Immortal Slumber (The Crawford Witch Chronicles Book 1), page 1
Table of Contents
Burning Willow Press, LLC (USA):
3724 Cowpens Pacolet Rd., Spartanburg, SC 29307
This edition published in 2017 by Burning Willow Press, LLC (USA)
All rights reserved.
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The persons, places, and events of this novel are works of fiction. Any coincidence with individuals past or present, is merely that, coincidence.
© SL Perrine, 2017
© Christina Lobianco, editor, 2017
© Loraine Von Tonder, Ryn Katryn Designs, cover design, 2017
© Lori Michelle, The Author’s Alley, interior formatting, 2017
For my husband, Howard, thanks for believing in my dream and doing everything you have, to fuel it.
I will love you today, tomorrow & always.
To my kids, thanks for all the encouragement and love.
I love you whole coconuts.
OTHER WORKS BY SL PERRINE
The Crawford Witch Chronicles
Power Surge (June 16, 2018)
The Blood Rites Trilogy
Turning the Stone
Crossroads in the Dark II: Urban Legends
Crossroads in the Dark III: Monsters Under the Bed
“Come Play with Me”
Find more about SL Perrine books at www.slperrine.com
If I hadn’t woken with a crick in my neck, I would have thought I was still dreaming. The house had all looked the same when I got up that day, and my family hadn’t shown any signs that my life was about to change. Well, that it would change any more than an average eighteen-year-old. However, I got the sneaking suspicion that my life would never be the same again, even as I dressed for school and sat with my family for breakfast. My normal, everyday activity. No, I didn’t know it would be quite so drastic, but I definitely knew something was off.
The day started out just as all of my birthdays ever had. It was October 31st; All Hallows Eve. To the rest of the world, it was Halloween, but in the little town of Pleasant Ridge, Cincinnati, kids placed more emphasis on the holiday of old. I guess now, that makes sense to me more than it ever had. Don’t get me wrong, they still dressed in costumes and paraded around the neighborhood, collecting candy and other assorted treats. However, by dark, most would have been inside already, and those who were brave enough would be prowling in cemeteries.
I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Elyse Crawford, and like everyone in the human race, I believed everything supernatural was made up for entertainment, but boy was I wrong.
“Elyse, wake up, honey. You don’t want to be late for school!” I heard my mom yell to me from the hallway.
No doubt she was carrying the large green laundry basket, full of last night’s discarded clothes. Just as she had every morning, Helen Andrews made her way through the rooms of the small house, gathering laundry from the day before. She liked consistency and an everyday schedule, which as a stay-at-home mother, included doing laundry first thing in the morning.
I rolled over and pulled my head out from underneath the pillow, making sure to shield my eyes. Every morning was the same. As my mom walked from room to room, she hit the switch on the wall, turning on the overhead lights. In my opinion, it was more effective than a screeching alarm clock ever was. I held my arm over my face as I got up to move about the room. My only thought, for the moment, was that I had to use the bathroom, and I was in desperate need of coffee.
My inability to sleep the night before wasn’t due to the overwhelming feeling of excitement for the day of my birth. It was more or less the same reason I hadn’t slept well for the last year. With each passing night, it seemed as if the moon had been getting brighter. The stars had all but disappeared in the glow of it. I had asked my mom to get me a new set of dark curtains, and she even let me pick them out. They were the heaviest winter curtains I could find in a deep purple. However, as I lay there to sleep each night, it was as if the curtains became a sheer drape, and the moonlight just shone right through them. My mother thought I was crazy when I told her about it, so I dropped it and taped black construction paper over my window. That didn’t work either. I still saw the light of the moon every night, and still felt like death every morning.
“Elyse.” She popped her head in my doorway and I could see the green laundry basket she clung to one hip. “Happy birthday, you!”
“Thanks, mom.” I tried my best to smile at her, but I think I only managed a half-smile and a grunt before heading into the bathroom. The hairs on my arms and legs were standing straight up. I felt an intense prickling at the back of my neck, but managed to shrug it off.
The adjacent bathroom was a neat idea my father had when my sister and I both turned thirteen. He gutted and rearranged it to make us a ‘Jack and Jill’ style bathroom. The only problem with that was my sister never liked to knock.
“Morn’ sleepy head.” Michelle bounced into the bathroom. Her long blonde hair had already been set in its usual curly state.
“You’re grumpy every day. I thought on your eighteenth birthday, you’d be a bit more chipper.” She turned on her heel with a laugh and headed back to her room, but before she closed the door I heard her add, “No, maybe I really didn’t.”
Michelle Andrews, what can I say about her? Well, she’s younger than me by six months and the epitome of the popular cheerleader. No real brains and no real concerns, other than whether or not her weekly manicure would match the outfits she had planned for the week ahead. It’s a good thing my rents, or what me and my friends referred to as our parental units, told me at a young age that I’m adopted, or being a part of this family would definitely make me question my existence.
My sister liked boys and cars and parties, all the things her brainless friends liked. I guess that meant they were suited for each other. Her boyfriend of the month is the tallest, blond-haired, blue-eyed jock in school. I couldn’t tell you what he plays, mainly because I just don’t care. She spent the last few years of high school ‘testing the waters’ with each guy she’d ever had a crush on in middle school who wouldn’t give her the time of day, back when she had braces and pimples. Let’s just say puberty and boys were not kind to her. I guess she was making up for lost time, but really, she
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say we don’t exactly like each other.
I stopped in front of the mirror on the back of the bathroom door. Studying my appearance in comparison to hers, well, let’s just say I’d have figured out I was adopted even if no one had told me. Yes, my sister is good looking and she knows it. She also wears it like a glove. She enjoys being the tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl with skin as fair as a newborn baby. Once the acne cleared up, that is.
I very rarely look in the mirror. I know what I look like, so I don’t see the point. As I stared at myself, I noticed something had changed. My usual complexion, though not as light and fair as my adopted Irish family, had a bit more color. I looked as if I had gone to a tanning salon and gotten one of those spray tans. My dark hair was usually coarse and all over the place, but it looked silky smooth and hung down past my shoulders, instead of piled on top of my head. I was actually able to run my hand through it without creating a bald patch on my scalp.
“Did I brush it already?” I heard myself ask, well, myself.
I ignored the image in the mirror and readied myself for school. I heard the rest of the Andrews clan downstairs, slamming cabinet doors and pulling chairs across the floor. I settled on black jeans and a black sweatshirt, and headed for the stairs to retrieve my book bag from the banister. The metal loops on my boots clanked as I stomped my way down to the kitchen.
“Surprise!” My mother stood in the doorway with a plate full of my favorites; two waffles topped with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream, and a cup of pumpkin coffee.
“Wow . . . thanks.” I managed to produce an actual smile.
“You’re welcome, sweetie. Here, have a seat and eat.” She pulled a chair out and placed the plate on the table as I relieved her of the coffee.
“Michelle, the cereal is in the same place it always is.”
“It’s your sister’s birthday.” My mom gave my sister the look that said, ‘Knock it off.’
I shoved a large amount of waffles and fruit into my mouth and watched my sister roll her eyes as she pulled a pastry tart from the box on the counter. When the front door opened, nobody turned to see who it was.
“Good morning, Chadwick.”
“Oh, Mrs. A, you wound me,” my friend said as he took a seat next to me, striking his fist to his chest as if he were just hit in the heart with an arrow. “Please, it’s just Chad.”
“C, it’s been fourteen years, she’s never gonna stop calling you Chadwick. She knows how much it bugs you.” I put my plate in the sink and lifted my bag to my shoulder.
“That’s his name,” she said, looking at me, “and if your mother thought it was nice enough to name you, then I think it’s nice enough to call you by.” She gave Chad one of those eye-popping looks that told him to get over it.
“Ok, Mrs. A, but I’m still gonna whine about it.”
“Well, thanks for the warning. Have a nice day at school, you two,” she yelled after us as we headed for the front door. “Oh, and remember, party tonight.”
Like anyone could forget our family’s annual Halloween/my birthday party. It was always costume only, which meant if you didn’t wear one, you were not attending. Of course, that didn’t keep too many out, since it was always in the mid to upper seventies. That also meant it was always an outdoor haunted house party.
“I don’t know if I’m in the partying mood today.”
“E, you okay?”
“Yeah, it’s just I slept like crap again last night, and I feel like something big is about to happen. Something that’s going to drastically change the course of my life.”
“Whoa, that’s deep,” he said with more laughter than I was prepared for.
Chadwick Crain has been my best friend since kindergarten, when he wiped his booger on my shirt and I punched him in the nose. After I helped clean up the blood, we were inseparable. It was almost like I had the same boyfriend for all those years. He never tried to kiss me, probably for fear of another bloody nose, but we’ve held hands, walked to and from school together every day, gone to every social event together, and talk all the time.
“I’m serious, Chadwick,” I said with my mom’s best stink eye impression.
“That’s not funny, E.” His face hardened at the sound of his name.
I couldn’t help laughing at him. He really hated that name. He said it made him sound like a warlock from the 1800’s.
“Well, you turned eighteen six months ago. I thought you were going to legally change it.”
“I can’t. It’s a family name.” I don’t think he meant for me to see, but the look on his face was nothing I’d ever seen before. He looked angry and sad all at the same time. If you’d known Chad, you would know there was never a time when he was angry.
“Hey guys, you didn’t stop at the cross,” mousy Crystal Walters yelled as loud as she could to get our attention. “You always stop at the cross. What gives?”
She ran up to us and stopped. Dropping her bag on the ground, her hands went to rest on her knees and she tried to catch her breath.
“Sorry Crystal, I didn’t realize we were that far.”
We held still for a few minutes. One, so Crystal could control her wheezing, and two, to wait for Matthew Tanner. The couple usually waited for us at the cross together, but Crystal explained, between gulps of air, that Matthew was running late. He apparently had been having a difficult time finding his costume for the day.
“How hard is it to find an all-black outfit?” Chad chewed on the inside of his cheek.
“I dunno.” Crystal stood, rolling her eyes, although being upright didn’t make up the difference in her height.
When we were fourteen, it seemed like I had grown overnight. I shot up to five feet nine inches tall. Chad was just a few inches taller than me, and Matthew was the same height as Chad. Poor Crystal seemed to be stuck in her fourteen-year-old self and never hit five feet. She has worn two-inch heels every day, since her freshman year, just so she could reach up to kiss Matthew on her tippy toes. The two had been dating since middle school.
“There he is.” Chad pointed down the road to our right.
The cross was what we called the intersection that connected all of our streets together. Once we got to the cross on the way home, Chad and I would go left, Crystal went straight and Matt to the right. Chad had been to my house every morning before school, and I’m sure if Matt wasn’t afraid of Crystal’s older brother, he would have gone to her house to get her as well. Then, the four of us would meet at the cross and walk the rest of the way to Pleasant Ridge Montessori School, which is just a fancy way of saying daytime childhood prison.
“Hey, you didn’t stop at the cross?” Matt looked around as he gave Crystal a hug.
“No, they walked right by me. Didn’t even say hey.”
Crystal tapped her foot in accusation and looked at Matt as if she were tattling on us.
“Elyse thinks some life-altering thing is going to happen to her today,” Chad told them with a peculiar expression.
“What’s with the weird look?” I asked him.
“Nothing, it’s just crazy talk.” He turned to our friends. “I was just trying to get her in the mood for her party tonight, no hard feelings. We didn’t overlook you on purpose.” He held his hands up in surrender to the two.
After a beat of silence, we all started to laugh uncontrollably and headed to the building that would suck out all of our joy.
“You know what?” I turned to the other three, walking backwards in front of them. “For eighteen, we sure are juvenile.”
“Yeah, well, we’re not eighteen until Crystal’s birthday in three weeks . . . and then we have graduation. I think after graduation, we can stand to mature a bit more.” Chad grabbed me at my waist to turn me around and held my hand as we walked.
I didn’t always know what to make of it, but sometimes,
The building of doom, as I called it, looked the same as any other day. In the elementary wing of the school, there would be cute pictures of pumpkins and witches plastered all over the walls. The middle school wing was all decked out for the fall festival dance that would take place in two days. However, the high school wing of the building, and the only end with more than one floor, was never decorated. It looked just as cold and drab as it always did. The walls were gray and light blue, which looked to me like a continuous cloudy winter day.
“Elyse, what did you do to your head? Finally figure out what a salon is for?” A tall, dark-haired girl laughed as she walked by.
Clara Blackwood, another reason for me to despise being in that place. Her hair was always slicked back into a bun at the nape of her neck. She wore pearls every day, like school was a special occasion for her. Other than being a thorn in my side, she also happened to be Michelle’s best friend.
“She’s such a witch!”
“How . . . ” I caught a glimpse of Matt pulling back on Crystal.
“What was that?”
“She tripped again. Not hard to do in those heels.” Matt hugged Crystal around the waist as she smiled and shrugged her shoulders.
“Your hair does look really nice today,” Chad whispered in my ear so no one could hear him.
“Thanks, it was like that when I got up this morning.”
Chad squeezed my hand and said, “Catch ya later, E,” as he headed off down the hall, backwards, to his first class.
I couldn’t help but smile and shake my head. We all went in different directions throughout the day. It was as if the administration wanted to keep us separated. We never had more than the lunch period together in years, and I guessed it was because we tended not to pay any mind to the teachers when we were together. Hanging out with my friends was like being in another time zone and we hardly realized what was going on around us. More recently than before, it felt as if we had a magical bubble around us, protecting us from everyone else. Of course, Clara managed to intrude in our bubble with her snarky remarks.
S. L. PERRINE SERIES:
Other author's books:
- The Curse of Ormshire (The Beast Within Book 2)Turning the Stone (The Blood Rites Trilogy Book 2)Turning the StoneImmortal Slumber (The Crawford Witch Chronicles Book 1)
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