WRAPPED IN BLACK
Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult
by Nick Kimbro
The Häxenhaus resides on the northern edge of the Black Forest. This is the fourth time I’ve been sent away.
“I’m very sorry, Kramer,” Father Schulz says. “But being here will not help your grief. You should be with your wife.”
“My grief has nothing to do with it,” I say. “I’ve come only to serve our Lord and Savior.”
He shakes his head. “I’m sorry, but even if it were so it would not be right for you to have part in this. Go, and God’s peace be with you.” He makes the sign of the cross and I bow my head. Then he closes the door and it is dark again, and cold.
I glance at the road leading back to the village, then circle around to the creek. The water is freezing. I wade waist-deep, slide my fingers through the metal grate, and peer into the bowels of the Häxenhaus. I can’t see much—just some dim light flickering against the stone—although their screams are like crystal. They begin at a high pitch and become low and guttural as their suffering deepens. The sound carries to the far bank where, somewhere, familiars lift their voices in an awful cacophony of howls and mewls and chirps and croaks. Vague outlines of stakes stud the ground like charred headstones.
I listen until the numbness in my legs turns bitter and I can no longer control my breathing, then I go, back through the forest to my home in the village, where my Helga waits for me in bed. The musky scent of old bed clothes greets me as I lift the blanket and climb in. I slip my arm around her stomach and she grunts. When I realize where my palm is, I readjust.
When I cannot sleep I like to imagine the witches’ screams. Although, eventually my thoughts must shift to the familiars and their mourning song. Only then do I grow weary. Then, I sleep like a babe.
Read the entire story in
WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2014
Nick Kimbro received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Hello Horror, Surreal Grotesque, Space Squid, Heavy Feather Review, Spring Gun Journal, The Yoke, Danse Macabre, and numerous anthologies. His novella, SURFACE INTERVAL, was published by Jersey Devil Press. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his beautiful wife and writes supernatural horror because she doesn’t do gore.