T. Lynne Tolles Guest Post
Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight is Halloween!" - Dexter Kozen
Now days we think of Halloween as a time of candy, kids and "Tom-Foolery", but that wasn't always the case. Take for instance in medieval times when people foraged and harvested until their bones ached in hopes that they had gathered and stored enough food for their loved ones to survive the long winter months. Halloween was the beginning of the worrisome times to come and I think Dexter Kozen quote conjures up that sentiment.
We forget just how hard life was back then for all our favorite Halloween characters. Witches for instance were once respected people with great knowledge of herbal medicines and remedies. In fact the Old English wicce, means "wise woman". But as we all know that was all changed by the narrow views of the church and the superstitions they promoted about such people.
Soon black cats got a bad rap, because it was believed they were witch's familiars who protected their master's dark magic powers. Although, in England it is the white cats, not the black that are believed to be bad luck. It was even said that if you saw a spider on Halloween it it was the spirit of a loved one watching over you. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a black cat next to me than a spider. Some believed in Medieval Europe that owls were witches and if you heard a owls call, someone was about to die - Yikes!
I came across something in my reading that might account for why people associate witches with flying on broomsticks. Aparantly in England when new witches were initiated into their coven, they were blindfolded, smeared with some sacred "flying ointment", and placed on a broomstick. The ointment would confuse the new witches mind, speed up the pulse and numb the feet. They would then tell the new witch, "You are flying!" The new witch taking the elder witches at their word believed them - Talk about hazing!
My hope, from this blog post, that you might walk away with a new respect for witches, cats and our ancestors and Halloween as a whole. For we would have never made it here without our ancestors and Halloween would not be the same without our beloved witches.
Happy Halloween - be happy and safe.
Ella McKaye returns home for her grandmother's funeral to find she's inherited a ton of money and a run down mansion she never knew existed, called Grey Manor. Her greedy mother is appalled when the will stipulates specifically that Ella can't give her any of the inheritance. She quickly throws Ella out of her home forcing her to take up immediate residence in the spooky old mansion.
Within minutes of entering her new home she has a strange interaction with a creepy old mirror in the main hallway and the ghostly inhabitants of the past get more and more agitated the longer Ella's there. Nearly fatal back to back accidents make Ella start to wonder if she's angered some ghost or if there is something more sinister at work.
Will Ella unravel the deadly mystery before she becomes a ghost herself? Or will fate take another one of the Grey ancestors to the grave.
It was a perfect day for a funeral, if there is such a thing—gloomy, gray, and cold. With steady tears of rain, the heavens seemed to be mourning along with the funeral guests. Though Ella stood strong as the pastor droned on, she would never be consolable for the loss of her beloved grandmother, Rose Grey McKaye. Ella had known for a while this day was coming as her grandmother combatted bouts of cancer, a stroke, and dementia, but all of that was not enough to prepare her for the overwhelming loss she now felt.
Ella heard no voices of condolences from those who one by one took her hand in sympathy. She only heard the rain tapping on the shiny mahogany casket covered in a blanket of chrysanthemums and peonies in front of her. Occasionally she would nod her head to the speaking sympathizer but she never took her eyes off of the coffin. Instead, she watched as a drop of water hung to the tip of a fern frond, gathering more volume until it could no longer hold on and dropped down the curved lid of the casket, and then meandered down the side stopping only for a moment by one of the carrying handles. It continued down to mingle with other drops at the base of the aluminum stand. It lingered and swelled until it could no longer resist the relentless tug of gravity and it fell to the fake green grass carpet laid out to disguise the recently excavated mound of dirt from the grave into which her grandmother would soon be lowered.
The long line of umbrella-toting guests passed before her then scattered among the graveyard to their warm, dry cars to go on with their lives. How odd, Ella thought, that time doesn’t stop for a moment to acknowledge the passing of one so loved. She felt sure that she hadn’t taken a breath since she had received the call two days before, notifying her that her grandmother had died. How would she ever survive life without her grandmother?
Ella’s childhood had been hard and she’d grown up fast and insecure in herself. The only happy memories she’d had as a child were in those blessed, short-lived visits to Grandma Rose’s house where Ella knew without a doubt she was welcome, safe, and loved.
Ella’s mother had not been a bad person, but Ella had learned at an early age that she was an anchor to her mother’s freedom. Patricia had been widowed when Ella was a toddler. She had no family of her own to speak of, and found herself a single mother with no job and no real skills. First the parade of men came, none of which ever seemed to measure up to her late husband, and then came the drugs which made the unhappy, lonely woman lost and unstable. Needless to say, this brought about a rather turbulent life for Ella’s early years.
A warm hand touched Ella from behind, guiding her away from the men now lowering the casket into its new home. They cleared away the fake grass carpet, revealing the reality and finality of what was happening. Goodbye Grandma Rose, Ella said without speaking. I love you so...and the car door shut on Ella’s words and pulled away from the curb as its wipers slapped the sides of the windshield with a squeaky but constant beat.
About the Author:
T. Lynne Tolles is a lifelong avid reader of all things paranormal and now is a writer of young adult paranormal romances for readers 15 to 115. She grew up in the sunny California San Francisco bay area. She's the mother of two, wife to one and pet mom to three cats and Newfie dog.
Blood of a Werewolf is the first of five books in a series called, the Blood Series. Other titles include Somber Island and Mirror of Shadows - both unrelated to the series.