The Witches of Dark Root: Daughters of Dark Root: Book One (The Daughters of Dark Root)

The Witches of Dark Root: Daughters of Dark Root: Book One (The Daughters of Dark Root) by April Aasheim

Book: The Witches of Dark Root: Daughters of Dark Root: Book One (The Daughters of Dark Root) by April Aasheim Read Free Book Online
Authors: April Aasheim
“Sorry.” I offered him a weak smile. “It’s been a tough night.”
    Shane nodded and leaned forward, peering into the deep darkness that surrounded us.
    Even with the high beams on, we moved sluggishly through the winding wilderness of central Oregon. The trees closed in around us, tall monstrous beasts that loomed even larger in the night. Their branches canopied us like long, twisted fingers. Through the crack in Shane’s window, I could hear the sound of the restless wind moaning. We cut through the darkness like it was unexplored jungle, carefully hacking our way into the moonlight.
    “I understand,” he said, as we reached an area where the trees were less dense and we could finally see the moon. It hung in the sky, a sliver of gold punctuated by a few dim stars. But it was enough. We both relaxed.
    Shane continued, “...I’m sure I look different, now. Do you remember Joe Garris?”
    “Yes,” I answered.
    Uncle Joe, as he was called by all of us, had owned Delilah’s Deli. He had been part of my mother’s coven and had been responsible for helping me and my sisters with some of our lessons.  
    “Well, he was my Uncle. My biological Uncle. I would come down from Montana every year and spend the summers with him. I was that skinny boy with freckles and glasses. You girls used to come to the deli and we’d run around the tables after it closed.”
    A light of recognition hit my brain.
    Shane Doler. The dorky kid who used to go frog-hunting with Eve.
    I recalled how Eve had gotten him to kiss one of those frogs once, claiming that if he did, it would turn into a beautiful princess. It didn’t, of course. Just because Eve practiced magick didn’t mean she was any good at it.  
    After that event, I had nicknamed him Frog Frencher. I smiled at the memory, even though it hurt. “Yes, I remember you. Sorry about the nickname.”
    He laughed, bobbing his head. “I had it coming. Who kisses a frog?” He shook his head, and his brown hair shook with him. He had filled out since I had seen him last. He was still thin, but thin in a handsome sort of way.
    Not that it mattered. I was done with men. Especially the handsome ones.
    “So you work with Uncle Joe now?” I asked, remembering that he was on his way to buy restaurant equipment for his cafe. The headache powder was working and I could feel my temples relaxing. I took a deep, slow breath and let my shoulders settle, too.  
    “Well, after Uncle Joe passed, I...”
    “What?” I stopped him. “Uncle Joe is dead? How? When?” I shook my head in disbelief.  
    Uncle Joe had been such a huge part of our childhood. After Mama closed her shop each night, we’d wander over to the cafe and he’d serve us a special dinner. Afterwards, he and Mother would talk ‘business’ while we played in the restaurant, hiding under tables and serving phantom customers. At the end of each night, he’d let us pick out one candy from a jar by the register. He had always been kind and patient, even with me.  
    People like kind, Uncle Joe weren’t supposed to die. They were supposed to live on forever.
    This day was only getting worse.
    “Sorry, I thought you had heard.” Shane took a sip of his coke, then passed it to me. I declined. “He died three years ago. Heart attack. People from all over came to say goodbye. Boy, I tell you, my Uncle Joe had some interesting friends.” He chuckled softly at the memory and took another sip of his drink. “He was very popular.”
    “Yeah, he was very loved. I just can’t believe he’s gone.” I could feel myself tearing up but I gritted my teeth and willed the feeling away. I had done enough crying lately.
    We continued to jounce along in his pickup truck.
    Shane talked enthusiastically about how he had taken over his uncle’s cafe and was working it himself, but I was mostly tuning him out. The news about Uncle Joe, coupled with rest of this day, was too much. Going home seemed more depressing than ever.
    “We’re

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