Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

A Cold Spring–Episode 15: Old Crows and Offerings

Before we get to Episode 15:

Zoraida Grey is up for a RONE Award!! Voting for the Long Paranormal category in Week 2  begins on April 24, but you need to register to vote. Go to and Click the Subscribe button at the top of the page. You can opt in or out of additional emails and the whole thing is FREE. You will get an email to confirm your subscription. Be sure to do that to be eligible to vote.

Voting for week 1 is under way. To vote, go to and from the menu bar select InD’Scribe/Rones >2017 Rone Awards > 2017 Rone Awards Week 1. You will be prompted to register if you have not already done so. It’s free and easy.

You have plenty of time to read these short works and decide who to vote for. I recommend these three books in the Novella category now under consideration in Week 1:


  •             Barbara Bettis: The Lady of the Forest
  •             Becky Lower: A Regency Yuletide
  •             Sharon Buchbinder: The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle

The Rone is a prestigious award and Reader voting is only the first step in the process. A limited number of books will progress to the next level. YOUR vote might make a huge difference. Please take a few minutes to support writers who publish independently and with small publishers.

If you have not read Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones–now is a great time. Grab a copy HERE and if you enjoy it, please vote for her in Week 2.

“A Cold Spring”


Need to catch up with the story?

Download Episodes 1-13 HERE or read in the file below.

Episode 14: Now I Wait

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”A Cold Spring 1_13″]

Episode 15: Old Crows and Offerings

A cloud of crows chatter in the branches of the rowan trees. Maddock was . . . is . . . an expert in bird languages. Though he tried to teach me, I spent most of our lessons watching the sun on his hair and the way his eyes change from ice to indigo. I understand only a few of the names they call us, but that’s enough.


“I see why they call a group of crows a murder,” mutters Mayebelle. “If I could get my hands on them, I’d wring their necks.”


She tosses a clump of mud at the impudent birds. The projectile falls to earth with a soggy splash, stirring up the flock. They wheel and kite, screaming epithets and curses with renewed vigor.


One particularly large and particularly vocal crow dives at Mayebelle, raking her head with sharp talons. Another tries the same with me, but I send a spark of green magic into his feathers. Maddock’s old fire spell smolders the soft down beneath the coarse plumage and the crow retreats.


“Let’s get inside the croft before they come back.” Mayebelle fingers the scratch on her head, limping toward the door. “The devil’s in all animals today. Even Pyewacket refused to eat a perfectly good bit of baked chicken. He snaps with static every time I touch him.”


Pyewacket the black cat watches us from the windowsill. His amber eyes focus on something behind me. In a fluid motion, he rises on his toes. White teeth flash and black fur fuzzes to spiky heights.


A flutter of feathers near my ear and sharp claws on my shoulder bring me up short. A crow, not the pushy young one who attacked Mayebelle, but an old crow with notched wings and rheumy eyes perches on my shoulder.


“Stand still, Allium,” cries Mayebelle. “I’ll fetch the besom and make him regret the day he visited our garden.” She disappears inside the croft.


The crow’s claws bite into the meaty part of my arm, but he’s standing on only one foot. He clutches something in the other. I hold out my hand, coaxing him to release it. He winks a bright bird eye and drops an object onto my open palm.


“I bring you this in remembrance of one who saved my nest many summers ago.” The bird speaks slowly, making sure I understand. “A La Croix he was. You have his magic.”


Before Mayebelle returns with the broom, he flaps his moldering wings and soars out of sight.


I squeeze my fingers around the crow’s gift. I don’t have to look at it to know what I hold.


On the night Lucia and Maddock disappeared, I’d put it on the table in front of me. Through that last dinner, I enjoyed the dark mystery of the witch stone, felt the subtle pull of magnetism.


When Lucia appeared, Maddock hurried me out of the castle before I had time to grab it.


That’s the last I saw of the witch stone.


Until now.

Stay Tuned for Episode 16: Pilgrimage


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