Ah grandmothers, they are wonderful, aren’t they? They spoil you when you’re young and teach you lessons along the way.
They comfort, soother, and laugh with you. In this story, Casey never knew her grandmother. Why? Well, I will let the story tell you that, my friends.
Georgia swept the kitchen floor and moved the mat to the center of it. Using the broom handle, she leveraged the trapdoor open and made her way to the cellar below. The light candles as she descended into the dank space. The orange light illuminated decades of leveling and smoothing of the dirt as well as the carefully laid cobble for the floor. The altar opposite the stairs featured angels and gods with more candles, a dagger, a chalice, and other items she used for rituals in her space.
They walked over to a set of logwood shelves and removed a black lacquered box. In it rested a small corner of a blanket, the blanket at her son’s home. She placed it on the altar and lit incense. Immediately, the remnant started to shiver and quake and Georgia swore she heard a moan.
It’s getting stronger. Her curiosity must have been strong, or its hunger is at its peak. I would wager a little of both.
She placed it back in the box and sealed it. After returning it to its home, she pulled the book out which was next to it, and took it upstairs. The book was bound in old leather with thick cording.
She had just sat down in her study when she heard her son’s car drive up the long driveway.
Casey jumped out of the car before Robert had it at a full stop. She ran up the dirt walkway and had her hand raised when the door opened, and the smile that greeted her made her day.
“Casey, honey, I am so happy to see you.” They hugged, “I just wish it was for a happy reason.”
Casey pulled back after her grandmother loosened her grip, “I know. Me, too. Dad rarely mentions you.”
Georgia shot a brief glare in her father’s direction before taking a step to the side and letting Casey enter, “I don’t know why he would do that. I don’t bite.”
“You may not, but the thing dad says is in the attic will.”
Georgia frowned, “How many times did it try to get you, Deary?”
“Twice. I tried to be brave the second time. He made me angry when he told me he killed mom.”
Georgia looked out the door, “Robert, unpack the car. I will be in the study with Casey. You and I will talk about not mentioning me later.”
Casey stood looking at the old couch thinking she could take a nap on it. The place had a comforting feel to it, a safe feel to it. She was looking at the cup on the coffee table when she felt her grandmother’s hand on her shoulder, “Come this way, Casey. You and I have a lot to talk about.”
“I have a lot of questions, grand.”
“I will do my best to answer them.”
Robert carried the bags into the house and made his way down the hall to the guest room. Figuring he would be relegated to the couch, he put Casey’s things in the drawers and closet and his things in the hall. Without being asked, he went into the kitchen and started throwing dinner together.
Georgia sat Casey down and placed an old diary on the desk in front of her, “This should help you get familiar with our family history leading up to the demon’s summoning. Your four-times-great aunt kept a record of how we got here.”
Casey looked at the diary, “Dad said we landed at Roanoke. If that’s true, how did the diary survive?”
“The one who was to be mayor on his return from England found as many books and diaries as he could and made his way further into the mainland. He also took many of the supplies he could find.”
“Including the blanket,” Casey added with a somber tone.
“Yes, but by then, the blanket was dormant. Just read. You will see, not everything is one of those mp3 things or a book-on-tape.”
Casey shook her head as the opened the diary.
Robert looked up from chopping carrots to see his mother standing in the doorway, “So, are you so ashamed of your mother you couldn’t even talk about me to your daughter?”
Her son recoiled as if he had been stung, “I… I… I just never knew how to bring you up.”
“I’m her grandmother, Robert, not a crazy woman who would kill her with a look.”
“I guess I was afraid you would-”
She crossed arm arms in front of her as she cut him off, “I would what, Robert Gordon? Tell her about her mother? The monster you have in the attic? All the things you SHOULD have told her and her mother?”
Robert spun around, “How-”
Georgia threw her hands in the air, “Did you forget I can speak with the dead? Where did you think she came from when the demon ate her? She is NOT happy with you.”
“She’s still here?”
“As are all the souls of the matrons who the demon devoured. That was the secondary price of the sacrifices. They are trapped on this plain unable to cross over.”
Robert put down the knife and used the counter as a prop. His head fell between his shoulders as if he lost his ability to keep it up, “Bonny’s stuck here, and you didn’t tell me?”
“It’s more like you were never around to tell you. You got married and forgot I existed until her murder.”
He turned to face his mother, “I sent you-”
Her frustration and hurt could be felt, “Greeting cards with money twice a year pales in comparison to you actually calling or visiting. You treated me like a pariah, a leper, something unloved until you wanted -no needed- something.” She fought through her sobbing to deliver the last few words.
Robert turned to see his mother’s tears running down her face. He stepped forward with arms outstretched.
She backed up wiping the tears away, “I’ll be in the study. You finish dinner and think about the damage you’ve caused.”
Casey looked up long enough to see her grandmother walk back through the door. Georgia sat next to Casey, “Do you have any questions for me?”
“Why didn’t dad talk about you? All he ever told me was that I had another grandma but nothing else.”
Georgia wiped the remaining tears from her eyes and was about to answer when both of them looked at Robert opening the study door, “Because your dad was too stupid to realize he needed his mom to be in his life. Because I was so sure shutting her out would help keep the demon at bay. Because I was trying to keep you away from witchcraft, demons, and other dark shit that refused to see you needed your grand.”
His mother stood up to face him. Just as she locked eyes with her son, they both heard Casey, “Pride is a bitch, huh dad.”
He was left with no options but to nod and smile in agreement, “Yeah, Casey, pride is a bitch indeed.”
Georgia gave him a stern look, “I am assuming that was some sort of apology?”
“More of an admission of my massive screw-ups. I’m sorry, mom. I shouldn’t have shut you out.”
“I’ll let you know when I’ve accepted it.”
Casey went back to the diary as her father went back to the kitchen, and Georgia sat back down.
“You’re not going to accept the apology, gran?”
“Some things take time to accept. Some wounds run a little deep, deary. Just because someone apologizes doesn’t mean the hurt is gone or that it has to be accepted when given. Now, where were we?”
Casey put her hand on the center of the book, “We were witches?”
Georgia nodded, “Christian witches. Many people refuse to think it’s impossible, but it isn’t.”
Casey’s face filled with confusion, “I thought all witched were Pagan?”
“Not all of them. Christian witches invoke the angels instead of the old gods. We use angel magic.”
Casey tilted her head down and her eyes up toward her grandmother, “Where do the demons come into this?”
Georgia sighed, “There was Caleb, the outcast. You won’t find him in any diary from or after Roanoke.”
Casey placed a thin strip of paper in the diary before closing it,” What did he do?”
“He has this notion that demons, all demons, were nothing but fallen angels who could talk to and reasoned with.”
“Was he stupid?”
Georgia stifled a chuckle, “Some would say he was insane.”
Casey point to the leather-bound book on the desk, “Is that his diary?”
Georgia could not hide her horror, “No, it is his notes, rituals, and incantations that he used to commune with the demons.”
Casey’s eyes flew open, “Why do you have that thing?”
“In here, somewhere is a clue on how to defeat the thing in your attic. We haven’t been able to decipher it in hundreds of years.”
“Can you read ancient runes and demonic script?”