setting off any of his internal alarms he had about my mental health. How unusual or just plain bizarre could my questions be before he believed I was, yet again, mentally unstable and consult Mother? I didn’t want to be checked into the hospital ever again, but I had a strong desire to know just how much my Dad knew about our family and the abilities the women of our bloodline possessed.

“Do you know what these are?” I asked, placing my palms on the diary in front of me.

Dad glanced at the journals then looked me in the eyes and said with a nod, “Yes, I do.”

Chapter LXI

Daniel and I convinced Mother to allow us to go for a leisurely walk with Chloe around the neighborhood. We assured her that we wouldn’t cross Bayview Avenue and would walk no further than Route One-thirty-six. She reluctantly agreed, clearly because it was a benefit for her to get us out of the house as it was her turn to host her social club’s weekly gathering and I knew she had an underlying fear that I would be the cause of some embarrassing situation for her. With both Dan and I out there was less of a chance that she would be put into a compromising position that would undermine the influence she had been meticulously cultivating within her clique over the years. The fact that the local police detectives had already been to our house twice concerning the disappearance of Josh Keyes must have caused some damage to her reputation and prized position with the group and I knew that it was frustrating for her.

As the three of us walked through the foyer I saw Mother in the morning parlor arranging chairs and setting out her Royal Albert china tea set complete with multiple tiered serving plates upon which she would later arrange a variety of simple sandwiches, petit fours, and scones for her group of female guests. I considered hanging around the house with the hope that I might overhear the conversation amongst the women believing that it might be an opportunity for me to learn more about the police investigation into Josh’s disappearance, but I realized the entirety of the discussion might only be minutes of a gathering that filled the afternoon hours. I was promised freedom that afternoon and I didn’t want to sacrifice it, plus my desire to know the details of that ongoing investigation was rather low on my current list of priorities.

Dan, Chloe, and I left the house in silence. Each of us were preoccupied with our own thoughts as we walked down the long gravel driveway and onto the street heading north towards downtown. Chloe and I were side by side as we walked along the road against traffic while my brother walked a few steps behind us.

“You know, those things are going to kill you,” I commented as Chloe retrieved a cigarette from the nearly empty pack of Benson and Hedges she kept in the inside pocket of her jacket.

“Yeah, Dad,” she scowled. “You take your medication today?”

Touché. I said no more about her unhealthy habit.

She glanced over her left shoulder at Daniel as she carefully placed the cigarette between her red painted lips. “So what did your parents decide to do about school?”

“Nuthin’,” he shrugged, burying his hands in the pockets of his zippered sweatshirt.  “Not yet, anyway. I’m supposed to take lessons from Angie’s tutor for now.”

Chloe nodded as she lit the cigarette and deeply inhaled.

“Do you go to Mount Hope?” he asked, moving beside her. His maneuver positioned him in the lane of oncoming traffic, but being early afternoon on a Wednesday there was hardly any vehicles on the road.

“I did, but my Dad pulled me out after I had a few … disagreements … with my teachers.” Smoke escaped her nostrils as she laughed. “Well anyway, I’m going to Portsmith Charter now.”

“Don’t they have uniforms?” asked Daniel with a nod towards her cigarette.

“Nope,” she smiled as she passed it to him. “There’s a dress code, for sure, every school has one, but theirs is pretty liberal. I can deal.”

“Cool,” nodded my brother, holding the butt with his index finger and thumb as he brought it to his lips. He took a drag then handed it back to her.

She smiled, as she accepted it. Holding his gaze, she brought the butt to her own lips and took a long drag. He chuckled and glanced away.

What the fuck was happening? The way she looked at my brother made my stomach lurch. There was something clearly off with her and in that moment I was even more convinced that she was possessed by a spirit than I had been on the last Sunday night we all hung out. She really was in need of an exorcism. I made a mental note to refer to my copy of Sacred Magick when we returned home. I knew there would be a plethora of information on the ancient rite.

“Angie says you don’t remember anything after Sunday night,” Chloe commented, flicking the ashes from the tip of the cigarette onto the ground before offering it to me.

“I don’t.”

“What do you remember?”

“Havin’ pizza with you,” he said as he brushed her hand with his own.

Did she just blush?! Aaarrrgggghhhh.

He continued, “And then puttin’ my shit away, and then Jacob called and we talked for a while …”

“Jacob?” she asked.

“A friend of his from St. John’s,” I interrupted, handing the cigarette back to her with a scowl. I mouthed, “Knock it off.”

“What?” she pantomimed.

“Then I showered and went to bed and when I woke up and went downstairs Mom was there and she tells me it’s fuckin’ Saturday,” he shook his head. “It was whack. I thought I was crazy or drugged. I mean, ’cause when I woke up I felt kinda out of it, you know, hung over or fuzzy, but I wasn’t.”

Chloe nodded.

The three of us walked in silence for a bit, Daniel falling behind Chloe and I when vehicles passed by, then reestablishing his place beside her. He stole side glances at her as we walked along Hope Street by the harbor. I could tell that she was enjoying the attention, and yes, while I was happy that she felt appreciated by my brother; he was a decent guy, I was irritated that whatever this was between them had the potential of becoming a serious distraction for Chloe and I just couldn’t have that happen. I needed her to be focused on me and the situation we had before us. I had to stop whatever was evolving between the two of them before it became a tangible threat and caused some irreparable damage.

“Angie, you said that you thought that your aunt misused her abilities. Why do you think that? What do you think she did with them?” asked Chloe as she flicked the cigarette filter into the street.

I recalled the uneasy feelings I experienced when I gazed at the synthetic yet meticulously detailed replica of my cousin Christian standing apart from my aunt’s other completed pieces in her home studio. Something about the eyes of that duplicate had convinced me that he was not a molded piece of resin, but a living breathing person that wanted to speak with me. I was reluctant to voice my concern, but I trusted Chloe and Daniel had to be told what power our family bloodline held within it. He needed to know.

I took a deep breath then said, “It’s her sculptures.”

Chloe furrowed her brow. “What do you mean?”

“Her sculptures aren’t inanimate objects,” I explained, kicking a loose pebble. “They’re people.”

“Did you say ‘people’?” he asked. He stopped walking and looked at me, understandably confused by my proclamation.

“Yes. Aunt Rachel has an ability like mine, but instead of using sound she uses feelings,” I began as we perched ourselves on the stone wall that separated the road from the water’s edge; a crumbling stone pier just a few hundred feet away. “She can force a human spirit into The Astral Realm by utilizing the energy of The Spiritual Plane, but instead of doing it with music she uses something physical like clay or resin. She uses touch while I use sound. She can do all the same things I can; syphon energy, store energy, and use the energy for trapping people in the Astral Realm, but …,” I paused before I continued, glancing at Chloe and then my brother, “the people aren’t trapped in songs on an MP3 player. They’re trapped in her sculptures. That’s why they’re so realistic.”

“Shit,” spit Daniel.

“That’s beyond fucked up, Angie,” said Chloe zipping up her jacket.

“But not everyone she trapped was a misuse of her power,” I felt the need to clarify my aunt’s actions as not all necessarily bad. Just as I had trapped guilty parties such as Ryan, Josh, and Mr. Morrell, Aunt Rachel had trapped tormentors. “But even just one innocent spirit breaks the sacred oath we swore to Frigg, to Syn.”

“But how do you know?” Dan asked, “How can you tell the difference between a guilty person and innocent one?”

I shrugged. “I think it depends on the ability. I hear the voices of the Ancestors. They tell me who’s guilty and who isn’t. I imagine for Aunt Rachel it’s by her touch. Maybe if she touches someone or something that belongs to them she can determine whether they’re guilty or innocent.”

My brother nodded, looking out towards Walker Cove. “I get it.”

“So for me,” Chloe said with a glance at Daniel before settling her focus on me, “it would be by what I see; someone’s glow would tell me.”

“Right,” I agreed.

“For you?” Dan questioned, placing his hand on hers.

Chloe sighed and withdrew her hand.

“Yeah. I … well …,” she started. “This is gonna sound crazy, but I have abilities, too. Kinda like your sister’s, but different.”

Maybe this is what would stop the thing happening between them, which for me would be good because then I wouldn’t have to directly do anything to hurt either of them, because I needed them each in my life, but separately. And maybe this revelation about Chloe and her abilities was the motive that my brother needed to pull away from her, to create distance between them. Perhaps it would make him nervous, like he was with me when we were younger, and then he would want to move further away from her physically and emotionally. A girl could hope, right?

“Well, alright. Cool,” Dan nodded. “Sounds like you might have Genetic Memories like Angie does, and I’m just the misfit here.”

Chloe giggled and slapped his arm. “Fuckin’ shut up, you’re not a misfit.”

Damn it. All hope was lost.