Diary of the White Witch: A Witches of East End Prequel

BOOK: Diary of the White Witch: A Witches of East End Prequel
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Diary of the White Witch

A Witches of East End Prequel

Melissa de la Cruz

Praise for the
Witches of East End
Series

“What could be more fun than a summer on Long Island? A summer on Long Island with witches, of course. Smart, stylish, and just a bit wicked, the witches in Melissa de la Cruz’s
Witches of East End
series manage to be both thoroughly modern and delightfully mythic.”

—Deborah Harkness,
New York Times
bestselling author of
A Discovery of Witches
and
Shadow of Night

“Move over, zombies, vampires, and werewolves, and make way for witches. Melissa de la Cruz, author of the bestselling
Blue Bloods
series, ably sets the stage for a juicy new franchise with
Witches of East End
…De la Cruz balances the supernatural high-jinksery with unpredictable twists and a conclusion that nicely sets up book 2. B+”


Entertainment Weekly

“Centuries after the practice of magic was forbidden, Freya, Ingrid and their mom struggle to restrain their witchy ways as chaos builds in their Long Island town. A bubbling cauldron of mystery and romance, the novel shares the fanciful plotting of
Blue Bloods
, the author’s teen vampire series…breezy fun.”


People

“A magical and romantic page-turner….
Witches of East End
is certain to attract new adult readers…The pacing is masterful, and while the witchcraft is entertaining, it’s ultimately a love triangle that makes the story compelling. De la Cruz has created a family of empathetic women
who are both magically gifted and humanly flawed.”


Washington Post

“For anyone who was frustrated watching Samantha suppress her magic on ‘Bewitched,’ Ms. de la Cruz brings some satisfaction. In her first novel for adults, the author…lets her repressed sorceresses rip.”


New York Times

“What happens when a family of Long Island witches is forbidden to practice magic? This tale of powerful women, from the author of the addictive
Blue Bloods
series, mixes mystery, a battle of good versus evil and a dash of Norse mythology into a page-turning parable of inner strength.”


Self


Witches of East End
has all the ingredients you’d expect from one of Melissa’s bestselling YA novels—intrigue, mystery and plenty of romance. But with the novel falling under the ‘adult’ categorization, Melissa’s able to make her love scenes even more…magical.”

—MTV.com

“De la Cruz has, with
Witches
, once again managed to enliven and embellish upon history and mythology with a clever interweaving of past and present, both real and imagined…[it] casts a spell.”


Los Angeles Times

“De la Cruz is a formidable storyteller with a narrative voice strong enough to handle the fruits of her imagination. Even readers who generally avoid witches and whatnot stand to be won over by the time the cliffhanger-with-a-twist-ending hits.”


Publishers Weekly

“Fantasy for well-read adults.”


Kirkus

“A sexy, magical romp, sure to bring de la Cruz a legion of new fans.”

—Kelley Armstong,
New York Times
bestselling author of
The Otherworld
series

Wednesday, April 20
Dryden Road, Ithaca, New York

I can’t help but think of Dad, the indomitable seafarer, as I write my first entry in this journal, a parting gift from my coworkers at Cornell. Of course, it’s no ordinary journal. One would expect no less from a team of top-rate paper conservators and archivists. It’s an ancient, unused leather-bound captain’s logbook; the left-hand pages display an ever-so-faint ghost of a grid for the captain of the ship to log the day of the week, speed, wind, and compass directions, while the right-hand pages are left blank for sundry thoughts and observations. There is a gold-leaf compass on the worn leather cover, and each of the hand-cut pages have received some form of treatment in the lab from my fellow staff members, so that I, Ingrid Beauchamp, may write here without worry that this centuries-old coarse-grained paper might crumble beneath my pen. It has been ages since I have kept a diary. What a perfect and timely gift!

It did cross my mind that some of these pages could have been doused with poison, and before setting pen to paper, I brought the book up to my nose for a sniff of possible malfeasance. Hmm. It appears my coworkers have forgiven me after all. There was no scent of bitter almonds, only leather with faint traces of lanolin and neat’s-foot oil, and aging paper. Perhaps now that I’m leaving and no longer pose a threat to my coworkers’ tenuous jobs, the vipers have withdrawn their fangs. Ever since rumors of massive layoffs began circulating last semester, there’s been quite a bit of backstabbing in the old library. But if anything, everyone grew quite fond of me since I announced my departure. Who can blame them? One more job has been secured.

The farewell party was all smiles, ladyfingers, chocolate, champagne, a tiny jar of caviar nestled in a silver dish with ice, and some of my lab students dropping by, promising to keep in touch. I will miss them the most, as well as my daily bike rides to and fro the university past apple orchards.

And so, on this first day of spring, when the air is laced with hyacinth and day and night momentarily match with equal length, I set off, much wind in my sails and many propitious portents for the journey ahead. I’m going home, finally, and maybe this time, to stay. Mother will be so pleased.

I have wanted to leave the school for a long time now, as I have become weary of academia; it appears the smaller the piece of the pie, the more bitter the feuds for the crumbs. Last week, I received a letter from one Hudson Rafferty of the North Hampton Library. Months ago, enough to have forgotten, I sent an inquiry about a possible position as an archivist there, but never heard back. Apparently there is a sudden need, and Mr. Rafferty is requesting I come in for an interview as soon as time will permit, as the ranking archivist has up and left out of the blue. I sent him a formal reply, expressing great interest, along with my résumé, and notified Mr. Rafferty that I will be in North Hampton in a week’s time and am looking forward to scheduling an interview.

The idea of being my own boss in a small-town library—with “a decent collection of local architectural blueprints and rare maps that will need maintenance,” as he put it, “and running things, since we are all junior librarians at the moment and in a tizzy”—is much more appealing to me than slipping back into the sludge of pernicious academic politics.

North Hampton. I can feel it calling me. I need to be near Mother, near the seam, the epicenter. A few months ago I began having dreams—nightmares, really—from which I would
awake gasping. In my mind’s eye I saw the seam fraying, loosening, harm seeping in like quicksilver, the sea bubbling and drowning the small, sleepy town of North Hampton. Mother will need my help, I can feel it.

At the very least, I long to see my family back together. We have been apart too long. Salem 1692 were the last days we were together. Ugly, violent, confusing days. And now if something evil is upon us again as I fear, we Beauchamps need to stick together. Enough time has passed for old wounds to heal. Mother and Dad must get over themselves and stop being so pigheaded. On my way out to Long Island, I’ve planned a stopover in New York City, where I will attempt to persuade my sweet, wild sister to sell the bar, that albatross of hers, and come home, too. Perhaps between the three of us we can even work on getting our Fryr back from Limbo.

Outside the opened window by my desk, the sun sinks beneath the horizon, leaving tinges of pink in its wake, signaling fair weather ahead. Though dusk sets in and fills the corners of the cottage with shadows after a long day, I no longer feel weary. Oscar has curled up at my feet. A warm fragrant breeze flows in, filling me with that light, heady feeling of spring. I am eager for the journey ahead.

Thursday, April 21
Amtrak Train, Empire Route, Syracuse–New York City

Margaret, a bright, promising library science major with one too many tattoos, drove me to the Amtrak station this morning. The poor girl’s eyes turned as pink as the shock running through her raven hair, then brimmed with tears when we said good-bye. I gave her a hug, then the
gentlest little push away from me, as if to say,
Go forward, be brave—you can do this, kiddo!
“Don’t forget to retrieve my bike at the cottage,” I reminded her. “It’s yours.” She smiled and quickly turned away, and no sooner had she done so, a lump formed in my throat, and tears sprang in my eyes as well. I should be used to this—they all graduate, after all.

With a heavy heart, I walked down the platform, my heels clicking with a hollow sound, my suitcase swerving behind me, just as I homed in on a distress signal. Something wasn’t right, and I could feel darkness lurking. Then I saw the hubbub further down the platform. I stopped and watched, wiping my tears, pushing a loose strand of hair into my bun.

A woman had collapsed on the platform. She lay still as blood dripped from her nose. I lunged forward. My heart leapt. I wanted to help. I knew I could—I wasn’t Joanna, but like all witches I had some talents in this arena. My body tingled, a surge of magic building inside me, wanting to burst forth, but I couldn’t allow it. Paramedics pushed past me. A crowd had gathered. The magic fizzled out and died inside me; I’d locked it back up in its cage. Even to help someone in distress is forbidden by the Restriction. The medics appeared to have it under control anyway.

I kept walking, just another mortal like the rest, just another quiet, ordinary girl—“mousy,” one might even say—with my hair in a bun, wearing a tan trench and plain navy suit, looking for a car with an empty window seat. An Amtrak worker appeared from nowhere, blocking my way, telling me to get in the last car. There was an odd glint in his eye, as if he were deriving pleasure from being bossy. “Well, okay, then,” I said, making a face as I passed him.

By the time I plopped into my seat, I felt drained and achy. I kicked off my shoes, wriggled my toes, feeling the suppressed magic like a physical ache. Magic. I miss it with every bone. I miss it like a hunger. I’ve often wondered if what I used to feel when I was able to
practice magic freely is tantamount to what people experience when they fall in love. I wouldn’t know. But when I read about love in poems and novels, it sounds very similar. Except with magic there is only happiness, euphoria—never pain.

The train has left the station. The seats beside and across from me are empty. There is scarcely a passenger in this car. Maybe that Amtrak guy was being nice, and I’m the one in a nasty mood. A few rows ahead, I spy the back of a man’s head. He stared at me and smiled when I boarded the train—jet-black hair, piercing blue eyes, square jaw, clean-shaven, cleft chin, and an air that says
I know I’m so very handsome
. Freya told me all about men like this. Ick. Why did he stare? Why did he smile like that? I found it disturbing. Across the aisle is a teenager listening to his iPod from beneath his wool cap, staring out the window as he bobs his head. I can hear the repetitive beat from the earbuds. Behind me, a mother tells her child to shush, but the boy continues to ask her every few minutes how long it will take to get to NYC. “And how long now, Mommy?”

I call Freya and leave a message that I’m en route and will call as soon as I’m in a taxi on the way to her place. Before I slip the phone back into my pocket, I make sure the ringer is on in case she calls back. Then I watch the scenery unfold—verdant rolling hills, pink and white blossoms, a mare and her foal taking its first tremulous steps in a field by a barn.

Oscar has flown ahead. My familiar doesn’t like trains and prefers his independence. When I spoke with Mother last night, she was so excited about my arrival she couldn’t stop talking about all the pies she has planned to bake for me. She’ll make me fat if I don’t watch out.

I must have fallen asleep. The diary is still in my lap. Some sort of disturbance jolted me awake. Is it me or has the train begun to wobble? It is suddenly very dark outside—dense storm clouds have swept in all around us. Whatever woke me has stopped. When I stand to look
around, everyone else is looking around as well. “Something weird is going on,” the teen across from me says. “Don’t worry. It’s over,” I reply, trying to sound reassuring but not believing my words. Why is it suddenly so dark? The good-looking man is no longer in front of me but gone from the car altogether. We are speeding along through a gunmetal gloom. The car begins to vibrate alarmingly. The child lets out a frightened wail. I better go see what is going on, find a ticket person or conductor. Something—

Sunday, April 24
Beth Israel Hospital Room, New York City

The doctors told me I slept for forty-eight hours, and when I woke up, my head was bandaged in gauze, hooked up to all sorts of unnecessary devices. My long slumber had been mistaken for a coma, though the X-rays revealed no concussion or major harm. I had probably done most of my healing while I was transported to the hospital. The theory is that I got pinned in place, possibly lodged beneath a seat, as the train rolled over, thus no broken bones. My journal and iPhone were on the hospital bedside table when I came to.

“You’re a miracle!” the nurse said when she came into my room. “Some train wreck! They’re still talking about it on the news.” She told me that my sister had visited and would return; Freya had seen the wreckage and carnage on the news, the glimpses of bodies being pulled out; then she tracked me down at the hospital. The nurse said they had to pry the logbook from my grip when they wheeled me in. I had been muttering the word “black” in my sleep.

“What do you mean, ‘black’?” the nurse asked, to which I shrugged, feigning no idea.

What I remember: There was a loud clang, and the car wobbled as it detached from the train ahead. We became completely enshrouded in the gray mist, so that there was no visibility beyond the windows. Everything had gone silent. I’d stood up, gripping the diary to my chest. The passengers in the car were suddenly asleep, which was when I realized this was all directed at me. Was I being challenged? I could feel the presence of one of my own kind nearby. “Who are you? Are you from the White Council?” I asked, annoyed. I hadn’t even used my magic on that woman at the station, merely contemplated it. I had followed the rules. I’d been following those damn rules for centuries now.

We were still moving along the tracks, but the car was slowing. “Show yourself!” I challenged. I laughed. I did. I really didn’t think much else would happen. I thought this was a little slap on the wrist for a very minor infraction. “Well? Get on with—”

No sooner had I uttered these last words that something rammed against the side of the car. This was surely not from the White Council. This was something else. Something malicious, evil. It hit us again but with such tremendous force that the car came off the tracks, flipping over, and we were rolling down an incline, my body smacking against seats and windows, all of us tossed like clothes in a dryer. It was a swirling blur of shock and helplessness and cracking bones and pain. I blacked out.

Only the teenager and I survived. He’s in the trauma center. The others weren’t so lucky. Mother and child are dead along with about five others.

I realized then that I knew something was going to happen. I’d felt it pulsing just underneath the surface: the lady collapsing on the platform; the sudden eerie feeling in the air after Margaret left me at the station; the Amtrak worker appearing out of nowhere, telling me to
board the last car; the handsome man who smiled at me, then vanished—the last two, maybe one and the same person?

“Black…”

Indeed. It was black magic and of the most powerful and lethal sort.

There had been a surge of it at the station, which I had sensed and now only realize in retrospect. I’ve grown too rusty. It sapped the life out of that poor woman who collapsed. Some are susceptible like that, their life force used for fuel. But who would have had the audacity to practice post-Restriction? Black magic nonetheless? Strong enough to send a train flying off its tracks. Who even possesses that kind of power?

I’m certainly no match for it.

Now more than ever I am convinced that I must be with my family. Something is brewing. This was just a warning, and only together can we fight it.

I sense her as soon as the elevator doors open onto my floor, like a waft from a field of daffodils—earthy, rich, wild goodness, and wholesome milk and honey. My sister is here. Freya!

Sunday Night, April 24
Freya’s Apartment, East 7th Street, Lower East Side, New York City

Before we left the hospital, we visited the kid who’d been on the train with me. He was unconscious and on a respirator in the trauma ward, the only signs of life his rhythmic raspy breath in and out of the tube, the labored rise and fall of his chest, and the slow and steady pulse from the heart monitor. His face was swollen beyond recognition, body broken in a thousand
pieces from the multiple blunt force trauma, limbs suspended, held in place with metal contraptions and pins, abrasions and lacerations covering every inch of his skin.

“That was no accident,” I told my sister as we hopped into a cab. Freya had brought me something to wear, and I was entirely too uncomfortable in the tight black shirt and skintight pants. She gave the cabbie directions to her place on the Lower East Side, then turned to me, her green eyes alarmed. “I was so worried! They said the car detached at a crossing! I had a feeling—are you sure? But who and why would anyone do this?”

BOOK: Diary of the White Witch: A Witches of East End Prequel
12.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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