Hallo hallo. I’m back again to give you another excerpt of Witch’s Blood. This is the first real fight against the witch, when they bring in a witch hunter to try to take her out. They try to lure her into ancient killing grounds where the hunter has killed witches before. It doesn’t quite go according to plan though (what kind of plot would there be if it did, after all?). I hope you enjoy the teaser and with any luck, I’ll be back again this weekend with some very good news!
It was a good ten minutes of silence before we heard a screeching, trembling cry and a heavy crashing from behind us. I stood straight, expectant, and saw that awful beast from my nightmares come galloping through the trees.
The witch apparently wasn’t as weak as we all thought. In her full beast form, she charged full-speed towards us, the pounding of her hooves shaking the ground and her hot, agitated breath steaming in great gusts in the air. And there, hard to spot as they wove between tree trunks and crashed through snow banks, were Hang and Thatcher, fleeing the witch’s deadly pursuit as fast as they possibly could.
Even Reyon reacted to this. He spun and staggered back towards the central rock as the hunter rolled his shoulders and took his bow in hand. Waiting till the witch was in range, he began shooting arrow after arrow at her. She was oblivious to the pain, though, as arrows pierced her flesh. The hunter even landed one right through the front of her skull and she didn’t even blink. I stood terrified and breathless as I watched this unstoppable abomination come careening towards me.
But the only thing that actually hit me was Hang. Practically diving into me, he shoved me to the side, out of the way, as Thatcher led the witch into the circle before leaping to the side. Me and Hang fell in the snow as the witch took her first steps across the killing ground’s perimeter.
The effects were instantaneous.
As if she’d just run through a wall of flames, the witch reared back and started screaming, writhing as if trying to remove an enormous pain. Her hind legs went weak, just like when Reyon had cut into her spine. She flailed with her front hooves, digging at the snow and even down into the dirt with one pair of arms. Hang pulled me up and we watched the disturbing struggle unfold.
The hunter didn’t wait long to strike. Dropping the bow, he got out the hatchet and fearlessly approached the witch, dodging her flailing limbs and ducking in to chop at her legs, severing tendons and destroying joints. One of her clawed hands swiped very close to his cheek but he didn’t flinch. He worked quickly and then ducked back out, trading the hatchet for a longer sword. He sized up the witch, looking to dart in when her guard was down, but then she suddenly stopped struggling and lurched towards the ground.
I watched with a growing sense of nausea rising in my throat. Oh gods. She was changing. And not into her human form. No, she was changing again, into something even worse.
Her body rippled, the flesh twisting and bulging sickly as bovine and ursine fur hardened into thousands of narrow spines and her bull torso lengthened and rounded into a serpent’s tail. Her arms lost their bulk so that jagged bones stuck out from bumpy flesh. The snakes around her face retracted into spider-like mandibles, but her eyes, those pale blue eyes like a soft summer sky, they stayed ever the same.
Slithering forwards on her serpent tail, she approached Reyon.
Both he and the witch hunter stood dumbstruck, unable to believe what had happened. I didn’t know much about witches, not any more than the average person, but I knew they weren’t supposed to change twice. They had their human form, and they had their beast form. Their one beast form. The fact that she had two—that was very, very bad news.
Dun dun dunnnnn! See you all soon, take care ;)