include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Witch Sanctuary by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Witch Sanctuary

City of the Wiccad Act 2


By Jai Lefay


Smashwords Edition




Copyright 2016 Jai Lefay


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Justine Dee and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.




Dedicated to those who are still searching.





One Door Closes.


It was raining the afternoon she arrived. That was hardly surprising for this time of year. It would have been far more noteworthy if it had been clear skies and bright sunshine when Maggie had walked up to the front door with her arm supporting the trembling woman.

The new arrival was only older than Bessie by a few years and yet when you looked at her she seemed far older. She had the look of someone who had not known a lot of joy in her life.

Bessie, Violet and Edwina sat together on the stairs when Maggie brought her inside, they could spy into the sitting room from their spot on the stairs. A fact Bessie had discovered within two months of coming to live with Maggie so many years ago.

They all knew her name was Constance and all in the City knew the tale that went with that name. She was the sole survivor out of the ecclesiastic occupants of Saint Matthews. She had been found bleeding in one of the rooms and if she had not been found when she had been she might have bled to death from the injury inflicted upon. That was the story Maggie had said was the truth, it was far more believable than the story Bessie had heard that Constance had been crucified in the chapel and that it was the sound of screeching demons that had called a nearby constable to the house of worship.

Constance had no family left alive to go to, and Maggie had immediately offered her a place in the house when she had found out that the young woman no longer wished to be part of the Church.

Bessie had offered to share a room with her. Constance would not be the first victim of violence to come and stay under this roof and Bessie knew that most of them struggled to sleep alone. She would endure the nightmares that would undoubtedly come so that their new friend might get to sleep long enough to suffer those dreams.

“She’s so thin. Do you think the nuns fed her?” Violet asked Bessie who shrugged.

“I don’t know, maybe it is from being stabbed, but aren’t nuns meant to give up worldly things, maybe they give up most of their food too. I mean, having a foodgasm is probably considered a sin along with everything else fun.”

Edwina let out a giggle and got a bashful look on her face. “Foodgasm as a word is most likely sinful. Maggie says the funniest things.”

“If they knew what it meant they would most definitely consider it a sin; actually enjoying a foodgasm? Most definitely.”

The girls all giggled but hushed at a stern look from Maggie who was sitting on the couch with Constance. They could not hear what was being said but each girl had gone through a similar talk when they first came to live in the large and old house.

Bessie’s talk had been different she supposed, she was not coming here with no family to care for her, or being rescued from danger and tragedy. Her father had been a friend of Maggie’s, though perhaps ‘friend’ was the wrong word to describe him, he was not at all fond of Maggie. He had brought Bessie here a week before her thirteenth birthday, less than a month after her mother had passed to the sickness that had plagued the City that winter. He had business to attend to offshore and it was no place for a girl.

Maggie had taken her into the sitting room, as she did with Constance now, and she had explained the rules of the house. She had been kind and Bessie had not minded, she had idolised Maggie since she could remember first meeting her, just as her mother had.

Constance was coming into the house as a grown woman with all the knowledge of why she had come to live there. Bessie had believed she was holidaying there, not aware that she would still be living under the roof of the house over a decade later having seen her father perhaps a half dozen times in that time. Not that Bessie minded now, this was her home and she loved Maggie more than she ever had her estranged father.

The girls watched Maggie speak and Constance nod a lot. They were eager to get downstairs and meet the woman for themselves and to make her welcome. They shifted restlessly and shushed each other for even the slightest noise or creak of the stairs.

In due course, Maggie looked up at them again and nodded. At the signal, the three young women almost tripped over themselves trying to get down the stairs. They stopped at the bottom of the stairs and each composed themselves and straightened out their clothing. When they were ready Bessie led them into the sitting room.

“Constance, might I introduce the others who are living in the main house currently,” Maggie said and was nearly pushed over as the girls tried to crowd around Constance.

“I’m Bessie,” Bessie said, before thrusting out her hand.

Constance smiled shyly and took the hand. “It is nice to make your acquaintance.”

“She’s Violet and she’s Edwina.” Bessie pointed to her friends once she had her hand back. “And we’re all really happy to have you here.”

Edwina and Violet both waved and Constance awkwardly waved back.

“Pleased to meet you both, too. Thank you for allowing me to come and stay in your home.”

“Allowing? It does not work like that here.” Bessie shook her head. The girls had no choice in the matter, there was one truth about this house, anyone deserving who needed to stay here was always welcomed with open arms. The house had a way of making those who were not deserving feel unwelcome and they did not stay. “Come on, let us show you to your room, you’re going to share with me until you want a room all by yourself.”

“I think you’re about the same size as me,” Violet said once Bessie had helped Constance to her feet. “We can raid my wardrobe after you see your room.”

The four girls left the room without a backwards glance and Maggie walked out behind them watching them disappear up the stairs. She lifted a hand and clutched the green pendant at her chest, she smiled as she rubbed her thumb over the smooth stone.

“Yes, I think she is going to be just fine now that she’s home.”

Maggie turned and headed to the kitchen. Maggie was always right, she knew she would be about Constance. She also knew she was right to think that the girls would be back downstairs soon enough each eager for afternoon tea.

Although, one hardly needed to be all knowing to know the last part.


****





You ca see now why I had to take us back in Act 1 of our tale? It would hardly have made sense to see Constance settled in the home of Maggie Baker and follow the stories of the house when we had to come to know the sweet child while she lived in the Church and Gabby searched to destroy our innocent Father. But do not fear, I will not keep you here, we shall return to Miss Maggie’s house and our shy little mouse, Constance. She has found a new place, but what will she face alongside her new friends?

Well, we shall find out, once upon a storytime…



****




A Wizard Comes to Call


“Nice afternoon for a stroll, don’t you agree?”

Two young women were startled as the gentleman stepped out from behind the edge of the wall they were passing by, as they left the property to take their afternoon walk through Kensington Gardens. Constance let out a squeal and nearly knocked Bessie over as she jumped, it had been a little over a week and, understandably, she was still quite jumpy. Constance’s nails left little crescents marks in Bessie’s arm, but Bessie understood and did not yelp or make her feel bad.

Maggie rolled her eyes at the gentleman in question who wore a wide grin that reminded Bessie of a painting of a trickster she had once seen.

“You did that on purpose,” Maggie said accusingly to the man who was clearly no stranger to her. His grin was so charming and so wicked and Maggie’s smile seemed to match it.

“Would I do that, Dear Heart?”

“Would, could, and so often do,” Maggie retorted. Her tone was warm and it was clear that she was pleased to see the man.

“Who is he?” Constance whispered the question to Bessie. Bessie had been living with Maggie for twelve years so knew the most.

Bessie shrugged. “I think he visited us years ago but I do not know who he is or even recall much of that visit.”

“Oh.”

The girls fell silent to eavesdrop more.

“You’ve been gone longer than you said.”

“I had much to deal with and the trip to the old colonies is quite ghastly.”

“And you do tend to get seasick like a grumpy old man.”

“Maybe he is a wizard,” Constance whispered to Bessie. “I read that wizards cannot cross water without being sick. Or was it vampires?”

“Shhhh.” Bessie glared at her and she mimicked sewing her lips closed. Constance mimicked the motion.

“Easy there with throwing around the word old, Dearheart.”

“I have missed being called by such a sweet term of endearment, old man.” Maggie’s smile had grown as they bantered.

“Was that all you missed?”

Maggie glanced at the two girls before responding to the gentleman with a wink. “Perhaps we can discuss it after supper?”

“We do not mind.” Bessie piped up and let out a little giggle. She was very amused by this; she could not recall seeing Maggie so flirty, not even their resident Detective Inspector in the second flat could get her to flirt this way. Bessie found that hard to understand given how handsome he was.


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-6 show above.)