Isabelle can feel death’s hand on her shoulder and resigns herself to it until the night when a dark stranger pulls her out of death’s grasp. His secret is against all morals and brings its own danger along with its tempting promise of a new and better life. Drawn to the moonlight, Isabelle succumbs to the strangers dark enchantment.
“Pure emotion. I couldn’t relate it to anything I’d seen or read before. I read it twice in succession and hungered for more.”
A Dark Enchantment
Copyright 2013 Moira Hodgkinson
There were footsteps coming up the stairs, so soft they were barely audible, more sensed than heard. I knew at once it this was no intruder to my Uncle’s home. It was him and I felt my heartbeat quicken. My breath was shallow and rapid, fingers trembling as I arranged my hair on the pillow and smoothed out the thin coverlet that kept away the mild summer-night coolness.
I had not allowed myself to believe last evening’s encounter had been anything but a strange and wild fantasy of sleep, a remnant of the hysteria brought to me by the illness from which I was still recovering. I had spent the day indulging myself in reliving the encounter – real or imagined, it did not matter, for I was possessed with it in either case – and had even come up with what I hoped would be a plausible reason for my disappearance should the man I had met return to whisk me away as he had promised.
I closed my eyes and feigned sleep, hands resting lightly below my bosom, as the door knob began to slowly turn. It had been no fantasy. He had truly come for me.
The letter which I had spent almost the entire day composing lay sealed in an envelope on my dressing table and I could only hope it would go some way to explain my disappearance when I failed to breakfast with the family tomorrow morning. Unless he had not come for me after all – the door did not open and I could not hear any further sign of movement outside my bedroom door – had I really heard anything in the first place?
The faintest of noises then broke the silence and I breathed again, not realising I had been holding my breath, as the door knob turned fully. I opened my eyes, unable to remain still a moment longer, and watched the shadows in the room flicker and cast about erratically as he entered. He stood tall and sublime, the full moon’s silver rays thrusting him into silhouette and although I could not make out his features I was entranced. I remained silent, unsure of myself, breathing faster with expectation. My heart fluttered as he reached my bedside and placed his large and strong, warm hand beneath my head, lifting me to him. I gasped lightly though I did not resist, could not resist. Nor did I want to, for this captivating, enigmatic character, had captured my heart and soul completely. It was as though he buried himself deep within my mind, so deeply we became one, our souls entwined.
‘Are you ready?’ His deep voice resonated within me and a shudder of excitement passed along my spine. Dark eyes, glinting with cold fire, seared my own and pricked at my deepest desires, stirring me.
‘Yes.’ I replied, skin tingling with anticipation. ‘Take me with you.’
‘Then rise, my love, and the night will be ours.’
The man, whose name I still did not know, pulled the coverings away from my bed and took my hand in his. Though still weakened from the sickness and my long walk the previous evening, I did not falter as I came to stand with him. My strength came not from within me, my fatigued body, but from that blissful external source of power and authority that he commanded. As he willed me, so I would follow.
‘This night and many more.’ His breath against my cheek felt heavy, warm and smelled darkly masculine. The heady scent of the hunt, of blood, of danger and of death.
For the first time saw his face clearly in the half-light of the moon, for a hood and utter darkness of the woodlands in my Uncle’s estate had hidden his features before. Handsome, as I had suspected, in a dark and chilling way.
Last night when he entered my life I had been afraid, not knowing who this stranger was, why he had come to me. We had talked long into the early hours of morning and when the sun began finally to rise I was exhausted and half delirious. He had been searching half his life for someone to join him, a beauty to bring light into his dark existence. Chancing upon me one evening as I took a late walk through the woodlands of the estate, shielding himself from my view, he said he had known at once that I was the one who would light up his life. He had taken his time in coming to me but decided, finally, to tell me everything and in doing so he risked losing me through fear. Yet I, who had been so close to the demon of death in my sickness, had nothing left to fear and this stranger offered only hope.
Although it would be difficult and strange at first, he assured me I would soon become accustomed my new life and he promised me all the things a young woman yearns for. He would take care of me, watch out for me, love me. All the powers he possessed would restore me to a health I had never known. And oh! How I craved that health and vitality – to be free of the weakness this vile illness had left me with!
‘My Isabelle, my love.’ The whispered voice was husky and I felt for him keenly, my arms clasping around him as he picked me up and carried me from my room. We descended the stairs and crossed the gloomy parlour. I took a last look at my familiar surroundings, knowing I would never be able to return. Somehow it did not matter, for as long as he was with me, I would be safe and content, despite the unusual nature of our future existence together and the uncertainty of it.
Once outside, the fresh air entered my lungs and I breathed deeply, letting the coolness wash over me. My love set me down and we walked, my arm linking into his, to the woodlands I knew so well. I had played and picked flowers in this small forest as a child and grown up with the estate as my homestead. Even recently I had feared I would die here but now, by fate or by chance, I was to be re-born instead to a life more full, more vibrant, more strange and dark than even my vivid dreams could ever have wondered at.
At last in the shadows he stopped and turned to me, holding one hand against my face and I pressed that hand closer still. I gathered my courage as we prepared to embrace that dark embrace.
I had thought him a demon last night, stealthily entering my life to devour or abuse me. I was not deluding myself in that respect and he held me under no delusions. I knew his precise nature from the very beginning; he had held nothing back. I knew what was about to happen, how shocking, how extreme, how obscene it was – against all morals, against all humanity. I had lived with darkness, however, I was not perturbed – I who had looked into the eyes of death so recently and knew that he was waiting to claim me soon. I was not afraid of that darkness.
‘Wait,’ I whispered, putting my hand against his chest to stop him from performing the deed I had agreed upon. It was not nerves or indecision that made me refrain him, however.
‘Your name.’ I said. ‘You have yet to tell me your name, my dark one.’
‘Isaac.’ He replied. ‘Isaac Emmanuelle.’ He smiled and I removed my hand, giving my final consent. I steeled myself, for he had warned me of what was to come, and under the light of the full moon he began to change.
When the turning was complete, he was no longer the handsome man I had become attached to but an animal, a monstrosity, a being to run and turn away from. To all others my werewolf lover would have been deadly and savage, but to me, with me, he was delicate and considerate as he first scraped my neck with his teeth. He tore deeper at my skin and I gasped in pain that was also pleasure, grasping at his shaggy, furred form in the intensity of it. Burning pain ran through me and when he was done he shook himself and gave a low growl, standing over me with teeth bared. I did not cry out however, for my trust was complete. Isaac moved away and with a shallow grunting, he returned to his human form, no less powerful and muscular than his wolf-hood. With my blood still draining from the wound at my throat, he offered me his own, making a deep cut across his chest. Though weakened through blood loss I drank greedily from the gash, the metallic taste of his blood filling all my senses and making me strong and hot. The first taste of blood gave me an appetite for more, despite the delicate, feminine side of me that had been nurtured for so long, I wanted – craved – more!
Isaac pulled me away when I began to scratch and scrape at his wound, licking at it with my tongue.
‘Look at me, Isabelle.’ He whispered. In his eyes I could see my own reflected and I realised the blood exchange was working. My eyes were glowing with an amber tint.
Loving followed, sweet and dark and he showed me the darkest secret of turning, of becoming. That first transformation was powerful, undeniable and agonising as my body twisted, bent, distorted and stretched. Limbs wrenched and muscles contracted, claws, hair, even ears changing and morphing.
Night’s children, we ran, we loved, and we hunted.
My existence was changed and in the changing, with my dark love beside me, I was content.
Thank you for reading A Dark Enchantment, read more by Moira Hodgkinson here.
Half Past Nine – a novel by Moira Hodgkinson
Sam Glass steps off a bus at half past nine one Saturday morning to find himself walking down a street lined with dead bodies, crashed cars and an eerie silence. Life has changed dramatically and he literally has the world at his finger tips but Sam quickly discovers that surviving on the remnants of humanity is not as easy as it first seems.
With his band of odd-ball survivors and a dog named Dave, Sam has to face up to the grim reality of life in a world now filled with silence, darkness, strange disappearances and a series of startling events that leaves him feeling more terrified than he has ever been in his life.
The Witching Path – Non-fiction – A guide to Witchcraft by Moira Hodgkinson.
Welcome to a world of spells, charms, magic and incantations! Witchcraft explained in simple terms with sections on the Elements of witchery, the tools of the witch, invocations, circle casting and the God and Goddess of the Wiccan path. This book discusses some of the most fundamental teachings behind the religion and shows how you can develop your own ways of working the craft of the wise for the Esbats and Sabbats of witchcraft.
Email me to inquire about signed copies of my books
Published by Capall Bann under the author’s previous name of Moira Stirland.
The Witch’s Journey – a comprehensive to witchcraft going beyond the foundations set out in The Witching Path, taking a look at different deities, healing therapies, divination techniques and deep journey work. There is a guide to the Sabbats of the witch’s year with ideas for recipes and rituals and there are chapters dedicated to solar magic and lunar magic as well as rites of passage for coming of age, parenthood and deep rituals for meaningful occasions. The Witch’s Journey is a look at what lies past the beginner books found in everyday magical books and explores where the path can take you.
Published by Thoth Publications, Nov 2017 ISBN978-1-870450-76-8
About the Author
Moira Hodgkinson is a leading feature writer for Witchcraft & Wicca Magazine and her work has appeared in Kindred Spirit, Prediction and her debut novel, Wild Women is now out @witchshop.org. Wild Women – a modern tale of ordinary women who witches in the real world. Sal Howard despairs of her family – all she wants is an easy life. But when her estranged mother comes home to roost there is trouble on the cards. This is real magic, and real magic doesn’t always work the way you want it to!
Moira has been a practicing witch for thirty years both as an independent witch, as the Priestess of two eclectic covens and more recently a wiccan initiate. She has written extensively for Witchcraft & Wicca magazine, Kindred Spirit, Prediction and wrote a spoof astrology column for the NFAS magazine.