Witching Fire/C1 Chapter 1: Arrival
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Witching Fire/C1 Chapter 1: Arrival
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C1 Chapter 1: Arrival

I feel her suspicious looks, hear their whispers behind my back. I’m pretending I don’t notice any of this. I stare inexpressiveness to the horizon, where the fog envelops a port city in uncertainty.

The ship moves slowly up and down as I stand at the rail and support myself with my forearms.

My parents and sister don’t trust me anymore. Our relationship was never really good, but I know this time it’s different. They blame me for having to leave our home behind; people had become aware of my dark secrets.

What they don’t know yet: I’m just getting started. The inconspicuous Salem will soon be the scene of a world-changing shift. Soon everyone will be talking about Salem; I will go down in history.

Slowly but steadily our ship approaches the city, which I would soon call my home. Divitis Indiae usque ad ultimum sinum.

Soon Salem will be called the “Witch City”.

My family's taking on a new name. I see desperation in my father’s eyes, but I hardly care. Who cares about that? I’ve never cared about my reputation. Elizabeth Willows – I let the new identity melt in my mouth.

Yes, the time has finally come: Elisabeth Winterberg no longer exists. This trip is a new beginning in many ways.

Thanks to the charm of my family – especially thanks to the poster child aka my sister: Mary Willows, formerly Maria Winterberg – we fight our way back to wealth and prestige.

I couldn’t care less if not for the fact she drove us right into the arms of Wilbur Stoughton. A dream of a man. And what I didn’t know then: my doom.

His appearance was one thing – thick, brown hair paired with those blue eyes that seem to look right into your soul. Not to mention that mischievous smile on his otherwise often serious-looking face. But what really excites me and makes him a ‘dream man’ for me – Elizabeth Willows – is his character. Strong, authoritarian, and a no-nonsense attitude, as it was called here in America.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s going to be my undoing.

Months are passing and Wilbur and I are getting closer. Although he has little time, as he is politically engaged in the city council and wants to become a magistrate.

He is firmly convinced that he represents New England’s true interests and is a strict believer. But my sister also has an eye on him. When he learns more about me and my dark arts, he isolates himself more and more from me. And of course, you can imagine who Wilbur would choose in the end.

“Elizabeth, you are my sister. I beg you! If you care so much about Wilbur, I won’t see him anymore,” Mary promises me. Tears glisten in her eyes.

“Oh? You’re giving him to me? How generous of you, dear sister,” I say. “He has made it clear that he has no interest in me.”

Mary sighs and looks at me with sad eyes. “He likes you. He just doesn’t think much of the things you do. And to be honest, neither do I!”

“You’re actually stabbing me in the back,” I mumble.

“Elizabeth, please listen to me. You know how many times you have endangered us with your occultism.”

But listening to her is the last thing I want right now. She betrayed me just like everyone else. If I can’t have him, nobody should.

In the summer Wilbur marries another woman – not me or Mary. This irony almost makes me laugh. Jeaniene Stoughton, née Watson, is blonde and blue-eyed in more ways than one. It’s almost an insult that he’s marrying her. As punishment for his betrayal, I put a curse on his lover.

I want her to suffer as much as I do, and he’ll hate her as much as he hates me. So much he’ll kill her one day.

After a few years, the two give birth to two children. First a boy who would one day grow into the stately Cornelius Stoughton. And then a girl named Emily. I’m sure she’s just like me: She’s a witch.

Oh, this will be very interesting in the next few years!

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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