The Silver Prison
By Shona Husk
It had taken him close to a century to track down the damn box. A century of stalking witches and making sure they didn’t trap him too. But now he was close he could almost smell the magic. He dragged his captive forward. She mumbled against the gag he’d shoved into her mouth, and while the rope cut into her wrists, the pain wouldn’t worry her for much longer.
The witch who was supposed to be guarding the box was out at her coven meeting. Her cat hissed at him, but when he hissed back, it skulked away to hide in the shadows. He didn’t need to turn on any lights to see where he was going. The box up was upstairs on the dressing table. Hidden in plain sight.
A stupid move, really, considering he knew what the silver box looked like and had been scrying for it for decades. Previous witches in charge of its safekeeping had kept it wrapped and in boxes, handing it over while masked so he never saw their faces. It was hard to track something when he didn’t have a clue about where it could be. But this witch either didn’t know what was inside or they’d made a box for him and this was a trap.
After stalking the witch in the real world, the astral and online, he was sure it was the former. She was less witch and more wanna-be.
The college girl he’d kidnapped struggled against him. He shoved her up the stairs and down the hallway to the bedroom. He paused in the doorway for a moment.
Perfect. Just as he’d seen in the bowl of blood, the box sat on the dressing table. The box was shielded from simpler scrying methods such as water and crystal balls. Did the witches really think that he wouldn’t stoop to using blood? He’d lost track of the number of people he’d almost killed to find the box.
The silver, heart-shaped box glinted in the moonlight. It was truly a beautiful prison. The woman kicked him in the shins in a futile attempt to get free. He grabbed her hair and growled, revealing his mouth full of fangs. Her angry mumbles became a smothered whimper. No doubt she’d never seen a demon in the flesh.
He ran his knuckles down her cheek and her eyes widened. He’d picked her because she was very pretty. She’d also been very willing to accept his offer of a lift home after a few drinks. He could be a perfect gentleman if he chose or lust incarnate.
When he pulled the knife from his pocket and flipped the blade, all color faded from her skin. She shook her head and her mumbles became more pleading. He couldn’t stand whiny women, but he needed her alive.
“Shut up and pick up the box.” He hoped it wasn’t booby-trapped. He didn’t want to have to find another woman.
The woman complied, her hands shaking. The silver heart box fitted in the palms of her cupped hands. For a moment he hesitated. It had been so long. The witches who’d made this prison had paid with their lives—he’d made sure of it.
“Open the lid.” He knew he wouldn’t be able to open it. It was warded against anything that wasn’t human. The witches who’d set the trap had been far more knowledgeable than the ones currently in charge.
The woman shook as she struggled to get the lid off. He almost considered cutting the rope binding her hands just to speed up the process. Then the silver lid popped off and fell on the floor with a muffled thunk.
Inside was a cloth poppet bound in a nest of spider’s silk. The white cotton cloth heart had been personalized with a piece of golden hair and stained with blood. It pulsed, making the web tremble. A black spider the size of a fingernail crawled from underneath and sat on the fabric.
He smiled. “Hello, lover. I’ve brought you a new body.”
Find out more about Shona Husk!