Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Witchcraft and Hauntings Feature by Abigail Barnette, Author of Taken By The Alpha King ~ Urban Fantasy #UF

Dear Reader: This post is condensed from a larger, previously published series entitled “The Worst Person I Ever Met,” which you can find in the “Classic Trout” section of my website, jennytrout.com, but it can be enjoyed as a spooky Halloween story all on its own.

Nearly twenty years ago, I was trapped in a toxic friendship with a woman who, like myself, practiced witchcraft. Cathy was going through a messy divorce and I, feeling like I couldn’t say no, let her stay with us in our home for days at a time. It was during one of her absences when my son asked, “Where do the other stairs go?”

We lived in a ranch-style house with a basement. There was no accessible attic and only one set of stairs. However, my son is autistic and had an interesting way of describing things (once, to tell me that he’d seen a cricket in our holly bush, he informed me that it was “nighttime in the plant”), so I asked some probing, but not leading questions. Where are the stairs? At the back of the basement, right under the real staircase. Then maybe he’d seen a shadow? No, he insisted. He’d seen other stairs.

Frustrated that I wasn’t understanding, he demanded I follow him down to the basement. He led me urgently to where he’d seen the other stairs, but when we got to the spot, he was perplexed. Not in a “clearly pretending” way, either. He was genuinely confused as to where the stairs had gone. I decided that he’d probably seen a shadow, somehow. The light had played tricks coming in from the high basement window. I told him if he ever saw the other stairs again, he should come tell me immediately. I wanted to see it for myself, so I could explain to him what he was seeing.

These weird occurrences became more sinister. My son was the soul of unflappable calm as he explained “the green, drippy people” to me. They were in the basement, he said, hanging from the ceiling. Their eyes were red, like the ghost mouse’s eyes.

“The ghost mouse?” I asked, trying to convince myself he’d just seen an albino rat on tv or something.

“The ghost mouse.” He acted like it was something I should have already known about. “The ghost mouse I can follow to the other stairs?”

I made him promise me that he would never talk to the green, drippy people or follow the ghost mouse. And he would never, ever go down the other stairs. I stressed the importance of that, and he solemnly promised that he would never have gone down the other stairs because they were so scary.

Once, I was putting a load of laundry into the dryer when a dripping, skeletal hand in a tattered sleeve reached out of a shadow, grasping for me. I screamed and raced upstairs, shaking. I lived in terror every day. To my son, these occurrences were normal. To my skeptical husband, they were non-existent. I thought I was losing my mind.

So, what link does all of this have with Cathy?

As mentioned previously, Cathy and I both practiced witchcraft. We did rituals and spellwork together, much of it at my home. Any of my spiritual practice that didn’t happen outside or during group gatherings happened in my office. Before we’d put down our wood laminate flooring, I’d drawn a permanent circle on the subfloor, both with a marker and with some low-level energy. I always knew where it was, and any spells or meditation or chanting happened in that circle.

Cathy knew where it was, too. Shortly before she left for Colorado, she told me how blessed she felt by all the positive changes in her life. “One night when I was staying over at your house, I went into your office, where your circle is? And I said, ‘Okay, universe. I want you to send everything I’m putting out into the world back to me three-fold, right here and now.'”

I realized then exactly what had happened. Cathy put nothing but toxic, destructive, outright malicious energy into the universe, and now it was doing what she asked: sending it all back, three-fold, right to the place where she’d requested. I hoped that whatever it was would follow her when she left for her new home.

It didn’t. However, as so many malicious haunting stories go, we couldn’t afford to move. Bad luck plagued us until we finally were forced to move due to foreclosure.

Shortly after I began writing about Cathy on my blog, my then teenaged son came to me and said, apropos of nothing, “Do you remember the other stairs?”

All of the hairs on my arms stood up. He hadn’t mentioned the other stairs in years.. “I remember you thought there were some other stairs. Did you figure out what they were?”

“There were other stairs,” he insisted. “But there’s stuff I didn’t tell you about them.”

He described the other stairs to me, in more sophisticated detail than he’d been able to at five. They were old stone, uneven like ruins. They led down into a dark hallway with shadowy doors. A dim orange light came from one of the doorways.

“And there was someone at the bottom,” he said in an uncharacteristically quiet, serious voice. “They had a person’s body, but their head was like an animal skull. With horns or antlers or something.”

I decided to do a cleansing spell while I had some alone time. I put some new age music on Spotify and set about doing the ritual. Just as I was getting ready to begin, an advertisement came on and a woman’s voice cheerfully called out, “Hi! I’m Cathy!”

Taken By The Alpha King
Abigail Barnette

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Trout Nation, Inc.
Date of Publication: May 2, 2023
ISBN: 9798988035503
Number of pages: 472
Cover Artist: Covers by Kris

Tagline: He’ll never stop fighting to keep his throne…and her.

About the Book: 

Born into a secret society of werewolves and betrothed to a mate she didn’t love, Bailey Dixon made the choice to leave her pack for five years. Now, she’s back and fully committed to becoming the werewolf she was destined to be.

But destiny--and the new pack king--have other plans. Rich, handsome, and utterly ruthless, Nathan Frost demands absolute obedience from the Toronto pack. When he sets his sights on Bailey, she’s plunged into a world of politics, sex, and violence she’s not equipped to navigate on her own.

With her life in danger and enemies emerging from every corner, Bailey is forced to rely on the mysterious stranger who’s usurped the throne of her pack. And even he can’t be trusted…

Purchase Links:

Amazon     BN     Apple     BooksAMillion

Humans imagine scenes in movies where werewolves scream in agony and tear out of their clothes, which I’ve never understood. We know when the full moon is. It doesn’t take us by surprise. And we know how to dress for it.

Or undress. My breath freezes in my lungs as Nathan walks into the circle. He stops in front of the monolith to Lycaon and drops his robe.

I shamelessly look him over, the way he did to me, from his broad shoulders, down his chest dusted with dark hair that thins to a line on his shockingly sculpted abs. I wasn’t expecting him to look as good as he does. I wasn’t expecting that my mouth would water at the sight of his cock, that my thighs would clench together at the thought of how huge it must be hard.

I wish he could see me. I hope he feels me, smells me.

And I hope that the strange attraction between us is making him as crazed with need as I feel.

An acolyte—a thrall trained in our ceremonies and rituals—steps forward with a shallow silver bowl bearing a glistening human heart. It’s required for the transformation; Lycaon himself was transformed into a wolf after he angered Zeus by feeding the God human flesh. Nathan grabs the heart with his bare hand and bites into it.

That’s when he lifts his gaze and finds me, seconds before the transformation starts.

It begins with his eyes. They flash silver, then red. His face shifts, nose and jaw elongating into a muzzle. We don’t turn into wolves. That’s a myth. We turn into a creature that stands upright; body covered with short, silky hair from our clawed feet to our canine-like heads. The fur flows over every contour of Nathan’s body and his spine curves, drawing him into a hunched posture. His ears elongate, pointing straight back, a shape humans would consider more elfin than dog-like, with tufts of fur accentuating the points. His arms grow longer, as well; in this predatory manifestation, a wide reach is an advantage.

In his animalistic form, he waits for the others but stares up at me. Like this, I’m vulnerable. Far too human. I would be no match for him, should he want me. And he does want me, but even this way, he has self-control, as well as some common sense. He knows he can’t reach me, and so do I, but being the target of all that concentrated power and bestial drive is still heady and frightening.

The good kind of frightening. The kind that makes me wonder what could happen if I only push a little further.


About the Author: 

Abigail Barnette is the pseudonym of Jenny Trout, an author, blogger, and funny person. Jenny made the USA Today bestseller list with their debut novel, Blood Ties Book One: The Turning. Their American Vampire was named one of the top ten horror novels of 2011 by Booklist Magazine Online. As Abigail Barnette, Jenny writes award-winning erotic fiction, including the internationally bestselling The Boss series.

Jenny has been featured on television and radio, including HuffPost Live, Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, and National Public Radio’s Here and Now. Their work has earned mentions in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Slate, Vulture, and Fangoria.

A longtime supporter of community theatre, Jenny has appeared on stages across West Michigan as Anelle in Steel Magnolias, Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona, Bea Bottom in Something Rotten, and Hunyak in Chicago, among many others. They’ve worked behind the scenes as everything from director to prop master. Jenny is a proud Michigander, parent of two, and spouse to their very most favorite person.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment: