The waves rolled and crashed along the shore, creating their own cadence. His feet picked up the rhythm as he swung along the sand. Whistling, he chose tunes from memory, filling the air with happy music. Around noon, he stopped for a rest, wondering why he wasn’t more tired. He’d put in half a day’s hard walking, and felt as fresh as when he’d started. Had the magic of the creature filled his blood, making him more than human? He felt stronger, faster, more capable. After a quick meal, he drank deeply from his water flask, and settled in for the remainder of his walk.
Near dusk, the shadows darkened. He knew it wasn’t the sun, more a lack of light, as if the land itself absorbed the radiance. Even the water looked gray, and finally wispy blackness snaked out, hungry tendrils in the rushing waves, as they ran up the shore. It wasn’t his imagination that the water reached for him, with blackened, twisted fingers. Hopping away, he went on full alert, the hairs on the back of his neck rising. A shadow dashed along the edge of the wood. He sensed, rather than saw, the woman emerge from the shade of a gnarled pine.
Turning to face her, he bowed. “Good evening, my lady. I am Raven Willoughby, and I seek the counsel of the mistress of this land. Do you know her?”
“I am she, who lives here,” she replied. Her voice was hazy like the gray mist rising from the water. “What do you want, Raven Willoughby?”
“I have heard that you are a wise woman,” Raven said, stroking her ego. “A lady with knowledge. I have undergone changes lately….”
She snorted, raising a shapely eyebrow. Raven couldn’t see details, but he was able to tell that her looks belied her age. If this woman was ancient, she wore it well. Then again, if she was a witch, the likelihood that she would have means to stay young, seemed logical. Keeping his mind open, his voice sincere, he told her his tale, asking once more for her help.
“You were bitten and left for dead by a werewolf?”
“That is my conclusion, my lady. I have no clear memory of the moment.”
Nodding, she smiled and he saw her wild, primal beauty for the first time. “Come closer, Raven Willoughby.”
“If it pleases you, mistress, I’ll stay right here. If I’m completely honest, ma’am, I’m a little worried….”
In a flash, she was in front of him, her hands on his broad shoulders, her hips brushing his, her lips a mere breath away from his own. She didn’t feel quite warm, nor did she feel cold. It was more as if there were an absence of heat. Her hands, dexterous and strong, caressed his body. Though by no means a virtuous man, he had been a few weeks on board the ship, without the company of a woman. Her touch warmed him, her beauty, sultry and dark like the woods she inhabited, enticed him.
“Tell me, Raven Willoughby, what would you do to get this information you need?” She laid her head on his shoulder.
“Anything the lady wishes, within reason,” he stipulated. “I won’t kill—myself, or anyone else.”
“Would you steal?” she asked, raking her nails down his back.
Raven felt her hands tug at his clothing. The pressure of her embrace increased.
“I would steal whatever is within my ability to do so.”
“Would you lie?”
“I would lie to all but you, my lady.”
“Would you bed me, Raven Willoughby?” She leered at him, her ebony eyes limitless. Her skin had a blueish, ashen hue. Despite that, she was the most beautiful woman Raven had ever seen.
“I would gladly bed you, my lady, were I assured that I would live through the experience, with all my parts in the same configuration.”
The Witch of Black Cove threw back her head, laughing loudly. Her lips were dark blueish black, her hair like soot in the rain. She was elegant, sensual, brutal and cruel. Raven knew that if she wanted to, she could rip him apart. She chose not to, more concerned with what she wanted him to do.
“Come,” she beckoned, leading him into the woods.
Not far from the shore, there was a secluded grove of trees, surrounding a small, dark glade. A comfortable bower stood in the middle of it. The woman led him to it, telling him to climb up. Hesitantly, he did so.
“What do I call you?” Raven asked. “I can’t call you Witch. That seems rude. Do you have a name I may call you?”
“You may call me Osceola.”
He rolled the word over his tongue, caressing it as he whispered it huskily. He sensed her shiver as he lowered his mouth to her throat. Osceola clutched his cheeks tightly, with one hand, nearly piercing them with her claw-like nails.
“If you fail to please me, Raven Willoughby, you won’t live to regret it.”
“I will do my best to please you, my beautiful, exceedingly dangerous, Osceola,” he purred.
Their clothing disappeared in a flash of magic. Raven rolled her onto her back. Sensing she wasn’t like human women he’d been with, he wondered what she would want in terms of foreplay. He was still deciding when Osceola made the decision for him. Taking his head, she guided him until his chin rested on her belly.
©2021 Dellani Oakes