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Witch Boy: Blood War

Witch Boy: Blood War by Russell Moon
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There are enemies within and without...

The coven took my mother, because of me. They killed my dog, because of me. You'd think there could be nothing worse than this -- but you'd be wrong. My family and me being torn to shreds by a horde of witches could be worse. War could be worse. And all-out war is coming.

My father says my powers are limitless. I have yet to see it ... and no time to learn. We are closing in on one another, the coven and my father and me. It can only end in death, theirs or ours.

It's all in my hands now.

HarperCollins; June 2009
144 pages; ISBN 9780061954887
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Title: Witch Boy: Blood War
Author: Russell Moon
 
Excerpt

Chapter One

I am running, hard, as hard as my body will go, but that is not fast enough. I'm running down the road between my house and the Spences'. Sweat and dust are in my eyes, as are fleeting, maddening visions of my dog. My poor dead dog, lying in my kitchen moments ago. As are visions of my mother.

They have Eleanor. I run faster, if that is possible, my feet pounding deep indents in the dirt. They have my mother. The coven, the witches, who first showed me what I was. Whom up to now I have been unsure of -- whom I have been unable to pin down on one side or the other -- good or evil, friend or foe. They have made themselves known at last.

And I can't help but think of the things they could do to her, easily. They are capable of everything.

I shake the images, and the knowledge that it is all somehow my fault, and push the last yards down the road, through the heat, to the house. The sleepy, enchanting house that was so full, the last time I was here, of tinkling crystal dinner-ware and charming conversation and then the unspeakable secrets I found upstairs. I should have known then. I should have.

I don't slow down as I approach. I fly through the gate, hit the porch stairs, and pound on the front door like I am going to kill it.

"Get out here!" I scream like a madman, still smashing my fist on the door. "Get out here, Spence. Eartha! Eartha, get out here." My voice is cracking with the fear that I've missed something. That I'm too late.

I wait. I stop pounding and try to listen for whatever I can hear inside the house. My breathing. That is all I can hear, and it sounds like a diesel train.

I resume pounding on the door. "This is your only chance," I scream. "You hear me? This is the only time Iwill offer. I want my mother, right now. You will bring herto me right this minute. If I do not get her back now ... "

Really, I have no finish to that. I have no plan, I have no great ideas about what I can or will do.

But I do know this: I can, and will, do something unspeakable. If they dare harm Eleanor in any way ... I sense what is possible.

Mercy will not be possible.

"Goddammit" I shout as I go back to it and hit the door a monstrous blow with both fists at once. I let out a roar and feel the ground rumble slightly.

I don't know if it is my great princely power, but thedoor surrenders completely, popping right off its hinges and crashing down into the front foyer of the house.

And then I see.

I am powerless. I am so completely without power.

The house is in ruins. As I stand in the doorway, hands still up defensively in front of me, I see there is no one here to fight. There is no Eleanor, as far as I can see. No Dr. Spence or his daughter, Eartha, who I now believe are the worst of the lot. No horde of screaming witches coming to overwhelm me. And worse -- if there can be a worse -- is that the house appears to have been deserted for a long time. Years, maybe.

This is stunning. It is all but impossible. This house was alive a day or two ago, a handsome house, a plush house. I'm tempted to believe I have lost my mind. But if the past few months have taught me anything, it is that insanity is a privilege I haven't yet earned. No, I'm not insane. It's just that it appears immediate history has been erased. I shudder.

I walk in, shaking, apprehensive, still poised for battle. The house smells of years of mildew and closed windows. Thick layers of dust rest on just about everything. I creep from the front hallway to the dining room, where I myself, and Eleanor too, sat one night not so long ago -- with the powerful Dr. Spence, with lovely, scary, lovely Eartha. Everything in the room is covered with drop cloths, heavy canvas things protecting the furniture from the decay seeping in from all directions, falling down from above. I take a peek under the cloth that is thrown over the table and chairs.

They are completely different. Unlike the Spences' light, bright, and new-looking furnishings, everything here is dark, old, soaked through with creeping rot. I put my hand on the back rest of a chair, maybe the one where I would have been sitting that night, and a chunk of wood comes off in my hand like I am breaking off a piece of cake.

I leave the dining room and head up the stairs, looking to see, I guess, if this is just one more elaborate sleight of hand, if the coven and my mother are really holed up upstairs.

But upstairs is more of the same. The elaborate and pristine bathroom is now a husk. Rust stains the cracked enamel of the ancient tub and sink. The floorboards of the hallway groan as I make my way from one deserted bedroom to another, poking my head into each to see blinds closed, dust dancing in the air shot through with slats of light. I take a pause and an extra gulp of air as I push open the door to the final bedroom, the one where I found all the evidence of the blackness of the Spences' magic -- what should have told me all I needed to know, and which I ultimately ignored. The filth-covered walls, the painting of me, my mother, and father -- like a shrine.

My father. He tried to tell me. He may be dead. Again, because of me.

The door squeaks loudly. It opens onto a scene of utter nothing ...

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