Set during The Spook’s Battle/Attack of the Fiend
Tom could hear his heartbeat, pounding away as he stumbled to the door, trying with what little strength he had left to close the door. For he had run from not just a witch assassin, or from a coven of witches, but he had run from the fiend himself. The king of liars, the ultimate known creature of the dark, and it was on the other side of the wooden door Tom had slammed shut.
Howling & snarling deafened the very air, while Tom could sense a looking dread against the door, as though the very weight of it was coming down on him. He shook his head, swaying off the tiredness as he reminded himself who was outside that door. Although Tom started to slack at holding the door, the tiredness catching up on him as he yawned.
Again he shook his head, rubbing his eyes to force himself to stay awake. Yet he was quickly reminded of how exhausted he was, how close to starving he had become. Which is when he contemplated on the piece of cheese he had stored away.
The bite of sweet dairy was all he allowed himself, for the words of his master rang after the first bite. Spooks worked better on empty stomachs, but even a spook needs their strength. Tom hastily returned the cheese to his pocket, avoiding the temptation of his grumbling belly.
With all of a sudden, Tom faced a new temptation, for the hallowing noise and foreboding dread was gone. He sniffed the keyhole, he could not smell anything of the dark, nor with a glimpse could he see anything through the keyhole. It was then that Tom stopped leaning on the door, and the world was silent except for the fast beating of his own breathing.
Tom knew that as long as the door was shut, he’d be fine, but had the fiend & Grimmalkin gone? Had the coven given up & chosen to go after his master? Or worse he thought, his brothers & their families?
Sweat began to drizzle down him, as he questioned how long had it been. For all he knew, time had stood still or hours could’ve passed without his knowledge. Every second he waited meant the worse could be unfolding for the ones he loved.
Alice’s voice in his mind, warned him to stay, to not open the door, to not give in to his curiosity. Yet he had his hand on the door, straining with what strength he had left to choose between opening it, or keeping it shut. With one choice, Tom Ward’s fate would be forever changed.
For Tom foolishly chose to open the door, instead of using what strength he had left to keep it shut. It was over in an instant & for Tom it was painless, for the fiend had taken Tom’s head & thus, also taking his life with the same stroke. Tom Ward, the final apprentice of John Gregory, had fallen victim to the most heinous creature of the dark, & his own curiosity.
The fiend could now free himself from the Malkin coven, as the contract that bonded him was fulfilled, as he disappeared leaving not a trace of his presence. Already he was scheming of his own plans into motion, for the county now laid defenceless with an aged old spook with no apprentice to take his place. So the fiend grinned to himself, he had all the time he wanted to rule the county.
Grimalkin, still trapped to the tree, wondered what if the spook boy had lived? Would he have been a truly worthy rival? An equal in combat? For no other had ever escaped her clutches, except for Tom Ward. She soon put it out of her mind, for whatever unusual spook power he had, had also died with him.
Tom’s choice had cost the county not just the art and practice of fighting the dark with spooks, but it had resulted in the malkin coven remaining strong & the fiend freely to spread misery.
Without Tom, John Gregory would soon fall to the dark without the aid of his apprentice. The Fiend would sweep across the county & then dozens if not hundreds of people would also suffer too. With all of those closest to Tom, to be the first for the fiend to enjoy torturing.