Black Butterfly - Jordan Grace
January, 2008 - ISBN 978-1-59426-774-1
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Butterfly Key 1899
Nineteen-year-old Jaswinder Cole had prepared to take her own life for six months. No one knew she'd studied to become a witch, although much of the town suspected it since her mother had been a practicing one and had hidden her rituals and secrets from her only child. After her mother had been accused of luring sailors onto the rocks along the shores of Butterfly Key, and was afterward burned at the stake, Jaswinder finally understood her reasoning.
Jaswinder was only fifteen when her mother died. Her father, the lighthouse keeper, had lost interest in life and in his daughter. Jaswinder spent most of her time with her grandmother who, she had been surprised to learn, was also a practicing witch. She taught Jaswinder everything she knew and introduced her to the Book of Secrets. The book had been kept under the stairwell of the lighthouse since the sixteenth century.
The lighthouse was a haven for witches. Despite popular beliefs, they had always protected the key, but something had gone wrong. Now evil was the dominant force, and people like Jaswinder, who wanted to do good, had to hone their crafts in secret.
Before she died, her grandmother introduced Jaswinder to Sister Mary Francis, and the course that would change her life forever.
As she walked down the cobbled streets of the town square, Jaswinder's pounding heartbeat drowned out the sound of her black shoes. She should've been at the church an hour ago, but her stepmother kept her as busy as possible with chores. Her father was too blinded by the pain of losing the only woman he could ever love to see what an evil woman Abigail was. He just wanted someone to take away his pain, so Jaswinder tolerated her abuse to keep peace in the house.
Jaswinder didn't have much time. The new century was only a few hours away. Soon the battle would begin. The fate of the human race rested on her small shoulders. If she didn't hurry, if she allowed her fear to consume her, they would be doomed to an eternity worse than death.
She pulled a few strands of beautiful, waist-length black hair away from her face and wrapped them around her ear. Sister Mary Francis had explained the procedure so many times she knew it by heart. It seemed strange at first to find a witch in the church, but as she learned the true covenant of witches, she saw they were here on earth to do good, just as it was the duty of every human being.
The church, built in the early sixteenth century, rose majestically above the city. Sister Francis was waiting for her in the basement. The church had become her home in the last year. It was where she learned that only one who studied and committed to being a witch could open The Book of Black Secrets. Sister Mary Francis had trained her whenever their duties permitted a lesson. There was one spell in the book that had interested them most: the one they would perform tonight, the one that required Jaswinder's soul.
She slipped into the church and hurried down the steps leading to the basement. Soon the parishioners would gather for the service to welcome in the New Year. Hopefully by that time, she would've left this world and, even though they would be none the wiser, they would have something wonderful to celebrate.
* * * *
Sister Mary Francis sighed with relief when she saw the young girl. "I feared you had changed your mind, my dear."
Jaswinder stepped into the room, closed the door behind her, and locked it.
"I had to work late, Sister. I am prepared to do this," she said, resolutely lifting her chin in defiance of her fears. "I kept thinking of our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane and I say his words." Raising her eyes upwards, she quoted, "Not my will but thine be done."
Sister Mary Francis made the Sign of the Cross. "Amen."
She took Jaswinder's hands in hers. "Is there anything you want to say before we begin, child?" she asked.
Jaswinder nodded." I want to know what death feels like. You've done it before. Tell me what it is like."
* * * *
God has a sadistic sense of humor , Naois thought as he stood naked in front of his full-length mirror. Why else would He make him part powerful demon and part wasp as part of his punishment for siding with Lucifer? When he'd been cast down from Heaven he had to watch helplessly as his beautiful, white angel wings slowly turned into the pitiful black wings of a wasp and red stripes appeared across his body. Soon, however, he learned there was strength in those wings, and the sting of a wasp combined with his demonic power made him unstoppable. God made him evil because there was no chance evil could ever enter Heaven.
Naois didn't need Heaven, not when he'd found a way to conquer earth. In Heaven, he would be nothing but a servant. Here, he could rule the world. He learned how to transform common wasps into creatures like him by putting them in larva containing pieces of his own flesh. Slowly he built himself a mighty army, capable of killing a powerful man in a second with one lethal sting.
His powers grew with each kill. He slayed anyone stupid enough to challenge his authority.
He'd grown into the most powerful demon in any world. The earth was his for the taking. There was only one thing stopping him.
He sighed at the sound of her name on his tongue. "So beautiful, and yet so deadly."
Humans feared her kind so much, they created their own myths and legends in a vain attempt to relieve them. He smiled at their stupidity. With their reliance on the power of darkness, garlic potions, and holy water, they seemed almost pathetic. Surely it was reasonable that if a species as powerless as human beings could evolve and become stronger over time, then surely vampires and demons could do the same.
Diva was a fallen angel like him, turned into a vampire butterfly. Like him, she'd soon learned how to create her own army, and now she wanted to rule the world, too.
He'd been in love with her once. He cared little about helping Satan overthrow God. He wanted to get under Diva's robes. He knew with Satan as king, he could have as much sex as he wanted. The irony that they'd both been turned into each other's prey wasn't lost on him.
They were destined to fight each other it was now their nature. Caterpillars were a natural prey for wasps, as were vampires for demons. He guessed that it was God's plan that they would destroy each other while He sat back and watched the fun.
Naois was tired of fighting each day just to stay alive. He could feel the disillusionment of his army . This was not the world he'd promised them. He should've been ruling the earth, not groveling at its crust like a common dog in the street. His demons needed the souls of men to remain strong, but the blood-sucking vampires discarded them just as carelessly as they did everything else. The world had become a battleground for blood and souls. Naois was determined that this final battle would be his. He would finally restore his honor and the hope of his followers.
As the new century dawned, his people would rise victorious. Diva and her clan would be no more, and his army would walk the earth confident of their tomorrows. He didn't allow himself to think about how things could've been different between himself and Diva. She had never loved him anyway, and he'd been stupid to think that trying to play the hero would endear her to him.
He hated Satan for betraying them. He'd made himself out to be more powerful than he was, and had been beaten by a mere boy! Even though Michael was an Archangel, they should've been able to defeat him. It was no wonder Diva didn't fear him, but she would after tonight. When he was done with her, he was going after the Devil. Naois hoped he'd also acquired some powers over the years, because he was looking forward to a good fight.