Preface & Ch. 1 Abigail Fellows & Wiccan Council-Paranormal

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ericabertel
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Preface & Ch. 1 Abigail Fellows & Wiccan Council-Paranormal

Post by ericabertel » August 21st, 2010, 4:50 pm

PREFACE

The auburn haired girl struggled for air as she pushed through trees. The branches tore flesh with every step. She glanced back and tripped over a protruding rock. She tried in vain to focus, but it was no use. Tears blurred her vision and burned as they streamed down her cheeks. She glanced down at her clothes, torn and dirty. She pushed herself up and ran toward the clearing ahead. “Why is this happening?” She thought.

She ducked behind a tree at the edge of the clearing and listened for any sign that someone was still coming. Her heart was pounding too hard to hear anything else. A branch broke to her left and she took off in the opposite direction. From her right something pounced. She screamed and then everything went black.


Nate bolted upright in his bed. His dark brown eyes flew open and his hand wiped the sweat trickling down his brow. “Not again,” he mumbled and reached for the phone. When the ringing stopped he said, “I think we have a problem.”


CHAPTER 1
Ipswich, Massachusetts
Saturday, June 13 - 8:03 p.m.


My name is Abigail and like my ancestors, I am a witch.

As the saying goes, nothing is ever free and magic is no exception. Magic abilities come with strings attached. Today destiny and my heritage collided when I was inducted as a guardian for the Wiccan Council. When the time is right, I will be sent on my first investigation. Something I both relish and fear. I can’t help but wonder if I can live up to my family’s or the Council’s expectations. When I’m completely honest with myself, I wonder if I will turn on them. I wouldn’t be the first one in my family who had.

Monday, June 15 - 5:26pm

When the phone rang, I assumed it was another question about the upcoming exhibit I was hosting at the Historical Society. I’d been posting flyers all week, hoping for a better turnout than last month. My father’s voice on the other end of the line was a complete surprise.

“Abigail, the Council requests your presence at the Meetinghouse. The briefing will begin at six. Please don’t be late.”

“Wait!” I said. I knew by the tone of my father’s voice that he was going to hang up.

“Yes?” he responded.

“What’s going on?”

“Abigail Elizabeth Fellows, you know perfectly well I can’t tell you.”

This time he hung up too quickly for me to protest. I glanced at the clock and sighed. I had thirty-four minutes to ponder, in my usual neurotic way, why the Council wanted to see me. I tried to occupy my thoughts by reviewing the exhibit inventory, but found myself looking at the time constantly. I decided to save the inventory for tomorrow and grabbed a pen and paper. Maybe listing reason why the Council would want to see me would ease my mind. The list started out rational, but made its way to irrational pretty quickly.

1. I’m being sent on an investigation.
2. They want me to train with someone.
3. I’m being sent to the European Council for training.
4. They made a mistake and I’m going to be demoted from a guardian to god knows what…my family will be mortified!


The last one was a worst case scenario and something that had been running through my mind since the induction ceremony last Saturday. When I’d told Oliver, my family librarian, he’d laughed. I think he said something like, “Abby, are you crazy? You’re the most gifted witch I know. Being a guardian is in your blood.”

Oliver took over librarian responsibilities from his father two years ago. He lives in the guesthouse of my family’s B&B. I guess he looks like the stereotypical nerd, with his wire-rimmed glasses and messy, ash brown hair. But looks can be deceiving, because there is nothing stereotypical about him. I used to call him Harry Potter, until he started threatening my existence on this planet. Since he might actually be able to send me to another planet, I decided to lay off the Potter references.

“Just because everyone in my family has been a guardian doesn’t make me one,” I argued.

“Abby, you have three birth powers. Most witches have one, two if they’re lucky. It’s obvious that any witch who has the ability to teleport, move things with their mind, and freeze time is more than qualified to be a guardian. Besides I’ve never heard of anyone being demoted.”

Oliver always had a way of putting things in perspective. He was right after all, I’d never heard of someone being demoted. I’d been on edge for months. Everyone expected me to be an elite guardian. The pressure to succeed was wearing on me. I’d been able to let go of my fear until my father’s call.
As soon as the clock on my monitor flashed 5:45, I was up and out the door. I stepped out into a mild summer evening, which is rare for a New England summer. Usually the historic humidity leaves your clothes clinging to you, but tonight there was a slight breeze. I strolled down Main Street to the Meetinghouse Green hoping the mile walk would settle my nerves.

At the entrance to the stone staircase, I whispered an incantation and the wall slid aside. The air was always moist in the Meetinghouse, a byproduct of the underground stone structure. I pulled the sweater I brought with me through my arms and gave my eyes time to adjust to the lighting from the torches on the wall. My footsteps echoed in the spiral staircase. At the bottom I paused, as I have since childhood, to run my fingers over the plaque on the wall. It read - The Wiccan Council est. 1637, followed by the names of the twelve founding families. I ran my finger over each name: Proctor, Hardy, Gage, Perkins, Thorndike, Winthrop, Coles, Covengton, Burnham, Clerk, Howlet and Fellows. One member of each coven was appointed to the Council. Today the ancestors of the twelve Commoner families, as the founding families are called, remain among the most powerful witches in the magic community. When I got to my family name, I tried to imagine what it was like for my ancestors in the early years. But, as always, I couldn’t quite see the image. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply before rounding the corner to the Meeting Room.

The Council was seated at three moon shaped tables surrounding the ceremonial fire burning at the crux of the center altar. I reached the center altar. My heart was pounding, and I struggled to control my breathing. The walk hadn’t settled my nerves as much as I’d hoped. The smell of the ceremonial fire always had a calming effect on me so I concentrated on its musky scent. I did my best to appear composed and make eye contact with each Council member, nodding slightly.

You’re the same self assured person you’ve always been. You’ve known these people you’re entire life. Relax.

I’d changed so much in the past few weeks I wasn’t quite sure who I was anymore. But I knew I was too stubborn to let my self-confidence falter.
Bray Long, a British appointment to the Council, stood.

“Abigail, we’ve called you here to assign your first guardian investigation.” My breathing slowed and I could finally think without effort. The fear of being demoted and shaming my family was gone. The rest I could deal with. “Nathaniel has been researching the disappearances of several college students in Parkville, Missouri. The Council feels this is the perfect investigation for a new guardian.”

Nate Proctor, my childhood friend, graduated from the academy one year before me and also attended Harvard. The Council likes their members well educated and close to home in case we’re needed. Nate is a watcher. To be more specific, he is one of the most gifted watchers the Council has seen in several centuries and the only watcher in my generation. Watchers get visions, sometimes of the past, sometimes of the future. Typically a watcher can’t get a very clear picture of the message they are receiving. Nate is different. He tends to experience his visions, which makes understanding them and deciphering their meaning easier and considerably quicker.

Bray went on to explain more about the abductions.

“Nate’s been sensing a magical disturbance for the past two weeks. It took some research to discover there have been some disappearances and unexplained deaths in Parkville over the same period of time. The Parkville police and the initial FBI investigation team were keeping the abductions quiet in hopes of quelling local fear.” I knew that was a common practice in the early stages of a string of seemingly related crimes. “Once Nate connected his visions to the Parkville abductions the Council contacted SIT.” SIT stands for Special Investigation Team, a team created by the FBI to handle Supernatural cases. “SIT went to Parkville ahead of us to look into the situation and will brief you when we arrive,” he finished.

Anyone with a high enough clearance level knows about the Council and the Supernatural world. The United States government and the Council have been linked since the country began. It has been a good working relationship, mostly because no mortal would want to cross a witch. Not to mention witches are a great line of defense if necessary.

My father, who was seated to Bray’s left, rose to address me. “Abigail, we believe you are amply qualified to accompany Nate on this investigation. But as you know its Council protocol to send a senior guardian to mentor a newly appointed guardian during their initial investigation.” His eyes shifted down. “The Council has assigned Ephraim Burnham to mentor you. We believe you will work well together and he will be a great resource for you.”

I looked blankly at my father. He knew what this news would do to me. Ephraim and I have a history. I lost my most prized possession to Ephraim. I still loved him, even after he broke my heart.

Eliza Ashmun, the Council secretary, stood. I had to turn to see her at the table behind me. “With the addition of Ephraim the investigation team meets the Wiccan Triquetra requirement.”

I wondered to myself which point of the Triquetra I was representing; mind, body or soul. Of course, I could be one of the Celtic domains of the earth; land, sea, or sky. Either theory was widely followed in my culture. The Triquetra held great power for both reasons.

“Please call Nate and schedule a meeting to get a full briefing. You are expected in Parkville tomorrow morning. The Council has arranged a cover for your absence from the Historical Society which will be detailed in your briefing packet.” Eliza handed me a leather bound folder.

“Meeting adjourned,” Bray announced, and the Council dispersed.

I stayed in the center alter, running my fingers across the damp leather folder. I knew I should move. I couldn’t. I was still reeling from the thought of facing Ephraim. It had been more than a year since the love of my life had shattered me to pieces. To be honest, I still didn’t understand what happened. Almost every day since I’d imagined what we’d say to each other when I finally saw him again. The context of the imaginary conversation depended on how I was feeling that day, which fluctuated between angry, hurt and confused. Right now I was feeling a combination of all three. I didn’t hear my father come up behind me and gasped when he touched my arm.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Ask me when this is over. I guess I know why you were avoiding talking earlier.”

He gave me a hug. “For what it’s worth I made my objections known, but I was overruled.”

“Why him? It’s not like everyone in Ipswich isn’t aware of our situation.”

I worked my way to the row of metal chairs lining the walls of the circular room. The cold surface sent a shiver up my spine. My father took the seat next to me.

“The majority of the Council believes you two need to face each other sooner rather than later.”

“They’re not worried our issues will compromise the investigation?” I fiddled with my hands, rubbing my thumb over my pinky nail.

“We know it’s a possibility, but you’ll inevitably have to work together. There aren’t enough witches as it is and we can’t tip toe around your personal issues.” He put his hand on mine to stop my fiddling. “I guess some things never change,” he teased.

“I guess not.” It always amazed me how quickly my father could switch between his Council persona and being my father.

“You and I both know you’ve been putting this off too long.”

I shrugged.

“I wasn’t thrilled when I heard the plan, but his powers will help keep you safe.”

Ephraim is a psychometric; someone who gets information about a person by making contact with their possessions. He can also create force fields. So, truth be told, he’s a handy guy to have around. But personally I’m just not sure how I can work with him when I both hate and love him at the same time.

“I don’t exactly get a say in this do I?” I asked.

He shrugged.

“How did he take the news?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the answer, but curiosity got the better of me.

“You’d have to ask Eliza.” He kissed me on the cheek. “I have some other Council business to attend to. Call your mother and me before you leave.” He squeezed my hand and went to the Council’s chamber room.

I untied the closing of the folder to take a look at the documents in the briefing packet. The Council cover for my absence from work was an estate sale in Maine. The family contacted the Historical Society regarding several pieces including a diary from one of the founding families of Ipswich. The owner requested me specifically to authenticate and retrieve the items. Of course, the Council will provide the items from their own inventory. I took out my phone and dialed Nate’s cell.
Last edited by ericabertel on August 21st, 2010, 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Preface & Ch. 1 Abigail Fellows & Wiccan Council-Paranormal

Post by J. T. SHEA » August 21st, 2010, 6:36 pm

Good, Ericabertel. I like the matter-of-fact everyday way of recounting supernatural events and linking them to the bureaucracies of our mundane world. And Abigail's list is a succinct way of conveying information.

'...at the crux of the center alter.' Should be 'altar' no doubt, as you spell it correctly in the next sentence.

ericabertel
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Re: Preface & Ch. 1 Abigail Fellows & Wiccan Council-Paranormal

Post by ericabertel » August 21st, 2010, 7:48 pm

Thanks JT Shea. I thought I fixed that typo, so I'm glad you pointed it out. I appreciate the positive feedback.

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Re: Preface & Ch. 1 Abigail Fellows & Wiccan Council-Paranormal

Post by LBender » August 23rd, 2010, 1:02 pm

PREFACE Not prologue?

The auburn haired girl struggled for air as she pushed through trees. The branches tore flesh with every step. She glanced back and tripped over a protruding rock. She tried in vain to focus, but it was no use. Tears blurred her vision and burned as they streamed down her cheeks. She glanced down at her clothes, torn and dirty. She pushed herself up and ran toward the clearing ahead. “Why is this happening?” She thought.
Good start, but I find it difficult to believe that, in the middle of running in terror, she would care at all about her clothes
She ducked behind a tree at the edge of the clearing and listened for any sign that someone was still coming. Her heart was pounding too hard to hear anything else. A branch broke to her left and she took off in the opposite direction. From her right something pounced. She screamed and then everything went black.

Nate bolted upright in his bed. His dark brown eyes flew open and his hand wiped the sweat trickling down his brow. “Not again,” he mumbled and reached for the phone. When the ringing stopped he said, “I think we have a problem.”
Good start
CHAPTER 1
Ipswich, Massachusetts
Saturday, June 13 - 8:03 p.m.

My name is Abigail and like my ancestors, I am a witch.

As the saying goes, nothing is ever free and magic is no exception. Magic abilities come with strings attached. Today destiny and my heritage collided when I was inducted as a guardian for the Wiccan Council. When the time is right, I will be sent on my first investigation. Something I both relish and fear. I can’t help but wonder if I can live up to my family’s or the Council’s expectations. When I’m completely honest with myself, I wonder if I will turn on them. I wouldn’t be the first one in my family who had.

Monday, June 15 - 5:26pm

When the phone rang, I assumed it was another question about the upcoming exhibit I was hosting at the Historical Society. I’d been posting flyers all week, hoping for a better turnout than last month. My father’s voice on the other end of the line was a complete surprise.

“Abigail, the Council requests your presence at the Meetinghouse. The briefing will begin at six. Please don’t be late.”

“Wait!” I said. I knew by the tone of my father’s voice that he was going to hang up.

“Yes?” he responded.

“What’s going on?”

“Abigail Elizabeth Fellows, you know perfectly well I can’t tell you.”

This time he hung up too quickly for me to protest. I glanced at the clock and sighed. I had thirty-four minutes to ponder, in my usual neurotic way, why the Council wanted to see me. I tried to occupy my thoughts by reviewing the exhibit inventory, but found myself looking at the time constantly. I decided to save the inventory for tomorrow and grabbed a pen and paper. Maybe listing reason why the Council would want to see me would ease my mind. The list started out rational, but made its way to irrational pretty quickly.

1. I’m being sent on an investigation.
2. They want me to train with someone.
3. I’m being sent to the European Council for training.
4. They made a mistake and I’m going to be demoted from a guardian to god knows what…my family will be mortified!

The last one was a worst case scenario and something that had been running through my mind since the induction ceremony last Saturday. When I’d told Oliver, my family librarian, he’d laughed. I think he said something like, “Abby, are you crazy? You’re the most gifted witch I know. Being a guardian is in your blood.”

Oliver took over librarian responsibilities from his father two years ago. He lives in the guesthouse of my family’s B&B. I guess he looks like the stereotypical nerd, with his wire-rimmed glasses and messy, ash brown hair. But looks can be deceiving, because there is nothing stereotypical about him. I used to call him Harry Potter, until he started threatening my existence on this planet. Since he might actually be able to send me to another planet, I decided to lay off the Potter references.

“Just because everyone in my family has been a guardian doesn’t make me one,” I argued.

“Abby, you have three birth powers. Most witches have one, two if they’re lucky. It’s obvious that any witch who has the ability to teleport, move things with their mind, and freeze time is more than qualified to be a guardian. Besides I’ve never heard of anyone being demoted.”The powers are a bit reminiscent of 'Charmed'
Oliver always had a way of putting things in perspective. He was right after all, I’d never heard of someone being demoted. I’d been on edge for months. Everyone expected me to be an elite guardian. The pressure to succeed was wearing on me. I’d been able to let go of my fear until my father’s call.
As soon as the clock on my monitor flashed 5:45, I was up and out the door. I stepped out into a mild summer evening, which is rare for a New England summer. Delete the first 'summer'. Repetitive Usually the historic humidity leaves your clothes clinging to you, but tonight there was a slight breeze. I strolled down Main Street to the Meetinghouse Green hoping the mile walk would settle my nerves.

At the entrance to the stone staircase, I whispered an incantation and the wall slid aside. The air was always moist in the Meetinghouse, a byproduct of the underground stone structure. I pulled the sweater I brought with me through my arms I can't picture what she's doing with the sweater. Did you mean putting her arms in the sleeves? and gave my eyes time to adjust to the lighting from the torches on the wall. My footsteps echoed in the spiral staircase. At the bottom I paused, as I have since childhood, to run my fingers over the plaque on the wall. It read - The Wiccan Council est. 1637, followed by the names of the twelve founding families. I ran my finger over each name: Proctor, Hardy, Gage, Perkins, Thorndike, Winthrop, Coles, Covengton, Burnham, Clerk, Howlet and Fellows. One member of each coven was appointed to the Council. Today the ancestors of the twelve Commoner families, as the founding families are called, remain among the most powerful witches in the magic community. When I got to my family name, I tried to imagine what it was like for my ancestors in the early years. But, as always, I couldn’t quite see the image. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply before rounding the corner to the Meeting Room.

The Council was seated at three moon shaped tables Round or crescent? surrounding the ceremonial fire burning at the crux of the center altar. I reached the center altar. Don't repeat 'center altar'. Sounds awkward. My heart was pounding, and I struggled to control my breathing. The walk hadn’t settled my nerves as much as I’d hoped. The smell of the ceremonial fire always had a calming effect on me so I concentrated on its musky scent. I did my best to appear composed and make eye contact with each Council member, nodding slightly.

You’re the same self assured person you’ve always been. You’ve known these people you’re entire life. Relax.

I’d changed so much in the past few weeks I wasn’t quite sure who I was anymore. But I knew I was too stubborn to let my self-confidence falter.
Bray Long, a British appointment to the Council, stood. Not one of the Founding Families?
“Abigail, we’ve called you here to assign your first guardian investigation.” My breathing slowed and I could finally think without effort. The fear of being demoted and shaming my family was gone. The rest I could deal with. “Nathaniel has been researching the disappearances of several college students in Parkville, Missouri. The Council feels this is the perfect investigation for a new guardian.”

Nate Proctor, my childhood friend, graduated from the academy one year before me and also attended Harvard. The Council likes their members well educated and close to home in case we’re needed. Nate is a watcher. To be more specific, he is one of the most gifted watchers the Council has seen in several centuries and the only watcher in my generation. Watchers get visions, sometimes of the past, sometimes of the future. Typically a watcher can’t get a very clear picture of the message they are receiving. Nate is different. He tends to experience his visions, which makes understanding them and deciphering their meaning easier and considerably quicker.

Bray went on to explain more about the abductions.

“Nate’s been sensing a magical disturbance for the past two weeks. It took some research to discover there have been some disappearances and unexplained deaths in Parkville over the same period of time. The Parkville police and the initial FBI investigation team were keeping the abductions quiet in hopes of quelling local fear.” I knew that was a common practice in the early stages of a string of seemingly related crimes. “Once Nate connected his visions to the Parkville abductions the Council contacted SIT.” SIT stands for Special Investigation Team, a team created by the FBI to handle Supernatural cases. “SIT went to Parkville ahead of us to look into the situation and will brief you when we arrive,” he finished.

Anyone with a high enough clearance level knows about the Council and the Supernatural world. The United States government and the Council have been linked since the country began. It has been a good working relationship, mostly because no mortal would want to cross a witch. Not to mention witches are a great line of defense if necessary.

My father, who was seated to Bray’s left, rose to address me. “Abigail, we believe you are amply qualified to accompany Nate on this investigation. But as you know its Council protocol to send a senior guardian to mentor a newly appointed guardian during their initial investigation.” His eyes shifted down. “The Council has assigned Ephraim Burnham to mentor you. We believe you will work well together and he will be a great resource for you.”

I looked blankly at my father. He knew what this news would do to me. Ephraim and I have a history. I lost my most prized possession to Ephraim. I still loved him, even after he broke my heart. The 'I still loved him' part seems thrown in. It may be better fit in later on. Eliza Ashmun, the Council secretary, stood. I had to turn to see her at the table behind me. “With the addition of Ephraim the investigation team meets the Wiccan Triquetra requirement.”

I wondered to myself which point of the Triquetra I was representing; mind, body or soul. Of course, I could be one of the Celtic domains of the earth; land, sea, or sky. Either theory was widely followed in my culture. The Triquetra held great power for both reasons.

“Please call Nate and schedule a meeting to get a full briefing. You are expected in Parkville tomorrow morning. The Council has arranged a cover for your absence from the Historical Society which will be detailed in your briefing packet.” Eliza handed me a leather bound folder. Just to test my understanding...The witches have an arrangement with the U.S. government to investigate crimes but, in this case, the investigator is secret. Hence the necessity of a cover story.
“Meeting adjourned,” Bray announced, and the Council dispersed.

I stayed in the center alter, Is she 'in' the altar or 'at' it? running my fingers across the damp leather folder. I knew I should move. I couldn’t. I was still reeling from the thought of facing Ephraim. It had been more than a year since the love of my life had shattered me to pieces. This is much better. When you have it here, you don't need to throw it in earlier To be honest, I still didn’t understand what happened. Almost every day since I’d imagined what we’d say to each other when I finally saw him again. The context of the imaginary conversation depended on how I was feeling that day, which fluctuated between angry, hurt and confused. Right now I was feeling a combination of all three. I didn’t hear my father come up behind me and gasped when he touched my arm.

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Ask me when this is over. I guess I know why you were avoiding talking earlier.”

He gave me a hug. “For what it’s worth I made my objections known, but I was overruled.”

“Why him? It’s not like everyone in Ipswich isn’t aware of our situation.”

I worked my way to the row of metal chairs lining the walls of the circular room. The cold surface sent a shiver up my spine. My father took the seat next to me.

“The majority of the Council believes you two need to face each other sooner rather than later.”

“They’re not worried our issues will compromise the investigation?” I fiddled with my hands, rubbing my thumb over my pinky nail.

“We know it’s a possibility, but you’ll inevitably have to work together. There aren’t enough witches as it is and we can’t tip toe around your personal issues.” He put his hand on mine to stop my fiddling. “I guess some things never change,” he teased.

“I guess not.” It always amazed me how quickly my father could switch between his Council persona and being my father.

“You and I both know you’ve been putting this off too long.”

I shrugged.

“I wasn’t thrilled when I heard the plan, but his powers will help keep you safe.”

Ephraim is a psychometric; someone who gets information about a person by making contact with their possessions. He can also create force fields. So, truth be told, he’s a handy guy to have around. But personally I’m just not sure how I can work with him when I both hate and love him at the same time.

“I don’t exactly get a say in this do I?” I asked.

He shrugged.

“How did he take the news?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear the answer, but curiosity got the better of me.

“You’d have to ask Eliza.” He kissed me on the cheek. “I have some other Council business to attend to. Call your mother and me before you leave.” He squeezed my hand and went to the Council’s chamber room.

I untied the closing of the folder to take a look at the documents in the briefing packet. The Council cover for my absence from work was an estate sale in Maine. The family contacted the Historical Society regarding several pieces including a diary from one of the founding families of Ipswich. The owner requested me specifically to authenticate and retrieve the items. Of course, the Council will provide the items from their own inventory. I took out my phone and dialed Nate’s cell.

On the whole, very interesting. It creates a slightly different world and does so well. The remarks I made throughout are more quibbles than anything else, although many of the powers do remind me of the series 'Charmed'. Good luck.

Last edited by ericabertel on 21 Aug 2010, 19:19, edited 1 time in total. ericabertel

ericabertel
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Re: Preface & Ch. 1 Abigail Fellows & Wiccan Council-Paranormal

Post by ericabertel » August 23rd, 2010, 2:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback LBender. Some things to fix and think about.

The government will know about this investigation, the cover is for her employer. She has to have validate reason for her absence from work so the Council creates the estate sale as her cover.

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