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Copyright © 2018


All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Printed in the United States of America

First Edition, 2018

ISBN:

Duneview Publishing
P.O. Box 223
Byron Center, MI. 49315

www.thestoryaswritten.com



All situations and characters are fictional.













Le démoniste (The Warlock)



Outside the small village of Caspere’ France, the fields wave back and forth with gold stalks that once were proud, and very tall sunflowers. Their green leaves, now fallen to the ground, are brown, brittle, and lay on the cold soil that has only the chilled air from Autumns’ breath as it teasingly dances over it while grabbing the crinkled brown leaves with invisible hands and whisks them away to unseen places.

The soft yellow petals that surrounded dark seeds, all crowded together in the center of the flower’s head, and followed the Sun’s dance across the blue skies of summer have pecked at by the hungry birds and collected by the farmers that tended to their children of the Sun.

Summer is gone, and with it, the harshness of winter will soon follow.

And like the Sun Flowers of Caspere’, the people that call it home are preparing for small white damsels of Winter’s grey clouds that will blanket the rolling hills in a chilled white blanket.

On the outside of town there sits a weathered shack., it’s long neglected cedar shingled roof covered with plots of moss, the broken, dangling shudders hanging by rusted nails. The yard is strewn with over grown shrubs that have pockets of brightly colored roses. It’s nothing more than a shack, but in front of it stands a Willow tree who’s branches spread out from the middle of the yard and reach all the way to the road as well as to each side of the house.

The sight of the house itself is startling but with such a giant

People fear not only the house, but the tree that stands guard in front of it. It’s massive girth, girdled with thick chunks of twisting strands of bark tell sit story of feast and famine throughout it’s hundred-year life.

Because of it’s intimidating presence, especially at night when the moon is full, it becomes more sinister in appearance, and for this reason the people of Caspere’ have given it a name, and the man that lives beneath its spreading arms.

Le démoniste.’

The Warlock.

A protective giant, with bushy green hair, and spindly arms with hundreds of little green fingers.

It happens to be the same title they have given the man that lives in the run-down shack. Nobody knows his real name, they only refer to him as the Warlock.

He has lived by himself for as long as anyone can remember, but he speaks to know-one as he leaves his ramshackle house with the ominous looking Willow tree that keeps his house tucked under its branches like a mother bird protecting its young.

Each day, he methodically walks through the red bricked streets to a building in town. His pace is slow and deliberate. His head is straight and looks neither to his left or right.

His destination seems to be the only thing on his mind as he ignores the children that innocently wave to him, or the passing mule drawn carts that he should yield to but doesn’t. His trek is to an unmarked stucco building within the small village.

It’s perfectly aligned white shutters and large wooden ornately carved door with silver spade tipped hinges contrast directly opposite to the shack that he lives in on the edge of the village.

Within the middle of the door a brass plate can be seen. It’s the only door in town that has this, and there is only one use for it: It’s for people who need some medicine to be crafted to cure or subside an illness they have acquired. The slot within the door, and the mysterious man that has access to the inside are equal in being so different, and not completely understood.

His face is hidden behind thick strands of salt and pepper colored hair that rambles mid-way down his chest, its frazzled ends splitting apart forming a fang like appearance.

More hair escapes from beneath a wide brimmed hat with frayed edges, the strands of fiber blend with his own frayed ends of hair. His face is barely seen due to the shadow cast from his hat. His unflinching deeply cold, sky blue eyes eerily stare at those that dare to look at him. He walks with slightly stopped shoulders and keeps his balance with a twisted, oak colored walking stick. The palm of his hand securely grasps the knotted burl on top.

He’s such an odd site to behold. A man shrouded in mystery, a man that is seen in broad daylight, but remains in darkness.

And for his appearance and lack of verbal communication he is left alone, but due to his place within Caspere’ in fact, the only person within the region that can produce medicine which is able to cure almost any illness that would otherwise keep people bed-ridden or become griped by the cold hands of death.

Magicien de la médecine.’

A magician of medicine.

His ability and skill as an alchemist have given him a high priority in the village, but his outward appearance has kept him from being warmly accepted by all that live there.

The Town of Caspere’ is fortunate to have him for the simple reason that his skill as a chemist truly overshadows his impersonal behavior.

His skill in crafting medicine is widely known and it’s said that he can create a potion strong enough to make people fall in love despite a person’s lack of admiration of their pursuer. As far as anyone knows, the only time his potion was tried, he had given it to a woman that he had professed his love for, but she refused his advances after the potion became weak, and she escaped his presence and he never again tried to find another person to give it to.

He became extremely withdrawn and began the process of developing a stronger potion that is believed to be kept in a locked drawer in his house.

After his first potion failed to keep the one woman he wanted by his side, they say that’s when he became who is. His rejection left him bitter, and he is said to have crated a love potion so strong that if it were given to someone that they would never fall out of love.

Despite his odd habits and peculiar past, the Town of Caspere’ is fortunate to have him for one very good reason: His ability as a chemist that concocts useful and beneficial medicines.

His genius in resolving serious ailments overshadows his odd behavior and oddly dignifies his reputation as: Le démoniste.

And so it goes, stories are told, and myths are created based on a solitary man’s existence, but even a Warlock falls in love, or creates it.

On one cold morning, The Warlock begins his daily trek toward the village. The sky is empty, the leaves have all fallen from the branches they’d clung to all summer long and the sun hangs low on the horizon, its effort to rise being subdued by the cold, heavy hands of Winter.

As he begins to walk away from his home, a feminine voice calls out to him. Her silhouetted figure is all that seen. Even-though the mid-day sun is directly above, the Willow Tree with its sprawling branches, intimidating height and spreading branches covered with the millions of green leaves prevent the sun from giving full disclosure of what she looks like: “You’re the Wizard!” her voice is clear and stern.

The Warlock pauses as he mumbles a response: “Not a Wizard. Chemist.” His chest heaves in slow movement as he raises his twisted walking straight up, pointing it at the branches above.

The shaded light is broken as the limbs move. They spread apart leaving beams of silvery light to shine on the woman that stands behind him.

The Warlock swirls his walking stick in gentle swirling motions before placing it firmly on the ground and slowly walking away.

The branches bend downward toward the woman, seeming to want to grasp her. The beams of light, like spotlights make her completely visible: A young woman with long blond curls, and of small stature follows him. Her ankle high, white laced- dress, the yellow shawl wrapped around her shoulders and black shoes are in sharp contrast to the Warlock’s drab attire and miserable presence.

She walks a few steps behind as she tries to gain his attention once more: “I know who you are. My mother told me about you.” The Warlock continues his pace. Never stopping for a moment to acknowledge her words, or presence.

There is no hesitation from the Warlock. Her climatic words have no effect on him. They both continue to walk, but as the woman walks near the end of the Willow’s formidable shadow, a branch eerily swoops down and grabs her by the ankle. The thin end of the branch snakes itself around her ankle, stopping her. She immediately grabs the spindly branch with both hands while she screams in desperation for help. The warlock continues his trek, unhindered by the pleas of help He briefly lifts his cane off the ground. He taps it on the ground twice as the woman begins to bend the spindly limb with all of her might and snaps it, she falls to the ground, staring up at the limbs as the sunlight fades, she looks at the trunk of the tree and sees a sinister face in the coarse bark, its craggy, cavernous grooves being the surface of its face. What was once hidden in the darkness from Willow tree’s bushy green canopy, can now be seen, as it begins to cover its appearance in the darkness it desires.

The woman escapes her encounter, and hobbles along behind the Warlock while picking away at the small brown branch that has clung to her ankle.

As she enters town people stare at her. Her clothing is more of upper class than that of simple folk that live in Caspere’ Their un-favorable glances heightened sense of her presence immediately cast her as unwelcome. She periodically grabs her ankle while she walks which gives them further suspicion of what her dilemma might be.

Once arriving at his lab, The Warlock must stop to take out a key to unlock the door, as he reaches into his pocket the woman that has followed him sits on the last step nearest the street. She watches as he places the key into the lock.

“You tree, sir, has broken my ankle.”

He stands with his back to her as he turns the key, he grabs the handle to the door and pushes it open and steps inside, the door slowly closes as the woman sits in disbelief as he enters the dark building.

An elderly woman, with babushka like clothing walks by and then stops. She looks at the young woman as she sits, rubbing her ankle. The elderly woman sits down next to her. She reaches into a pocket and takes out a kerchief and wraps it around the young woman’s ankle as she speaks: “You mustn’t ever talk to him. Ever. If you want his help you must leave a note and place it behind the brass plate.” As the elderly woman speaks, the brass plate is slowly pushed upward from the inside. It’s movement clearly indicates they are being watched.

The young woman looks at the elderly woman next to her and shakes her head back and forth. The elderly woman stands up and points to the brass plate on the door as she mimics writing a letter on her hand, she points at the brass plate behind them before politely bowing to the young woman and walks away.

The young woman turns around and sees the brass plate. She stands up and reaches over to it. She places her hand on it and lifts it up, but it suddenly drops. Its clanging sound startles a passing man and woman. They look at the woman while making quieted catty remarks into each-other’s ears, their words unnecessarily guarded with cupped hands.

Their eyes widen and the snarky attitude that was present suddenly disappears. They lower their heads and walk much faster, grabbing one another’s arms in a gesture of security as they begin to quickly walk away from her.

She doesn’t realize that it had opened momentarily and slightly enough for a small piece of paper and pencil to be placed outside of it for her.

The elderly woman that had stopped by earlier walks past and points at the paper and pencil. She utters words of direction as well as advice: “Write. Don’t talk.”

As the young woman stands there, a young man walks by and stares at her, his eyes glance downward at something behind her. He mumbles something barely audible to her and she tries to repeat what she thought she’d heard: “Beware. He’s evil.” The young man glances back at her as he begins to walk faster and turns a corner.

She looks down at her feet and sees the small piece of paper and the pencil. She picks the items up and sits down and thinks about the previous moments.

She notices the young man that passed her just a few seconds ago. He peers from around the corner, only his face is seen as he looks directly at her. She looks at him with a blank stare. He continues to stare at her, but then steps out into full view. He watches as she begins to write something down on the piece of paper. No words or glances are given from the young woman as she sits and writes. She contemplates each word and then when she’s done, she neatly folds the paper into equal halves.

She looks toward the man standing near the corner. He repeatedly points in short jabbing motions to the door behind her. She quickly turns and sees the door as it closes.

She stands up and lifts the brass plate and tucks the note inside. She carefully guides the plate down onto it so that it doesn’t slam against the metal framing.

She carefully walks down the steps and stands for a moment, then turns around and studies the ornate carvings on the door along with the silver hinges, and then, at the brass plate. It moves outward ever so slightly, gently tapping three times against the brass frame as it closes

The young man has walked up beside her and speaks to her saying that The Warlock is in there. She turns around and looks at the man speaking and tilts her head in a quizzical reaction.

“What were the three taps?” She asks. The young man replies as he looks at the plate on the door. “He has your request.”

“What if it wasn’t a request?” The young man slowly shakes his head back and forth. Never saying a word. Catherine is given a quick lesson about The Warlock regarding his past and present, but also about his skill in creating anything that people need for whatever it is that ails them.

They begin to walk away from the Warlock’s lab and have a conversation about why she came here seeking The Warlock.

Her reason was shocking to the young man, she told him that she was sent here by her mother to seek out her father that lived in Caspere’. Her mother’s rejection of him was due to her pregnancy.

She could not bear the thought of him being her child’s father, and was guilt ridden from having a child with someone she didn’t care for. She never told him of his daughter. She told him that she could not tolerate his presence in her life, and that she was in love with another man. It was at that time when he began to develop a love potion he’d planned to give her to make her fall in love with him, but he left her mother, telling her that his broken heart will guide him to where needs to be, and that obviously he was never meant be in love with her, even if he could make it so.

He left all his possessions behind and walked all the way to Caspere’. Settling into an abandoned house on the outside of town. His presence was welcome due to his reputation as being considered the regions best chemist. His odd behavior was tolerated, and he was given a lab in which he could concoct the greatest of remedies for worst of all ailments.

The young man was intrigued by her story and wanted to know what she had written on the note. She only told him that when the Warlock reads it he will not be happy, but the truth sometimes hurts, and with him it will surely anger him.

The young man asked about her ankle and inquired if maybe she had asked anyone to help her with it. She said that an elderly woman had wrapped the kerchief around it, but that was all that had been done.

Despite her injury and listening to her story, the young man still didn’t know her name. She said her name was Catherine, and she’d lived in the beautiful seaside town of Saint Malo before coming to Caspere’ which is where the Warlock had lived before coming to Caspere’

Having no place to stay, she inquired if it’d be alright for her stay with the young ma she’d just met. He offered to give her a room, but she must not let anyone see her accompany him because he has girlfriend and that she is truly jealous, and the town is quite small, and people will eagerly disclose false information.

Catherine pondered his offer. She declined and said that she will wait for the Warlock at his house, after all, it is her father.

Catherine and the young man stood up and they walked down the red bricked streets while the looks of passerby gave an occasional discerning glare.

The introduction of two strangers that had met on the streets of Caspere’ have immediately become the whispers, surging rumors, which entertain people with false waves of deceit that drown the truth.

Catherine shakes the young man’s hand once they approach the edge of town, but before parting she asks about the Willow tree and if it’s alive.

He says that the Warlock has control of it. He points his cane at it and depending on the movement he makes with his cane, that will decide what the tree does, but it has been said that tree has a life of its own. When the Moon is full and coats the landscape with its soft white blanket of glowing light, the tree comes to life, it’s branches move in human like form grasping at anything that is near, devouring people and animals to feed itself.

Catherine’s eyes widen as she listens, and the young man stops his story. He tells her that nobody has ever seen the tree eat anyone, but people from town have disappeared and they have never been found, and when they have disappeared its always been during the night of the Moon’s full glow.

Catherine told him that the tree had grabbed her ankle, and she had to break the limb to get away, but here was a small branch that had twisted itself around her ankle and left a red mark that burned and was itching.

“You have been infected. Unless the Warlock gives you something to take care of it, you will die.”

Hearing this, Catherine immediately turned around and walked back into town. What began as a journey to discover her father has now become a destination to save her life.

Catherine strength has become lessened as she approaches the large wooden doors of the lab where inside, is the very man she’d come to see, the man that now must save a young woman’s life.

A young woman he never met until a few hours earlier, which happens to be his daughter.

Catherine knocks on the door and waits for it to open, she yells out to the only person inside, but in her effort to get him come out, she collapses from her weakness.

Her body lay at the front of the door as passerby uneasily look at what appears t be a dead body. Yet another victim, another unfortunate soul that could not reach the Warlock in time to save their life.

Catherine’s body heaves in deep breaths, she slowly raises one arm and taps the door with an open palm, the soft thuds, barely audible.

Her hand rests upon the door for a moment before slowly sliding down, and stops as her elbow locks it in place, an unfortunate prop that signals a vein attempt of her body to gain the attention of the man inside. As she lay there, her arm suddenly falls. The door is opened and the Warlock steps over her, he kneels and looks at her. He studies her face and then looks down at her feet. He sees a red swelling that rings itself around one of her ankles.

He reaches into one of his pockets and pulls out a small round tin and opens it. He dips his index finger into it and swirls it around before rubbing it on Catherine’s ankle.

He replaces the lid back on the tin and places it back into his pocket and stands up while keeping an eye on Catherine. He waits a few seconds and she begins to open her eyes, her chest moves up and down in regular rhythm.

Catherine slowly turns her head to face him, one eye is closed, but the other is fixed directly on him, she speaks with great difficulty, but manages to talk to him, her words trail off as he begins to turn around and walk away, but he stops when he hears the last word.

“Thank you, my father.”

The Warlock turns back around and points at her with his cane. When he speaks, his voice is deep, raspy and monotone: “I am not your father.”

Catherine’s eyes are both open as she nods her up and down, her words are few, but her voice is clear:

“Yes, you are.” A defiant tone signals to the Warlock that her strength is quickly returning. He wobbles and catches his fall by quickly catching his balance with his cane. He watches as Catherine sits up right and looks at him. “Mother was right. You’re are not good.” Catherine stands up and folds her arms as her expression shows obvious anger and resentment. “You left me for dead! You’re very own daughter!” She begins to walk down the steps toward her father, as she approaches him he holds out his cane, it almost touches her, but she stops once he speaks: “Stay where you are!” Catherine looks down at the tip of the cane, it begins glowing in red and orange tones.

“The echo of your mother’s voice can be heard in yours.” The Warlock waves his cane around Catherine, white flashing sparks spray out from the end, they fly around Catherine’s neck, she grabs her throat as they land on it. Her words are loud, confident, but once again they fade away.

“You are evil! A wicked person! You..will..be..” Catherine’s voice fades away, and her sentence is incomplete. The Warlock still has his cane pointing at Catherine, her eyes are wide, unblinking as she stares its warm orange glowing tip.

“Your mother sent you here.” The Warlock places his cane on the ground and taps it three times, the orange glow disappears.

Catherine slowly shakes her head back forth while the Warlock nods his head up in down in disagreement. “She did, and now I will send you back, or maybe I should keep you here, and when she comes to find you, I get rid of you both.”

The Warlock turns and walks away. Catherine waits until he is out of sight and walks down the street with renewed ambition. Each step carries her closer to a destiny that had almost come to a sudden and abrupt end.

The joyous re-union with her father was not meant to be, and now she feels compelled to give him some final, bitter words before she leaves him, and the distasteful encounter behind.

The sunlight is fading as night approaches and the red bricked streets now look brown from yet another retreat by the Sun. Catherine’s soft, determined foot steps are the only sound that’s heard. She looks up at the sky and sees a translucent full moon, silently waiting, watching over Catherine as she makes her defiant walk back to the Warlock’s house where she will inevitably come face to face with her father once again.

The night seeps in, and the darkness is broken with bright fluorescent beams from the Moon. What looked like a shy actor standing near the rear of the stage has now stepped to the front and demands not to be ignored. The Moon, once shy and quiet, has now become more like howling jester, miming its way through the night…its presence is the keeper of all who wander under its omniscience, unknowing of how its influence can determine one’s decisions, and change the course of their destiny.

Catherine’s determination to settle the conflict she feels about her father has brought to the edge of a nightmarish situation. It’s now her standing on the outer reaches of the Willow tree that grabbed her, The Warlock stands beneath it near the trunk, his white hair flies wildly in a breeze that has slipped into the lowland. The leaves on the Willow begin to rustle, they twitch back and forth with eagerness, waiting to grasp anything they touch. Their rustling reaches a feverish pitch, their rapid crinkling sounding a warning, millions of leaves bumping into one another creating a most wicked kind of un-human, evil laughter.

The Willow has become alive, it hands ready to grab, hold and then feed whatever they capture to the waiting, unseen jowls of De’Monste’.

The Warlock and Catherine stand facing each-other, a father and daughter duel with swords.

“I told you not come back.” The Warlock looks up at the Moon, he spreads out his arms, holding his cane in one hand. He mumbles something in Latin as he keeps his head tilted back, and as he lowers his head, his eyes have captured the Moon’s glow. His eyes shine with beams of steady, hypnotic white light, hitting Catherine directly in her face, the light gives her the immediately impulse to rub her eyes so that she can have temporary relief.

Her eyes are closed, she rubs them until the light she can sense through the momentary gaps created by her passing knuckles, when she opens her eyes, she stands face to face with her father, The Warlock.

Mere inches from her is the man that she never knew, but now has come directly into his presence which she cannot stand.

“I hate you.” Catherine tells him with no hesitation, she begins to raise a hand to slap him, he grabs her wrist and squeezes, he pulls her closer and tells her: “A woman who thinks she is strong, is foolish.” He thrusts her hand downward letting it her on her leg.

The Warlock looks behind Catherine and can see a shadowy figure lurking at the edge of the road. He pint his cane at the figure, but as he does whoever it is runs and narrowly misses being hit by a shooting red star, it misses its intended target and lands into a thicket of brush and bursts into a small fire, the shrubbery is ablaze, casting a reddish hue upon Catherine and the Willow.

Catherine charges toward the Warlock, knocking him down. She tries to grab his cane, but he jabs her in the rib cage causing her to roll over in pain. She lay o nth ground clutching her mid-section. The Warlock stands up and taps his can three times on the ground and then points it upward and waves it around in small, tight circles before setting it on Catherine’s forehead. He looks down at her a she speaks: “Foolish.”

He lifts-up his cane and steps back from her. The light from the Moon powders the bark of the Willow with light that bring its face aglow.

The Warlock taps the Willow, giving it a command: “Take her.” He walks to the side of the road and watches as the Willow uses its two largest limbs, bending toward Catherine and enclosing her within its branches and engulfing her as it picks her up and pulls her into it’s rustling, wildly flickering, but seemingly jubilant leaves.

Catherine’s please for help went unheard, but her struggle, not unwitnessed. The figure that had escaped the fiery star form the Warlock’s cane begins to run toward, whoever it is falls before completing what was a valiant gesture. The Warlock turns and sees the figure laying on the ground and calls out to them: “Hero’s are fools!” He aims his cane at the somber figure laying on the ground, a flash of bright light streams from the end of it and misses its intended target as they roll around to avoid the beam.

As the person rolls they manage to stand up and run away, but not before shouting something to the Warlock: “Vengeance!” The figure runs off into the darkness toward town, their identity only given away by their voice.

The wind begins to diminish, clouds appear and the Moon’s light decreases. The Will becomes still, it’s once jostling leaves now sit quietly at the end of the branches the cling to like tiny bats.

The Warlock walks back to his house, opens the door and looks at the Willow and sighs. He steps inside and slowly closes the door.

The evening’ events had been seen by someone, and the following morning the town of Caspere’ is different. The people have gathered and now have formed a small posse to go out to The Warlock’s house, many with ropes and saws in hand, some with tin cans and torches.

As they approach the Warlock’s house, a woman approaches them. Her hair shoulder length black hair, with its tight curls contrast perfectly with her blue eyes. Her clothing is unlike what is found in Caspere’. Her finely woven orange colored shirt, a white laced dress and the intricate shawl wrapped around her shoulders, the soft brown clean leather shoes that hug her feet like a ballerina slipper indicates she is from a wealthier town.

She tells them he name is Lila and that she is looking for The Warlock, but all she knew was that he lived near Caspere’.

One woman, dressed in drab clothing, dutifully steps forward, and without saying a word points toward the run-down shack, the woman looks at it and the large Willow tree that stands in front of it. She looks at the group of men and women in front of her, the ropes and saws, the looks of frustration, anger and concern give her reason to inquire: “What has he done?”

One-man steps forward, he points toward the tree and replies: “He killed a girl. He hung her in that tree. Last night.” The woman is in shock and begins to cry, she tells them that it was her daughter, and believed she’d come to Caspere’ to find her father, who was the Warlock.

Upon hearing the news, the gasps from the small group turns into shouts of anger at The Warlock, and some of them run toward his house, pounding on the door to break while others throw ropes up into the tree and climbing into it, and begin sawing into limbs and pulling the giant Willow arms, cracking them and snapping the small branches once they land on the ground.

For the few that climbed up into the sprawling limbs, they call down to the others as they work their way through its massive structure: “She’s not up here!” There’s nothing!” They climb back down while breaking and sawing as many limbs as they can before meeting the others on the ground.

The few people that had entered the house come back outside and tell the others the Warlock is gone, he’s not inside, and maybe he had gone into town earlier than normal to avoid confrontation.

The shack is doused with liquid from the tin cans, and then set on fire as the torches contact the liquid, the Willow tree is given the same fate as the group tosses the clear liquid onto it and set the torches on it. The tree begins its demise as the flames rise higher into its once bushy green canopy, the orange flames that have now begun to devour the Willow brings smiles to the faces of the people that have come to make the Warlock leave, or if he chose to be defiant to be killed at their hands.

The group watches the tree and shack burn, the house falls into a heap of smoldering embers, glowing in deep red specks they pop and whistle as the remnants of the residence of who they had accepted as a beneficial member of their town.

They turn one by one and look at the woman who’d told them the warlock had a daughter. She voice is loud, filled with anger as she gives them a shocking demand: “You have to kill him!” She walks up to the group and they all begin to walk back to town.

Once they arrive in front of the Warlock’s lab, the woman who came to find her daughter steps forward and stands in front of them and, instead of demanding his death, she makes a plea: “I beg you to let me talk with him.” The group moves forward, and she tries once more: “This is my journey now. I will deal with him first, and then you will do what you must do.” The group stands still, a woman calls out to the rest: “I say burn him!” They group becomes loud and they cheer one another as they begin to surge forward. They burst through the doors, and begin running through the lab knocking tables, glass tubes and smashing cups.

Windows are broken, and papers are strewn about the interior as the group returns to the outside where the woman that pleaded to let her speak with the Warlock. She sits on the steps, head in her hands. She watches as one by one each person returns, quietly passing her as they gather on the street.

They say he is gone. He’s not in the lab. They will wait for his return, if he is stupid enough to do so, but he was smart enough to leave.

Lila stands up and walks past the large wooden door the lab, one hangs by a hinge, it teeters back and forth, and suddenly falls. She narrowly misses getting knocked down but can duck inside the lab. She she’s the damage that was done, from a group of townspeople seeking to enforce their own form of justice.

Lila steps back outside and the group has now all but disbanded, except for the young man that had met Catherine when she came into town. He told the woman what had happened, and he was the one that told the people of Caspere’ about the nightmarish events of the night before.

She listened as he described what he’d seen and how narrowly escaped his own death from his encounter with the Warlock. When he finished he hung his head downward and sighed before walking away leaving the woman to determine what she must do to avenge her daughter’s death.

She knew that the Warlock had only wanted revenge for her rejection of him from years earlier. The seed of his depression had grown into a hideous feeling of revenge that lay dormant but brewing until the moment had come for it to boil over.

The only way for her to find the Warlock would be to wait until people begin to talk about him. He will surely locate himself within another village where he can begin a new kind of deceit.

Time will reveal his path and she will follow it.

Catherine’s mother traveled along the coast of France, month after month she went from village to village asking for help for an ailment that only a superior chemist could cure. The trail she followed led her back to a place she never expected: Saint Molo. He had returned to the very place that was the birth of his daughter and the origin of his rejection and rooted his seething anger.

Many months had passed since Lila had been in Saint Molo and now, as she begins to walk through town she notices the people look different. Their smiles and familiar greetings aren’t present. They wander aimlessly, arms hanging at their sides, feet dragging with each laborious step.

She runs to her house and as she approaches, the warlock steps outside. He points his cane at her and yells out to her, his voice is clear, booming and overpowering: “Don’t be a fool like Catherine!” Lila stops and quickly hides behind a small tree that has dangling figs hidden its branches. She peers out from behind the sheltering tree as the Warlock approaches.

Lila bravely steps out from behind the tree and stands face to face with the man she had rejected, but also killed her daughter. The Warlock glances at Lila from head to foot, a moment of singular passive attraction hits him, and Lila seizes the moment: “I haven’t changed much, have I?” She smiles warmly at him. His cold, unblinking eyes reveal nothing of attraction, or distraction. He knocks Lila to the ground with his cane, but she immediately grabs it as she falls, and he tries to hold on to it. She twists it out of his hand and points it at him as he bends over to take it back from her. She jabs him in his chest causing him to lose his breath and he doubles over, clutching his mid-section in painful recuperation. Lila stands up and runs behind him and pushes him from the back, he tumbles forward and lands up against the Fig tree, appearing to be knocked unconscious. She slowly walks over to him and pokes at him with his cane, before it touches him he grabs the end of it and yanks it toward him, Lila is pulled with it and she tumbles onto the Warlock.

He wraps his arms around her as she struggles to become free of his grasp. He tells: “You belong to me!” Lila squirms and pounds the Warlock on his chest with clenched fists, but his strength is too much for her and she resigns herself to being his captive for the moment.

Lila hates the cold arms she feels wrapped around her, the beard and its craggy hair brushing up against her face makes her fell ill, but she knows that if she behaves, or act like she is, even for just a moment she can break free.

The moment of her fake indulgence soon arrives, she forces herself to kiss the Warlock and she can feel his body become weak, his muscles relax, and she pushes herself away from.

Caught completely off guard by her amorous behavior, he sits like a dreamy-eyed lover by the Fig tree and watches Lila run into her house. He stands up and walks over to the house and tries to open the door, but Lila has it barricaded on the inside making his entry quite difficult.

He pounds on the door as yells out to her: “I will have you again!” an ominous warning to Lila.

Inside, Lila begins to break anything that looks like it belongs to the Warlock, she throws glass viles at the front door as he shakes it trying to get inside. She notices a box of matches and places them into a pocket: “These will be for dinner.”

“You will never have anyone! Especially me!” Lila yells back to the Warlock. In her moment of rage and frustration she falls backward and lands on s mall table that has a steaming bowl of the Warlock’ concoctions, it spills onto her. She looks at it and immediately begins to wipe it off with her hands, the more she wipes the slower her hand move, her body becomes limp, and she slides down onto the floor and rests, unable to resist the control of the powerful liquid as it enters her body.

She closes her eyes and lay there. The Warlock has made his way inside and approaches Lila. He stands in front of her and instead of a look of anger in his eyes, he appears to be filled with sorrow.

He continues to watch as Lila awakens. She looks up at him and smiles. The Warlock kneels and offers his hand to help her stand up, Lila paces her hand into his and they both stand up together.

“You belong to me.” He leads her to a back room where there is little light. He wraps his arms around Lila and pulls her close and kisses her. Her face begins to twitch from the feel of his beard. She stands in his arms, un-resisting for the moment as he continues to kiss her, his arms now reaching down to the small of her back.

Lila’s knee suddenly jerks upward, squarely catching the Wizard in his groin, he screams in horrendous pain as he falls to the ground. Lila takes his cane and stands over him and pokes at him in his chest and then jabs it into his throat.

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out the box of matches, and lights pieces of paper on fire around the room and throughout the house.

The Warlock is all but lifeless as he lay inside a now burning house. Lila runs outside as smoke billows out from behind her.

She stands near the road and watches her become engulfed in flames, taking with it, the Warlock.

And where the Warlock was, the flames gave off a blue glow which turned bright red and rose high into the sky, it’s features looking much like a devil.

Lila has avenged Catherine’s death and knows she’d done it in the most appropriate manner.

The End.























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