Oathbreaker

If you have a moment, please have a read of my latest novel.  It’s currently available to read for free via Wattpad…Click the book cover below for the link…Thank you so much for your support ♥

~ Oathbreaker is now available to read in full on Wattpad ~

Longlisted for The Wattys 2018 – 31 August 2018
* * * Shortlisted for The Wattys 2018 – 14 September 2018 * * *

Summary

Eleri, priestess of the Green Lady, has waited for so long to marry her tribe’s champion, Celyn. Finally, the date is set for Midsummer’s Eve, when the tribes have gathered in the valley to celebrate the longest day at the stone circle perched up on the hill. But nothing is as it seems…

A glimpse of a bird circling over the stones foretells of doom…and maybe even death.

An oath is made. An oath is broken. And Eleri’s life changes forever…

*

Oathbreaker is a story inspired by ancient history, mythology, and the landscape. Set in the Iron Age, where there is no distinction between history and mythology, and where magic is as real as the ground beneath your feet, Oathbreaker charts the journey of Eleri, Priestess of the Green Lady, and the unusual quest she finds herself forced to make…

If you enjoy historical fiction, myths and legends, fantasy, adventure and romance, you might enjoy this too…

Pete Lovelock, Demon Detective

the silence remains

Work had been a little slow that month.  Perhaps the world was getting back to normal.  Perhaps it was the quiet before the storm.

All I knew was that I needed to keep myself occupied in my office.  Make it look like someone was working within.  Ready and waiting should a client appear.  That’s what I kept telling myself for two and half weeks.

The accounts were up-to-date.  Case files were completed and my desk cleared.  Hell, I even swept the floor – and then mopped it.

I was starting to give up that Wednesday morning.  There was only so much office-based work I could cope with.  I was made to be outside, taking the fight to evil-doers, not cleaning and shuffling papers.  But the monsters of the world had gone quiet and my services were apparently not in demand.

That’s when the phone rang.  For a moment, I just stared at it.  Then, I grabbed it before it rang off.

“Hello?”

“Hi…er…” The woman’s voice on the other end of the line sounded nervous, unsure.

“Who you looking for, ma’am?”

“Umm…Pete Lovelock.  I was given this number by Tara in the crystal shop in town.  She said he could help.”

“Help with what?”

“Have I got the right number?  Who am I speaking to?”  She sounded guarded, worried.

“I’m Lovelock.  Now tell me, why might you think I can help you?”

“There’s something going on in my basement.  I hear noises.  Voices.  I went down there this morning and…I found…I’m not sure how I can say this without sounding crazy, but you’ve got to believe me.  I saw it!”

I was now perched on the edge of my seat, trying to keep the excitement out of my voice.  “What did you see, ma’am?”

“It had teeth and claws and…and…wings.  And it said, ‘They are coming,’ over and over.  It’s locked in my basement, but it keeps banging on the door, screaming about the horrors that await us all.  What am I going to do when it gets out?”

All the emotion had drained out of the woman’s voice.  I guessed she was going into shock.  I managed to get her name and address out of her before she clammed up completely.  Then I grabbed my jacket and my bag of tricks, and left the office, a smile plastered across my face, a tune on my lips.

I was back in business.


This was written for Day 4 of “A Month of Mini Writing Challenges“.  See this page here for more details and a list of prompts.

Dreaming of the Depths

The Mermaid by John William Waterhouse (photo credit - wikipedia)

The Mermaid by John William Waterhouse (photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew I was safe as long as I kept one foot in the water and the other on the shore.

My dreams had told me as much.

But should I stray, either way, destiny would claim me.

Two feet on the land and the sea would reject me for good.

Both feet in the water and the waves would pull me under, my legs transforming into shimmering scales.

There would be no undoing, no going back.

But my dreams had told me a lot more. Of how the world beneath the waves sparkled in the light of sun, moon and stars.  Of how the folk of the sea possessed healing magic…but they were despised by all and thought omens of ill-luck…hated and hunted…

I had the blood of the merfolk in my veins.  Was I gifted or cursed?  It didn’t matter.  All I knew was that I had reached the age when the magic had awoken within me.  Now that it had stirred, it could not be silenced.

And soon I would have to decide…I couldn’t walk the shore forever, being of both but belonging to neither…

Excavating the Archives: A Midsummer Mischief

mitchells foldI walked around the stones that were sticking out of the ground like monstrous teeth.  No one else was about.  Not many people knew this place existed; if they did once, they seem to have forgotten it now.  I was alone as I explored the standing stones in the darkness.

It was Midsummer’s Eve, and the moon above was full and bright, bathing both stone and grass in silver light.  As I looked about, I wondered why I came.  It wasn’t to celebrate the solstice or anything like that; I was neither druid nor witch.  I wasn’t a pagan.

Nevertheless, I was here, though I had no reason to be.

I went and sat on the horizontal stone in the centre of the circle.  It looked like it had fallen over eons ago; patches of lichen dappled its surface, the moonlight making it stand out, luminous in the dark.

The air was warm; I wondered if it would rain.  Of course, I would have gone home by then.  I wasn’t planning on staying long, just long enough to…to what?  Perplexed, I wrinkled my brow and rubbed my temples.  At any rate, I would be home before it rained.  I wouldn’t be here much longer.  A few more minutes, and then I would be on my way…

I awoke to the sound of laughter.  As I opened my eyes, something darted between the menhirs in front of me.  I scrambled backwards in fright, only to fall heavily on to the damp grass beside my stone bed.

How I had managed to fall asleep, out here, on an ancient slab of stone, I couldn’t begin to understand.  My mind was dizzy with confusion.

Slowly, I peered up over the edge of the fallen stone at the centre of the circle, and looked about.  I saw nothing.

‘Of course,’ I said to myself, ‘I had imagined it.  Waking up in a strange, unfamiliar place will do that to you.’  I shook my head.  Why was I being so silly when I was usually so sensible?

I quietly laughed at myself in embarrassment.  Didn’t I feel foolish, sitting there on the grass, hiding from some imaginary creature behind a huge lump of stone.  I rolled on to my knees, stiff from sleeping on the hard slab of granite, and made to stand when –

‘Ow!’ I exclaimed, rubbing the back of my head furiously.  A small stone lay on the ground by my feet.

Again I looked about, but saw nothing.  But I heard them, giggling in delicate, high-pitched voices.

‘Excuse me!’ I called out, trying to get their attention.  The laughing suddenly stopped.  ‘Excuse me!’ I called again, only louder this time.

But the stone circle remained silent.  I waited for a few moments, wondering what to do.  Then I marched over to the standing stone from which I guessed the last lot of laughing came.  Just as I reached it, two flashes of sparkly light whooshed past me.

I spun round to see where they went, amazed by what I was seeing.  ‘Come back here!’ I shouted, rather belatedly, but they paid me no heed as they vanished behind one of the stones on the opposite side of the circle.  I tried following them, but when I got too close, they fled to a different stone, laughing as they went.

Eventually, exhausted, I sat back down on the central stone to get my breath back.  What was going on?  My head was spinning as I tried to get a handle on the situation.  The lights flitted past me again, moving back and forth, each time daring to come a little closer to me.  I was starting to feel quite annoyed, but an idea was beginning to form in my mind.

I took off my cardigan, and judging my aim carefully, I threw it, stopping one of the creatures as they moved across the circle.  The other one continued on, leaving the other one to struggle beneath the weight of the garment, huffing and puffing as it did so.

I approached warily.  When I was close enough, I gathered up the edges of the fabric and scooped the creature up.  I had to hold it at arms length, because it was angrily punching and kicking to try and break free.

‘Stop that at once!’ I said, in the most forceful, school-teacher voice I could muster.

‘Let me out!  Let me out!’ the voice cried from within.

‘No, I won’t.  You threw a stone at my head!’ I exclaimed, cross.  ‘Now.  Where is the other one?’  I said, turning round in a circle slowly.  ‘Why don’t you come over here so we can have a little chat?’

‘No, don’t do it!  Don’t do it!’ the voice from inside the cardigan shouted.

‘Be quiet!’ I snapped.  ‘I am not going to hurt either of you.  I am nice and kind and gentle, and nothing like you two, who were more than happy to throw a sharp stone at the back of my head and laugh about it, knowing that you had hurt me.’

The bundle went limp.  The circle was very quiet.  I let the stillness continue for a few minutes longer, before simply saying, ‘I just want to know what is going on.’

‘Will you let my brother go?’ a quiet voice whispered from behind the central stone.  I could see the sparkly light coming from the other creature as it peered around its side.

‘Of course, I will.  But first tell me what is going on.’

‘How do I know I can trust you?’ came the little voice.

‘I give you my word.’

‘How about you let my brother go and then we tell you?’

‘How do I know that you both won’t just disappear into the ether?’

‘You don’t trust us any more than we trust you, it seems.’

‘You threw a stone at my head – I have every right not to trust you.  Now start explaining.’

‘It’s Midsummer’s Eve.’

‘I know.’

‘Then why ask.’

‘I asked for an explanation.  That wasn’t one.’

‘Yes it was.  It’s Midsummer’s Eve.’

‘And?  There must be more to say.’

‘We’re fairies.  It’s Midsummer’s Eve.  There isn’t anything more to say.’

‘Fairies!’ I exclaimed, feeling even more confused.

‘Yes, fairies.  Haven’t you ever seen a fairy before?’

‘Of course, I haven’t,’ I snapped before taking a big deep breath in steady myself.  Fairies.  Fairies.

All of a sudden there was a flash of light.  I fell to the floor, dropping my cardigan and what it contained.  Instinctively, my hands flew in front of my face, to protect my eyes from the brightness.

When I opened them again, I was all alone and the stone circle was silent.  Gingerly touching the back of my head, I felt a rather large bump forming.

Something had happened to me that night at the small stone circle, though I wasn’t sure exactly what.  After all, I had taken a knock to the head, and the only explanation I had for it was the mischief of fairies.  Who was going to believe that?

The Storm (accompanied by random photos)

after the storm

The letterbox clatters, a gong sounding in the early morning hush.  Now broken.

Rain falls, pulsating in waves, dancing along the street to its own mixed tempo rhythm.

Fences rattle and sway, daring the wind to try harder.

Tree limbs thrash and snap, an angry whip cracking, tapping and tickling windows, bending one way then another, under the influence of this swirling mass of Mother Nature’s energy.

The air carries a song; its timbre is quiet one moment, building to an apocalyptic crescendo the next.

Verses come and go, and in the silence between, we wait…

after the storm 1


About the random photos: They were taken this afternoon, after the weather here had settled down after Storm Katie.

Excavating the Archives: In the Cave

This piece was written in 2012 and posted on an old blog, before I first posted it on this one in 2014.  To view the original post, you can click here.


paleolithic flash fiction

We had gathered outside the cave entrance, waiting since sunset, as per the orders of the clan-elders.  It was dark save for a few torches lit either side of the opening.

And here we were, waiting…for what?  No-one seemed to be sure.  Everyone was talking in whispers; the air of anticipation surrounded us.

As if pre-arranged, the crowd fell silent.  A distant drumming could be heard; although we couldn’t see anything, we all knew it came from inside the cave.

Moments passed and nothing happened.  Everyone was watching the entrance to the cave intently.

A noise from behind us had the crowd turning to face the other way, as one.  Before us, we could see our holy man, dressed in the skin and antlers of a stag, his usual awe-inspiring ritual garb.

‘Follow,’ he said, pushing his way through the crowd, heading towards the entrance.  ‘This night we speak to the children who come after us.’

Very hushed mutterings went up from those gathered, but one look from our holy man and it stopped.  He entered the cave taking with him one of the torches, and the crowd followed behind him in a long line.

We did not have far to go.  The line slowed, only creeping forward.  My heart beat in time with the rhythm of the drum which sounded louder now, but I still could not see anything.

When I was finally at the head of the line, those in front of me now gone, I was allowed into the small side cave.  The stone room was lit by torches that threw shadows around the wall and illuminated a painting that made my jaw drop.

‘Dip your hand in the dish, and press it to the wall,’ the holy man encouraged.  ‘Don’t be afraid. Go leave your message.’

I did as I was asked and as I removed my hand, a question came to me.

‘What does it say?’ I asked the holy man.

‘Do not worry, for those that come after will understand it.’

Summoning Love – A Story for Valentine’s Day

Summoning Love cover
Summoning Love is the name of a short story I wrote for Valentine’s Day last year, and because I have been blessed with an increase in follows since last February I thought I would repost it this year.

So, what is Summoning Love about?  This is the description I posted on Wattpad:

Emma was always alone on Valentine’s Day.  Would this one be any different?

To read this short, please visit the original post, here.  Or read on Wattpad, here.

If you do decide to read it, please let me know what you think.  I’ve had a number of people say that they would like to see how the story develops and that it shouldn’t end where I stopped writing.  If you agree, again, please let me know.  If enough people are interested in a longer story, I do have a few ideas of where I could take it.  Otherwise I will just leave it as it is.  Should the consensus be in favour of extending it, as a thank you for offering feedback, I will dedicate the story to everyone who gets in touch, and might even offer it to these readers first.

On a side note, if I was to add to the story, I do think a new front cover is in order.  I made this one in a rush last year, and I’m afraid it shows…

Pandora Reborn

pandora reborn

The sky was empty.  No moon or stars.  Just black clouds and the darkness.  It was as if the world had been swallowed by the underworld.  There was nothing.

And then the thunder came.  The clouds crashed together and lightning in blue and white ripped open the sky.

It was such a scene as this that announced their arrival.  They had come, as had been prophesied, had we but known it, but the language lay unknown and undecipherable.

Their purpose was to bring terror and death to the living.  The portal to hell had been opened, all because I had uttered the words I had read in that book.  Words that none living should have been able to read, but for some reason, I could.  With an inflated sense of importance and excited by this discovery, I rushed ahead foolishly, without caution.

If only I had known what would happen if anyone was to give voice to that particular enchantment in the grimoire.  It was the first and only one I had seen.  The first and only one I had read…but there was no undoing it now.  I was Pandora reborn, and if any should survive this, they would curse my name as they had surely cursed hers.

I had brought the entire world to ruin…

The Lady of the Altar

I loved my altar.  It was nestled away in the corner of my room, but it was never far from my thoughts.  It was dedicated to The Lady, who I also loved, but more than that, it was a physical representation of who I was.  Elaine.  Witch.  Priestess.  Sorceress.  Diviner of fortunes.  Caster of spells.  Weaver of charms.  Daughter of The Lady.

It was constructed out of an old wooden chest, in which I stored all my ritual paraphernalia; my robe and cloak, charm bags, tarot decks, crystal ball, runes, dried herbs, magical oils, bell and drum.  The top was covered with a brightly coloured cloth and decorated with flowers.  On top of that I had numerous candles, each with their own unique purpose, as well as stones, crystals, feathers and incense.  In the centre was a chalice of water next to which was a small dish of salt.

The main point of focus though was a tattered postcard which I had framed, showing a stone statue of a woman, grey in colour but stained with age in places.  However, her robes were still clearly defined, as was her expression of “knowing”.  Her long wavy tresses cascaded from beneath her hood down to her waist.  Her face was youthful and a hint of a smile played on her lips, though her eyes betrayed her true age and strength.  She was standing in what looked to be a forest, making her appear shrouded in a blanket of varying shades of green.

...in the dark that there is always light...

…in the dark there is always light…

This is how I envisaged The Lady.  Queen of nature, timeless, enduring, possessing power beyond my comprehension.   She was the Mistress of the Mysteries, Keeper of Wisdom, Bearer of Secrets, the ultimate wielder of the earth’s magic.  The Lady commanded the elements.  Air, Fire, Water and Earth did her bidding, and the Moon and Stars which were her symbols, served as a reminder that in the dark there is always light.  Always.

It was to The Lady that I dedicated my altar, my practice, my magic, myself.  I was Elaine, Priestess of the Lady, honoured by her ceaseless blessings, and her servant for all time.

Summoning Love – A Paranormal Romance for Valentine’s Day

I have posted a new story on Wattpad for Valentine’s Day…Summoning Love – A Paranormal Romance with a Twist.  

I hope you enjoy reading it.  Please feel free to leave me any comments or feedback 🙂

Scroll down to begin reading.  To read it on Wattpad, click the link below:

Summoning Love by Sammi Cox

Summoning Love cover

Emma was always alone on Valentine’s day.  Always.  No matter whether or not she had been in a relationship at any other time of the year, come the first week of February, the end was in sight, and had in fact arrived no later than the middle of the second.

As she sat on her own on the night of the most romantic day of the year, bemoaning the loss of another boyfriend for reasons she did not quite understand, she looked over the items she had bought before the demise of her relationship.  Just to torture herself.

For once she thought that this year might have been different.  Things had been going so well.  So, she had gone out and spent her money, buying chocolates and candles, a couple of bottles of wine, one of those Valentine meal-deals that all the supermarkets seemed to be peddling these days, some aftershave and the new book he had mentioned he wanted.

Tears began to cascade down Emma’s cheek.  She was sure he had been the one.  But she had been wrong again.  Emma was now in her mid-thirties and felt that time was running out in her quest for love.  Soon, she contemplated, she would be too old and life would have passed her by completely.  She shook her head and her light brown hair bobbed in front of her red-rimmed brown eyes.

‘What is wrong with me?’ she asked her reflection in the glass of the kitchen cabinet.  No answer was offered up from the short, slim woman who looked back at her.

Opening one of the bottles of red wine, she filled a large wine glass and went to sit in front of the TV.  She quickly drained one glass, before she was again in the kitchen refilling it.  Surprisingly, for Emma hardly ever drunk alcohol, the bottle was empty before she realised.

Even more surprising, when she did realise that the wine had all gone, all she could do was giggle.  And she giggled, and she giggled, and she giggled.  It felt good to laugh, she noticed.  All the morose thoughts that had consumed her over the past few days slowly disappeared into the ether.

Laughing at herself for getting so upset over the wretch who could not really have deserved her anyway, she looked again over her Valentine purchases.

Where the inspiration came from, she did not know, but soon she found herself laying the table in the dining room with her best crockery and cutlery, setting two places as she did so.  She returned to the kitchen, removing a vase of flowers from the windowsill and put it on the table, and in between the two place-settings she positioned a couple of candles.  On to the plates she sat two heart-shaped chocolates that were wrapped in gold foil.

Then she returned to the kitchen to take care of dinner.  The starter was simple: goats cheese and tomoto tarts.  The main was a Mediterranean pasta bake, served with salad and a herb flatbread, whilst the dessert was a decadent-looking crème brûlée.

Before long, she was back in the dining room adding a few finishing touches to the room.  With romantic music playing in the background and soft candlelight gently illuminating the room, Emma finally came to her senses.  As she looked about the scene she had created, it dawned on her just how alone she was.

‘What possessed me to do it?’ she wondered out loud, before the tears started to fall again.  ‘What a stupid thing to do!’ she exclaimed.  ‘Do I have to be alone every Valentine’s Day?  Why can’t I, for once, just have someone to share it with?  I wish that, for once, I could just have someone, anyone, to share Valentine’s Day with!’ and as she sobbed, she blew out one of the candles.

An uncomfortable cough that didn’t come from her, stopped Emma mid-sob.  Had she really heard anything?

‘Might I be of assistance?’ a deep, kind voice, as real as her own, had asked.  Emma thought her heart might stop.  She had not heard anyone enter the house, she mused, but then she had already consumed an entire bottle of wine on her own.

Quickly, she scanned the room but saw nothing.

A figment of my imagination, she said to herself, sighing with relief.  That’s all.

‘You’re wrong there,’ the voice said again.

Emma looked over towards the doorway where slowly, materialising before her very eyes, was the ghost of a man.  He was tall and athletic, dressed smartly in a black dinner jacket and white shirt, looking no more than about forty.

In alarm, unable to comprehend what was going on, she fell off her chair and crawled under the table.  That, naturally, didn’t help matters.  It only served to make her feel even more silly that she already did.

‘Hello?’ the ghost man said, lifting up the corner of the tablecloth in an attempt to see where Emma had gone.  ‘I say, are you all right under there?’

Emma now thoroughly lamented the amount of wine she had drunk.

‘It doesn’t have anything to do with the drink,’ the voice explained, patiently.  ‘Though you probably shouldn’t have had so much.  It won’t do you any good in the end, you know.’

‘I don’t usually drink,’ Emma retorted sharply, before realising that she shouldn’t be talking to the figment of her imagination because that was what crazy people did.

‘As I said a moment ago, I’m not a figment of your imagination.  Now please will you come out and sit at the table.  It takes rather a lot of effort for me to hold up the tablecloth.’

Emma feeling extraordinarily stupid, crawled out from under the table, trying to avoid looking at her unexpected, univited arrival.

‘Actually I was invited.  In fact, the proper term is “summoned”.’

Emma couldn’t help herself.  ‘Who “summoned” you?’

‘You did.’

‘No I didn’t.’

‘Yes you did.’

‘When?’

‘A few moments ago.’  Emma could hear in his voice that his patience was fading.

‘I was crying,’ Emma shouted defensively, not claiming any responsibility for what was going on.

‘Yes, we all heard that,’ the ghost replied sounding quite amused.  ‘Then you said, “I wish” for such and such and blew out the candle.  You cast a summoning spell.’

‘It wasn’t intentional.’  She sat down on her chair feeling bemused, as well as a little tipsy.

‘And yet here I am.’

‘Well…you can go away again…back to wherever you came from.  I didn’t mean to invite you…summon you…whatever.  There has been some kind of misunderstanding.  Go away.’ Emma made a shooing motion.

‘It doesn’t really work like that.’

‘Why not?’ she demanded.

‘I don’t know why not,’ the ghost stammered, exasperated.  ‘It just doesn’t.  Look, missy.  I was trying to do you a favour.  You didn’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day.  I had nothing else to do.  I was trying to help.’

‘You’re a ghost!  How can that be helping?’

‘All you said was that you wished that you had someone to share Valentine’s Day with this year.  You did not stipulate whether they had to be living or dead.’

Emma’s head fell into her hands and she sighed.  After a moment of trying concentrate on what appeared to be happening, she looked up hoping to see that he had gone.

‘Still here,’ he chirped, sounding cheerful again and smiling.

‘Are you sure you can’t leave?’ Emma asked, sounding rather desperate.

‘If this is how you treat people on Valentine’s Day, is it no wonder you’re always alone?’

Emma’s jaw dropped at his frankness.

‘Now, my dear.  What fine fare have you cooked for us this evening?’  The ghost took his seat opposite Emma and smiled.  ‘Come on.  Some company must be better than being all by yourself, surely?’  He paused, before concluding with, ‘I’m here now.  Might as well make the best of it.’

Of course, Emma realised that he was right.  For once on Valentine’s Day at least she wouldn’t be alone.  ‘If you’re staying, you might as well introduce yourself properly,’ Emma said, dusting herself down and rearranging her hair after her little spell on the floor.

‘The name’s Theodore Jackson,’ the man said, offering his outstretched arm across the table.  As Emma shook it, he leaned over and ever so gently kissed the top of her hand.  ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you,’ he said.