Home > The Witch and the Englishman (The Witches Series #2)

The Witch and the Englishman (The Witches Series #2)
Author: J.R. Rain

Chapter One

“Hi, this is Allison. Thank you for calling The Psychic Hotline. How can I help you see into the future?”

It was early evening, and I was nearing the end of my shift. My “shift” was the time I was scheduled to be logged into the Hotline’s computer system, via my laptop, via my comfy couch. Once I finished my shift and logged out, I could officially get dressed and start my day. Yes, I worked in my pajamas, and, yes, I worked from home. It was a good gig, but challenging—and sometimes strange—work.

“Yes, hello,” said a very crisp and, if I wasn’t mistaken, English accent. English and Australian accents tended to sound similar to my untrained ears. Then again, I was just a simple girl from San Pedro, which was a hop, a skip and a jump from where I now lived in Beverly Hills.

Of course, simple might have gone out the window a few years ago when I’d met my first vampire—and before I had been told that I was a witch. A very powerful witch.

So weird, I thought, once again shaking my head over the insanity of it all. But to the Englishman on the other end of the line, I said, “What’s your name?”

“Don’t you already know?” he asked pleasantly enough. “I mean, you are psychic, right?”

I didn’t take offense at the question. In fact, I was usually surprised when the question wasn’t asked. In this case, I sensed the good-natured ribbing behind the question.

I said, “You bet your ass. But once I connect with you, I don’t just stop with your name. All your secrets will be mine.”

There was a pause, and then a light chuckle. “You’re joking, right?”

“I say, why stop at a name?” I swung my stockinged feet to the polished wood floor and sat forward on the couch. The Englishman had my attention. And when someone had my attention...they really had my attention. I found myself logging into him easily enough. “The real question is, how much do you want me to know?”

He laughed sharply. “Now you’re making me nervous. I suppose I had that coming. It was a rude question.”

“A fair question,” I said.

“Okay, now I like you, too,” he said in his clipped accent.

“Now, that I could have predicted. So, how can I help you, Billy?”

He made a sound that might have been a gasp.

I made a sound that might have been a laugh.

“Well, I’m gobsmacked. Obviously, my name came up on your computer screen,” he said.

“Obviously.”

“Caller I.D. or something?”

“Or something,” I said.

“My name didn’t come up on your screen, did it?”

“No, it didn’t.”

“I see.”

Except, of course, he didn’t see. Not really. I knew this by the way his energy level had dropped...and by the way he’d mumbled those last two words. Mostly, of course, I knew by his body language.

Yes, his body language.

Little did Billy know that I was presently “in” his house with him. Although I was relatively new to the world of psychics—at least, paid psychics—I was highly gifted in “remote viewing.” Yes, I could do exactly what the term implied: I could “see” from a distance. In my case, I could see the surroundings of those I tuned into. And, I could see them.

I was very in tune with Billy.

Presently, he was sitting in a wide-open living room, looking through a big sliding glass door that overlooked a sweeping back yard. Rising above the treetops, in the distance were some familiar tall buildings. I recognized the skyline. He was, if I wasn’t mistaken, in Santa Monica.

I didn’t know how remote viewing worked. It was weird and freaky, and it only seemed to get freakier by the minute. I got freakier by the minute, too, especially since I was best friends with a vampire.

Yes, with a vampire.

That had a lot to do with my growing psychic skills. Long story.

Anyway, one of the perks of being friends with a vampire—or, rather, allowing one to feed from me, but not kill me, of course—was that my own psychic abilities were amplified with each feeding.

Apparently, just being in close proximity to a vampire also increased my psychic abilities.

So weird.

Happily, Samantha Moon and I did a lot more than just hang out and watch The Vampire Diaries, which I had gotten her hooked on. At least once a week, I allowed her to feed from me. Often, it was right after we’d watched The Vampire Diaries. There was a strange synchronicity to that. More than once, I had caught her making a mental note or two while watching the show. Samantha Moon was still a relatively new vampire, as vampires went. And her “condition,” as she called it, didn’t come with a user’s manual. So, while I was watching the show—because I, and most of the rest of the viewers, had the world’s biggest crush on Damon—Samantha was making mental “how-to” notes about the vampire mystique.

Yes, our lives were that weird.

Mine was only getting weirder.

Apparently, my friendship with Samantha stretched back through the ages, along with another friend of ours named Millicent, who was now deceased...and who was presently haunting my apartment. Millicent, Samantha and I had once formed a “triad” of witches.

Powerful witches.

Except, in this life, Samantha had to go and get herself turned into a vampire, and Millicent had pretty much insisted on ousting Sam from our witchy clique. So now, the witch triad was missing one of us.

Millicent, the strongest of the three of us, had purposely passed on well before us, so that she could guide and coach us from the spirit world. An interesting concept, surely. Now my apartment here in Beverly Hills was haunted by a deceased witch...and an old friend.

So very, very weird.

Of course, I didn’t know any of this until Millicent had appeared in my life...quite literally. That was the nature of this world: we came here with a clean slate, only to be filled with that which moved us, inspired and pushed us forward.

I had never thought that I might be a powerful witch. Or even a not-so-powerful witch. Yes, I had always been intrigued by Wicca and witchcraft, but not inordinately so. Mild curiosity only.

Now, Wicca was my life, as Millicent trained and coached me almost daily...coached me from beyond.

“I’m afraid to ask what else you know about me,” said Billy, after a moment. He was standing now, having moved over to the big glass sliding door. I went over there, too, shifting my focus so that I saw what he saw: a wide expanse of back yard that was surrounded in a lot of dead ivy and high walls. The back yard looked like something mentioned in T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland: empty, dark, and dead.

“Then don’t ask,” I said.

“You know a lot more than you’re telling, don’t you?” He held the phone loosely against his ear. He was smiling now, having pushed past the weirdness of the situation.

“Maybe a little more,” I said.

“I wasn’t expecting a phone call like this.”

“I don’t suppose you were.”

“What else might you know about me?” he asked.

“Are you sure you want to know?”

“Yes. I think.” He laughed lightly at that, but I sensed his growing discomfort. He shrugged his shoulder and rolled his head around his neck. Classic manliness.

I said, “Okay. Here goes...you’re standing in your living room, looking out your sliding glass door.”

He didn’t move or speak for perhaps twenty seconds. Then he did what most people did when I laid the “I-can-see-you” card on the table. He turned and looked over his shoulder and, for good measure, he shuddered.

“You can see me now?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“So, you really are psychic?”

“As psychic as they come...and then some.”

“What am I doing now?”

“You’re waving at me. Now you’re pinching your nose.”

“Holy sweet mother of God.”

“Welcome to my life,” I said.

“And welcome to my life,” he said, and winked at me.

“So,” I said, “how can I help you?”

“I have questions about my daughter.”

“What kind of questions?”

“I think...” he paused, started again, and I knew immediately that he was withholding information from me. “I think she might be in a spot of trouble.”

“A ‘spot’ of trouble? What kind of trouble?”

“Is this being recorded?”

“Yes.”

“Is there any chance we could meet, say, in person? That is, of course, if you are local.”

“It’s against company policy. And, I’m not that far from you.”

“So, you’ll meet me?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Where?”

“Your house.”

“Do you need the address?”

“No,” I said.

“I thought you might say that.”

“Maybe I’m not the only psychic one. See you in a few.”

I disconnected the call, but not before I got one last psychic hit.

And it was a big one.

Chapter Two

Yes, I could get fired over this.

No, I didn’t give a shit if they fired me over this, although I would miss the steady paycheck and the interesting characters.

Millicent thought, however, that I should start my own practice, where clients came in to see me. I reminded her that she was just a ghost and what did she know, although that didn’t sit very well with her.

Now, as I dashed through my apartment, slipping on my Asics and light jacket, the partial outline of a thirty-something woman appeared in my kitchen. I hadn’t quite gotten used to Millicent’s sudden appearances, and I was certainly not used to the way the hair at the back of my neck stood on end, as it did now.

As usual, she watched me quietly, hands folded before her, wearing the kind of dress my grandmother might have worn decades ago. Her outfit made sense, since Millicent had been my grandmother’s age when she had died. Her face seemed younger, though, of late.

“You saw?” she asked. When Millicent spoke, sometimes her lips moved, sometimes they didn’t. Either way, her words appeared directly in my head, just behind my inner ear. Same with Samantha Moon, that was, when we decided to communicate telepathically. It sounded weirder than it actually was.

“I saw,” I said. I was looking for my keys. They weren’t on the hook where they belonged, and that irked me to no end. Sure, I could telepathically fly around the houses of other people, remote viewing the hell out of them, but I couldn’t find my own damn keys.

“They’re in the bathroom. You were in a rush this morning, remember?” Millicent said.

“Oh, yes.” Just like every morning, I had been rushing to the local Coffee Bean to get my decaf sugar-free mocha and rushing to get back. Yes, decaf...and sugar-free.

Sadly, caffeine and sugar hampered my psychic sensitivity.

Yes, it was a bummer, but I had convinced myself that sugar-free mocha tasted just as good, and just getting out of my apartment was a nice way to start the morning. Of course, getting back to my apartment on time, before my shift started, was always a challenge. Hence, the mad dash to the bathroom where I had left the keys.

I grabbed them now, and crossed back through the living room and headed for the front door. Millicent watched me calmly from my kitchen. Then again, everything she did was calm. No, she wasn’t quite a ghost. She was a spirit. There was a difference, apparently. Ghosts were bound to a location. Millicent? Not so much. As a spirit, she could come and go as she pleased. And she pleased to come and go often enough. Not to mention, she could appear and reappear anywhere else, too.

“He’s going to die, Allison,” said Millicent as I approached the front door.

I paused and took in a lot of air. Without turning, I said, “I know.”

“Allison?”

I continued not looking at her, although I sensed her approaching me from behind, sliding up next to me. I knew this because the hair on my neck and arms and most of my scalp were all standing on end.

“Yes?”

“You can’t help him.”

“Who said I was going to help him?”

“I know you, child. Perhaps better than most.”

“That, and you have direct access to my thoughts.”

I couldn’t recall Millicent’s personality in our past lives. But in this life—or, rather, in her current spiritual state—she was as serious as hell. Then again, maybe that was the nature of spirits: a complete lack of humor.

“Not a complete lack, Allison, but I didn’t come here to joke or humor you. I came here to educate you. To train you. To remind you of who you really are.”

She appeared suddenly before me, blocking my path to the front door. I gasped at the sudden sight of her, now denser and more defined. One would think I was used to the woman—or spirit—appearing and disappearing before me. But not yet. Maybe someday. And, yes, it was as if a fully formed woman was standing in front of me. Correction: not quite fully formed. She was missing her feet and most of her hands.

So weird.

I held my chest. “And half the time, you scare the crap out of me.”

Millicent didn’t like it when I used words like “crap” or “hell,” let alone, the bigger, more colorful words. This, I suspected, was a holdover from her previous, and slightly more prudish, incarnation. Now, she frowned in mild distaste.

“I don’t mean to scare you, Allison.”

“I know, I know, it’s just a lucky bonus.”

She moved in closer and now I could feel her warmth, which was an odd thing to say about a discarnate entity. Still, when Millicent was particularly energized—and excited—she veritably radiated heat. Granted, it was my heat back to me; meaning, she drew energy from me—and the surrounding household—which was why my lights now flickered and my refrigerator hummed and sputtered.

   
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