The witch stirred uneasily. She had been down for a long time in the Silence when the soft voice called her.
“Wake. You are needed. It is time.”
She resisted. Her slumber of centuries should not be interrupted.
The voice grew insistent.
“Annie. Now is the time.”
Memories began to flood her mind. Angry, violent memories. Warm, carnal memories. Memories of the life she led so long ago. Palm trees. Breezes of the Caribbean. Sharp-edged blades meant for cutting sugar cane. The taste of blood on her lips. Heart-pounding. Fear. The salty air as the wooden walkway creaked beneath her feet. Panic. Escape. Rhythmic pounding of drums. The gurgling hiss of her husband’s throat as she cut. The taste of the dark skin of her lover as lovemaking kept time with the drums outside.
And then she could see. Grass. Trees. A hazy figure standing over her.
She was not in the Caribbean. She did not feel alive, but she was aware. Angry, mournful and confused. What was happening? Why are all these images in her head? Why was she back in this godawful place that she had freed herself from with swigs from the amber bottle so many, many years ago.
Her vision cleared. The figure standing over her was a woman.
“It is time. Come with me.” Annie heard the words, but saw no movement of the woman’s mouth.
Annie felt herself moving in the direction of the figure, but without actually walking. It was as if she was magnetized, getting pulled along without effort.
“Come, child. I need you to do what you excel at.”
“And what is that?”
“Seduce a man. Seduce…and kill.”
“Who is this man?” She didn’t need to ask why. She never needed a reason before. It amused her. Men were drawn to her in life, drawn to her beauty and her body. She knew this. She loved the thrill of enticing…letting her dress slip off her shoulder. Letting a little too much cleavage show. Men were easy to draw close when you let your hips sway and undulate a little. So easy to predict. Fumbling, shaking hands groping, and she loved to let them. She loved to let them think that they had the power, right up until the moment they felt the clean, sharp sting of the steel on their neck.