The man, that was called Ardoin by the woman who looked like my mother, called me, nephew.
Instant flashback to when I first met Flin, and he claimed to be a friend of my mother and father.
Only Ardoin was telling the truth. I could feel it deep inside my soul, his blood and Angelique's blood calling to mine. And the resemblance gave it all away. Both had clear eyes like mine.
Like my mother's. A family trait, apparently.
I felt something else. Something wonderful. Something revolting.
I suddenly remembered something that Angelo had once said.
Children tend to like to sleep with our relatives.
Our blood was calling to one another, alright. Heating up each other's blood.
And the scent, our blood actually had a special scent and I could smell that Ardoin and Angelique were brother and sister.
I could also smell that they slept together.
Like I wanted to sleep with the both of them.
Though both of them were beautiful, looks weren't the reason. It was more instinctive than that, more animal.
Kinda like being in heat.
My brain, the tiny rational part of me, was howling, this is sick, this is disgusting.
My body had its own ideas and before I was even aware of what I was doing, I Shadowdanced over to Ardoin, and started rubbing against him like a horny cat.
I could feel him responding.
Not just the bulge growing between his legs, but pure lust was radiating from every part of his body.
Ardoin kissed my mouth softly but firmly. Then he pushed me away.
(Save it for Angelo.)
(But-) I protested, feeling something worse than rejection.
(Jacques,) Ardoin switched to French. The same Cajun dialect my mother spoke. (I'm not your Keeper. You don't have to bed me.)
(I know,) I answered back in the same language, for a moment it was as if I'd forgotten how to speak English. (I want to.) Wanted to more than I ever wanted anything. Even Angelo.
Angelique spoke in Cajun as well. (Ardoin, explain to the poor boy before he goes insane with lust.)
Yes, that was it. I was going insane.
Ardoin gave me a hug and kissed each cheek but it was like a father, not a lover.
(You're Baptiste,) he told me, as if that explained everything, (The genetic incest we all feel with another of our blood is almost overpowering with us. It's a reflex, meant to keep our children within the same bloodline. Nothing more.)
That shook some sense into me. (Genetic incest? You mean we inbreed?)
(As I said, it's left over from when there were more of us. But all of our blood feels attraction for another of our blood, that was how Angelo sensed you were a Sleeper. If a Norm carries our young, they die. Nature created a way to ensure that Sangsue only breed with other Sangsue.)
Okay, just a reflex. (But you and your sister-)
He wouldn't let me finish. (It's none of your business what we do. If later on, after you've been Changed for a while and you want to Share Pleasure with either one or both of us, then perhaps we'll consider it. But not because you feel driven to do it. Do you understand?)
(I understand you don't want me.)
(Jacques,) Angelique said gently, (We do. But if we were to take advantage of that, it would be nothing but animals rutting. Do you want that?)
(Is it that way between you and Ardoin?)
Ardoin sighed. (No. For a long time, longer than you can imagine, all Angelique and I have had is each other. What you feel now will wear off as we get used to your scent and you get used to ours.) Then he winked. (Besides, Angelo would never forgive me.)
Angelo. (Where is he?) I asked, suddenly wanting him here, now, as if that would get rid of these feelings I hated and loved.
(He's taking care of some business for me.) Ardoin answered. (He'll be back soon enough.)
Then he turned to Angelique. (How are we doing with breaking the enchantment?)
She shook her head. (Whoever did it was a much stronger witch than I am. The only reason the spell is breaking now is the Change seems to be triggering it.)
(What are you talking about?) I asked, not so patiently.
They ignored me.
(Angelique,) Ardoin decided, (Why don't you regress him, that might finally do it.)
She stared at him. (There's no magic in that, why don't you do it?)
(Because I asked you to.) The voice was quiet, but the implied threat was there.
I didn't have a chance to ask any more questions because suddenly my aunt's green eyes locked onto mine and I fell unconscious, collapsing into her arms.
- Jacques, - her voice rang in my head, - Where are you from?
That was easy. (Sargot City,) I answered.
Not all your life. Remember Jacques, before you were a Pet, before you lived
in Sargot City. -
P>A new question. - How old are you, Jacques? -
Another easy one. - Fifteen. -
- NO! - The slap was purely psychic, all in my head, but tears welled up in my eyes because it hurt as much as if it had been physical.
- You're fourteen. Thirteen. Twelve, Jacques. Eleven. Ten...
Ten. Ten. Ten...
Je suis, Jacques Baptiste Drollet. I am only Jacques to my mother. To the other people of the village, I am Jamie, named after my father, James McAllister.
I am Jamie and I am going to die tonight.
My half-brothers Drew and Zander are tired of having a half-breed for a half-brother, and have convinced the Elders to test me tonight.
I will fail. And they know it.
Twins, the Terrible Two, as my mother calls them, share my hair color and of course the green eyes. Every witch and warlock in Venefica has green eyes, the deeper the green, the more the power.
Of course, even though mine are green, they are clear, proof of my diminished power, due to being a half-breed.
They, including my father, believe me to be half-human, and don't know that my mother isn't human. Only I do, and have learned to hide my inhuman traits.
It doesn't matter. Those abilities will not save me tonight.
This test will determine just how contaminated my bloodline is. Since my father and brothers are bluebloods, the contamination is even more embarrassing to them.
They never talk to me, they speak about me to themselves, as if I'm not there, not realizing how keen my hearing is. Probably not caring.
My father loves me regardless, mostly because he is besotted by my mother, Josie, and I am a product of the two of them.
A mutt, as Drew and Zander say.
They don't use their magic on me because my father forbids it. But they tried to beat me up once.
Once. Then late that night I came after them both, one after the other and tore into them, forgetting they weren't supposed to know how strong and fast I was.
They never tried it again.
Tonight they've found the perfect way to be rid of me.
My mother has seen this coming.
As I should have.
Even though I learned the spells I was taught in school, I didn't have the power to cast them. All I could do was "baby tricks."
Simple tricks, done a child's way, using my mind to grasp objects, instead of using magic to channel the energy around me to achieve the specific results. My power is too weak for that.
All I can do is move small objects. And unlike with magic, if I use my concentration, the object falls to the ground.
The one bit of magic I can work is elemental magic.
Since every witch or warlock has a native elemental ability of air, fire, water or earth, it doesn't really count. All it does is confirm that I have witch blood.
My element is fire. It's strong, only I have no control over it.
If I get scared or angry, I can burn down a house. But I can't summon it. As a result, I was fed a potion that keeps my world gray. No highs, no lows.
Uncontrolled or not, it was strong enough to save me.
Up until now.
To my brothers, all it does is prove what an aberration I am. They've convinced the Elders that my elemental power is useless and dangerous if I can't control it.
The test is scheduled for the darkest of the night. Just before dawn.
I am not ready yet. I sit down on my bed and my mother sits beside me.
"Try your hardest," she says, "Then if you die, die with honor."
And I shall. I will not give the Elders the satisfaction of hearing me beg for my life. When I fail, I will die and that will be that.
I will die. Die. Die...
(I don't wanna die!) I screamed before blacking out.
Yeah, sweet unconsciousness. Oblivion.
But Angelique's voice is in my mind again, rousing me out of it.
- You didn't die, Jacques. Why? -
(Let me sleep,) I begged, (I don't wanna remember anymore.)
She gave me a mental shove. I tried to fight her but her will was much stronger than mine and she refused to let me push the memories away.
One more nudge and everything broke free. Like water bursting from a dam, the memories flooded my mind and there was no going back....
- What are you doing, Jacques? -
Getting ready. I have less than an hour and there is much preparation. I wash, and rub the ceremonial oils into my skin.
Instead of the street clothes I'd usually wear, my mother brings the black hooded cassock that's hanging in my closet.
It's worn on special occasions and for coven affairs. Though only the Elders will be present, it is a coven affair.
Soon enough, the time arrives and my mother hugs me hard. "Remember, if you die, do so with dignity."
Tears slide down her face, but she will not weep. Because I am sensitive to her emotions, as I am to everyone's, she keeps hers masked.
Tonight they are even more masked. She is also facing her own death because once I fail, she will be blamed and put to death.
And not even my father will be able to save her. He will grieve her death, perhaps he may even grieve mine, but the Community always will come first.
Love or not, for the good of the Community, my mother and I must be eradicated.
She hugs me one last time and breathes a prayer in the Old Tongue she never taught me.
It doesn't surprise me that my father hasn't come to say his final goodbye. To him, I am dead already.
I leave the house and know that I am truly alone.
Everyone is either asleep, or just in their houses. No one but the Elders and I are allowed outside. The deafening quiet is comforting somehow.
My brothers will be cheated out of witnessing my final humiliation.
I walk to the village square, where all the elders are waiting for me.
I am not late. I wouldn't dare be late.
The Elders are thirteen in number and they form a Circle, with me in the middle.
I am standing on a pentagram. This is where the tests will take place.
The first test is easy.
One of the Elders places a large red ball outside the circle. I am to get this red ball without leaving the Circle.
There are ways of accomplishing this magically.
None of them are options for me.
I do the only thing I know how to do.
I grasp the ball with my mind, as if my mind was a large hand and push it towards my waiting hands.
The Elders won't even let it enter the Circle.
I have failed.
The second test is to cast a few spells.
I know it's no use, but I say the incantations, and make the gestures.
That leaves the final test.
The Circle is broken. One of the Elders takes my hand and the fourteen of us walk a few feet to where a large stake stands in the middle of a circle of wood.
I'm tied to the stake. One of the Elders call forth flame and they leave me to my fate.
The rules are simple. All I have to do is use magic to escape death.
It doesn't matter. I can work no such magic and the flames have already burned away my shoes and socks, and are now dancing on the hem of my cassock.
The wood is ablaze, my cassock is quickly being engulfed by flames, in a little while I will be naked.
I feel the flames, but it's like a tickle, a slight stinging. Definite heat, but it's only burning my clothes. They surround me but somehow I am untouched.
The sky is lightening and I am still alive.
I should be happy but I hear footsteps and voices in the distance. My brothers are coming to gloat at my ashes and when they see my intact body, they will surely kill me.
Sudden searing pain fills my body as an even larger ball of flame rises in the sky. My bare shoulders are smoking as the rays light upon it.
I howl as my as my hands begin to char...
(No more,) I begged, (It hurts, it hurts!)
- What hurts,- Angelique's calm voice asks.
(The fire, the big fire!)
- The sun? -
The agony is so intense that I can't stand it. The smell of burning flesh hits my nostrils but I can't move.
It's at that moment that my brothers reach me, see my naked body, but don't realize that the sun's rays are slowly burning me to death.
All they see is that I'm not dead and that is such an scandal that no one must ever find out.
Zander, the more powerful of the two, casts a spell to give me amnesia. Then they shove me through a portal that connects the Venefica Inworld to the Outworld.
Ironically, the portal they chose happened to lead to Salem, Massachusetts, where all those so called "witches" were burned at the stake, like I just was.
Only instead of back to the seventeenth century, which my brothers were hoping for, they goofed and sent me to the twenty second, and instead of Salem, it is now known as Sargot City.
I met Flin, just as I got here, naked and vulnerable, with no idea who or what I was.
Now the spell was broken. I knew who and what I was now.
But it didn't matter.
Widower©Janette, 1997 - 2005
Black Widower©Janette, 1997 - 2005
Last Updated 9/11/04
Page Last Updated 9/11/04