Sorceress Revealed copyright © 2015 by Evan Michael Martin.
Copyright © 2015 by Boru Publishing.
This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and events
are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and
any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual places or
businesses, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no
part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without
prior written permission of the publisher, Boru Publishing, Wisconsin.
Editing: Written Dreams/Brittiany Koren
Cover design by Eddie Vincent
Cover Illustration © Timothy Lantz
Cover art symbol © Shutterstock.com
Printed in the United States.
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Clio Boru hummed an ancient tune as she dusted the shelves in her shop on the corner of Lake Melts Street and Everest Avenue. Her small shop, Esbats, sold art supplies, crafts, candles, herbs; things that many described as occult tools. From the outside, it appeared to be a knickknack or bric-a-brac store. The sun catchers and wind chimes decorating the outside gave it a whimsical appearance that made it acceptable to the Cowens, the non-believers, but if one looked closely, the symbols and designs clearly stated it was a store of the craft of oils, herbs and tokens. It was a place where students could learn and participate in art instruction and crafts in a small classroom atmosphere.
As Clio moved from shelf to shelf in her jeans and white button-down shirt, she enjoyed the simple focus of the task and the time in the store allowed her a bit of whimsy in her work, which was interrupted by the chimes over the front door. Walking across the room, she saw it was John Slocum, her now long-time friend.
“Merry met John,” Clio said. Her smile at both the interruption and the person interrupting, evident in her voice.
“Hello Clio,” replied John Slocum, a local Johnson County sheriff’s deputy. He wore his tan police uniform. “I saw this story from out in California in the America Today newspaper. Roger must have his hands full.”
“Oh dear,” replied Clio, putting down the item she held in her hand on a shelf. “Is he all right? What is happening, John?”
“There was a fire that killed thirteen students. The story didn’t say how, but it is in a town called Redding, where Roger told me he was going, and I have a feeling that somehow this concerns him. Here, read what it says…”
Thirteen Killed in Deadly Fire
Law enforcement officials continue to investigate Sunday’s deadly fire near Keswick Reservoir in Redding, California that killed thirteen. Preliminary investigations indicate the students were locked inside an unused storage building at the reservoir. The dead, all but one identified, were found when Park Rangers noticed smoke. Fearing a forest fire in the usually dry forested area, fire fighters were summoned. It was then when the burned shed and the bodies were discovered. Rumors of activity, to include suspicions of a satanic cult have been widespread in Redding for several months. Local officials believe this incident is unrelated to any rumors and presently do not suspect foul play.
“Oh my,” Clio said, handing the paper back to John and placing her hand on her chest as if to steady her heart. “Those poor people…”
Roger Marquette had come to Redding over eighteen months ago amid claims of a satanic cult. Fresh from an incident in Eastern Wisconsin where he and others had successfully rid the small community of Lake Melts of a terrible and ancient evil, Roger was again embarking on an investigation and understanding of mankind’s darkest secrets.
He stood in the dark shadows of the school auditorium, and stared intently at the thirteen caskets resting side-byside. The mood inside the school was somber and unlike anything the space was intended for. The exterior doors were all blocked open, allowing a soft breeze to enter the auditorium to help cool the masses of people attending the memorial service. Even then, small hand fans and programs
were being used to cool those sitting inside. The auditorium, or more appropriately a multi-use gymnasium, was the only place in town large enough to hold the funeral for the twelve students and one unknown female who had died in the fire.
The way the bodies were discovered in a ritualistic fashion had convinced Roger that a satanic cult, or satanic copycat cult, was operating here.
The sheriff of Redding, however, was not convinced. He agreed a serial killer was in place, but he would not accept that Satanism or any other “kookyism’s” had anything to do with the deaths. He and Roger had argued, and at one point he threatened to arrest Roger for interfering with an investigation.
But what Roger knew of the victims was little; all the kids were disconnected until just a few weeks ago, coupled with other facts he’d learned, caused him to believe Satanism had raised its ugly head in Redding.
The fire at the old state storage building outside of Redding had taken thirteen lives. The building, on the south end of Keswick Reservoir, had been locked and vacant for years. Now it was a pile of ash and rubble. Many questions still existed about how the incident had happened, and why. The chained and padlocked door of the shed remained suspicious, but as of yet no one knew if the kids had gotten into the shed another way, or if they had been locked inside.
Time stood still in Redding. The tragedy itself had numbed the community, and adding to it some of the rumors about how the bodies were found, people were understandably upset and scared. Roger empathized with them.
Principal Charles Dean of Redding Municipal High School walked to the podium and looked out into the crowd. Taking a visible deep breath, he began to recite from a page on the podium in front of him. “Thank you for coming today in respect for those we have lost…Jack Schwerbel, Danny Myers, Linda Faris, Brenda Mason…”
Roger, not really focusing on the eulogy, examined as many faces in the auditorium as he could. He wanted to see if he could find the one person he most suspected of the crime. “…they lost their lives together. Together, we mourn them today…” Principal Dean continued.
In the large auditorium students, teachers, and parents— the entire community almost—mourned together. The Public Address system for the school stadium broadcasted Principal Dean’s eulogy to those seated as well as those gathered outside who weren’t able to fit inside the auditorium. Roger watched and listened, hoping to find the culprit.
Another figure stood alone in the back of the auditorium. Hidden in the shadows of the bleachers, he observed the masses of people in the room. A tall thin man, he witnessed the ceremony and felt the deep emotions of the crowd. Gene Van der Hochster was a teacher here at the school. Being so, he was affected by this tragedy. Two weeks from today, the final day of the school year, was his last day in Redding. Even before the tragedy had occurred he had decided to move on and the tragedy itself had confirmed
his desire to do that. The loss was too overwhelming and he needed something else, something new to do with his life. Moving back east was where he wanted to be. A small town in Wisconsin, similar to Redding, awaited him. A new teaching position and a fresh, new start was exactly what he needed. And despite today’s events, he was excited about the prospects.
Three months later…
Lake Melts, Wisconsin, a small town resting on the southern end of Lake Nicollet, is a typical Midwestern University Town of about 30,000. Known as much for the local college, Joliet University, as for the outboard motor factory headquartered on the west side of town, it is also well known for its residents penchant for winning large BIGball Lottery drawings. As a result, it has more than its fair share of new local millionaires.
While typical of small upper Midwestern college towns, Lake Melts was not a typical Wisconsin town. Almost two years ago, the community had been torn by a series of murders and vicious attacks from an unknown creature. Much of the town had been divided, with one entire section of town claiming they had seen the murderer. Others scoffed, calling it pure nonsense. The naysayers insisted it was nothing more than wild imaginations created by too much fantasy on TV and the movies. But if anything, those who considered themselves the practical people of Lake Melts were not shy about criticizing those they disagreed with on the happenings.
But Gene didn’t care about that.
On a large new campus some ten miles north of town, was Lake Nicollet High School. It was an experimental school, built out of concern that the local separate economies couldn’t support their own high quality high school. As a result, Johnson and Nicollet Counties had combined their schools. The school with a huge, sprawling, modern campus had over 4000 students, grades 9 through 12 and had become the pride of the area.
Nestled in the center of the campus was the regional Performing Arts Center, and a meandering yet well maintained walking, jogging, and bicycle path that many in the community used. The school itself, located in what was becoming known as the academic region of Lake Melts, offered some of the most current high school level classes in all of Wisconsin. For a region of smaller communities, Lake Nicollet was fast becoming one of the best high schools in the state.
And that’s where Gene came in, as the new history and sociology teacher, he was one of the prize additions to the faculty. Gene Van der Hochster was already becoming well known in the community. His eccentric dress, sometimes with an ascot, floppy safari hat, and of course suede safari boots, coupled with his unusual manner of speech, had many in the town warming to him. His tales of youthful travel throughout Africa, where he claimed to be a big game hunter, and his more exotic stories of business dealings with assorted Middle Eastern sheiks, made him welcome company in many circles with hunting being one of the town’s favorite past times.
His hair was almost completely white, full, and combed back. He was tall, thin, and physically in good shape. He wore round, black-framed eyeglasses that he called spectacles and possessed an ability to embellish and regale stories, making it an animated tale to all who listened. This gave him a charm and charisma that made him disarming and pleasant. Some viewed him as if he were a bit nuts, the more polite referring to Gene as “eccentric.” Still, his stories and background drew many close to him.
In the several months he had been in Lake Melts, he had made a large number friends and had begun working with a school group that focused on troubled teens. The young people in this group had already begun to follow him and hang onto his every word. Others in town felt he was “too familiar” with the young people, especially the students. Yet a trusting, innocent Midwestern community was still present in Lake Melts and whispers about over-familiarity with young people was generally made in private.
Deputy Sheriff John Slocum walked out to his patrol car and prepared himself for his late night shift. John had been on the Johnson County sheriff’s department for over eight years. He knew the routine inside and out. He had just turned forty-one years old, still had most of his reddish brown hair with a slight hint of grey, and stood six feet tall. Though, as his on-line dating profile had once said, he had a few extra pounds around the waist. Most people in Lake Melts would have said John was average. People who knew him would say he was amicable, easy to talk to, and strangers were friends he hadn’t met yet.
John had been divorced for over seven years and was finally getting used to it. That meant he missed his kids who lived with their mother in a small farming community west of town, near the men’s prison. But working the night shift gave him the time for their school events and ball games. He was at last enjoying the solitude that came from being single again, but would privately confess he missed the company of a lady in his life.
For about a year and a half now he had a lady in his life. John and Clio Boru had become very close since the incident with Jack Gevaudan. Hushed whispers still followed them around, mostly because Clio was Wiccan. Some in town simply called her a witch, but most didn’t mean anything by it.
The entire issue with Jack Gavaudan had changed John and everything he thought he knew. When he discovered his now girlfriend, Clio Boru, was a skilled practitioner of Wicca and had powers that enabled her to control the environment around her, it had made a significant change in how John saw things. He was skeptical about many things but he had become quicker to accept those things that in the past would have been dismissed as unreal or simply the product of someone’s wild imagination. All of the events surrounding the Gavaudan incident, coupled with the many stories his friend, Roger Marquette, had shared, convinced John that his safe view of the world was in serious need of some open mindedness.
He drove out of the sheriff’s department parking lot, heading south on Main Street toward his patrol area on the east side of the county. His short trip to the highway provided him a quick drive near Clio’s house and he always glanced down the street, thinking of her and making certain all was well at the Boru household. He turned onto Highway 24, past the old Sugar Shack, now closed. A little past that was one of John’s favorite roads in the county. It’s quiet, heavily-shaded tree-lined path was one of those beauties of the county that John thought made living here nice. County J was a short, winding spur of a road that took him past the women’s prison. He always thought the neighbors here and the irony of it, interesting.
Many of the sisters who had taught John, and his friend, Karl, in school still lived in the nunnery on County J. How he and Karl had teased the nuns with their practical jokes was a fond memory.
As he passed the school, he began to see the dark images of the older homes. Their massive front porches along the road made John think about how pleasant it would be to live along the Ledge, a prominent geographical feature on the east side of Lake Melts.
Clio had two large Irish Wolfhounds. Cullan, who was almost four, and Conan, now approaching two. She had had another, but it was now gone to the Summerlands, that place where all Wiccans go when they die—at least that’s what Clio had told him. Conal, that was the wolfhound’s name, was waiting to be reborn. He knew Clio had never forgot Conal and the great loyalty the hound had shown her. He rested now on the Ledge.
The heavily tree-lined and curving road was only rated a 35 MPH zone, and even that could sometimes be too fast, especially in the winter when the road, not well plowed, would be slippery with ice and snow.
John knew from personal experience as he had slid into the ditch there a few times but was fortunate enough to get out without any difficulty.
As he made the sharp turn to the left, he glanced over his right shoulder and could see the lights and border fences of the women’s prison. As usual, nothing exciting there. Nothing exciting now.
But that was not the case two years ago when he had seen the eyes. Those two burning red eyes along the Pine Barrens just down the road from the curve. Seeing those eyes had started everything.
Continuing on, he drove past the prison and back out onto Highway 161. Heading north, he continued his drive into the countryside and past the many farms and homes scattered along the eastern shore of Lake Nicollet. Tonight his route was routine, and as normal, nothing exciting was happening. John thought back on that night—the night he had first seen the beast and remembered all that it had led to.
Towards dawn, John was back on the path driving down County J where it met Highway 47 toward Eden. It was a pretty drive in the early morning. It was also very quiet. Quiet, until a call came over John’s radio.
“John, this is dispatch,” the voice said.
Reaching for the microphone and grasping it in his right hand, John pushed the button and said, “Go ahead, dispatch.”
“We have a report of a dead body alongside Highway 161, just north of the intersection at County Highway GH.”
“Is it a human body?” John asked as he turned his car around and headed onto Highway 47 toward Highway 161. Too many times John had been called for reported bodies that were everything from deer to discarded store mannequins. He wanted to make certain how fast he had to drive to the scene.
“That’s what the report says,” came the reply.
“I’m on my way,” John replied, dropping the microphone onto the seat beside him.
Turning on his blue flashing lights, John picked up speed and headed toward the reported scene. As he left Highway 47 and entered Highway 161, he was able to speed up and raced to the scene.
Approaching the traffic light-controlled intersection of County GH and Highway 161, John saw nothing to indicate where this body may be. No cars were along the road and the intersection itself was deserted. Even the nearby gas station and restaurant were closed, their parking lot lit but empty, the insides of the building dark and quiet to observers.
He continued north on Highway 161 for almost a half a mile when on the right shoulder he saw a small pickup truck and a Sport Utility Vehicle. The SUV had its bright yellow flashers on.
John pulled his patrol car up behind the SUV. Leaving his flashing blue lights on, he exited the car and walked toward it. He put his hand on his weapon when he noticed the passenger door of the SUV was open and that someone was sitting inside smoking a cigarette. Legs were dangling out the side of the car and the smoke from the cigarette drifted around.
“You…in the vehicle,” John said loudly.
The figure sat up and leaned forward.
John unsnapped his holster and gripped his weapon more firmly. “Ease out slowly please, and keep your hands visible.”
The figure, obviously male, kept leaning out. Arms and hands extended in front of him.
John then said, “Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, keep on coming out.”
The man stepped out and then stood straight up. “Put your hands on your head,” John commanded, “interlocking your fingers together. Turn away from me and lower yourself to your knees, crossing your feet behind you at the ankles.”
The vehicle occupant complied as John walked up behind him. He placed his hands on top of the man’s hands and said, “I’m going to pat you down now, please do not move.”
A quick search, then John holstered his weapon. “Okay, you can stand up, but do so slowly.”
The man stood and slowly turned around. John didn’t recognize the man. “I received a call about a body; do you know anything about that?”
Staring at John with somewhat tired eyes, the man said, “It’s over there in the weeds,” as he pointed with his head.
John glanced in that direction, seeing only what appeared to be stained white cloth. Turning back toward the man, he asked, “What exactly happened here?”
“Charlie and I stopped off on our way to work in Chilton to check on the corn at our stand,” he started.
“Charlie?” John asked.
“Yes, Charlie Rogers, my buddy,” the man said.
“Where is Charlie now?” John glanced around, still keeping a firm eye on the man.
“He went out to the stand,” he replied. “Anyway, as we stepped into the ditch we saw it. It was a black box that had no lid. Inside was a body. Well, we didn’t know it was a body right off and then. Charlie shined his flashlight down into it and we saw clothes and human hands.”
“Then what?” John asked.
“Well, I called 9-1-1 on my cell and Charlie went on to the stand.”
“Stay here.” John walked over toward the spot where the man had told him the body was. Lying on its side in the ditch, the open portion facing the road, was a long, black, wooden box. It took a moment before John realized it was a coffin. Not a new one, either. No, this coffin was real old. Lying slightly askew from the coffin was the body. More appropriately—the remains—mummified in some parts, but bones in the rest. Clothing still clung to the body. From where John stood, it appeared to be a gown of some kind.
Reaching for his radio, John pushed the button on the microphone. “Dispatch, this is Slocum.”
“Go ahead, John,” the dispatcher’s voice responded.
“I am at the scene where the body was reported. Send the coroner and photographer,” he said. Then, pushing the button again he added, “This is not a fresh body…it has been dead a long time.”
“Okay, John,” the dispatcher responded.
“I mean a real long time,” he added. “It’s a skeleton.”
“Roger,” Dispatch replied.
John replaced the microphone and walked back toward the body. As he got closer, a rustling in the weeds nearby startled him.
Jumping back, John instinctively placed his hand on his weapon. The noise continued and he could see the weeds part toward the woods.
“Rabbit,” John breathed out in relief. Then, he turned and walked back toward the SUV to wait for the coroner and photographer to arrive.