The Hessian, Chapter 15

Gabby advised her, “Don’t trust that person! If they were welcomed in your household, then, surely, they would allow us to see their face! 

Her logic was sound, and Clarissa’s jangled nerves were ready to acquiesce, but her innermost instincts hesitated. She couldn’t understand why her intuition had come to this conclusion since the dark silhouette was very foreboding, but somehow, she trusted that this soul did not pose a threat to her or Gabby! To alleviate her friend’s fears, she instructed, “Get your salt ready! If they show any signs of violence, then-.” 

All of a sudden, something popped out of the bushes by her porch! This abruptness made Gabby and Clarissa jump, and the hooded individual flinched as well! Clarissa peered out of the front window to see if the stranger at her doorstep needed assistance, and she steeled herself for another brazen attack from that sinister specter, but to her surprise, the perpetrator of the disturbance was revealed to be a small, black kitty! Clarissa was glad no one was in danger, but she got a little irritated that she had gotten so worked up over nothing! Gabby, however, did not seem so convinced that they were out of any imminent peril… “Alastor must have sent that creature here!” she vociferated. “I’m fairly certain that those felines are connected to witchcraft…” 

Clarissa watched the clandestine visitor crouch down to pet the furry guest, and the way the two pleasantly interacted prompted Clarissa to conclude, “Anyone who shows kindness to animals can’t be wicked!” 

“Unless the animal is wicked!” Gabby argued. 

“Do you really want to judge a being off of an egregious rumor?” Clarissa prodded Gabby. 

Gabby looked remorseful when she realized what she had done. “You’re right, I shouldn’t do that! It’s very hurtful! Alright, let them in!” She held up her pewter of salt, and when Clarissa gazed at her questioningly, she briefly explained, “Just in case!” Clarissa shook her head and then opened the door… 

The shrouded person faced her as soon as the entrance became ajar, and even though Clarissa couldn’t discern their expression, she got the impression that they were glimpsing at her hopefully. They didn’t say a word, which she found strange, but she assumed that they were waiting until they got some privacy. Clarissa courteously invited them in, “Salutations!” The hidden character cordially nodded to her, and as they brushed past her, Clarissa sincerely hoped that she had not erred in her assessment of them… 

The cloaked caller lingered in the foyer for a beat, and Clarissa wondered if she, too, should have armed herself with some sort of protection. With the serious nature of their appearance, she expected the first sentence that came out of their mouth to be something grave, but to her bewilderment, she heard a familiar voice coo, “I love your pussycat!” 

“Drusilla?” Clarissa quizzically queried. Out of all of her neighbors, she never would have pictured her to have any motive to keep her identity a secret! She was the daughter of the man in charge of the entire town, so Clarissa thought that she would have been permitted to occupy any dwelling in the region! It baffled her as to why she deemed it necessary to conceal herself! 
“Sorry if I scared you,” Drusilla apologized as she took off her hood. “I couldn’t be seen by anyone…” 

Clarissa dearly desired to petition Drusilla as to why she had the urge to disguise her form, but the whole scenario had her so thrown off that all she could think to say was, “I don’t have any pets!” 

Drusilla appeared slightly astonished to learn that, but then she stated, “You do now!” As she took off her cloak, she educated them, “You should put some food out for her! Familiars are very good at warding off evil spirits!” 

“Are they? Well then, perhaps we can solve our ghostly problem by convincing every family in Colfrith to adopt one!” Clarissa joked with a hint of anxiety in her tone. Drusilla cracked a smile at her quip while she sat down at a table. 

“And what exactly do you mean by dropping by The Leaky Taverne in such a spooky manner?” Gabby probed as she took a seat beside her. 

Drusilla ruefully regarded her, “Forgive me for causing a commotion! I would have written you a letter, but Father is monitoring all of my correspondence! Or, at least, who they’re addressed to anyways! If he had gotten a gander of the message I sent to Aunt Martha, he wouldn’t let me speak to anyone unsupervised ever again! Oh, but don’t get an ill impression of him! He means well, he simply goes a bit overboard trying to keep me safe! It’s became like this after mother succumbed to her sickness…” 

Gabby sniffed in disapproval. “If he truly cared about your security, then why would he choose his bride using a completely frivolous reasoning!” 

“He partially proposed to Elmira with me in mind,” Drusilla informed them. “She’s set to inherit Oceanus’ fortune, and between that and what we’ve garnered from C.C. Asher Mill, I’ll gain quite the considerable wealth one day! Not that it matters to me! I’m in love with a boy who likely does not earn a handsome wage…” 

“We can discuss that later,” Clarissa told Gabby, who’s eyes lit up in a curious delight upon hearing that piece of gossip. Clarissa humorlessly spoke to Drusilla, “I doubt that you went through so much effort to conceal yourself for an ordinary conversation…” 

Drusilla sobered up, and she struggled significantly to provide them with her rationale for travelling to that locale like she did. After a minute, Clarissa and Gabby were kind of stunned when she asked them, “How do you guys do it?” 

Clarissa answered with an enquiry of her own, “Do what?” 

“How do you go about your lives with everyone treating you so horribly?” Drusilla woefully posed to them. “I know my actions spared people from harm, and yet I am getting treated as though I played a role in unleashing that threat on them! Wherever I go, I get shunned, and no one talks to me! They talk about me though, and what I can overhear is so deeply hurtful!” 

“Do they label you as a witch?” Clarissa inquired. 

Drusilla replied, “I am a witch! But why does that automatically connotate something negative?” Clarissa and Gabby seemed startled by her proclamation, so Drusilla clarified, “I practice white magic- I help people heal and thrive!” 

Clarissa remarked, “I never realized that those who engage in sorcery would ever classify themselves as benevolent to mankind!” 

“My mother did spell-like rituals, and she didn’t have an ounce of evil within in her!” Gabby commented. She mulled it over and then thoughtfully added, “Although she would never have called what she did magic! There’s a stigma against that sort of practice!” 

“That’s exactly why I’m the subject of castigation at the present!” Drusilla exclaimed. “I did what I had to do to quell the wickedness that possessed Ophelia, but now that I revealed that side of myself, everyone has this malign image fixed on me! And Father is furious with me for damaging our reputation!” 

Clarissa pondered, “But he didn’t get angry over your pursuit of the occult?” 

Drusilla filled them in, “My mother was also a white witch, but she kept her pastime private. Father didn’t want me to follow in her footsteps, but I discovered her books despite his best attempts at hiding them! He couldn’t bear to destroy something she treasured, but he earnestly didn’t want me to inherit this interest! He’s convinced that this ultimately invited the illness that killed her, so the notion of me continuing to do this terrified him more than it angered him! I wish I could convince him, and everyone else for that matter, that it’s nothing to be afraid of!” 

“Listen, you did the right thing today!” Clarissa assured her. “Gabby and I were struggling to prevent the worst from unfolding, and you were instrumental in taking that menace down! A lot of innocent bystanders were spared by the actions you took, so feel proud of the feat you accomplished! As for the defamers, let them talk! They’ll show you gratitude in the end!” 

“At the end of what?” Drusilla wanted to know. “What exactly is occurring in Colfrith?” 

Clarissa got overwhelmed by the concept of where to begin with their saga, but Gabby undauntedly responded, “I’d be flabbergasted if you didn’t already have a hunch on the cause of the recent tumult!” 

Drusilla conjectured, “All of this started after Alastor was executed. Has his essence returned in some fashion?” 

“Yes!” Clarissa confirmed. “He came back as a ghost and inhabits the bodies of random citizens to force their hand to commit evil deeds as an act of revenge for his lawful hanging and for our perpetual fight for freedom, something he considers pure anarchy!” 

“That’s frightening!” Drusilla noted. “But what’s even scarier is knowing someone in our borough aided him in this endeavor! Only a potent jinx could inflict such malevolence upon the world! But as far as I can tell, I’m the only enchantress in this district! And yet that can’t be so! Who else would be capable of committing an atrocity like that?” 

Twisting in dread of the plausibility of her ideation, Clarissa brought up, “We recently discovered belongings of Brenner… It appears to suggest he veiled tools of a rite he participated in…” 

Drusilla requested, “Show me!” 

They went upstairs where they left her late husband’s stash, and as soon as Clarissa and Gabby uncovered the chest’s lid, Drusilla’s eyes widened and her visage lost color! She studied a few of the items inside for verification purposes, and then she esteemed, “Well, Brenner’s death no longer feels so mysterious to me! He was likely consumed by guilt over what he did!” 

“You mean he…?” Clarissa couldn’t bear to finish that thought, but she didn’t need to… Drusilla nodded, and Clarissa nearly fainted! Gabby caught her and gave her a brace, and Clarissa croaked out, “I can’t believe I shared a bed with a man who brought this horror to our planet! How did I not figure him out in time to stop all of this from transpiring?” 

“It’s not your fault!” Gabby comforted her. “None of us knew he had the potential to commit such a crime against humanity!” 

Drusilla put in, “Not all villains are so visible! So many do their sins in seclusion to thwart others from halting their heinous acts! If there weren’t masters of deceit, most of the wretchedness on Earth would cease to exist!” 

Clarissa lamented, “He never showed signs of this when we were younger! He was so fun, always the life of the party! Had I gotten any inkling of this aspect of him, I never would have stayed!” She ruminated on her memories of him, and she couldn’t recall one instance where she suspected him of deviousness! A part of her wanted to reject this hypothesis on that basis alone! “Are you… Are you quite certain that Brenner was the one who…? Who…?” 

“Did he ever court a woman with hair that resembled Alastor’s?” Drusilla held up the dark-maned lock for Clarissa to see. 

“A piece of Alastor is in my house?” Clarissa bellowed. “Get it out! Get it out!” She didn’t know why she gave that direction to the other two women- she was perfectly capable of doing it herself! She lunged for it, but then Drusilla shielded it from her! “What are you doing? I want that out of here! If you won’t let me do it, please toss it out the window immediately! Please!” 

Drusilla illuminated her, “If we do that, then this will be a partial burial ground for that fiend! It needs to get burnt! But not here! We don’t want his ashes inside this residence either!” 

Gabby quizzed her, “Why not? Isn’t there some kind of hex we could do against him with this portion of his physical being?” 

“Not as far as I know,” Drusilla relayed to her. “Father hid my text again, but from what I remember, there’s nothing we can do to harm a phantom!” 

“So, you don’t know how to defeat him?” Clarissa enquired. 

Drusilla asserted, “Not yet! I’m very much convinced that he is capable of defeat though!” That statement seemed to falter as a whispering wind billowed and shook the windowpanes as it flew by… 

2 thoughts on “The Hessian, Chapter 15

  1. Jen says:

    “Although she would never have called what she did magic! There’s a stigma against that sort of practice!” — That line is golden, lightworker typing this comment.

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