Friday, January 24, 2020

Witch of Apple Hill ~ Part 23


Cage cleared his throat. Elise knew even hunters were wary of familiars. “Those awful men, they did not represent this town as a whole. They were greedy, wretched, and evil. Personally, I’m glad Roark tore my father to bits, because I’m sure if he hadn’t I would have the next time he laid a finger on my mother. I believe it’s time to give this town a second chance.”
“I can’t,” stated Elise.
Cage shook his head, but smiled. “Well then, I guess I have my work cut out for me to convince you while thwarting off your curses. I gave Mr. King some ointment for his palms today. I hope you’ll allow the old man to rest. He hasn’t gotten much sleep since you cursed his hands to itch.”
“And Mrs. Welch?” asked Elise.
“I gave her some angelica, which voided your curse, but she now loves to swim, which is good for a woman her age.” He gave Elise a wink. “I think you actually did her a favor.”
Elise huffed. “Anything else I should know about?”
“Even though Heather King wasn’t able to change the color of Pammy Nelson’s hair, she did manage to get rid of the frizz and Pammie won the valley wide beauty pageant last night. The judges loved the color, said it reminded them of sunrise, and they were elated that Pammy had stepped outside of the conventional beauty box. I have it under good authority that Heather’s beauty shop is overbook for the next month with people wanting colorings.”
“How could you possibly know that this early?” snapped Elise. “The shop isn’t even open.”
Cage shrugged nonchalantly. “I just know.”
Elise let out a groan of frustration as she turned and walked away from Cage.
“You’re not even going to say good-bye?” Cage called after her.
She wasn’t even going to turn around. Cage had already undid most of her curses from the previous day. If he wanted a war of clever magic, she’d give him one.





Chapter 7


Elise stormed down the street. If Cage Martin thought he could outwit her in a game of magic, he was sorely mistaken. As she passed the café owned by the Martin family, she flicked her wrist instantly changing all the salt shakers to sugar, sugar shakers to salt, and the maple syrup to dark bitter molasses.
As she walked by the Nelson house, she thought about how happy they must be that Pammy won the pageant the night before. Mr. Nelson was the town’s exterminator and Elise figured it was high time the bugs had their revenge. She flicked her wrist at their house and filled it with termites, also placing spiders and roaches in every dark corner. No matter what he used to get rid of the bugs, they’d be immune.
Every business or house she passed that belonged to a founding family was cursed with a single flick of her wrist. The grocery store owned by the Welches checked every item out for a penny. She decided to put a den of black rat snakes in the walls of City Hall. She even enchanted her precious library books, knowing it would look suspicious if the library went un-phased. Every book that was checked out would be a bodice ripper full of sex and scenes that would surly make the townspeople blush as they realize the covers match the stories with scantily clad men and women embracing.
Finally as she walked by the church, she heard the choir practicing. The mayor’s daughter, Veronica, always brought her famous punch to the practicing, claiming it would loosen the vocal chords. Elise giggled as she flicked her wrist and added a secret ingredient that would make them all sound as if they had swallowed helium. The effects of the ingredient would have them speaking like the munchkins of Oz long after the practice was over.
As she entered the library she was met by Dorothea and Ernest. Dorothea flew in circles wringing her hands as Ernest stood in the corner arms crossed.
“Well?” they asked together as Rosemary glided down from the rafters.
“He’s a hunter.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Witch of Apple Hill ~ Part 22


“Become a hunter,” he answered, “and always follow the magic.”
“Follow the magic?”
“Over the years I have learned that it was a fancy pants way of saying I needed to be near the paranormal or I would begin to age.”
“And your master?”
“Paul Campbell.”
“Such an ordinary name for a monster,” stated Elise.
Cage laughed hard startling Elise. She narrowed her eyes. “He was a monster. He murdered hundreds of my kind in the name of being a hunter, no matter if they caused harm.”
Cage nodded. “I wasn’t laughing because you were wrong, I was laughing at how right you were. I took me a solid two decades to realize that not every witch was evil, just like every hunter isn’t doing good for humanity. Thankfully, Paul had no life stone and I outlived him.”
“Good,” stated Elise, “so back to the matter at hand. You’re a hunter. I’m a witch. I have cursed this town and have no intentions of ending it. What now?”
“Honestly, I counter any curse you’ve doled out with the little magic I’ve learned over the decades. If you hurt anyone, I will kill you. If you come after me, I will kill you.”
“You underestimate me,” said Elise.
Cage shook his head and took a step closer to Elise. “Actually, I don’t. I’ve watched you for a long while. Your aura is good natured and your magic is strong. I need that so that I don’t age. I see no reason why we can’t live together in this town, you just have to stop cursing the founding families.”
“They took what didn’t belong to them,” snapped Elise.
“Revenge is ugly on you Elise,” retorted Cage. “This town is a picture perfect ideal of a community. They come together when they need to. Crime is petty, poverty is low, and they don’t even use pesticides on the apples. They have not overbuilt the valley in the name of progress, they could and make even more money. The orchard as always been owned by the town and profits have gone to make sure no one wants for anything.”
His face softened. “Those men who attacked you.”
This garnered a growl from Roark startling Elise a bit. She had almost forgotten he was on her shoulder with all the surprises the conversation had brought. “It’s okay Roark.”
She held her palm out and Roark scurried down from her shoulder. She placed him gently in her pocket.
“He’s a good protector,” stated Cage.
“The best,” agreed Elise, “as those men you were just talking about found out.”
Cage cleared his throat. Elise knew even hunters were wary of familiars. “Those awful men, they did not represent this town as a whole. They were greedy, wretched, and evil. Personally, I’m glad Roark tore my father to bits, because I’m sure if he hadn’t I would have the next time he laid a finger on my mother. I believe it’s time to give this town a second chance.”
“I can’t,” stated Elise.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Witch of Apple Hill ~ Part 21


Roark jumped from his pocket and scrambled to Elise’s shoulder. She could feel his rage and knew he would soon take his true form.
“Call off your familiar, I mean no harm,” ordered Cage. “I am not my father.”
This time Elise’s gasp escaped her lips as everything became clear. Cage’s father had been one of the men that assaulted her in the forest. He had been one of the men who tried to take her virtue right before Roark had torn them all to bits. He had been evil.
Cage took a small step toward Elise. She fought the urge to cower from him. That savage attack had been almost a century ago, but as she looked at Cage she saw the man who had been the ringleader. The one who ordered his friends to grab her and hold her down. The one who said that they'd all get a turn before throwing her down the bottomless sinkhole one of their mines had caused.
“I am not my father,” he repeated in a soft voice. “I just recently learned of the attack on you and why you cursed the founders of this valley. As I said, Theodora …”
“Don’t call me that,” snapped Elise.
“Okay,” agreed Cage, “Elise, I’ve done my research. I know that even though you have followed through on your curse, you haven’t gravely injured anyone. I don’t wish to fight you, but I’m under my own obligations to stop you.”
Elise shook her head. “What you’re saying doesn’t make sense. You’re a hunter, so you’re human, but your father was part of the attack …” She rubbed her temples. “Humans don’t live that long.”
Cage nodded. “I was human. After my father disappeared we moved to Unity, just out of the valley. It was the only place my mother could afford after my father disappeared.” He looked at her with warm eyes. “I assure you, other than the money he brought home occasionally, he was not missed, but as you know it was the Great Depression. Jobs for women were scarce even before the depression, but after, there was nothing. As a boy of twelve, I also looked for work, but everyone was trying to keep their own families fed. We scavenged in the valley for food and shelter, always careful of the witch.”
He gave her a wink before continuing. “We made our home in a cave in the mountains that first winter. We were fortunate enough to find a cave with a large central cavern that had narrow hole at the top like a chimney. It was just narrow enough to let the smoke from our fires out, but kept most of the rain out. We were able to build nice fires and the forest and valley helped to keep our bellies mostly full. It actually made a cozy home and it had many caverns for me to explore. My father had promised us wealth in the valley … gold. Ironically, I found something of even more value, a life stone.”
For the second time Elise felt herself gasp. Life stones were very rare and carried a hefty price for the gift of immortality. “And the price?”
“Become a hunter,” he answered, “and always follow the magic.”
“Follow the magic?”
“Over the years I have learned that it was a fancy pants way of saying I needed to be near the paranormal or I would begin to age.”
“And your master?”
“Paul Campbell.”
“Such an ordinary name for a monster,” stated Elise.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Witch of Apple Hill ~ Part 20


“You didn’t answer my question.” Elise could feel Roark shaking with rage in her pocket and patted it ever so slightly to calm him. She could handle Cage Martin. She delicately twirled her finger beside her pocket and whispered. “You need to answer what you’ve been asked, or be sent on a perilous task. No harm needs to come to you, just do what you’ve been told to do.”
She felt the spell flow through her fingers and hit their target straight in the chest of Cage. He wiped at his shirt as if a bug had landed on him and cocked his head at her. “Did you say something?”
Elise bit back her gasp. Her spell hadn’t worked on him, just like the spelled bell above the library door hadn’t jingled when he entered the library. He had paranormal blood, either as a hunter or some other kind of creature. It was time to put all the cards on the table.
“Do you know what I am?” she asked as she stood tall and called the energy of the earth to surge through her body. If there was to be a fight this lovely fall morning, she was ready.
“Yes,” said Cage, narrowing his eyes a little. “You are the Witch of Apple Hill. You’ve gone by many names, but the folks of this town have known you as Glinda Pendergraph and now as her cousin, Elise Pendergraph, although you have lived her your entire life here, in this valley, as its protector. Isn’t that right, Theodora?”
Elise fought the urge to shiver at her given name. She hadn’t been called that since she cursed Apple Hill’s founding families.
“Are you a hunter?” asked Elise.
“Not if I don’t have to be,” answered Cage. “I would very much like to be done with that life. I’m hoping you’ll let me be.”
“What is it you’re asking?”
“It’s easy enough,” he said with a shrug. “Lift the curse on Apple Hill.”
Elise’s eyes fell to the ground. “I can’t do that. They took what belonged to me. My fight is not with you, Cage, and has been going on long before you decided to make this valley your home. Stay out of it.”
“They settled in a valley because they had nowhere else to go,” stated Cage. “They were scared, alone, and certain you would come back and tear them to bits, but they stayed because they had no other alternative.”
“They stayed because they are foolish, greedy, humans,” snapped Elise.
“Those foolish, greedy, humans have always taken you in as one of their own,” countered Cage.
“What do you know about it? You only just got here!”
Cage seemed to stand taller. “I was a boy of eight when you tore through the village seeking your vengeance. I comforted my mother when my father never returned from a simple hunting trip on the eve before Halloween.”
Roark jumped from his pocket and scrambled to Elise’s shoulder. She could feel his rage and knew he would soon take his true form.
“Call off your familiar, I mean no harm,” ordered Cage. “I am not my father.”
This time Elise’s gasp escaped her lips as everything became clear. Cage’s father had been one of the men that assaulted her in the forest. He had been one of the men who tried to take her virtue right before Roark had torn them all to bits. He had been evil.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Witch of Apple Hill ~ Part 19


The next morning Elise took the long way around town, making it a point to walk by the new bed and breakfast. From the outside it looked innocent enough. Fall mums made the wrap around porch look cheery and welcoming planted in front of the evergreen bushes.
It was the kind of place she would like to stay, if she ever traveled. She couldn’t though, leaving Apple Hill would leave it vulnerable to even more trespassers … trespassers like Cage Martin.
Elise heard the wooden door open and hurried behind a tree. She had no idea who was coming out of the bed and breakfast, but she was sure she didn’t want to explain why she was just staring at the place. As the screen door slammed shut, she peeked around the tree trunk to see if anyone was coming down the walk, but saw no one. Maybe whomever was going to come out had to go back in for something, regardless it was the perfect opportunity for her to sneak away.
She started down the street before a strong baritone voice called out her name.
“Well, good morning Elise,” said Cage. “Anything I can help you with this morning?”
Elise sighed and turned to see Cage standing on that gorgeous wrap around porch watering the mums. She also couldn’t help but noticed the large smile he had on his face.
“No,” said Elise, brandishing her own smile. “I was just taking a walk.”
“Seems a bit out of your way,” said Cage.
“Is there an ‘out of the way’ when you’re just taking a walk?” asked Elise, folding her arms.
Cage walked over and turned off the hose, then wiping his hands on his jeans, came down the steps and over to Elise. “I think it’s more than that.”
“Then you flatter yourself,” said Elise.
“Oh no, I’m not flattered,” said Cage. “You see, I had a very interesting conversation with Mayor Garver yesterday and he told me that you don’t seem to like my business very much.”
“I just don’t like strangers in general,” stated Elise and it wasn’t a lie. She didn’t.
“That seems very closed minded, especially for a librarian,” said Cage. “You introduce strangers every day to people in the covers of your books, yet in real life, you don’t like them.”
“I know the difference between reality and fantasy,” said Elise. “The reality is most strangers are dangerous. Are you dangerous Cage Martin?”
Cage laughed. “I’m opening a bed and breakfast, what do you think I’m going to do, murder my patrons and hide them under the floor boards?”
Elise laughed with them, but there was nothing funny about her chuckle. “Are you dangerous to me?”
“Well now,” said Cage, his laugh turning into a smirk, “seems like we’re getting to the root of things.”
“You didn’t answer my question.” Elise could feel Roark shaking with rage in her pocket and patted it ever so slightly to calm him. She could handle Cage Martin. She delicately twirled her finger beside her pocket and whispered. “You need to answer what you’ve been asked, or be sent on a perilous task. No harm needs to come to you, just do what you’ve been told to do.”
She felt the spell flow through her fingers and hit their target straight in the chest of Cage. He wiped at his shirt as if a bug had landed on him and cocked his head at her. “Did you say something?”
Elise bit back her gasp. Her spell hadn’t worked on him, just like the spelled bell above the library door hadn’t jingled when he entered the library. He had paranormal blood, either as a hunter or some other kind of creature. It was time to put all the cards on the table.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Garnet History & Lore

~ Garnet History & Lore ~ 




Garnet is Birthstone for January and the stone that celebrates the 2nd anniversary of Marriage . The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning “seedlike,” in reference to a pomegranate.

Throughout time, there have been many ancient traditions and legends about the garnet. In Medieval Times,  the stones were thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams, and relieve diseases of the liver, as well as hemorrhages. 

According to legend, Noah used a finely cut, glowing garnet to illuminate the ark during those dark wet days and nights. Hebrew writers include the garnet as one of the twelve gems in Aaron’s breastplate. Christian tradition considered the blood-red garnet as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. 

In Greek mythology, a pomegranate is referenced as a gift of love and is associated with eternity. Nowadays, Garnet remains as a gift of love and is traditionally given for the 19th anniversary of marriage. It may also be used as a gift for two-year and six-year anniversaries. 

Moreover, Garnet is symbolic of a quick return and separated love, since Hades had given a pomegranate to Persephone before she left him to ensure her speedy return. Therefore, Garnet may be given to a beloved before embarking on a trip, as it is believed to heal the broken bonds of lovers.

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