Stay With Me
So…we’ve started that story about rebirth and a baby found in a dumpster. It’s going pretty well, we’re 7 pages in already and everyone is nicely taking shape. I never thought I’d write a book using witches as main characters but I guess that’s what we’re going to do. It’s still set in modern day. Yes, our old friend Ares is coming back with a vengeance. He may end up being the ‘bad guy’ this time around although, in the end, I think he’ll be the hero. It may take a while to get there though.
We’ll get back to Mason & Hannah just as soon as possible. But this takes precedence right now. Here’s the first few paragraphs very much hot-off-the-presses to forgive the screw ups. If you’re of a mind to do so, please let me know if this sounds interesting to you.
STAY WITH ME
LISA BETH DARLING
ALL RIGHT RESERVED
Standing at the kitchen sink washing the dishes and staring out at the mid-afternoon sun up there in his bright blue sky, Katie absently circled the sponge over the plate in her hand, her mind a million miles away from her small kitchen. Behind her the screen door burst open with such force it made her jump and wheel toward the sound. Jack came running into the house, huge smile on his young handsome face, waving a large manila envelope over his head.
“I got in! Mom! Mom!”
Katie’s heart sunk even as it soared trying to keep the sorrow from her voice she smiled for her only son as she held her wet hands out to him, “I knew you would,” she whispered as he rushed to her full of excitement and joy, “The people at Columbia would be idiots not to admit you.” She hugged him tight as she fought back the tears threatening to ruin this historic moment in the life of Jack Montgomery. “I’m so proud of you.”
Squeezing her tight as he lifted her off her feet and spun her around Jack rocked his mother and did a little dance, “You always said I could do it,” he settled her down, “thanks mom for believing in me.” He kissed her cheek. All his life it had just been the two of him his father having died in a car wreck before Jack was even born.
“Always,” she croaked unable to restrain the tears welling in her brown eyes, “I will always believe in you.” As they began falling, she prayed he only saw the joy and the pride behind them. Columbia University had been his dream since the 7th grade when he made his first short film and put it on YouTube. It gained thirty thousand views in less than a week and many compliments. From that moment on, he had his sights on a career in the film industry and now he was on his way.
Something in her voice quelled his glee for a moment, “You ok, mom?” He took a step back and bent at the knees to look her in the eyes. “You’re crying.”
“Tears of joy,” she told him and patted him on the shoulder, “maybe a little sorrow, a mother’s allowed to be sad when her only son is going off into the world and leaving her behind.”
“I’m never gonna leave you behind, don’t cry.” He thumbed the running tears from her cheeks. “What do you say I take us out to dinner tonight?”
“I’ll pay you save your money.”
Jack grunted, she always said that, whenever he offered to pay for anything it was always ‘save your money’. “I’ve been working for three years I think I can take my mother out to dinner.”
Kate felt the tears streaming back and wiped them away with her hand. He wasn’t a little boy anymore he was a man and she should treat him like one while she still had the time, “Ok, it sounds great. After we’ll come home and fill out all those forms. Go on go tell all your friends the great news.”
Jack couldn’t wait to do just that, he bent in and kissed her cheek quickly before he headed for the door, “I’ll be back around six, we’ll go to Luigi’s, ok?”
“It’s a date,” she raised her hand in parting as he bolted through the door.
It was only after she heard him pull out of the driveway that she broke down and cried over the sink like a little girl.
“By the Gods, Katie, what are you going to do?”
Sitting at the kitchen table with her three closest friends around her for support, Kate took a deep breath before answering, “I’m not telling him and neither are any of you, do you understand? Swear to me, all of you, that won’t say a word to Jack about this.”
Jenn leaned across the table to take Kate’s hand, “He’s going to know, Katie, you’re going to lose your hair, you’re going to be puking all the time, he’s going to know you’re sick. You can’t hide this from him.”
Kate knew her decision was not going to be popular with her coven but it was her decision to make and theirs to support, “I’m not starting treatment until after he leaves for Columbia.” She watched all of their mouths drop open. “That’s the way it is.”
“You can’t wait that long,” Michelle insisted, “this isn’t something to fuck around with, sister, herbs and spells aren’t going to cure lymphoma.”
“You’re signing your own death certificate,” Jenn snarled.
“Don’t look at me,” Marie huffed as she crossed her arms over her very ample chest, “I’m with them.”
Kate, long the high priestess of their small coven, put her hands in the middle of the table and waited a few moments for her sisters to do the same, “Long ago we made a pact, a blood oath, and it still stands. If my plan doesn’t work you, all of you, will watch over him. That’s what gives me the strength to do this.”
Marie shook her dark head even as her grip on Kate’s hand tightened, “You’re never going to tell him, are you?”
“No, and neither are any of you. He’s my son and that’s the end of it. I can’t ruin this for him, if you saw his face when he came through that door you’d know.” She looked to Jenn with her strawberry hair and golden sparkles in her green eyes. “Swear, sister, swear you’ll never say a word to him not even after I’m gone. You will never tell him who he truly is. He has to come to that on his own, if ever.”
“Who you think he is,” Jenn corrected harshly, “who you’ve always thought he is, but you don’t know for sure.” She looked around the table, “None of us do.”
“When I first brought him to you, you all agreed, you agreed it was him and I didn’t even have to ask the question first,” Kate spoke with calm authority as she stared into Jenn’s eyes searching the woman’s heart and soul.
Waving a hand swiftly between them the younger witch warned, “Don’t you dare try to use your powers on me. Stay out of my mind, Katie.”
Easing back in the wooden kitchen chair as she reached for her pack of Pall Mall’s she apologized even as she told Jenn she was wrong, “I would never use my powers of persuasion on any of you, my sisters, you know that, don’t you?” Within this small coven, Kate was the strongest witch gifted with the ability to see into the minds of others by reading their eyes then it was easy to guide them in whatever direction she wanted them to go. Jenn, to Kate, Jenn was the special one, she could move objects with her mind and not just pennies and pencils, when she really concentrated Jenn could make a car levitate. Marie, Kate’s dearest friend of all, had the power to see into the future of anyone either through the crystal ball, her Tarot cards, or the flame. Although her predictions were not always clear they did always ring true when they played out. Michelle was the dabbler, the wanderer, the freest spirit among them especially as she tended to her herbs and vegetables in the warm months. She could make any potion imaginable and enchant any item to the wearer’s request. She made a hell of a batch of mead too.
The four of them formed this coven over twenty-five years ago, other than Jack, their Sisterhood meant everything to Kate. She didn’t want to lose it not at this most precarious and needful time in her life.
“We’re mortal, we make mistakes,” Jenn countered as she thought back to the night that Kate showed up with a new baby in her arms when she’d never been pregnant in her life. Hell Katie never married, she never had a serious boyfriend even though suitors fawned over her, she dismissed each one that came along without so much as a ‘thank you’. If someone asked her, Jenn might honestly say that she thought her wisest friend, at the ripe age of forty-eight, was still a virgin. “It was Lammas and we were all getting pretty toasted on mead before you got to the Circle that night.”
Kate bit her lip and held her tongue, Jenn always the pragmatist in the group, the one who wanted to believe in all that she did and all that she felt but when it came crunch time and Fate tested her she always withdrew. She retreated to rational thought instead of confronting it on its own terms. She held her tongue hoping one of her other sisters would not hold theirs.
Michelle chimed in carefully, “There was the time he set the backyard on fire.”
Rolling her sunflower eyes, Jenn let out a loud huff, “He was playing with matches.”
“No he wasn’t,” Kate interjected, “that’ just what we told him happened. You saw it, we all saw it, fire shot from his fingertips.”
Seeing she wasn’t getting much support from her sisters, she tapped a well-manicured nail on the table, “Even if he is who you think he is, do we all want to be responsible for colluding with the God of….”
The screen door opened and Jack strolled in to a haze of marijuana and incense smoke, “Hey, mom! Hi ladies, I see you couldn’t wait to get the hens together to tell them the good news.” They were all sitting around the table holding hands. All of his life this small group of women came together no less than twice a month, that was their Charter. More often than not, they sat around this table or in the kitchens of one of the other women once a week. They practiced their spells and their magick in their homes and out in their yards freely. If he lived anywhere other than in a small town fifty miles north of Salem, Massachusetts, Jack figured he’d have a hard time with the kids at school having a witch for a mother. Here that was most acceptable and there were covens large and small throughout the closely-knit community. However, most of them were Hipsters and Posers, Wanna-Be Hippies, without any real connection to the powers outside this world. Jack always knew that wasn’t the case with his mother and her small band of friends. They were the Real Deal as was he, at least to some extent. He’d walked in on them a thousand times or more, at prayer, in the middle of ritual or spellcasting, but this time he felt as though he’d walked in on the middle of a heavy parlay. The ashtray held three roaches and nearly overflowed with cigarette butts, each had a glass of whisky before them with the half-empty bottle of Jack Daniels Honey sitting on the table by his mother’s crystal ball. “Want me to come back in a few minutes?” Feeling like an intruder in his own home Jack hitched his thumb toward the door.
“Of course not,” Kate tilted her cheek upward for the kiss he was bestowing, “they’re all very proud of you too.”
The coven sisters agreed that it was wonderful news, that Jack worked very hard, and he deserved this shot at making his dreams come true. Jack accepted their congratulations with humility and then begged off saying he wanted to shower before he took his mother out to dinner. Without looking back, he wandered down the small hallway then up the stairs to the second floor.
Michelle watching him go with appraising eyes. Jack was tall, broad at the shoulders to the chest, with a narrow waist, and thanks to the cutoff jeans he was wearing, she could see he had tree trunks for legs. “He should be in front of the camera, not behind it,” she mused wistfully.
“Yeah,” Married agreed greedily, “Jack Does Dallas.” She, Michelle and Jenn broke out in a soft cackle as they blushed and thought of their youth.
Katie cleared her throat, “Ladies, no matter what he’s still my son so if you wouldn’t mind too much.”
Michelle stopped laughing as she flipped a thick tress of brown hair over her shoulder, “If that’s not…”
“Don’t you dare say his name,” Kate hissed.
“Fine,” Michelle agreed, “if that’s not….him…then I don’t know who is. I’m in. I’ll keep my mouth shut about it all but only if you agree to start treatment now.”
“No, the day after he starts at Columbia I’ll go. All of you can go with me.”
Marie shook her head again, “This is a dangerous game, Katie.”
“It’s been a dangerous game for the last eighteen years, sister, a few more months won’t matter.”
Reaching into her purse, Marie pulled out a deck of Tarot cards covered in layers of silk. “Let the cards decide.” She unwrapped the deck and pushed them toward Kate. “Go on.”
Yes/No? Maybe you’d like to know more? Doesn’t really matter cuz we’re going to do this story anyway but a little support is always nice🙂