Home > Hallows End (The Curse of the Blood Moon #1)

Hallows End (The Curse of the Blood Moon #1)
Author: Kristen Proby

 

Prologue

 

 

Jonas

 

 

September 1692

 

 

* * *

 

“They took Margaret Scott.”

I look up into the sad eyes of my long-time friend, my coven sister, Louisa, and feel my heart sink with sadness.

“They will execute them,” she continues, her voice full of frustration and urgency. “Jonas, we must do something.”

“If we speak up, we expose the entire coven, and they will murder us all,” I reply and feel the candles around us flaming higher, fueled by my anger. “We cannot risk hundreds of lives, Louisa.”

“So the few shall die instead?” she insists. “Those women have been good to us, Jonas. They have not done anything wrong, and they are certainly not witches. Margaret has worked tirelessly to protect us, to conceal us from their unjust government.”

“I know.” I stand and cross to Louisa, laying my hand on her shoulder. Her aura swirls in outrage. “And I am eternally grateful to her. To all of them. Would you have me send our entire family to slaughter now? Because if I go forward and defend Margaret, that is what will transpire.”

She shakes her head, tightening her lips in despair. “It is not right.”

“No. It is not. Staying silent as they punish our allies is wrong. But I do not know what else to do.”

She turns away and then looks back at me. “I have been dreaming again. I suspect that it will not matter in the end, regardless of whether we speak up now or not. I see fire. I hear screams. They will come for Hallows End, Jonas. It is only a matter of time. Did you see the blood on the moon this night?”

The thought sends terror through me, and I know she’s right.

I’ve had the same dreams.

And I saw the blood on the moon.

“Jonas, you know that what I say is true!”

“I know.” My voice is rough with grief—with resignation. “You are right. It is time. Summon the others.”

“We cannot undo it once the spell is cast,” she warns me.

“The alternative is death,” I remind her. “Assemble in the town square in one hour. We will end this bloodshed and protect our own.”

“Will I remember?” she asks. “When it is finished, and we are safe, will we know what we did?”

“No. Only I will remember. It is as it should be.”

“The burden is too great—”

“Go,” I interrupt. “Make haste. Time runs out.”

She pauses and hurries over to hug me close. “I’m sorry, brother.”

“It is what is meant,” I say and pat her back. “Now, do as I ask, won’t you?”

“Yes.” She wipes at a tear on her cheek. “Yes, I will make the preparations.”

She hurries out of my small, modest house, and I return to my desk, opening the bottom drawer to retrieve my Book of Shadows.

It’s time to cast the curse of the blood moon.

 

 

Chapter One


Lucy

 

 

I don’t like the dreams. I’ve never been a fan of them, even as a child when I knew what my birthday presents would be or where we’d spend our spring vacations. But the dreams—visions, really—have never been frightening. Just informative.

Still, let me tell you, when a woman is blessed with the gift of precognition, it’s hard to surprise her with much of anything.

Lately, however, the dreams have turned darker. Are they indicative of what will be or what may be? That’s the question I’ve never been able to answer—and the one I fear the most.

After another night of fitful sleep and disturbing dreams, I rolled out of bed early to go outside where I feel most at peace.

“Come on, Nera, let’s go tend the garden.”

My Irish wolfhound, with his shaggy, dark gray coat and happy disposition, follows me through the kitchen and out the back door to our garden. Most of what I sell in my apothecary comes from this plot. There are some things I can’t grow, very few things I have to send away for, but for the most part, I lovingly and carefully tend to it all right here.

As I walk down the steps, the flowers open to greet me.

“Good morning,” I murmur with a soft smile, a mug of coffee clutched in one hand and a basket for gathering in the other. “You got some rain last night, I see. It’s good for you.”

I walk farther down the path, and more flowers open as if waking from a long nap. I can almost hear them yawn, and it makes me smile softly.

Nera jogs over to the far corner of the grassy yard to do his business, knowing better than to relieve himself on any of the flowers.

Good boy, I say to him with my mind.

His head comes up, and he offers me a wide doggie grin, his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Nera’s been with me for just over five years. He was a stray and hadn’t known a gentle touch before mine. But he found me, and I knew as soon as I locked eyes with him that he was mine.

The shop is running low on lavender and rosemary, which isn’t surprising. Those sell the quickest because whether a person is a newbie witch just feeling out their power or rooted in the Craft for their entire lives, those two herbs are essential to any witch’s cabinet. So, I kneel in the dirt and get to work on the lavender. Thanks to the greenhouse I built two years ago, I can keep the herbs growing at different stages and never run out.

The air this morning has a chill indicative of October, and I know that it won’t be too long before I’m working exclusively in the greenhouse.

I glance at the smaller plants that I put in the ground just last week and eye them speculatively.

They could use an extra inch or two. At this rate, I’ll be harvesting them next week, and the frost could come at any time.

So, with a wave of my fingers, the plants lighten in color and grow to a height that pleases me.

“That’ll work,” I murmur in satisfaction.

The sound of Nera growling has me frowning and looking over my shoulder. He’s standing at full attention near the picket fence in need of new white paint, the hair on his back standing up.

What is it, boy?

He looks at me and then back out into the woods once more.

The wind moves as I stand and reach out with my mind, searching for what Nera senses, but all I see is a small family of deer.

Just some deer.

He looks at me once more and whimpers, so I set my basket down and walk his way. When my hand settles on his back, I can feel the hum of energy vibrating through him.

Something spooked him.

I search with my mind once more. It’s only just daylight, the sun still waking up over the ocean and casting everything in golden light. The trees sway in the breeze, their leaves just beginning to turn yellow. I take a deep breath and send my mind’s eye high above those trees to peer down below.

“Nothing,” I murmur aloud. “I only see the deer, Nera.”

But I pick some dill, oregano, and parsley to add to the rosemary and sprinkle it along the fence line to reinforce the protection spell I work each Saturday to keep my property safe from anything negative.

“We have to pick some chamomile for Breena.”

Nera’s head whirls around at the mention of my cousin’s name, whatever he thought he heard or saw before forgotten. I’m convinced my familiar has a bit of a crush on Breena.

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