October 23: The Witch

The October Diary is a work of fiction being released serially during October 2015. A new installment is posted each day. Find posts you’ve missed here.

October 23rd

I’ve been looking for people who might be able to help me and the places where those people might be. I’ve been researching all the strange little shops that Annie and I used to make fun of. Places that sell crystals and tarot cards and mystical things. People used to call them “New Age,” but they aren’t new anymore. They probably weren’t new then either.

I found a lot of mentions of Miss Petra. People swearing she saved them with her magic. People posted stories about curses being lifted and demons cast out by her spells. They were the types of stories I used to think were nonsense but that seem so very reasonable compared to my present situation.

I made an appointment with Miss Petra. I didn’t go into a lot of detail as to why. It felt odd talking about it on the phone. She didn’t seem bothered by my vagueness. I wondered if she might be clairvoyant.

Miss Petra’s shop was what I expected. Crystals, amulets, and fringed scarves hung everywhere. There were a lot of strange looking books. The air was heavily perfumed with candles or oils. The smell made me sneeze.

“Bless you,” said a woman flipping through a book.

“Thank you.”

There was no one behind the counter. Just me and the woman.

“May I help you?”

“I’m waiting for Miss Petra.”

“I am Miss Petra.”

I had thought she was a customer. She was wearing a black blouse and matching pants. She had on some jewelry but not anything overly eccentric. She was rather stylish. Except for her long gray hair, she looked nothing like the groovy witch woman movies and tv shows had prepared me for.

She was very professional as I told her my story. She seemed to be taking detailed notes on a yellow legal pad. When I was done talking she turned to pad toward me. It was a perfect sketch of the Man with the Shadow Voice.

“Is this him?”

“Yes! Do you know about him? Have you seen him?”

“No. No. I’ve never seen anything like him, but with this picture and what you told me I can ask around and see if anyone knows what he may be.”

“You’re going to ask other…” I didn’t want to say witches. Practitioners? Consultants?

“Spirits, my dear. Give me some time to ask my spirits. I’ll see if the dead know of your Shadow-Voice Man and can tell me something we can do. This is a bad thing that is happening. You and he may be too much intertwined. I don’t think I can save your life, but I hope to be able to help you.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant.

“Thanks.”

“I will call you soon.”

What happens next? Read the next part of the story here.

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