Dear Cyrus;
I got your package in the mail, but Mom is furious!  Someone is always telling me what to do!  I am so sick of it!  We have a big
problem.  Mom says I’m banned from the computer until further notice, maybe until I’m thirty!  She took your knife off of me.  It
was so beautiful too with the little rubies around the hilt.  Did I tell you ruby is my birthstone?  Anyway, it’s going to be impossible to
talk to you now.

I’m writing this email at school. That seemed to be the only solution.  Of course a second solution could be to meet you in person.  
Mom won’t agree to either of those, I can tell you!  I can’t even say your name at home.  My family doesn’t like it.  Even my
brothers are getting into the act:  “Stupid little Noni, giving her name and address to a total stranger!”  As if you were a stranger!  You’
re not.  You’re Cyrus.  Even such a simple name as Cyrus, now that they know who you are, will cause them to wince so badly you’d
think they were having seizures.  Around them I have to lie.  I have given up trying to convince them that you aren’t going to come
popping out of the computer like the devil himself just because I said your name. No matter what I say, they think you are a
monster.   I wish I could write more, but class calls. I can usually talk during Civics class.  1:00 PM.  Maybe we can find a
compromise.  I prefer to see you in person, but I don’t suppose that is going to happen, but wouldn’t that just get Mom’s undies in a
twist!
Sigh,
Noni

*~*

Dearest Noni;
I’m sorry I couldn’t be online at 1 o’clock--perhaps tomorrow.  I will take a long lunch hour.  I thought of you though and wished that
I could have skipped out on work as easily as you can skip school.  Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to skip work as school.  

About your parents, don’t be too hard on them.  They are just concerned for you.  You will forever be their little girl.  They cannot
see you as the beautiful sophisticated woman you have become.  Do not let it bother you.  After all, all parents have to let their
children grow up eventually, whether they want to or not.  Nature takes its course and what you perceive as an obstacle will soon
diminish. You just have to be patient and this problem that seems so insurmountable today will melt away.  I know that seems like an
unreasonable solution, but I know you can be patient, even though it is difficult.  You are much more mature than most middle
schoolers, and besides that, you are a witch, or at least becoming one.

You do realize you must get the knife back from you Mom.  That is the real problem.  It is not just a knife.  It is a ceremonial dagger
and you will need it for the ritual blood promise.  I trust you can handle this small task.

As far as saying my name, it gives me great pleasure to sit here at my own computer and think of you whispering my name in secret.  
I can almost feel your breath against my ear as I imagine you saying my name.  You are after all, a very special girl.  Your words
invoke magic, and trust me; magic will solve this dilemma.  You do want to learn magic, don’t you?

Yours,
Cyrus

*~*

LOL Cyrus,
If my words invoked magic, everything would be different in my life.  My Mom would quit being the Wicked Witch of the West and
my bratty brothers would drop dead, but words are nothing.  We learned about sounds in science class.  What are words but a breath
of air, a vibration of the vocal cords, a formation of the lips?  Words cannot hurt me or help me.  What’s that children’s rhyme?  
“Sticks and stones can break my bones…”
Shit! GTG…

*~*


My dearest Noni;
Don’t think that words are not important.  Your words are important. Didn’t the Bible say, the Word is made flesh?  Some might
argue that words are the fires that give birth to magic itself.  After all it is the magic words that give spells their power, but truly it
takes both word and intent to make a spell work.  It takes you, Noni.  It takes your power.  If you want to be a true witch, you must
feel the magic inside of you. It is in your blood, the blood you must spend to access your power. I can help you to discover it, but
only if you trust me.  Do you trust me, Noni? Magic is the solution for which you are searching.  If you do trust me, then concentrate
and you will be able to read this invisible writing which I sent you last month.  Read the spell and cut your finger with the ceremonial
knife.  You must have the knife.  Three drops of your blood must fall on the paper I sent you.  It’s only three drops, and the knife
will even mute the pain of that.  Do not be afraid.  Remember, I told you; this is a simple spell.  It will allow me to come to you. You
cannot be afraid of a tiny cut if you want to work magic.  Believe you are a witch.  If the power isn’t there, nothing will happen, but I
believe the spell will work.  Your will is what gives a spell its power, whether that is a force, some innate talent, or just pain willful
stubbornness.  In your case, I would guess it’s stubbornness. Without the words and the blood, your mother will win and we will not
be able to be together.

In the meantime, try the public library computers.  I am sure that the librarian will be less intrusive on our privacy than your parents.  
After all, that is what parents do…
Yours,
Cyrus

*~*

Dear Cyrus,
Stubbornness!  Ha!  I should just forget about writing to you.  Let’s see how patient you are!  I’ll have you know, I’m not stubborn. I’
m persistent and I can be patient when I want to, but I don’t want to, and I can’t get the knife.  Just forget about that!  I don’t know
where Mom put it.  Besides, I don’t believe you.  It hurts to cut yourself and no magic knife is going to make a difference.
Noni

*~*


Dear Cyrus,
You were right about the Library.  It is a safe haven.  As long as I’m quiet I can do what I want.  Why haven’t you sent me a
message?  Are you mad at me?
Your Noni

*~*

Dear Cyrus,
Please write to me.  I’m sorry I threatened not to write to you again.  I write to you all the time.  I can type your name on the
computer, but mostly I write it with little hearts around it just to spite my Mom. You know you are my best friend.  No one listens to
me like you do. Please come back to me.  I can’t get the knife, but we can just talk on the computer like we used to.  Is this your way
of teaching me patience?  It stinks!
Your Noni

*~*


Dear Cyrus,
I miss you.   There is no point in trying to talk to Mom about you.  My family just doesn’t understand.  Mom will screech and flutter
about the house, closing shutters as if you might fly in the window on a broomstick. LOL.  It’s hard to laugh without you to talk to.  
Please come back.

My brothers just cast dark looks at each other in that annoying superior fashion they have just because they are older, so I don’t talk
about you to them either now.  Nothing would get done that way, so I have to compromise, for progress’ sake.  I told them I have a
boyfriend at school.  That gives them something new to worry about.  I don’t really have a boyfriend.  There is only you, but if my
family thinks I have a boyfriend, it should take the heat off. . .
Your Noni


*~*


Dear Cyrus,
I found the knife.  Please talk to me. I miss you.
Your Noni


*~*
Dear Noni,
I’m glad you finally found the dagger, and that was smart thinking telling your parents that you have a boyfriend.  You should think of
exactly what he looks like and some of the things he does, otherwise they will catch on pretty quickly. This ploy will give us the time
that we need.  Remember what I told you about the spell:  three drops of blood on the paper.
Yours,
Cyrus

*~*

Dear Cyrus,
Oh thank God you are back!  I was so worried. GTG but talk to you later.  I will come to the library.
Love,
Noni

*~*
Dear Noni,
God has nothing to do with it.
Until tonight…
Cyrus

*~*

Dear Cyrus;
Sometimes I just have to scream, rant and just plain vent about what is going on.  Who do they think they are?  My family or my
jailors?  Honestly, you’d think I was five years old.  You were right.  My mom did catch on quickly about my boyfriend.  She actually
walked me to school today.  I was sooo embarrassed I thought I would die!  She said she wanted to see this new boyfriend of mine.  I
told her he was absent. Cyrus, what am I
going to do?  I think she knows that there is no one for me but you.  I’m scared.  She’s going to kill me for lying to her.
Love,
Noni
P.S. I got a D in Civics.  L wtf is Civics anyway?

*~*

Oh my poor little Noni,
I wish I could just put my arms around you and comfort you.  You sound like you need someone to comfort you.  Don’t worry about
your grades.  Soon they will be no problem to you at all.  Did you practice saying the spell I taught you?  Practicing will help you to be
calm and think clearly.  Practicing the spell will help me to help you.  You want to get your annoying family members out of your life,
don’t you?  You want to be able to stop lying to them.  If you want to be a real witch, you have to be diligent in your studies, and I
don’t mean schoolwork.  I mean the spell I taught you.  I think you are ready for something more.  Come to the Library at 9 tonight.  
I will be online and we can chat.  I will help you to do the spell.  Bring the knife and the paper I sent.
Hugs,
Cyrus

*~*

I can’t come at 9.  It’s dark.  My Mom will never let me out!

*~*

Dear Noni;
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  9 o’clock.
Cyrus

*~*

Cyrus? Are you there?  It’s 9:00.  I snuck out.

*~*

Very good.  I knew you were resourceful enough to manage.  Do you have the knife?
*~*


Yes.

*~*

Do you know the spell I taught you?

*~*

Yes.

*~*

Say the words.  Let the blood fall.

*~*

Here?   Now? I’m in the library.   I’m supposed to be quiet.  I’ll just type them.  Angel, come to me.

*~*

No, you must speak the words in the secret language I taught you to complete the spell.  You must let the blood fall.

*~*


The Librarian will hear me.

*~*


That’s not a problem.


*~*

Are you really an angel?

*~*

So I’ve been called.  Say the words.

*~*

“Angel,” she whispered .  “Angel, come to me.”  Blood dripped from her hand onto the paper: drop…drop…drop…

Light flashed around her and a roaring filled her ears. “Cyrus?” she typed. “What happened?”

*~*

Magic, came the answer, but it wasn’t typed on the computer screen.  It echoed in her very soul, and she saw him at last as her Mom
saw him;  a monster, evil and conniving, willing to twist the mind of a twelve year old girl in order to further his own goals.  This
monster took her soul so that he could live.  This monster changed the lives of witches for centuries, bringing them face to face with
death and pain and fear, and yet they follow him in the hopes that he will give them the power to be something more.  In the light of
that promise to be something more, the vision of Cyrus as a monster faded as quickly as it had come.

*~*
“Go home, Noni,” whispered the voice of Cyrus in her head.  “Go home to your family now.  Do as I say.”

*~*
Noni struggled to ignore the voice, for just a little while.  She put her fingers to the keys and typed one more letter.  This one she
addressed in an email to her mother.

Dear Mom,
I know you don’t understand, but I don’t see Cyrus as a monster.  Sometimes I see him as a powerful angel who is frightened of what
he can do and angry with his Father for punishing him for wanting more from life.  That’s all I wanted too Mother, to grow, to be
somebody special, to be famous.  Is that so awful?  I know it wasn’t he who abandoned his Father.  How could a child do that?  No, it
was his Father who abandoned him, just like you have shut me out and kept me from achieving my full potential.  All I see is an
angry, scared little cherub who never grew up and I want to be with him.  I cannot abandon him too.  He needs me.  I am his.  I am a
witch.  And he is, well he is mine.  He will give me the fame that you denied me.
Noni

*~*
Blood smeared on the keys of the library computer as she logged off and at last followed the dictates of the voice in her head.

Noni was right.  He gave her fame.  The next morning the newspaper headlines read:

Murder-Suicide:   Teen Kills Mom and Brothers in Satanic Ritual before turning the knife on herself.
Blood Promise
By Mary Lepiane