Mystic Desire Anthology – Love That Binds
Love that Binds
This short story took me out of my comfort level. The parameters were a Fantasy, Paranormal with romance.
I invite you to read the first chapter.
Love That Binds
The squeaky, high-pitched voices of the girls chanting made Ianthee run faster. She ran past the aged wooden sign announcing the town of Hecate (Heckatee) that sat at the edge of town. She wondered if it was the town or the Greek and Roman underworld goddess they named it after that fueled the townspeople’s beliefs in ghosts, witchcraft, and curses.
Just past the edge of town, she ran into a wooded area hoping to lose them. Their voices got closer and closer as they chased her into the woods. Fearing what they might do to her if they caught her, she began to cry. Tears ran down her face and blurred her vision. Her toe hit a rock and she fell face first into the mud. The girls laughed and chanted, “Muddy witch,” as they formed a half circle around her. Her body was wired tight as a bowstring and on the edge of hysteria as the mob edged closer.
The sound of leaves rustling and footsteps coming closer made her heart beat faster. The taunting had stopped and had been replaced by silence.
She turned toward the sound. “Are you all right?” Ianthee saw a pair of large brown hiking boots. The sound of his deep, yet soft voice was mesmerizing.
“Yes,” Ianthee said around the sob trapped in her throat.
“Here, let me help you up.” He put his arm around her waist and helped her to her feet. “My name is Caleb Oster.”
She looked up into sapphire blue eyes. He pulled out a handkerchief and started to clean her face. As he gently wiped her cheeks she studied his features, a square-shaped face with stubble spread sparsely over his jaw, chin, and cheek.
Ianthee had heard girls at school talk about Caleb. He was sixteen, played football, and was one of the few boys that drove a car.
Ianthee heard the girls gasp. Then one of them said, “You better not get too close to her. She’ll put a spell on you.”
Ianthee wondered if he had heard the name the girls called her. Better yet, she wondered if he had heard the rumors in town. If he hadn’t, it wouldn’t be too long before he did. Rumors about how her mother and grandmother had used witchcraft to cure some elderly of rashes, arthritis, and a host of other ailments ran rampant among the town people.
“My name is Ianthee.”
He tilted his head. “Ianthee. That’s an unusual name. What does it mean?”
The way he’d said her name, so soft it was almost like a whisper, made her want to swoon. It was so different from the way the mean girls pronounced it in their bullying chants, “Eye on Thee is a witch.” She hated the way they pronounced her name as if the syllables were separate words.
She smiled up at him. “It means the hunter’s daughter.”
“Is your father a hunter?”
“Yes, but he’s dead.”
He continued to wipe the mud from her face. She began to shiver from her wet clothes. She felt like her heart stopped when he took off his sweater off. The girls were still watching them. They had turned their teasing chants on Caleb.
“Don’t touch her. You’re going to get warts all over you,” one chanted.
He didn’t deserve their meanness, and her sadness became mixed with anger. Warmth and a feeling of being nurtured swept through her when he wrapped the sweater around her and tears hovered in her eyes as he pulled her closer. Caleb lifted her chin, compelling her to look at him. She swayed as his face came closer. It was as if magnets drew their mouths together. She thought she was floating when his lips finally touched hers.
“Ew, she will cast a spell on you. She’s liable to turn you into a frog,” another warned.
“Or make you disappear,” someone else added.
He pulled away and looked into her eyes. “You wouldn’t do that, would you?”
She shook her head. “I have no such power, even if I wanted to.”