Wild Thing - Michelle Hercules



My mother told me to stay away from the catacombs, and what she says must be obeyed without question. Once upon a time, she used to be kinder, but that was before my father passed away. Then, I think the demands of her job stripped away any lingering softness from her. And since I’m her oldest child and destined to take her place as the High Witch, I get her worst.

But I’ve never been one to follow orders, and tonight, I’m sticking to my rebellious side. I want to know what the hell she and Solomon are hiding under the institute. I overheard the conversation between them after she came back from a meeting with King Raphael. They’re going to attempt to trap the deadly ghost again, and I’m not going to miss it.

That wraith was a vampire once, and my guess is she was a Blueblood, maybe even first generation. She felt powerful but also malicious, evil. More so than Boone, and that’s saying a lot.

But I can’t simply follow my mother at a distance and hope she won’t notice me. I’m taking precautions—and by precautions, I mean I’m using a concealment spell strong enough to fool even the High Witch. She would never approve of it. I acquired the potion from a member of the rogue mage guild, after all.

It would have been impossible for me to find them if the idiot who created the poisonous fog on the day of Boone’s attack hadn’t left behind a piece of his clothing. It was easy to cast a tracking spell with it. A bit harder to convince the guild to assist the daughter of the High Witch. Rogue mages can be hired, and some of them are powerful, but they’re all cowards. I had to resort to blackmail to get what I needed. They’d had no idea their fog job would assist in Lucca’s murder attempt by Boone. I promised them I wouldn’t rat them out to King Raphael if they cooperated.

Maybe it was stupid of me to waste such a trump card just to get a concealment spell, but I’m desperate to know my mother’s secret. I’m prone to making impulsive decisions. I hope this one doesn’t come back to bite me in the ass like my previous one. I have the guild by the balls, but I can’t keep blackmailing them. It’s amoral and also dangerous.

I drink the bitter potion and then head for the catacombs. Everything is eerily quiet, and the small hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Shit. Could the ghost have overpowered my mother and Solomon? I stick my hand inside my bag and pull out an enchanted crystal. It’s used to ward off vengeful ghosts, but it will only keep a vampire ghost at bay for a limited amount of time.

My heart is thumping hard and slow against my rib cage. It’s impossible not to feel the weight of fear when I know what’s on the loose down here. The silence is broken suddenly by a terrifying shriek that sends my heart spiraling up to my throat. Fuck. That’s the ghost. I freeze for a second, but then I hear my mother’s voice. She’s reciting a spell.

I walk faster, still mindful of being stealthy. Just before I reach the spot where my mother is, I flatten my back against the wall and stick my head around the corner. My mother and Solomon have the vampire wraith trapped in an orb of green light. She’s as freaky as I remember. I never knew vampires could turn into ghosts.

“You can’t keep us trapped forever,” the ghost wails. “The Nightingales have returned. We will get our revenge.”

Shit. The ghost is talking about Vivienne.

“You will return to your prison, Madeleine.”

“Madeleine?” The ghost laughs. “Madeleine has ceased to exist. Lost in her madness, she made a deal with me. I control her body and her soul.”

Solomon trades a glance with my mother. She nods, and together, they send the ghost back to the secret chamber. Her prison.

That’s it?

I’m pissed. Not only didn’t I get any intel, but I also wasted my leverage with the rogue mage guild in the process.

I quickly retrace my steps before my mother finds me. That would be the cherry on top.

When I get back to my apartment, I make sure all the lights are on. I hate that I can’t open the shutters and let sunlight in. Designed for vampires, they close automatically and won’t roll up again until nightfall.