Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

A Cold Spring–Episode 16: Pilgrimage

Before we get to Episode 16:

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

Episode 15: Old Crows and Offerings

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

Episode 16: Pilgrimage

“Allium, you can’t go.” Mayebelle flattens herself against the door as if she means to stop me with bodily force.


“That stone was inside the castle, Mayebelle—Inside.” I jam a blanket into my worn duffle bag along with underwear and woolen socks.


“It’s such a long way, and you won’t be able to travel quickly. Not in your condition.”

“I can be in Highmoor Valley in four days.” I pick up a sweater and push it into the bag.


“We don’t know what might be out there. Beyond the boundary.” Mayebelle casts a fear-filled eye out the window. “Maddock would come here—if he could.”


“He may be hurt. He may need help.”


“And just what are a cripple and a pregnant woman going to do about that?”


After Mayebelle found me babbling on the road, we lingered in Highmoor Valley for weeks––hoping the castle would pop into existence again. At last, Mayebelle convinced me to return with her to her home. I had just enough sense left to lay a protective boundary just beyond the fringe of trees encircling her plot of land. Neither of us has ventured beyond it since.


I always intended to go back. As little Petunia, Lavender, or Felicity grew, I abandoned the idea of returning until she was born.


The witch stone simmers in my hand, warm and pulsing with energy.  I string it with a jute cord and slip it over my head. The stone nestles between my breasts.


“I’m going, Mayebelle. You don’t have to come. I know how hard it is for you to go . . .outside. I understand.” I settle the stiff woolen poncho over my shoulders and hoist the duffel bag.


“What if the baby comes while you’re on the road?”


“I’ll be back before then.” I waddle out the door, muffling the raw spring wind with a scarf around my face. Little Abbie or Betty or Celeste taps softly beneath my rib cage––encouragement, I think.


The sun is already westering, but I have to get started.  Before I reach the gate, Mayebelle’s hoarse voice calls from the door of her cozy croft.

“Alright, you stubborn gobshite. You can’t go alone. Wait while I pack.  You’ve run off without provisions and I’ll have to leave food for Pyewacket.”


To my over excited senses, Mayebelle wastes precious time. She moves as slowly as sap while I dance with impatience.


“I’m not waiting. You can catch up.”


The garden gate, damp and swollen, sticks stubbornly closed. I yank it with both hands, suddenly desperate to escape this safe, stagnant place. Why did I delay? What if I’m already too late?


The gate opens with a creak of wet wood and I do my best to hurry along the gloomy, rain-drenched road. The gate latch snaps behind me and padding footsteps grow louder.


Mayebelle catches up to me easily, despite her twisted, ice-burned legs.  She limps to my side and puts a supporting hand under my arm. “At least I won’t slow you down. You can’t go any faster than I can.”


I’m glad the scarf hides my face. I would hate for her to see how happy I am she’s with me––how relieved I won’t be alone when I look down on Highmoor Valley once again.

A black crow rides the cold wind beneath the lowering clouds. His harsh cry, distant but clear, falls with the mist of rain.


“Hurry,” he calls. “Time is changing.”


Stay Tuned for Episode 17: Quarried Stones


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