Legend Of The Waste-Land Witches

This was a short story I had written an posted, just for fun at halloween, but it was split between two posts, so here it is all together as it should be

Legend Of The Waste-Land Witches

No one really remembers the legends of the waste land witches anymore, but in one isolated village beyond the peaks of the black mountain jagged, and on the edge of an unknown worlds end, elders tell the bedtime story as a warning

Beware the waste land witches, born from evil with a heart of stone, and live forever with a blackened heart that’s broken

Crystal opened her eyes, surrounded by darkness, with dying waves lapping at her body. ‘Wher… Where am I’

Staggering to her feet and now feeling sand beneath, she released the shore line of a deserted beach, a glowing light in the distance was suddenly coming into focus

‘Hello’ yelled a deep voice, ‘hell..ooo’ crystal replied in a hesitantly, now seeing the form of an elderly man ‘what are you doing out here all alone’ the man said, now seeing the young girl in the light, an realising she wasn’t one of the local girls

‘How did you come to be here’ the man went on… ‘I.. I don’t know, I woke up an I was here, I can’t remember, I…’ Replied crystal becoming suddenly scared from her lapse in memory

‘Let’s get you inside’ said the man ‘there’s a storm coming, look at you, you’re soaking wet, are you hurt?’

‘No, I don’t think so’ crystal replied, now following the man as he led the way

‘You’re safe’ said the man, noticing the girl to be nervous, ‘I’m bill, I run the light house nearby, my wife can see about getting you something dry to wear, an I’m sure you’re hungry, what’s your name’

‘Crystal’ she replied, now catching up with bill an saying nothing further

Beyond sand dunes they entered a village, crystal suddenly thought it a weird place, like a village caught in a period of a time past

‘Here we are’ said bill, leading crystal up a small garden path an into a glowing cottage, ‘who have we here’ said a womans voice ‘this is crystal’ replied bill, ‘seems she got washed ashore an has no memory of her ordeal, she needs something dry to wear, a warm bath an something hot to eat’

‘You poor soul, you must be beside yourself, welcome i’m mary, now let’s get you out of those wet clothes’

Sometime later… Crystal once again awoke, now remembering where she was, earlier mary had explained that their grandson jake was away on a fishing trip with other local men from the village, he would soon be home, an that she could use his room, mary would explain to jake on his return

Crystal had told bill and mary of how her parents had past away, how she had ran an ran, because there was nothing to return to, no friends, no family, she was alone, bill an mary told her she was more than welcome to stay with them for as long as she needed

Now alone in jakes room, there was a knock on the door, marys head peering around the now open door ‘ just checking on you, I hope you found everything ok’ mary entered the room, an now sitting on the edge of the bed she went on

‘We don’t get outsiders.. I mean new comers to the village, its nice to see a new face for once’ said mary

‘from what I’ve seem, its a beautiful place, why does no one ever come here’ remarked crystal

‘That’s a story for another time’ replied mary, now suddenly looking a little worried ‘now you rest up, you’ve had a long night, you need your rest, I’ll be in to check on you in the morning, goodnight’

‘Goodnight’ said crystal, closing her eyes as mary left the room an now slowly drifting off into a deep sleep

Crystal… Crystal…

Crystal awoke the next morning to silence, walking downstairs an going to the living room to see if she could see bill or mary, she found a man asleep on the couch ‘this must be jake’ she thought, tiptoeing away a voice made her jump

‘You must be crystal, I’m jake’ came the voice, crystal turned around, ‘amm yeah, hi’ crystal said feeling awkward ‘sorry you had to sleep on the couch, you can have your room back when you want’

‘Its fine, your our guest, gran filled me in last night, sounds like you’ve been though a lot’ jake had a concerned look on his face, but his eyes were full of warmth, an crystal could tell he really cared, she hadn’t seen that look before

‘Yeah, I guess,’ said crystal ‘its all a blur really, all I remember is passing out, an next think I know, I wake up here, your grand parents have been really good to me’

‘That’s them’ replied jake ‘we don’t see many new people here in jagged peak, with the storms and…’

‘And…’ Said crystal

‘Its silly’ said jake, ‘there’s an old legend that haunts this village’… ‘Legend’ asked crystal ‘yeah the legend, its silly’ Crystal pushed jake for more, an jake gave in

legend says that jagged peak was once home to a clan of witches, the witches of the waste-land, they are women born without love in the dead of night, its told the witches were like sirens, leading men to their deaths

The witches had a spell of immortality, but they needed a pure heart full of love that had been broken to complete it, the only night the spell would work was halloween, when their power was at its greatest, but the men in anger rose up against the witches, and burned them at the stake, some say a few escaped, an still exist to this day

Crystal looked a little shocked ‘so, if a few escaped, they could be out there still, somewhere’

Jake finished his story

its said that the witches need to perform the ritual here in jagged peak, so if any did still exist, they would someday return here

Crystal shivered ‘sounds really creepy’

‘Its only a legend’ jake assured her, ‘an besides, no one from the outside has come to the village in a long time…. well until last night’ jake joked looking at crystal

Crystal spent the day exploring the small village, the quaint little local stores, the market, houses an run down cottages scattered along the way, men hauling in fish nets in the port, it had that old world feel, possibly from being completely cut off from the rest of the world by towering mountains an dangerous choppy waters

Crystal had learned how oldy-worldy the village truly was, because of where they were it was impossible to get a signal, so there were no phones, no tv, no internet, none of the things that crystal was used too, but somehow that felt good to her

Exhausted, crystal quickly fell asleep that night

Crystal… Crystal…

‘Who’s there’ asked crystal nervously

‘A heart like yours is what we have been searching for’ said a dark voice from behind a hooded cloak

‘Am I dreaming’ thought crystal, ‘where am I… who are you’

‘Your heart is darkened from pain, broken beyond repair’ continued the voice ‘We are coming… Coming for you crystal, coming for your heart’

‘But I’ve never loved, never known love’ crystal managed to say through fear an frozen lips

‘Your heart holds love in desperation, heart break and despair… And besides, legends are exactly that, they are never the true tale’ said the dark cloaked figure, now rushing towards crystal

Crystal awoke screaming, as a cackle echoed in the distance of a past dream, ‘it was a dream, I’m fine, just a dream’ she said now holding her hands to her fast beating heart

Catching her breath, crystal could hear the floor creaking from beyond her door, ‘is someone there’ asked crystal still shaken, the door handle slowly turned, the door creaked open, an there in the doorway stood the dark cloaked and hooded figure

Crystal screamed again, the air was suddenly sucked out of the room

the light suddenly flicked on, and there stood mary

You scared me half to death child’ said mary now stood at the foot of the bed ‘what on earth happened’

‘Just a dream’ replied crystal, ‘a very bad dream, a nightmare’

mary and crystal spoke for a while, mary wasn’t to impressed about jakes telling of the legend earlier, blaming it for her scare

crystal awoke that next morning, jakes room was freezing, the window covered in crystal ice, putting on a robe she descended the stairs, once again finding jake on the couch, this time awake

‘morning’ they both spoke ‘I heard you scream last night’ said jake ‘I shouldn’t have told you that silly legend, it was my gran, mary that first told me of the legend when I was younger, every child in the village is told the story’

‘no its fine’ replied crystal ‘the funny thing is, I’ve been having the same nightmare for a while now, even before I came to jagged peak, I just… Didn’t say anything before now’

‘what do you mean’ asked jake

well in my dreams, i’m standing in a waste-land, there’s an alter with candles, its cold an I can barely move, a voice tells me I’m what they’ve been looking for, my… Heart, Its a womans voice, I turn to see someone in a black cloak, I can t see who it is, they wear the hood to hide their face, it always ends with that cloaked person coming for me

Crystal continued ‘what’s scary is that the legend made sense to me, its like a story I’ve heard in a dream, the night I passed out, I was compelled to go to the beach, the water, a storm was coming in, an I could hear a voice calling me from beyond the waves, once the water touched my skin, everything went black, then… Then I woke up here’

‘you’re safe here crystal’ said jake ‘nothing will happen to you while I’m around’

Mary came in then with bags of shopping ‘ohh its cold today, that halloween weather we know so well’ ‘how are you this chilly day my love’ mary asked crystal

‘I’m ok, thank you, I slept ok after what happened, just a little spooked that’s all’ crystal went to help mary put away the many groceries

‘That reminds me, we’ll have to get you something to wear for the harvest festival’ said mary ‘harvest festival’ asked crystal ‘yes’ mary went on ‘we have a festival here every halloween, you’re in for a treat, this year is the hundredth anniversary of when jagged peak was founded’

Mary left the room, and crystal used this time to talk to jake alone ‘so jagged peak was founded on halloween’, ‘yes’ said jake ‘back then it was a waste-land, hence the legend, it was renamed when the men took it over and built the village, or so they say’

‘it all just feels weird’ said crystal ‘my dreams, how I came to be here, the legend, and its halloween in two days, which just happens to be the hundredth anniversary’

Time past quickly after that, with the village gearing up for the festival, crystal helped out, but all the while she had a sinking feeling, she was becoming paranoid, she could have sworn the villagers were looking at her differently, but kept telling herself to pull it together

‘Tonight is all hallows eve, why am I suddenly scared’ thought crystal ‘its just a legend, they are only dreams, tomorrow is a day like any other’ sleep beckoned

Crystal… Crystal…

‘Am I dreaming again’ thought crystal

‘Hello crystal… Welcome home’ crystal turned to see a figure, only this time cloaked in white. ‘home’ asked crystal

The figure came closer ‘you have to leave this place crystal, you’re in danger here, so its time you knew the truth

‘the truth about what’ crystal asked, the cloaked figure went on ‘the truth about jagged peak’

‘This was once a truly evil place, when the witches of the waste land were once present, a truly evil spell was cast, the village lures in the desperate hearts of the innocent, a hundred years ago this very thing happened, broken hearts were called to die

Though its true they were hearts of men, there was no love here, the men rose up in anger against the evil and won, but from an elder witch the blood line lives on

On halloween night, the last of the witches will return to cast the spell of immortality, above the graves of the witches that were lay to waste here

A hundred years a witch lives before she turns to ash, the spell can only be cast when the end is near, so tomorrow night is their only chance, only in death can life be sprung eternal under the blood moon

This is the true legend

Before crystal could ask anything further, the dream faded, an she was once again awake in jakes room ‘what does this all mean’ she thought ‘am I going crazy, it was so real…

tomorrow is halloween, if the legends are true I cant leave, I have to stop the witches from hurting innocent people, they’ll turn to ash and no one will have to worry about them ever again’

Walking downstairs she met mary ‘I hope you slept well’ she said ‘I did’ lied crystal

‘Good, we have a long day ahead of us’ mary went on ‘ you came here at a good time, tonight you may just see a truly amazing sight, a blood moon’

‘A blood moon….’ Crystal said very slowly

‘Yes, its what makes this village so magical, the legend fore tells every hundred years there will be a blood moon, no one has ever seen it, so we are pretty excited, we may be the first people to actually witness it..

I have so many things to finish up before tonight’ said mary now heading for the kitchen ‘I’ve sowed together a beautiful dress for tonight, you’re going to love it’

‘a blood moon… But how’… crystals thoughts were interrupted, as mary then returned holding the most beautiful dress ‘what do you think’ she asked

Mary suddenly saw a girl in front of her frozen in fear ‘Crystal… What’s wrong, you don’t like it’

‘No… I love it’ crystal managed to say ‘its beautiful’

‘Oh great, I’ll leave it in your room for tonight’ said mary leaving with the dress

Crystal now knew the truth, her thoughts were racing ‘in my dreams, that is the dress I’m wearing with the dark figure under a blood red moon, its true… Its all been true…

An tonight the witches are coming… Coming for me… Coming for my heart’

Jagged peak had an old tradition, instead of costumes, the villagers paid homage to the founders by dawning the traditional attire of old

crystal got ready that evening, wearing the dress that mary had made for her, an preparing for what could be the last night of her short life

She could hear the festival beginning to get under-way from beyond the bedroom window, it was now nearing 8pm, and daylight was fading

Crystal was now alone with her swirling thoughts ‘the spell the witches plan to cast can only be cast on halloween night, a stroke after midnight and they’re dust, and if they have returned to jagged peak, it should be easy to recognise them right..

Whatever happens… I’m ready

Descending the stairs she met jake ‘wow, you look beautiful’ he said with a look of awe ‘thank you’ crystal giggled ‘you look very handsome’

‘thanks’ he replied with a reddening face ‘can I accompany you to the festival’

Arm in arm they left the cottage, the swirling wind coming in from the sea felt nice to crystals skin after the long hot day an from her undeniable worry and fear

Nearing the festival, a glowing light from the old cemetery caught crystals eye, and some unseen force was drawing her in, the pull was too strong to resist

‘Jake, you go on ahead, I’ve left something back at the cottage, I’ll catch up with you in a minute’ crystal said with a quickening heart

‘Are you sure, I can wait on you’ said jake with crystal letting go of jakes arm ‘no you go on’ replied crystal now walking back towards the cottage

looking over her shoulder to make sure jake wasn’t within eye shot, an now with the coast clear, crystal turned and headed for the cemetery

Entering the cemetery, bathed in red from the now rising blood moon, crystal was almost in a trance, being lured further in from an unseen force, soon she came across an alter, covered in crystals an candles ‘just like in my dreams’ she thought

‘Hello’ she spoke softly, no reply ‘hello’ she said again, this time a little louder

‘Hold your tongue child, its your heart I’m after’ said a dark cloaked figure coming out of the darkness into the candles glow

‘So the legends are true’ said crystal now backing off a bit ‘my dreams, bringing me here, that was you wasn’t it’ the cloaked figure only crackled in reply

After a moment of silence the cloaked figure again spoke ‘All you need to know is that this time… Its no dream’

Suddenly from behind crystal, there were snaps from breaking branches, turning around she gasped at the familiar face, it was bill

before crystal could speak there was a thud, crystal felt herself falling, light faded to darkness, as crystal now lay unconscious

Crystal… Crystal… Wake up crystal’ said a familiar voice

‘wha… What happened’ asked crystal now once again seeing the white cloaked figure ‘bill.. He… He hit me, how did I get here’

‘You’re unconscious crystal, that’s how I can appear to you, its time you knew who I really am’ the hooded figure then removed her cloak, now before crystal stood a beautiful women ‘my name is amanda, and I am jakes mother’

Crystal gasped ‘jakes mother’

‘yes crystal, and I too am a witch, but unlike the others I turned away from a life of evil, the bloodline only runs in the veins of women, which meant that jake was spared from this curse’

‘But even then, he was in danger, being a man there was nothing to stop the witches from using him in their spell’ amanda turned away then

Crystal started putting the pieces together ‘But if you’re jakes mother, and you’re from the bloodline, then that means… That means mary is a witch too…’

‘Yes crystal’ said amanda, now turning to face crystal again ‘mary is my great grandmother, which makes her an elder witch, when my mother an I turned away from the evil craft to live a life of good, she made sure we wouldn’t stand in her way, with us out of the way jake was in danger, at least until you came to jagged peak, now that you have, she’s come for you’

‘But wait a minute’ said crystal, ‘mary can’t be a hundred, can she’

‘its a witches curse’ said amanda ‘its part of what drives them to cast the spell of immortality, ageing slowly is a constant reminder of youth, as the witches life slowly fades away’

‘Now its me that’s in danger’ said crystal ‘its not over just yet’ said amanda ‘crystal’ amanda went on ‘jake must know the truth’

The dream faded as crystal started to come too ‘back in the world of the living I see’ said the figure in the dark cloak ‘for now at least’

Crystal now realised her hands and legs had been tied and bound

The dark figure went on ‘my grand-daughter has meddled with me for the last time, but no matter, she can’t help you now’ the dark figure now removed her hood ‘ I knew it was you’ shouted crystal angrily ‘you won’t get away with this mary’

‘Oh child, I already have’ mary cackled, now going to the alter an speaking in a language that crystal didn’t understand

With marys back now turned, crystal tried to break free from the ropes, when she heard bill whisper ‘I’m so sorry crystal, please forgive me’ before crystal could reply bill had cut the ropes ‘now run’ he said

But even before crystal could get to her feet mary had spun around, now quickly lifting a dagger like root from the ground, she pierced it through crystals leg

Crystal cried out in pain ‘you’re not going anywhere’ said mary

‘As for you’ mary now looking at bill, ‘I should have just taken your heart, but you’re nothing but a weak old man, that’s the last time you or anyone will get in my way’ with that she grabbed bill an tossed him through the air with beyond human strength

Bills body landed striking a tree ‘I’m sorry’ he said again as his life faded away, an he was gone

‘Bill’ said crystal softly ‘I forgive you’

‘Now for you’ said mary lifting crystal to her feet, crystal suddenly felt frozen to the spot, an could no longer feel any pain in her leg, mary returned to the alter, lifted a dagger and started walking back toward crystal, just then she stopped ‘what, no begging for your life, not even a tear, crystal you disappoint me’

‘Just do it’ replied crystal bravely, though inside she was beyond scared

Mary clasped the dagger with both hands, now raising it above her head ‘with your heart I shall be eternal’ she shouted

Plunging the dagger toward crystals chest, jake suddenly appeared out of nowhere ‘crystal, no’ he shouted, pushing crystal out of the way and instead being stabbed ‘jake’ crystal screamed, tears now slowly filling her eyes

‘Stupid boy’ said mary ‘I was going to let you live as my trophy’ now plunged her hand into jakes chest an with his now beating heart in her hand she smiled the most evil smile ‘but even so, its still a heart’

Mary placed the heart where her own would be, chanting more words crystal still couldn’t understand, suddenly there was a blinding light, when it dimmed there stood mary, now a women less than half her age, laughing she now had crystal in her sights ‘shame to waste the kill’ she said

Coming to towards crystal with the dagger in hand she suddenly stopped, crystal now saw a women as though finding it hard to breath ‘what is happening’ said mary

Suddenly she shrieked the most ear deafening scream, light started to explode from all over marys body, again she screamed as her body now slowly turned to ash ‘what happened’ thought crystal, with the pain in her leg now returning, she dragged herself to jakes still body ‘jake’ she said now sobbing

‘Its over’ said a voice, crystal now looked around to see amanda ‘self sacrifice is the greatest form of love crystal, jake gave his life for yours, in doing so mary was overcome’

‘But bill, an… Jake’ sobbed crystal

‘Stand up crystal’ said amanda ‘you’re ok now’ crystals leg was completely healed, an now standing she saw the spirits of bill and jake smiling back at her ‘I’m so sorry bill… Jake’ she said still through tears

‘We may have saved you crystal, but it was really you who saved us’ said bill

Jake walked over to crystal, wrapping his arms around her an giving her a kiss, he whispered one word in her ear ‘live’ crystal opened her eyes and all three were gone, but jakes final word echoed on…. ‘live’

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