By Ralph E. Horner
Paranormal Gothic Time-Travel, 282 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Joe Hillery meets Diehla Thorne, the ghost of a witch who’s curse has haunted his family for three-hundred years. On a life and death wager, she sends Joe back to her time of 1680 New Hampshire. There he has only two days to find a person brave enough to touch the ring on the living witch’s finger.
The young woman’s black, flowing hair contrasted with her ivory complexion. Joe thought she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. She reminded him of a Siamese cat, as her most alluring feature was her black, piercing, almond shaped eyes. Her nose gradually sloped down from her narrow face then turned up at the tip. This was not Diehla.
Her large bewitching eyes held him as she spoke. “Who are ye, and what d’ye want here?”
Joe had his story set. He didn’t want to admit he was traveling with a Puritan, but the way Abigail was dressed he had no choice. “I'm Joseph Hill and this is Abigail Jennings, the blacksmith's daughter. We're here to see Diehla.”
The tall woman glared at them as if they were both crazy. “Why d’ye seek Diehla?”
What could he say that would be believable? The trees that surrounded them were silent—no breeze stirred their leaves, as if the trees themselves were holding their breath waiting for his answer.
“I met her last year at a fair. She told me to visit her when I was in her area.”
“I ask thee again, why d’ye seek her?” The woman seemed angry.
Joe cast a sideways glance at his companion. “Abigail and I want to learn magic from her.”
Abigail forced a smile. “I have never met her, but I would be honored to join her coven.”
The dark woman glanced at Abigail and then Joe. “Thou say thou have met Diehla?”
“Yes.” Joe nodded and gulped, shoving his hands into his pockets.
The raven-haired woman stepped aside to let them pass into the house. She followed them in, then closed the heavy wooden door behind them. “Come this way.”
Abigail grasped Joe's arm as they followed the robed woman down the dark, gloomy hallway. She turned right into a candle-lit room with a wooden table near the wall to the left. Four large chairs stood in a half circle in front of the fire place. In between, a black cat lay on a throw rug.
The young woman paused with her hand on the back of one the chairs. She turned to face them. “What d'ye want with Diehla?”
Joe trembled. “We told you, we both want to join this coven. Is Diehla home?” Joe raised his palms in frustration. “Is she here?”
“Thou art witch hunters?”
Joe knew Abigail’s Puritan garb wasn’t helping his story. “We are not witch hunters!”
The young woman slowly reached into a robe pocket and pulled out a long knife. “If thou art witch hunters, ye shall succumb.”
Joe felt cold as Abigail gasped. They both took a step back. “What do you mean?” Joe’s heart hammered.
“Art thou daft?” She glared at him. “Thou shan't leave this house alive.”