by Jasmin Jenkins
excerpt of a work in progress
July 19, 1339
The Queen glared at her former lady-in-waiting.
“Please don’t curse my family!” The former Lady Senia begged the Queen.
“Why should I listen to you?” The Queen hissed. “Why, when you have betrayed me?”
“Because whether I have betrayed you or have failed you, I am still your servant,” Senia pleaded.
“No,” the Queen snarled. “Your family will regret your decisions, Lady Senia.”
“Please,” Senia cried. “Please don’t curse my family.”
But the Queen was no longer listening to Senia. The queen began to speak the curse:
“For their greed for ultimate power
The House of Blackwell shall learn
To play with Death,
Who shall haunt over the House
Until the final price is paid
In blood or death,
And those who try to run
Will perish in flames.”
Senia looked at the Queen with horror. Then the Queen turned to her and smiled wickedly. Senia began to feel light-headed and dizzy. She knew that her end was near.
Then the Queen of England and Witches crossed the room to Senia, raised a knife to Senia’s neck and let it drop.
July 19, 2059
I woke up with a fright. I had had that dream again. The weird part is that I always have it the night before my birthday.
“Lydia!” my mum called “Come down here.”
“Coming Mum!” I shouted as I climbed out of bed.
“What’s taking so long, Lyd?” my brother said to me, poking his head into my room.
“Get out Roger!” I yelled at him.
“What for?” He asked me as he wickedly grinned. “You don’t have anything that I haven’t seen when you were a baby.”
I truly hate my brother sometimes. Honestly. He always tries to annoy me and always has to brag about being 5 years older than me.
“Roger, leave your sister alone,” Dad told him as he ruffled Roger’s hair. “Happy birthday Liddy, dear.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I said glaring at Roger.
As I headed off to the bathroom to wash up, I felt a strange chill. I was about to yell at Roger, but as I looked downstairs, I saw Roger walking to the kitchen. Weird.
“Happy birthday, Lydia!” Mum, Dad and Roger shouted at me as I entered the kitchen. Mum had really made the best meal ever! She made large chocolate cookies. I love chocolate cookies!
“So,” Mum said as Roger cleared the table. “What do you want to do today?”
“Can we go shopping” I asked, “at Carnaby Street?”
“Of course,” Dad says.
“Great!” Roger yelled. I jumped.
“What’s so great about that?” I ask him.
“Nothing,” Roger scowled. “Not everything is about you, Lydia.”
“Shut up, Roger,” I say.
“What happened?” Dad asked.
“The bloody dishwasher jammed again,” Roger answered.
“I’ll have to get a new one then,” Dad sighed. “Also watch your language.”
“I’m going with you,” Roger said.
“No,” Dad told him. “You go on and have fun.”
“Have fun while shopping?” Roger shuddered. “Only Lydia can do that.”
“As I recall,” I interrupted, “a certain friend of yours also enjoys shopping.”
“Don’t be annoying, Liddy.” Roger sounded annoyed.
“Don’t be rude,” Dad told him. “Now, I’m going to get that new dishwasher. I’ll meet you all at Carnaby Street. Okay?”
“Okay,” I say.
I gave my father a hug then went upstairs to get dressed. I decided to wear a nice dress and my beloved combat boots.
Mum, Roger and I left the house and made our way to the shopping area. I got loads of new clothes and shoes for school next year.
Suddenly there was a commotion near a sweet shop where I had just gotten some candy floss. Several police cars came up to the street. As Roger and I exited the store, we heard Mum gasp. The police had stopped at a car crash a few blocks from the store. We hurried to see what was going on.
The car that had crashed was Dad’s. He was in the crash. I was so scared as we drew nearer. An officer tried to stop Mum from getting closer, but she yelled at him and told him that her husband was in the car. A few medics pulled Dad out of the car.
“Ellie!” Dad gasped as he was put on a stretcher.
“James, are you okay?” Mum asked him.
“Ellie, I tried,” he said.
“Tried what?” Mum asked softly.
“To stop her. The curse is too strong.”
“No,” Mum sounded horrified.
“She’s coming for Lydia.”
“No,” Mum whispered.
“Try,” Dad gasped. “Try to protect her.” Then he passed out.
Medics started working on him. Finally, one looked up.
“I’ve got no pulse,” he said.
“He’s gone,” another added.
I gasped. Mum screamed. She lurched towards Dad as I stumbled back.
“James!” Mum yelled. She cried on his chest. “James, please don’t leave me. Don’t leave us.”
“Dad,” Roger whispered. “Dad, no.”
I started breathing very quickly. The only thing that I could see was my dad lying on the stretcher.
“Lydia,” Mum turned towards me. “We need to get you home. Now.”
“Why?” I say.
“Because if she’s coming for you, then we need to go where we are the strongest.”
September 6, 1337
Senia watched as the Queen emerged from the doorway. As she did, Senia felt a prickle of fear. The woman in front of her was not only the ruler of England, but also the ruler of witches.
“Let us come to order,” the Queen said with a clap of her hands; the room instantly became silent. “As the winter solstice draws near, we must remember that-”
Suddenly, Senia could no longer hear what was being said. The room darkened, then brightened. In place of the coven of witches, there stood a man.
“Who dares disturbs our council?” Senia demanded.
The man only smiled.
“Speak!” she grew angry.
The man continues to smile.
“Have it your way,” Senia sneered.
She cupped her hands and brought them to her mouth. When Senia blew on them, fire, the most dangerous element of all as it cannot be controlled, sparked in her hands. Senia thrust the fire towards the man.
Much to her surprise, the man put a hand up, and the fire came to his palm. He slapped his hands together and the fire disappeared.
“How?” she whispered.
The man smiled and walked towards her. When he was in front of her, she could immediately sense how powerful he was – possibly more powerful than the Queen herself. But, he wasn’t a warlock, since they are much weaker than witches. Senia could not understand what this man was.
“Who are you?” she asked, surprised that her voice was not shaking from fear and awe.
“What good does it do you?” he responded. Senia narrowed her eyes.
“So that I know what kind of threat you pose to me and my sisters,” she countered.
¨Who says that I am a threat?” he asked.
“Clearly you are, as you are disturbing our council.”
“I mean no harm to you and your sisters,” the man smiled at her. “In fact, I wish to help one of your sisters.”
“I do not need your help,” Senia said coldly. “I am a witch, I do not need a weak warlock’s help.”
Instead of being offended, the man simply laughed. As he laughed, waves of power hit Senia, and she fell to the ground. She tried again to blast him with fire, but the flames did not come within a foot of him.
“What do you want from me?” Senia yelled, the fear growing rapidly in her.
“I only want to help you,” he said once more.
“Because, you could be so much more powerful than you let yourself be.” He began to circle her. “The Queen is limiting you, Senia. Instead of you being her lady-in-waiting, she will be yours.”
“The Queen could never be anyone’s lady-in-waiting.” Senia was horrified. “And what you speak of is treason.”
“Speaking of how much more powerful you could be? Speaking of you truly deserve? Senia, why do you limit yourself?”
“I’m not limiting myself; I am as powerful as I will ever be.”
“Let me make you more powerful. Let me make you become the witch that rules over not only all witches, but the entire world.”
“How? Such things are not possible.”
“Simply take my hand,” he held his hand out to Senia.
“What of the Queen?” Senia asked, eyeing his hand.
“She will not hurt you,” he promised.
Still, Senia hesitated. She wanted the power; she also knew that she would use it better than the Queen, who used it for the most ridiculous reasons – helping the mortals.
“How can you be sure that she won’t come for me?”
“I am power itself. As long as you do as I say, no harm will ever come to you and those you love.”
“Trust me, Senia,” he whispered.
As he spoke, an odd feeling came upon Senia. Suddenly, she felt as if she had known this dark power her entire life. Of course she trusts him; he was the best person in the world. Her oldest friend. She cared for him, loved him, even.
She put her hand in his and he helped her up. As he did, she could feel waves upon waves of power thrust themselves into herself. She gasped as, with a single thought, she manifested a chair for her to rest on, something that she had never been able to master before.
“See, I told you to trust me,” the man smiled.
“Why wouldn’t I trust you?”
“There’s no reason not to.”
“I know,” Senia smiled. “What of the Queen?”
“What of her?” he asked.
“What will become of her?”
“Leave that to me,” he whispered.
“Senia! Senia, are you all right?” several coven members asked.
“Senia! Control your power!” the Queen commanded.
“Wh-what happened?” Senia asked.
“You fainted, and became fire.” Her cousin handed her some water. “Oh Senia, what happened?”
“Umm, I-” just before Senia could respond, she saw the man again. He shook his head at her.
Don’t say anything about me, he whispered in her mind. They won’t understand. Trust me.
“Senia, what happened?” the Queen demanded.
Senia looked at her. She could do this. The Queen wasn’t using her power in the best way for the coven. Senia would take her place and finally make sure that witches get the respect they deserve from all.
“I don’t know, my Queen.” Senia said looking her in the eye.
This was the first lie Senia ever told the Queen.
July 27, 2059
I don’t believe it. Dad can’t be gone. This all just has to be some twisted dream. Some weird, sick, twisted dream. He has to be at the store still. But, if he was, Mum wouldn’t be locked in her room crying, and Roger wouldn’t be punching the punching bag in the backyard. This has to be a dream.
“Lydia,” Mum came to my room. “We need to talk.”
“About what?” I peeked out from the blankets I was hiding under.
“Everything,” she took a deep breath. “Where’s your brother?”
“He’s in the backyard,” I told her.
“Alright,” Mum nodded. “ Meet us in the living room in ten minutes. Okay?”
“Sure,” I hid again.
After about seven minutes, I dragged myself to the living room. Mum and Roger were already there. I threw myself on the couch next to my brother. He put his arms around me, and I curled up next to him.
“Mum, what did we have to talk about?” he asked as he stroked my hair.
“Well, there’s no easy way to say this, but-” Mum hesitated.
“But what?” I asked.
“We’re not exactly human,” she said.
When she said that, Roger and I looked at each other and laughed. Mum watched for a while, then sighed. By the time we finished laughing, she was looking at the ceiling.
“That’s funny, Mum. What’s actually going on?” Roger asked.
“So you don’t believe me?” she asked.
“You expect us to believe that we’re not human? Really, Mum?” I shook my head.
Without a word, Mum walked over to the dying houseplant by the couch. With a wave of her hand the plant was vibrant and green again. Then she flicked her wrist, and three glasses appeared in front of her. Mum held her hand over the glasses, and water came from her hand and poured perfectly in the glasses. When they were filled, she sent two of them over to me and Roger.
“Believe me now?” Mum asked, taking a sip of water.
“Uh, yeah,” I said, taking a glass.
“So what are you then, Mum?” Roger asked.
“I’m a witch of the Blackwell House,” Mum smiled.
“What about Dad?” I whispered. “What was he?”
“Your father,” Mum’s voice broke. “Your father is, I mean was, an elf. And no, not one from Santa’s workshop, so don’t even think about asking that, Roger.”
“So, I’m an elf and a witch?” he asked.
“You’re a warlock, not a witch, but yes,” Mum nodded.
“What’s the difference?” I asked.
“Witches are always girls, warlocks are always boys, and witches are stronger and more powerful than warlocks,” she answered
“Why are witches more powerful than warlocks?” Roger grumbled.
“Witches have been around for longer than warlocks, and magic was originally gifted to women,” Mum smiled.
“What about Dad? Does any of this have a part in why he was attacked?” I asked
“Partially.” she sighed. “Your father was an elemental elf. But his tribe is peaceful, and, well, you know… knew your father. He wasn’t the fighting type.”
“So, why was he attacked?” Roger sat up.
“He was protecting us.” Mum wiped the tears from her eyes. “And it’s my family’s fault.”
“What do you mean, Mum?” I asked.
“My family is cursed,” she looked at us. “That’s why there’s not that many Blackwells. I warned your father of what might happen, but he wouldn’t listen and-”
“Wait, slow down.” I shook my head. “We’re cursed?”
“Yes, an ancestor of mine betrayed the Queen so the Queen cursed us all.”
“Seriously?” Roger groaned. “One person messed up and now we’re all going to die.”
“You’re not going to die, Roger. Stop exaggerating.” I rolled my eyes. “Keep going, Mum.”
“Legend has it that we’ll be freed one day by a witch from our family,” she said. “That’s as much as I know.”
“Great, we’ll be saved by an all-powerful witch, because warlocks are too weak to do anything about it,” Roger muttered. “Question: who was the witch who got us cursed, anyways?”
“Her name was-” Mum started.
“Lady Senia of the House of Blackwell,” I finished.