MONDAY, JUNE 7, 1943, England
Despite the fogginess of deep sleep, Etta Schnell sensed the hot prick of the energy probe.
She struggled toward awareness as fear danced at the base of her neck and rippled down her spine. A magical nightmare, a foretelling...a warning. Swirling images coalesced in her mind’s eye, bringing clarity. Something evil was stalking her and sought to rip the family grimoire from her care-taker hands. Her heartbeat increased, and her breath took on the nature of a pant.
The Book of Cures is in danger.
Because of decades of precognitive experiences, Etta intuitively recognized the probe’s source—Hitler, and his occult minions. The family grimoire contained hundreds of years of occult recipes for protections against malicious spells. The Nazis coveted The Book. They would surely corrupt the grimoire to bolster their twisted ambitions for the Third Reich. In the wrong hands, the spells could be turned from Good to Evil and reborn as powerful curses.
Her one ray of hope was that—in the magical nightmare—the American flag also chased the grimoire.
The Book had been smuggled out of Bavaria and into Great Britain in the early 1800s when her gypsy ancestors suffered persecution in their homeland. Etta was its most recent guardian. She was almost the last of her maternal line possessing the occult skill to protect The Book. Only one other, an American cousin, had inherited the talent. Rather than destroy centuries of knowledge to keep it out of Hitler’s hands, she’d flee and safeguard The Book until her young cousin could take it away to safety in the United States.
Acute pain! For a second time the energy probe seared her aura. Etta wiped the sleeve of her cotton nightgown across the clammy sweat erupting on her forehead. The probe was marking her whereabouts by leaving behind a traceable psychic scar and a faint odor of sulfur. She awakened fully with teeth on edge and goosebumps covering her body.
She glanced anxiously at the clock...4:00 a.m., the dark and powerful hour before dawn when unseen spirits still walked and made final attempts to connect with human psyches before the sun rose and banished them.
She flung back the covers and rose with as much urgency as her 65-year-old bones would allow. After pulling on her bedroom slippers and shrugging a house coat over her nightgown, Etta hurled open her bedroom door and hastened down the narrow hallway. She roughly flung open her daughter’s door causing it to bang against the bedroom wall. “Giselle, wake up!”
Her 26-year-old daughter, and youngest child, sat upright in bed and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes with the backs of her knuckles. “What’s up, mums? I don’t hear any air raid sirens.”
“I had a vision. The Nazis are coming for The Book. We have to get out.”
Giselle stumbled to her feet and put on the shoes stored under the bed. “When will they get here?”
“We must leave right away.”
Over the past year as England prepared to withstand an invasion by the German army, Etta had considered at least a dozen possible sanctuaries with friends and family and had made her choice. “I don’t want to leave thought forms behind that might give the Nazis a clue to our whereabouts. Emotionally charged thoughts are as easy to read as seeing an apparition. We’ll get far away before I speak.”
Giselle was pulling on fresh clothes as they talked, her brow creased by worry. “What can I do?”
“Pack a bag and start closing up the cottage. There’s no telling when we’ll return. The neighbors will keep an eye on things once they realize we’re gone.”
She gave her daughter a quick hug. “Courage.”
Then she was out the door and scurrying for her bedroom.
Etta began throwing on yesterday’s clothing that had been draped over a bedroom chair. She pulled a green-patterned carpet bag constructed of good Brussels carpeting from under the bed and started tossing clothes in helter-skelter from dresser drawers. From the dark recesses of a mammoth oak armoire, she retrieved The Book, her stash of emergency funds, and her late husband’s service revolver with ammunition. These, too, went in the carpet bag. Valuables and toiletries, an extra pair of shoes, plus rain boots and a hat were packed on top before locking it.
As she carried the bloated carpet bag into the hallway, she saw her daughter coming from the kitchen with her own bulky satchel, her coat already on and buttoned up.
Giselle was holding up a large cloth shopping bag. “I emptied the ice box and the pantry of fresh foods and filled two flasks with water.”
On their way out of the cottage, Etta grabbed her serviceable brown coat and a paisley babushka from the mahogany coat rack. She left the front door unlocked behind her.
“May God travel with us.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish