Under the Witch’s Mark: A Novel for your Halloween Reading

About the Book:
Sheridan didn’t believe in witches, not in 1972, not until he met and fell in love with Bronwynn, a dark-haired beauty in North Dallas. Then, he learned more than he wanted about the sinister side of magic, witchcraft, and satanism hidden in the underbelly of the city. Follow Sheridan and other members of that Led Zeppelin generation as they self-destruct, create beautiful art, and crash against dark forces they don’t understand and are not ready to face.  Order the book HERE:

An Excerpt:  The Prologue

I loved a witch once. Loved her totally, uniquely—naively. I loved her before she took final decisive steps across lines that separate the twilight from darkness, and I loved her after the busy shadow-world hid her from my sight.

Bronwynn and I lived in North Dallas in an upper-middle- class neighborhood. We met not long after we graduated from high school—me from W.T. White, and she from Thomas Jefferson. We lived and looked like the rest of the emotionally charged, music-driven Led Zeppelin generation about us, killing time and brain cells with drugs, alcohol, sex and rock music almost as loud as our own inner chaos. We were tightly woven into the tapestry of that milieu. But the zeitgeist that enveloped our hedonistic generation is only the backdrop for the dark story of witchcraft I need to tell.

I’ve often wondered how Bronwynn entered the world of witchcraft. At first, I believe she was only curious—a lonely girl who wanted to see things others couldn’t see. Precocious, she had a passionate desire to know the arcane, the esoteric, the forbidden. In her early days as a novice, she must have forced herself forward until she overcame the awkwardness one feels when traveling in unfamiliar territory and her eyes grew accustomed to the darkness the curious arts require.

In a way, you must admit such excursions require much nerve—nerve most people will never have.

You probably would not recognize Bronwynn as a witch if you happened to meet her on the street. I didn’t. She practiced her sortilege as a solitary witch long before she joined a coven, preferring solitude and anonymity and the safety a lonely existence can provide. There was no show and tell of her black magic power. Even later, when others did know, she was elusive and evasive of entrapment, and possessed an uncanny ability to hide and disguise herself when she didn’t want to be found.

As she grew bolder, she began a game of chicken with the shadows in this witchy Cimmerian land, daring the specters to step out and dance. She dallied back and forth between our world and theirs, staying longer and changing more with each journey. I pulled her back to me time after time, but the dark currents we swam were too strong and I lost my grip and she slipped away in the dark undertow and never returned to me.

I came close to the edge of this netherworld myself. Closer than I should have. Close enough to know something was there. Close enough to feel the rough, iron-hard grip of its power, close enough to hear cruel whispers and echoes of emptiness flowing from its orifice. The wounds are deep from that encounter and the scars I bear on my body and soul have not faded with time. I did not want to skid to the edge of this emotional and spiritual chasm. I had no desire to tease the darkness—I came close only because I loved her. Because she led me there. Sooner or later, I always seemed to go where she led me.

Not that I didn’t try breaking off my relationship with this girl. I did, even to the point of leaving Dallas, but I found no Gilead with healing balm, no ultima Thule far enough away, nowhere I could go to heal the ache in my heart only she could soothe. “You’ll always come back to me,” she once said.

As her journey into the darkness evolved, I saw more and more of her dark side. But we would both discover that there were others involved in this complicated craft who were darker, more lost in the darkness, and more cruel than either of us could have imagined. We would encounter powerful men and women conjuring ancient forces that most moderns flippantly dismiss—a magic exuding a mind-rattling, traumatizing, and terrifying pagan force. The careless and reckless will, like I did, underestimate the danger and power such witches represent, and like me, they will pay the price. I found the knowledge I gained a most unpleasant epiphany.

Yes, I really did love a witch once. Her name was Bronwynn. This is her story—and mine.