She nodded towards the door, trying to hold her breath. Robert pushed it open and the stench only grew stronger, as if it was escaping through the open door.
“Miseriaccia,” Robert whispered.
On the floor in black chalk was a six pointed star. At each point was a candle. Two were black, two white and the ones at either end were blood red. There was a silver chalice sat by the star. Beth didn’t know what the contents were, but Robert’s knuckles turned white as his grip on the door frame tightened. That gave her a pretty good idea. Beside the chalice were herbs of all sorts.
“Boneset, absinthe, anise seed, snakeroot... This is black magic. Serious black magic. That’s why you can smell it and I can’t. This is some sort of curse, or hex. On someone dead by the looks of it,” Robert informed her.
“How do you know that?” Beth asked warily.
“I told you about the witch. She’s a black witch, not white.”
“Okay. So, got anything more about this spell then?”
“Not about the spell, no, but the poor fourteen year old girl who died to fill that chalice had nothing to do with magic.”
“How do you know she was a fourteen year old girl?”
“Even vampires have legal age limits,” he murmured, his mind elsewhere. Beth wasn’t quite sure what he meant.
Robert got back to studying the room from the door. He put his arm across the door frame so Beth wasn’t able to get in.
“These are amateurs. Look—” He pointed towards several lines of the star. “—the lines are smudged. God knows what they’ve let across into our plane. Why are vampire hunters trying to perform a black magic ritual that obviously required a sacrifice? That goes against everything they stand for as an order. Any ideas?”
Beth remained silent for a moment. “You said that this was a curse on someone dead. Could that include vampires?”
“Yes, but no vampire would be stupid or insensible enough to let their blood be drawn out. Besides that there isn’t vampire blood. And you need the blood of the curse’s recipient. So, that girl’s soul is going to get a nasty shock. Let’s go before something finds us.”
That scared Beth enough to get her moving. She hurried out of the house and glanced back at Robert as he shut the door. He smiled briefly, trying to reassure her. The worried look in his eyes told her the gravity of their discovery.
Beth grabbed onto Robert’s arm as they walked through the darkness. Beth hadn’t realised how late it was getting.
As the two of them got into the car, Robert didn’t meet her eyes as he said, “I’m going to need to take you home now.”
“Why?” Beth demanded.
“I need to talk to my... friend, for want a better word. She’s not too fond of white witches.”
“I’ll stay in the car then,” she blurted. “Please don’t take me home, Robert, please.”