Title: Cinderella, Necromancer
Title ISBN: 978-1-946700-33-9
Book Length: 324 pages
Cinderella, Necromancer is Chime meets Anna Dressed in Blood and was inspired by a real medieval grimoire of necromancy from 15th-century Germany.
Ellison lost her mother at an early age. But since then, her father has found love again. He’s happy and doesn’t quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her mean daughters. When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father’s mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her freedom. Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother and stepsisters’ every whim and fancy.
Stumbling into a chance meeting of Prince William during a secret visit to her mother’s grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival. But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince once more? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother?
As Ellison’s power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, she will have to decide whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.
(Excerpt from Chapter Two: The Beginning)
On the morning of my fifteenth birthday, my mother died. It was a cruel and terrible death, wrought with pain and suffering and moments of relief between the screams.
When death finally took her, the darkness hovered like a plague over our home, my father and younger brother and I only moving and breathing to survive, though if anyone had asked us why, we couldn’t have given an answer.
On the morning of my sixteenth birthday, the darkness descended in a form incarnate, though at first, we couldn’t see it.
Why should we have?
Father thought he’d brought me the best birthday gift a father could give his daughter: a new mother.
I saw nothing but a vile attempt to replace someone utterly irreplaceable.
I screamed, threw the pot I was holding at his head, and locked myself in my room for three days.
On the fourth day, six-year-old Edward knocked on my door. “
You can’t stay in there forever,” he said, his small voice wavering. “Father is threatening to call the locksmith. Mother—”
“Don’t call her that or I won’t speak to you,” I said.
He paused before continuing, an awkward pause that made me wonder—no, suspect—that she stood outside my door too.
“She is threatening to take a hatchet to your door,” he whispered, so soft I could barely hear.
Was she now? I wanted to see her try. Difficult, though, being on the other side of the door.
“And ruin Father’s fine craftsmanship? She wouldn’t.”
But I didn’t know if she would or not. After all, I’d only caught one glimpse and hadn’t even seen her face. Or looked in her eyes. I’d been a fool.
One’s eyes say so much more than most people suspect. While the superstitious bustle about, trying to hide their true names—for they believe there is power in names—they should really be wearing dark glasses and learning to speak while gazing at the ground.
Names? Please. Child’s play.
To learn the state of one’s soul, find their gaze and hold it.
But I’d thrown a pot and run away.
How differently things might have turned out if I’d only followed my own rule.
(Excerpt from Chapter Four: The Leaving)
He left that same morning, quietly, while the rest of the world still slept. I watched from my window as he galloped down the road that would lead him through town, past the King’s palace, and out the other side on the road headed north. For years I’d begged him to take me on one of his distant journeys, and after Mother’s death, he’d promised his trips would never again separate the family. We had to stick together now.
Celia’s arrival had changed everything.
Father and his horse had barely disappeared from sight when someone rapped on my door—three sharp knocks, and a fourth with ominous finality.
I suppose I shouldn’t have answered, but at the time, some small part of me must have hoped that Father’s leaving had only been an illusion or some semblance of a nightmare, and that he actually stood on the other side of my door once again, waiting.
But Celia Not-Mother stood there instead, hands clasped at her middle.
“Your father has taken leave for several days to do business in Neustadt. Be a good girl and bring me up a pot of tea. Sweet child.”
The last she added as an afterthought.
Be a good girl? For Father, certainly. For her?
“That is not my place,” I said, for I had no knowledge of kitchens and pots, nor the necessary interest to deduce what might be needed. “Miss Mary—”
“Is no longer in our employ.”
A breath caught in my throat. Father’s trail barely minutes cold, and already she’d loosed the woman who’d nursed us and raised us during Mother’s frequent convalesces. Miss Mary had no children or family of her own save us.
“You didn’t,” I said, fists firm at my sides. “You can’t.”
Celia lifted her chin as though height meant power and folded her arms across the looseness of the blue silk robe she wore which—I swear it, even now—once belonged to my mother.
“I can, and I did. A needless expenditure, she. We must be careful with our coins, child.”
Tell that to the curtains and pillows.
She tapped a slippered foot. “Tea, child. In my room. I will be waiting.”
Indeed she would.
(Excerpt from Chapter Twenty-Six: The Second Ball)
They left. I did not hesitate.
I set up the parlour as if by rote, though the ease with which I fell into the routine stirred a concern. I buried it.
The spirits did their work, and I would do mine.
I had no doubt of my power, though if anyone had asked, I couldn’t have explained why I continued to tempt my eternal fate. I was as though driven by some force—something unseen—to use the ability, now that I had it.
I don’t excuse what I did. I only wish to explain why I continued to seek retribution despite my misgivings.
What is more, I longed for something deeper. Harsher. More severe, for a part of me believed that no matter what, I still held control over the spirits and what they did. And that same part of me wanted to see Charlotte suffer.
And so it was with this in mind that I turned further pages in The Book, knowing full well what I sought.
“To inflict harm,” I read, “make an image of wax on the day and in the hour of intent, in the name of the one to be harmed. Thus, you should use wax of candles burned at a funeral, and on the likeness, fashion hands in the place of feet, and feet in the place of hands.”
And so I did. With candles from my room that I had saved from Mother’s funeral, I molded a crude figure of my stepsister. With my fingernail, I inscribed Charlotte’s name on the wax doll’s forehead, and on its chest and shoulder, carved the book’s images of circles, planets, and five-sided stars.
Then I called my spirits. With the bridle still, I had no need of the first spirit. To the second, I had only to repeat my request. And to the third, I gave the wax doll, which he consecrated with spit smeared over the doll’s eyes.
“What would you have me do?” Oliroomim spoke with an unsettling eagerness.
From my hair, I drew a pin. With a hollowness in the pit of my belly, I pierced the spine of the doll.
About the author:
F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.
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