Dealing With Devils – Part 5

The moon was rising and Mattie stepped out into the backyard. The rules for the summoning ran through her mind. Never give your real name. Have gold in your pocket, just in case. Never say thank you, but be polite. She had a small box of supplies to work with, and her Granda’s knife slung to her belt. Kneeling in the grass, she started by spreading a circle of salt around herself for protection. Next came the candles. Those, she placed on small rocks to keep them above the grass. It took a few flicks of her lighter before she could light the candles. In the flickering glow, she placed a small piece of paper with hand-written words. It was meant to be Gaelic, but she’d had to write it phonetically. Probably Liam could have helped her with it, but she didn’t want him to know. Taking a deep breath, she drew the knife out of the sheath and began to speak. Her words came slowly and carefully, focusing as hard as she could on making sure she said everything correctly. Reaching the end of the first repetition of the chant, she drew the knife across her palm carefully. Just the top layer of skin, just the top layer. Don’t cut anything important. It stung and then burned, blood welling up. She set the knife aside and held her hand just outside the salt circle, making a fist and squeezing. Then she repeated her chant. The quality of the air changed. It felt thick, heavy, almost like you could lean on it and stay standing. After a long moment, she heard hoofbeats sounding across the ground. Looking up, she pulled her hand back inside the circle. The figure riding towards her was shrouded in black leather armor and astride a skeletal horse.
“Dia dhuit.”
His voice was like nails on a chalkboard and Matt wasn’t entirely sure where it was coming from at first since she couldn’t see his head. Then she realized he was carrying it tucked under his arm.
“Speak English, if you can.”
“I can. Why do you call me, woman?”
Mattie bristled at that but held herself together. Be polite. Be polite. She took a breath.
“I am told that you can find anyone, no matter where. I need you to find Captain Henry Wirz.”
She heard the door slam behind her and bit her lower lip.
“I will do this for you. Then I will be released.”
The rider started to wheel his horse and Mattie silently prayed he would be gone before Liam said anything.
“Matilda O’Halloran, what in God’s green earth are you doing?”
Her stomach dropped and the rider’s eyes locked with her’s. He knew her name now. She could hear his laughter echoing as he reared and then charged off into the night. Fear overtook her and Mattie buried her head in her hands, trying to stop the tears. She heard the knife getting jammed roughly back into its sheath but still didn’t look up.
“We need to clean your hand. Bandage it.”
Liam’s voice was distant, distracted. Matt whirled around, standing in one fluid motion. For a moment, she glared at him.
“I’ll deal with it,” Mattie growled low as she stormed back into the house.

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