Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown

Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown

by Michael Alan Nelson

Paperback

$14.99

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633880566
Publisher: Pyr
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Pages: 281
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Michael Alan Nelson was born in Portage, Indiana and grew up in a small farming community before moving to Los Angeles in 2002. He is the winner of the 2004 New Times 55 Fiction contest for his short-short "The Conspirators" and was awarded the 2011 Glyph Comics Award for Best Female Character for the character Selena from his series "28 Days Later." Michael is the author of the critically acclaimed comic series "Hexed," "Dingo," and "Fall of Cthulhu."

Read an Excerpt

Hexed

The Sisters of Witchdown


By Michael Alan Nelson

Prometheus Books

Copyright © 2015 Boom Entertainment, Inc., and Michael Alan Nelson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63388-057-3


CHAPTER 1

Lucifer knew she was being followed. She started to walk across the street then stopped halfway and pretended to tie her shoe. A green minivan came to a screeching halt just in front of her, sending plumes of gray smoke rolling past. Lucifer crinkled her nose at the smell of burning rubber and stood up. She gave the woman driving the minivan an apologetic smile before crossing to the sidewalk.

Everyone on the sidewalk was watching her now. And that was the point. If someone was following her, they wouldn't want to risk being discovered by making eye contact with her. So Lucifer was looking for the person who wasn't watching her. But of all the faces staring at her, only two weren't paying her any attention: a cop writing a parking ticket down the street and a window washer cleaning the seventh floor of an office building half a block away.

She moved off the street, and everyone went back about their own business. If someone was following her, there was nothing she could do about it now. Besides, she had more important matters to deal with.

Lucifer opened a heavy metal door at the front of a bland brick building and stepped through. Inside, the walls of the small waiting room were a drab shade of blue. A few plastic chairs sat in front of a faded coffee table littered with old magazines. A man with a patchy beard who sat on one of the chairs pulled his nose out from a tattered copy of National Geographic to look at her. The way his eyes scanned her from head to toe annoyed her, but Lucifer ignored him and stepped up to the counter on the far side of the room.

The young woman behind the counter was giving Lucifer a curious stare. Her face was round, and she had a small dot on the side of her nose where, Lucifer suspected, a nose ring would be if she were allowed to wear one here. The woman brushed a lock of purple hair from her eyes and said, "Can I help you?"

"Yeah, I have a question."

The woman frowned. "Unless you have a referral, the doctor can't see you. And if you're not eighteen, you have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian." She leaned over the counter and arched an eyebrow. "Do you have ID?"

Lucifer shook her head. "No, I don't."

"Then I can't help you, sorry."

"Can't or won't? I just want to ask a question."

The woman with the purple hair gave a heavy sigh and crossed her arms. "What's your question?"

"Can you remove tattoos?"

The woman stood back and tilted her head. "Oh. You have a tattoo? Well, that's something we can do, but like I said, you need a referral and a parent or guardian."

"Are you sure? I need it removed now. I can pay. Cash. I just need to get rid of it." Lucifer realized she was gripping the edge of the counter and let go. "Please, isn't there some way?"

The woman's expression softened. "I'm really sorry. But we could get in a lot of trouble. Even places like this have to follow some rules. And if you're under eighteen, this is one of those rules. I'm really sorry."

"Can you do it?" Lucifer asked.

The woman shook her head. "I'm not a doctor. I'm only eighteen. This is my dad's clinic, so I help him out when I can. I've just started studying to be an emergency medical technician. So, I can help you with a sprained ankle, but no can do on the tattoo." The woman gave Lucifer a genuine frown of sympathy. "What kind of ink do you have?"

Lucifer gave the man in the plastic chair a quick glance. The woman looked at him then turned toward Lucifer. "Why don't you come in the back. We've got a private booth we can use."

Lucifer nodded and followed the woman toward the back. She was happy to have a little privacy, though it wasn't out of modesty. The fewer people that knew about her mark, the safer she would be.

The woman ushered her inside a small, well-lit room about the size of a walk-in closet. She closed the door and motioned toward a red leather table pressed against the wall. "Have a seat. What's your name?"

"Lucifer."

The woman sat down on a rolling stool and folded her arms. "That's an ... interesting name."

"That's what everyone tells me."

"Did your parents not like you or something?"

I never knew my parents. "Luci Jenifer Inacio Das Neves. Lucifer for short."

The woman extended her hand and said, "I'm Trish. Nice to meet you." Lucifer took her hand and gave it a quick shake. "So," Trish said. "You want to show me this tattoo?"

Lucifer unzipped her black hoodie and tossed it on the table next to her. She grabbed the strap of her light tank top and pulled it down to reveal her right shoulder blade. Lucifer couldn't see the mark, but she didn't have to. She knew exactly what it looked like. The mark was a solid black symbol, roughly seven inches tall. It was shaped like a Gothic lowercase letter "h" that covered most of her shoulder blade. The sensation of its presence was subtle, barely perceptible, but Lucifer could always feel it. It felt like some stunted, malformed wing that withered and died before it was fully grown.

Trish traced the mark with her finger. "You're not eighteen, are you? Because whoever did this could lose their license for giving a minor a tattoo."

"Can you get rid of it?"

"Like I said, without a parent we can't ..." Trish stopped talking. After a few seconds, she said, "Seriously, Lucifer. Who gave this to you? I've never seen ink like this before." Lucifer could feel Trish's breath on her skin as she leaned in for a closer inspection. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say this was a birthmark."

It wasn't the first time she had heard that. She had gone to a tattoo parlor earlier that week hoping they might be able to remove it. The artist she showed it to had the same reaction as Trish. He had even tried to stop her from leaving unless she told him who gave it to her. Of course, that's when Lucifer taught him that a guy with that much metal dangling from his face should think twice before bullying someone.

"Most people go with Eastern symbols of some kind. Why'd you choose an 'h'?"

Lucifer remained silent. I didn't choose it. It was a gift, but not a gift for me.

"I'll be honest, I don't know if we can remove that. That's like no tattoo I've ever seen before. If you wanted to get rid of it, you'd need a skin graft."

Lucifer pulled her shoulder strap back up and slipped her hoodie back on. "So, then you can't get rid of it. Well, I thought I should at least ask. Sorry to waste your time."

"I can recommend a hospital that might be able to help. A second opinion never hurt."

Lucifer knew that if she went to a hospital, being under eighteen with no guardian would be the least of her problems. There would be too many questions she'd have to answer. "Thanks, but that's okay. I guess I'll just have to get used to it."

"Hey, we've all been there. I got a tattoo on my eighteenth birthday and ended up covering it up three months later. I tell you what ..." Trish reached into the back pocket of her black jeans and pulled out a business card. "When you do turn eighteen, let me know and I can take you to my tattoo guy. He's really good, and I can convince him to give you a discount. He can cover it with something you like."

Lucifer took the card. It was a sweet gesture, but just covering the mark wouldn't change anything. She'd still be hexed. The only way she'd ever truly be free would be to have it completely removed. Sadly, there didn't appear to be any way to remove it unless she flayed the skin from her shoulder. But Lucifer knew deep down even that wouldn't work. There was only one person in the world who could take it away, and she never would. It was her gift, after all.

Lucifer stepped out of the small room then turned back to Trish. "Do you have a back door?"

Trish frowned and gave her a questioning scowl. "Yeah ... Lucifer, are you in trouble? Should I call the police?"

Lucifer stared at the heavy front door for a moment. Even though she wasn't able to see him, she knew someone was out there, waiting for her. "No. I'm fine. It's just ... an ex-boyfriend. He can't seem to let go, you know?"

Trish gave her a knowing smile. "Oh, I know. C'mon. Follow me."

It was a lie. The idea of having a boyfriend was as foreign to Lucifer as having a horn sprouting from her forehead. But even though she knew Trish was just trying to help, Lucifer knew that "help" meant calling the cops. And the last thing Lucifer needed was a chat with the police.

Trish led her through the back of the parlor and past a small break room to another heavy door. She twisted the dead bolt and opened it. "Here you go. Take care."

"Thanks." Lucifer gave her a small smile, pulled her hood over her head, and disappeared into the alley.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Hexed by Michael Alan Nelson. Copyright © 2015 Boom Entertainment, Inc., and Michael Alan Nelson. Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Sailon More than 1 year ago
Luci is a kick arse, intelligent heroine that takes on the supernatural world with fervor.  Tracking down the missing Gina, Luci and Gina's boyfriend, David, uncover the dark truth behind her disappearance. As their trek progresses, the relationship between Luci and David starts to evolve into something more. Hexed is a dark magical adventure. It was fun, entertaining and enjoyable. I really liked Luci, but I had a really hard time with the nickname Lucifer. As you can see by my lack to use it in this review. I received this ARC copy of Hexed from Pyr in exchange for a honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I honestly loved this book and cannot wait for the sequel. The characters are well fleshed out, the heroine relatable and likable, and the world is simply fascinating to read about. Honestly I loved this book. One of my favorites, plot kept me on my feet the whole time, and I loved the little twists here and there that kept the book interesting.