Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Stephen Osborne

Get your s'mores ready and pull up a log around the campfire as Stephen Osborne has a spooky tale for you!

The Spell
Stephen Osborne


The basement had a faint musty smell, and the brickwork was crumbling. No one had been down there for ages, and Noel Dickson could see why. Even though it was still daylight outside, the grime covering the windows filled the room with dark shadows. The single light bulb hanging from the ceiling, which, miraculously, still worked, did little to dispel the gloom.
At one time his grandmother had used the basement as a laundry room, but this had stopped when she no longer felt able to navigate the stairs, and Grandpa Dickson and a couple of his buddies had managed to haul the washer and dryer upstairs to the little alcove off the kitchen.
Noel was house sitting while his grandparents were on yet another cruise, the Caribbean this time. Noel’s mother had volunteered him for the task, thinking it would “get his mind off his troubles.”
Troubles? Having your lover of six years suddenly die on you could be considered “troubles?” No, a trouble was a traffic violation, or having to report for jury duty. Russ McCormick’s murder wasn’t a trouble. It was devastation.
Noel moved closer to the far wall, where there were some shelves. Most of them were old tools that Grandpa’s gnarled hands could no longer use, but there were boxes of old clothes, various items of junk, and even discarded dishes that had been forgotten when Grandma got her new china several Christmases ago. Although, the lighting was so dim that it all looked like lumps of shadow to Noel.
He exclaimed as something moved in front of him. Noel laughed as he realized that a grime-caked mirror was resting at eye-level on one shelf, and it had been his own reflection that had startled him.
He gazed at himself. If he was truthful, he now looked much older than twenty-nine. I guess some guy holding up a gas station and putting six bullets into your boyfriend will do that to a guy, Noel thought as he examined the dark circles under his eyes and his shaggy brown hair. Yeah, he needed a shave, too. Days overdue, in fact.
But if the book he’d purchased at that antique shop was the genuine article, he would soon be able to get on with his life, which had been put on hold since Russ’s funeral.
He found the candles he was looking for in a little box just to the left of the mirror.

“Is this an actual book of spells?” he’d asked the woman who owned the shop.
She had raised an eyebrow at him. “That’s what it says on the cover. It’s all malarkey, of course. Witches, spells…all Halloween stuff, made scare little kids!”
But Noel had bought the book, because it had felt strange in his hands, as if he could feel the magic within.

Noel sat cross-legged under the light, the only spot in the room where he could read the words of the spell he’d found. First he lit the candles and placed them around him in a circle, and then he opened the book. He supposed after getting the candles he could just have easily gone back upstairs to conduct his little magic session, but he was too eager to begin.
He began to read aloud the spell he’d found. “For thou who sleeps in rock and clay, heed this call. Rise up and obey!”
Noel felt a little silly saying the words, but he continued on. If it didn’t work, he was out nothing. But if he could have Russ back, then feeling idiotic was a small price to pay.
“Trek through the mortal door, and assemble flesh once more!”
The light seemed to dim, and two of the candles went out, despite the fact that Noel could feel no breeze. Goosebumps covered his arms, and he realized he could see his breath.
He suddenly remembered a warning at the beginning of the book, something about first casting a protection spell, in case something went wrong. In his haste to see Russ again, he’d forgotten to do that.
Too late now, he thought. Noel finished the incantation and sat back, looking around the room. Nothing. Just shadows and dust and old boxes. It had been silly after all…
And then there was a bright light in the corner, a blue glow that got bigger and bigger until Noel could make out a male shape. The figure stepped forward, and Noel gasped.
It was Russ. But yet, it wasn’t Russ. It had Russ’s long black hair, tied back in a ponytail, and Russ’s gentle, easy smile, but Russ had never been that…well, buff. This man was muscular, with a finely developed chest and big biceps. And Russ certainly hadn’t had wings sprouting from his back.
An angel. Noel was seeing Russ as he was now, an angel.
“Russ?” he asked, his voice hesitant.
The angel’s smile grew. “Who else were you expecting?”
Slowly, Noel got to his feet. He swayed, as if his legs couldn’t decide if they wanted to hold his weight or not. “Is it really you?”
“Come here,” the figure said as it beckoned. “I’ll show you.”
Noel rushed into the angel’s waiting arms. It was Russ! It had to be! “Oh my God, I’ve missed you so much! I can’t tell you how much…”
“Hush,” the angel said, “and kiss me.”
Noel pressed his lips to the angel’s, and his heart soared. He was back with Russ. The book had been the genuine article! It had worked! Yeah, he hadn’t expected Russ to have wings, but at least he was in his arms again.
Once the kiss finally ended, Noel put his head on the angel’s shoulder. “Never leave me again.”
“I never will,” said the voice that sounded so like Russ’s.
Behind Noel, an impossible breeze turned the pages of the book, now on the floor. It was almost like invisible fingers were finding a certain page. Finally, the page flipping stopped right at the warning Noel had neglected.
Before attempting any spell, especially an advanced one such as a resurrection spell, it is imperative that you first cast a protection spell. Otherwise, anything can happen! You put yourself and others at risk. There’s no telling what may come through from the other side!
The angel caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror across the room. Of course, the mirror showed the being’s true self, not what Noel Dickson was seeing. The face in the mirror was black and evil, a mockery of the human visage, with a ridged forehead and red, red eyes.
The figure smiled crookedly. “I’ve missed you, Noel,” he said.
“I love you, Russ,” Noel said, clutching what he assumed was his lover tightly.
The being’s eyes blazed. He fought the desire to kill this stupid mortal right away. No, that wouldn’t be fun. Let him think he’s brought his lover back. Let him be happy. And then days from now, weeks even, he’d discover the truth.
When, finally, Noel stepped back from the embrace, he was surprised to see that Russ no longer had wings. “Where did—” he began.
“They’re still there. They’re just not always visible.” The young man looked around. “Do we have to stay down here? It smells!”
Noel laughed. “No. Let’s go upstairs.”
They trudged up the steps, arm in arm. Noel seemed reluctant to let go for fear of losing Russ all over again.
They reached the top of the stairs, and unseen by either of them, the blue glow reappeared in the corner. As before, it grew and grew until a figure could be seen within its light.
The young man who emerged from the light was tall and had long black hair, tied back into a ponytail. Although the blue light had diminished, there still seemed to be illumination coming from the young man himself, as if golden light was emitting from his very pores. He looked up the stairs, and shook his head.
“I don’t think so,” he said aloud. “Noel, you never could follow directions.”
He started toward the steps. “Luckily, I’ll always be here to look out for you.”

Don't forget to let Stephen know what you thought of The Spell in the comments below! The Unicorns thank him humbly!

Author Bio

Hello! I live in rural northern Illinois and have a wonderful dog named Christine, named after the heroine of The Phantom of the Opera. I love Broadway musicals, and head into Chicago at least 20 times a year to see shows. Other than writing, I like folk music, watching British TV shows like Doctor Who, and playing games with my admittedly odd group of friends. I first fell in love at the age of 9. Her name was Alexandra Moltke, and she played Victoria Winters on the soap opera Dark Shadows. Yes, I was one of those kids who ran home from school to watch Barnabas and the other spooky people on that show. I obviously never lost my love for the macabre, and it turns up often in my writing. I graduated from Purdue University and went on to manage a pizza restaurant. I also worked in bookstores for many years, and I joined an improvisational comedy troupe and did that for nearly a decade. I now work in a food packaging plant, testing the product before it goes onto the I basically bake brownies for a living. Someone has to do it. Even though I write about ghosts, zombie bulldogs, and impulsive college students, some of my real life seeps into my writing every now and then. I'm not saying which bits, but there's a scene in a bedroom in Pop Goes the Weasel which still brings back painful memories...



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  1. NOOOO... I want more of this story!!! Uhm, pretty please??
    The way it ended, my mind is busy with all the possibility of how the story could progress.
    Thank you for the spooky tale, you ...teaser you! I really hope to read the continuation somewhere. :)

  2. Wait!! It cannot stop there!!! I have enjoyed Osborne's books so much. This needs to be expanded to a novella at least...

  3. And? And? What happens next? I need to know!!!!

  4. Great fun, despair, hope, that uh-oh moment and hopefully rescue!

  5. Definitely need to find out what happens! Thanks for the great story.

  6. Sounds excellent!

  7. Well?? Thanks for shoving us over that cliffie. I'd love to see more of this story!

  8. More please! Don't leave us hanging!

  9. Thanks for this post :)

  10. Whoa, can't wait to see what happens next. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Angela:
    Wow that certainly was spooky, i loved it, thank you for sharing but question: Do we get to see what happens next?

  12. Stephen's work is new to me, looks cool!