This is a collection of five stories from the County which feature malevolent witches.
Meet ‘Dirty Dora’, a dead witch who is slowly losing her memory; she remembers how she dies however and also her dark quest for revenge. Read ‘Grimalkins’ account of how she became the enemy of the Fiend and fought to become the witch assassin of her clan. Follow the struggle that Tom Ward and Bill Arkwright face in dealing with a Celtic witch who worships The Morrigan, the goddess of slaughter.
Read John Gregory’s full account of his dealings with his beloved Meg and her blood-drinking feral sister, Marcia. Finally, listen to the words of Alice Deane as she narrates her struggle to survive the first week of being trained in witchcraft by Bony Lizzie. And meet Lizzie’s familiar, the brain-guzzler!
They took us out into the yard at first light. It was a miserable morning with heavy drizzle falling out of grey sky. I remember there were three seagulls on a nearby roof – one for each witch about to die. But then my spirits lifted because I saw what awaited us in the far corner of the castle yard. It wasn’t a fire. It was a gallows. They were going to hang us. That meant I’d be able to come back…
Old Spig was about the size of a small rabbit but he was almost all head and an uglier one I’d never seen. Apart from his face it was covered with green scales. He had a hooked nose and pointy ears with a very wide mouth which he never closed properly and his teeth were very long and thin – more like needles really. Apart from a scaly body not much bigger than a large potato, the rest of him was just legs. Triple jointed, they were. Four of them had sharp talons but the fifth was really strange: it was like a long thin strip of bone but one edge was like the teeth of a wood saw. “You won’t last long in this house if you speak to me like that!” he warned, his voice almost a growl now. “And as for telling Lizzie you’d be just wasting your time. We’re close and snug; just like brother and sister. And if she ever needed to choose between you and me, you’d be the one whose bones would be going into the pot.! But you’re new and still wet behind the ears so I’ll give you just one more chance. But ever behave like that again and you are dead – make no mistake about it!”
I really enjoyed writing this collection of witch stories. I started them in England and completed the collection in New Zealand in April 2009. The last story was originally going to be the spook’s first attempt to bind the Fiend. But Charlie Sheppard, my editor, thought it was too much like a section from a novel. She was right so I tried again completing the ‘Alice’ story in about ten days. It’s my favourite and once again it shows how useful editors are; they prod you until you do something better.