The Pendle Curse

Four hundred years ago, ten convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. Now they are back…for vengeance.


“Catherine Cavendish remains one of those rare authors who consistently manage the first-person narrative wisely and well.” – Mallory Heart Reviews

“Dark, dangerous, and more than a little twisted. Just the way I like it!” – Kelly Rubidoux. Reading The Paranormal

“There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you wondering what is going to happen next. Definitely a good read, and I recommend it!” – Fictional Candy

“If you love a great story with witches and things that go bump in the night, you need to try this one!” – Long and Short Reviews

“I would recommend The Pendle Curse, and any of Catherine’s other books, to those who enjoy suspense and supernatural.” – Saguaro Moon Reviews

“The final act unfolds that is nothing shy of spell binding and is worth the price of admission alone. I for one look forward to embarking upon further reading adventures with this tremendously talented author.” – Dave Gammon, Horrornews.net
“Finally a proper witch story!” – Scarlet Aingeal Reviews

“This was one of the best witch stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading” – Majanka Verstraete, I Heart Reading


New edition - just out from Crossroad Press!
 
 Laura Phillips’s grief at her husband’s sudden death shows no sign of passing. Even sleep brings her no peace. She experiences vivid, disturbing dreams of a dark, brooding hill, and a man—somehow out of time—who seems to know her. She discovers that the place she has dreamed about exists. Pendle Hill. And she knows she must go there.

But as soon as she arrives, the dream becomes a nightmare. She is caught up in a web of witchcraft and evil…and a curse that will not die.

Excerpt

Rain whipped my hair, lashed at my thin top and streamed down my face. I struggled to keep my eyes open against the force of the howling wind that pushed me back down the hill I seemed to be struggling to climb. Ahead of me, through a billowing mist, a much larger hill loomed, colored charcoal by the storm, naked and exposed to the elements.

Where am I? What am I doing here? I looked down at my soaked jeans and T-shirt.

I fought against the force of the gale and kept trying to turn around and see where I’d come from. How had I got to this unfamiliar place? What had happened to the apartment? If I called for help, would anyone come—or even hear?

“Help me!”

But the wind caught up my words and turned them into little more than an agonized squeak.

My clothes were plastered to me like icy swaddling. My teeth were chattering. I had to find shelter, but I couldn’t see any anywhere. Not even an old shed. In a distant field, sheep, huddled together by a hedge, while I stood here, exposed to the elements in the middle of this field. The animals had the right idea; a hedge had to be better than nothing. At least I could crouch down beside it.

I tried again to move, but could only manage a stagger. I kept being blown off course and my skimpy sandals were hardly adequate for this bleak, muddy ground.

I heard a male voice behind me. I pushed my dripping hair out of my eyes, turned and saw a dark shape moving closer. I couldn’t distinguish his features, but he seemed to be telling me not to move any farther. How did I know that? I couldn’t hear him speak, but somehow I sensed his thoughts. I stopped struggling against the elements and waited, swaying slightly as the wind gusted and threatened to blow me over.

The gale didn’t seem to bother him. His voice drifted over on a gust of wind. “At last I have found you. After all these years.”

I awoke in the same position in which I’d nodded off, the dream crystal clear in my mind. My watch showed ten past two and a gnawing pain in my stomach reminded me I hadn’t eaten.

As I went through the motions of buttering two slices of bread and slapping a slice of ham between them, the dream wafted back—so real I could have been there, except I hadn’t smelled anything. But then you’re not supposed to smell anything in dreams. Everything else had been as if it had really happened. And I would know that hill again if I saw it. Assuming it existed. An involuntary shiver reminded me how cold and wet I’d been.

I looked down at myself. I saw the same jeans, top and sandals I’d been wearing on that hillside. I half expected my clothes to be wet and clinging to me, but that would have been ridiculous. Wouldn’t it?

Back in the living room, the Philippa Gregory lay where it had fallen. No matter. I could find the page later. Besides, I no longer felt in the mood to lose myself in historical fiction. Maybe I’d watch some TV, but ancient reruns of Diagnosis: Murder, talk shows, old films, and comedies that hadn’t been especially funny the first time around reminded me why I rarely switched on the TV before the news at six.

I sat on the settee and memories swam into my mind. Rich and I curled up together, watching our favorite old films like Casablanca, or even a football match. We fitted so perfectly together. I couldn’t imagine ever finding anyone I could feel so alive with. Hell, I didn’t want anyone else. An old saying drifted into my mind: “Why go out for chopped liver when you’ve got steak at home?” Well my “steak” might not be at home anymore, but he still filled my heart and soul.

Always and forever, Rich.

I hit the Off button and tossed the remote onto the settee beside me. Now what?

I should go out. I could go for days without leaving the apartment, until an empty fridge forced me into action.

“You and I used to enjoy our walks. And the exhibitions we went to. Do you remember the Titanic centenary? Of course, that was before we moved here. Do you remember…”

Talking to myself again. It had become a habit. One I couldn’t break. I picked up the broken frame and removed the photograph. An old photo of a group of friends sacrificed its frame, and Rich was once more restored to smiling out from behind a small sheet of unbroken glass. I stroked it and Rich sighed in my mind.

Now, how about that walk?

The sunshine tempted me but the thought of squeezing into the milling throng on the city streets didn’t appeal in the slightest. Antisocial. That’s what I’d become. Not that I’d ever been what you might call a party person.

Then my latest dream swirled back into my mind, along with a clear vision of that distinctive, glowering hill I’d seen in the distance, dominating its landscape.

What if that hill existed? Maybe I’d seen it somewhere and my mind had retained the information in my subconscious. Here, at last, was something that grabbed my attention away from my grief.

I crossed over to the desk and booted up my laptop, entering my password when prompted. Richgirl79. I sighed. It had been funny at the time. A little play on words.

My home page appeared and I clicked onto Google. I hesitated. What the hell should I search for? A hill? I hadn’t the faintest idea where I would find it, even assuming it really existed. Okay, I could narrow the search down to pictures only, but even so a massive search engine like Google would probably throw up hundreds—if not thousands—of entries. Why not try something smaller? I selected a more obscure one from my menu of search engines and typed in “big hill UK” in the query box before clicking Images.

The first of what appeared to be two pages flashed onto the screen. Some of the pictures weren’t even of hills, let alone big ones, but I recognized the Neolithic, man-made Silbury Hill in Wiltshire before moving on to page two. Only a few images here. I dismissed each of them before settling on one—just an artist’s representation. But…

I hovered my cursor over it and clicked. A website appeared, with different landscape paintings, and I found the one that had caught my eye. It looked familiar, but I needed to see photographs. The caption read Pendle Hill. Somewhere inside me, a distant memory stirred.

I returned to the search engine, typed in “Pendle Hill” and clicked. As the page filled up in front of me, I gasped. Image after familiar image flashed up.

I stared at them. It did exist.

I had found the hill in my dream.

Copyright © 2017 Catherine Cavendish
All rights reserved

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