A New Love for Halloween
An amateur witch attempts to summon a new (and hopefully less gittish) lover on using her grandmother’s spell book … what could possibly go wrong?
Each section of A New Love for Halloween will be told by a different Choc Lit author to create one magical story. You can follow the tale on five separate blogs from the 27th Oct to Halloween. First up is the lovely Berni Stevens …
Part One by Berni Stevens
Jo propped open the musty old spell book, wrinkled her nose at the pervading smell of damp paper, and read the spell through once more. It seemed easy enough. She checked the calendar again – it was definitely a new moon tonight. Time to get on with it then. The heading screamed out at her from its yellowed page:
‘To Find a Lover’
Not that she was desperate – of course she wasn’t. But she was new to the area, and had suffered a bad break up with Gordon the Git, so if she ever did feel desperate, then the spell seemed a much better option than joining a dating website. This way she only had to wait for a new lover to turn up, and she could forget all about him until it happened. If it happened. Not that she thought it would. But it was still preferable to a succession of excruciatingly embarrassing blind dates. There’d been a few of those too.
Good job Gran would never know Jo was meddling with her precious spell book. Gran had always insisted she was a witch, because her birthday had been on Halloween. When she was little, Jo had believed her too.
The spell book had been one of Gran’s most prized possessions, and she probably wouldn’t have taken too kindly to Jo trawling through the love spells.
Jo checked everything she’d just put on the table. A clean sheet of white paper, scissors, a new pen, red candle, an unused envelope, and a new packet of red crepe paper. Very carefully, she cut a heart shape out of the crepe paper, and stood back to admire her handiwork. Not bad at all.
Picking up the pen, she wrote on the paper,
‘As this red heart glows in candlelight,
I draw you, lover, close to me this night.’
Rubbish poetry, she thought. Now, apparently, she needed to shower and change into nightclothes. She didn’t actually own anything resembling nightclothes, but maybe an oversized Muse shirt would do.
Fifteen minutes later, Jo padded barefoot into the kitchen, her shoulder-length brown hair damp from the shower, and wearing a large T-shirt, which almost reached her knees.
‘Now what?’ She reached for the book again.
‘Light the red candle, and read the spell aloud. Hold the heart in front of the candle’s flame, and allow the candlelight to shine on it.’
She lit the candle and, feeling more than a little stupid, read the spell aloud.
Now all she had to do apparently, was place the paper heart in the new envelope, seal the envelope with wax from the candle, and hide it away for twenty-eight days. Easy. According to the book, a new love would then present itself on the night of the next new moon. And if she didn’t like him – well she could just tell him to get lost, couldn’t she?
A loud knock at the front door made her jump violently.
‘That was quick,’ she muttered to herself. ‘He’s early.’
Smiling at her own joke, she went to open the door, and found herself looking up at a … musketeer? Clad all in black, with a plumed hat, and even a sword at his side. Definitely a musketeer. He doffed his hat with a confident sweeping gesture, revealing an unruly mane of blond hair.
‘Good evening, Madam,’ he said. ‘I’m Daniel – Dan. But you can call me Argos.’
‘Well you’re a bit early for Trick or Treat,’ said Jo. ‘And I think you mean Athos.’
‘I always get that wrong,’ he gave a wry smile. ‘Is Lucy in?’
‘Sorry. Wrong house. Nobody called Lucy here.’ Just her luck, thought Jo, a good-looking stranger turns up, and he’s got the wrong address. She hoped the spell hadn’t been hijacked by Gran from the ‘other realm’, wherever that may be.
The musketeer looked puzzled. ‘Twenty-nine?’
Jo looked at her door. Ah. Stupid number had twizzled round again. She had meant to fix that. She must add it to her ‘to do’ list.
‘Twenty-six actually. Sorry.’ She prodded the offending number and they both watched it twirl on its single screw. ‘Twenty-nine will be on the other side of the crescent,’ she pointed.
‘Thank you kind lady, and sorry to disturb you.’ He made an elegant bow, and strode off in the direction Jo had shown him.
‘Love the shirt by the way,’ his voice floated back.
Jo looked down at her hugely baggy T-shirt, cheeks flushing with embarrassment. Thank goodness he had no idea what she’d been doing.
He’d seemed nice though, musketeer costume and all, and although she knew the spell couldn’t have worked that quickly, it had been fun to hope for a few minutes.
Lucky Lucy – whoever she was.
Catch part two by Jane Lovering tomorrow over on The Romaniacs.
Berni Stevens lives in a 400-year-old cottage in Hertfordshire, England, with her husband, son and black cat. She trained in graphic design and has worked as a book cover designer for more than twenty years.
Books and art remain her passion, and her love of the paranormal began when she first read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, aged fourteen. She is now on both the committee and the book panel of the Dracula Society, a society for fans of gothic literature and film.
Berni’s debut novel Dance Until Dawn is perfect paranormal reading this Halloween.
To win three Choc Lit paperbacks of your choice, collect each of our 5 questions (you’ll find one at the end of each story section) and email ALL 5 answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question 1: Is Ellie from Dance Until Dawn a) a figure skater b) lead singer of a heavy metal group c) a dancer?