When her neighbors accuse Belladonna of Satanism and making them age years to days, she must find who is behind it or face a modern day witch hunt. Her mysterious enemy knows where to strike to cause the most damage: Belladonna’s only friend is losing his life-force; the garden that feeds her is dying; and her house ghost goes poltergeist. To save her neighbors and friends and prove her innocence, she must travel to the Otherworld where butterflies have razor wings and where her worst fears will come to life.
I tried to walk with an official swing in my step, clipboard under my right arm, the other arm at my side, desperately trying not to clutch at the fabric of my jumpsuit with a death grip. Mice and rats darted in and out of bushes. A large flock of crows cawed in the trees. In one spot ants covered the sidewalk like spilled black pepper. Dark magic was afoot and the vermin were drawn to it.
There were some kids with aged faces playing on the other side of the street. I tried not to stare at them. One kid, a boy of about seven, judging by his height, actually looked like he was in his eighties. He seemed to have trouble breathing and had to stop often to rest. My jaws ached and a sharp spike seemed to be embedded in my chest. Goddess help me, but I couldn’t blame their parents for hating me. If I were in their place and thought I knew who was doing this to my kids, I’d go on a witch hunt, too. I was lucky the cops didn’t believe my neighbors that I was doing this awful life-draining stuff to them or I wouldn’t have any protection. I prayed hard that I’d find a way to stop the dark witch before anyone died from being too old at the age of seven.
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Larisa Walk, a native Russian, lives in California with her husband and two formerly homeless cats. She writes paranormal fiction that is more often than not populated by characters from the Russian fairy world. Her short fiction appeared in several anthologies and magazines. She has published a historic fantasy novel, A Handful of Earth, and a modern paranormal novel, A Witch Without Magic. See her quirky blog posts here: http://www.larisawalk.com