This tale begins with a modern setting, on the creepy Ninth Floor of a hotel, where an old woman just wishes to be left in peace. But that isn’t possible. It never is in this world.
A novelette by Lori R. Lopez, The Witchhunt unfolds in several parts, with four casts of characters connected by one . . . and she is not one to be messed with!
Someone should tell that to the construction crew daring to disturb her, threatening her territory. The cop and the property manager showing up to evict her. A pair of detectives sent to investigate deaths on the floor. Those who persecuted her through the ages. Tell them all to leave her alone, or suffer the consequences. But it would be too late. By the end you may wonder who was hunting whom?
The author of Leery Lane, Cornstalker, Monstrosities, and Samhain among other tales, Lori has created a speculative horror story brimming with emotion and flashes of dark humor. The story introduces elements of Alternate History and Ancient History, while addressing a number of present-day issues and concerns. The Witchhunt leads to the Past, yet tackles serious and timeless themes that remain eerily relevant.
“It’s the Old Witch. It’s true! I’ve heard about her. La Bruja Vieja. I’m not going out there.”
A word — one word — can repair injury, or be wielded like a dagger.
~ from The Witchhunt
Restrictions might be vital for security, and granting rights shouldn’t mean limiting the rights of others, yet there needed to be allowances. A solution.
The average immigrants and refugees weren’t dangerous or dishonest. They tended to be blamed for the actions of the few, disliked for taking employment, draining resources. For upsetting the Economy. Increasing poverty levels and crime rates. Causing populations to explode, as workplaces downsized. But the truth was, the majority of non-immigrants had immigrant blood in their veins. Generations who enriched a populace as much as they expanded it. Seldom did their arrival win fanfare. It was the same in many regions, many periods of History . . . a portion of the planet’s inhabitants in search of a new beginning. Wandering. Unwelcome.
Perhaps they needed better neighbors.
~ from The Witchhunt
Words are important and powerful, lasting and significant.
They can be used to praise, inspire, enlighten . . . or criticize, punish, bully. It is not the words themselves that harm, but those who intend them to destroy.
We must train ourselves and be resilient so that names will never hurt us.
THE HAG’S PATH led to this corridor from countless strides, innumerable steps fraught by tumult and affliction. The Ninth Story harbored an ominous current. A level of tension like a mordant keening in the ears.
Do not trespass.
They came without malice, yet they were invaders. They were a threat — an augur of peril.
Men in helmets rode a capacious Elevator, armed to the teeth with drills and hammers, screwdrivers and tape-measures, the tools of Carpentry. Their conveyance halted. Doors sprang wide. An opaque hallway stretched.
“Where are the lights?”
“That doesn’t look good.”
“It’s blacker than a Coal Mine.”
Darkness swam, its tentacles exuding.
“Just a little shadow. Fuse musta blown. Our work begins.” A ramrod of discipline, the burly commander with a sable complexion reassured his troops by example, maintaining a stoic demeanor. He compressed a door, then stabbed a red HOLD button.
“It’s the Old Witch. It’s true! I’ve heard about her. La Bruja Vieja. I’m not going out there,” protested a mustached grunt with salt-and-pepper hair.
“Lori R. Lopez conjures a tale for our time.”
“With prose as sharp as the points on a witch’s pentagram, Lori R. Lopez conjures a tale for our time.”