Chapter 1

Buried somewhere within each person's heart is a story that has been hidden away, whether to never be told or to one day be let loose. Too often it seems the past lurks in the shadows ready to reveal it to whoever will listen and will use it to destroy the soul of another.

This is my story.

I had driven for what seemed like eternity when I finally reached the small town of Silver Springs, New York. Silver Springs was about four hours from the heart of New York City and couple hours from Niagara Falls. For a long time you would drive without seeing more than corn fields, but within Silver Springs was one of nature's beauties. Many had wondered why I had ever even left the country in the first place, and others questioned why I hadn't left sooner. Too many answered questions kept me from coming back, until this day. Coming up to the gate that I had snuck out of so many times, and gladly walked out of when I graduated high school, I realized just how much hadn't changed. The yard was still neat and kept, the roses trimmed and pruned, and the pitcher of tea on the patio table in case momma got thirsty from gardening.

Stepping out of my delicious, Porsche I got my bags and headed for the dark oak door. Stepping back into the dark secrets of my past.

***

"Don't a girl say hi to her momma after eight years or is it against the law?" The petite auburn woman curtly asked. This was Elizabeth Costello, the former governor's wife and mother of their only daughter Esther.

"I'm sorry mother I was in a rush to get settled." Sighing she took her garment bag and hung it in the closet.

"After eight years and you still haven't changed. Still the same bitter girl who can't bury the dead!" Elizabeth folded her arms.

"If I hadn't been the one to bury the dead." Esther sneered

"Esther, Esther. I had named you Esther, hoping that one day you would be like the woman in the Bible."

"Please, I'm tired. I don't feel like arguing! I just got back from London, shouldn't you be congratulating me for graduating Oxford with honors?" Esther felt her burden become unbearable as she stood facing Lucifer himself in the face. Her mother was more than a deceitful, conniving woman who got her way politically, but she was feared by most in society. Dining with every prestigious person in New York and DC, she was quickly accepted and assumed role as Governor when her husband mysteriously dropped dead in the first year of his second term.

"Sick of arguing? Darling, you get paid to do it! Please, stop with the drama that you always create and come down to the parlor, you have a visitor." With that she turned on her heels and walked down the immaculate oak staircase.

I knew who was there from the moment she came into my room. For years it had been the same thing, date him, you'll marry him, he's going to be president, imagine what kind of power you'll have as first lady. I never had any interest in him and mostly because he was what my mother wanted, but he was just like her kind-power hungry.

I looked out the window to see if the drainage pipe and ladder had ever been removed, and I smiled seeing that it had not. Now that brought back found memories, maybe it could come in good use.

I walked down to the parlor after making sure I had made mother wait at least 15 minutes. She hates it when I make her wait and her company.

"Esther, you look beautiful as ever." Charles Evens stood at full height of 6'2 with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. Only one woman had ever turned him down, so I've heard anyways, and that was me .No the Congressman's son did not intimidate me in the least.

"Don't flatter yourself Charles." I rolled my eyes and sat down.

"So, your feelings haven't changed?"

"Never." I hissed and he returned a sneer.

"You know he left." Smiling he took a sip of black coffee.

"Who?" I knew who, but was hoping I was wrong.

"Mark." Charles folded his hands and crossed his legs. "He got hired as an assistant to a Senator, it's rumored he got married."

"Really." I tried not to let the news effect me, but I had prayed things wouldn't change since I left. Not that he didn't deserve a great woman to support him, but it was supposed to be me.

"So here's the thing Esther: you marry Charles, live a wonderful life being the first lady in the coming future, or I'm stripping your inheritance. Also, I will make sure you have nothing and your career in the Senate will be non existent." Elizabeth knitted her brows together and calmly took a sip of tea like none of this was a big deal.

"You can't do that!" I stood up not willing to take the threats and garbage they were throwing at me.

"You know we can and will do far worse if you stay in the country. We have a second option: we stage your death and you change your name and leave the country. You're a threat and a liability we can't afford to have and you know it. Plus, if worse comes to worse we'll publish the story and make you to blame, and you know we have the power to do so." Charles stood and walked over to me.

"I don't fear you." I held my chin high and looked up at him.

"You ought to." He snarled putting his hands on my arms, slowly sliding them down to my hands. I shivered as he took my hands and twisted my wrists.

"I hope your moves aren't rusty." Charles breathed into my ear; I knew what he was talking about. It was the year before I started college, and I used my wonderful Jedi moves on him.

He let go of me and walked out of the house, "It's your choice."

"Elizabeth, I am your daughter. You cannot do this to me or make me marry him!" I tried to reason with her even though I knew it wouldn't' do any good. She wanted to abort me at birth, because I wasn't a boy. The doctor wouldn't let her and my father threatened to divorce her. Back when he had some control over her, and she didn't know what power and wealth was.

"You know very well I won't make you do anything except keep hold your tongue, but you must make a decision within the week. It is detriment to the family name and with Charles running for Senate this coming November, we can't take any risks. There is no alternative, you will seal your fate by Friday and you know what we're capable of." Elizabeth poured herself shot of whiskey and downed it.

"I see your back with your old friend. And yes I know all too clearly what you and your little club can do to people! You forced me to do many things I will never be able to forget or live down if it goes public." I tried over the years to forget the horror of nightmares that had been caused in this house, by this woman, but nothing eased the pain. She hated me as much as she hated my father, because we were constant reminder that she didn't control everything and everyone.

"Well, that is why we are making sure you are kept quiet! Unless, you want to die right now I would suggest you keep your mouth shut and make decision." With that she grabbed the whole bottle of whiskey and walked to a door leading down into the converted basement. I had been done there many times when I was first introduced into the society mother was in. I had been ten, the others had a fit but insisted I was gifted or cursed one of two depended on how you looked at it. I wouldn't aloud to be uninitiated until I turned 18 and by then I saw this group of men and woman for what they truly were or are.

"Yes mother." I hissed. In fact I had been hissing all day long and sounded like a snake, but the snake was doing down into her pit. I wonder whose body she has down there today.

I had made my decision as quickly as I had gone up to my old bedroom, but I wasn't about to not contact Mark and see for myself what had happened to him. I would change my name and leave for London, England as soon as I could make arrangements.

As I got my phone, I took the chance that Mark still had the same cell number and if not hopefully his mother still lived in the same house. The house he lived in growing up had been in his family for as long as they could trace back. The main reason mother had never wanted me to date him was because he his father was a conservative republican and had ran against my father in the second term for governor. Of course, that didn't stop us. It drew me towards him than it did away.

"Hello." A deep, rich voice answered on the other end.

"Hi, is this Mark Antonio?" I hadn't even realized I had pushed the dial button.

"Yes, it is who this is?" He questioned, "Wait is this is….it can't be."

"This is Esther, Esther Costello." I breathed a deep sigh of relief.

"Esther, I honestly don't know if I believe it or not. It has been, oh four years now and you just now pick up phone to call." Mark replied bitterly.

"Look, it's a long story and I'm in town, which is another long story. But I'm in trouble and I'm going to be leaving again, and again another long story. I need to…"

"This is unbelievable! You call me wanting help, and after all that happened in undergrad school. I admit I am slightly bitter about the whole thing! You left and didn't tell a soul where you were going." He was an on a roll and I knew once he got started I'd never hear the end of it, and he would hang up on me once he finished.

"Marcus Carlos Antonio! Let me explain, but your going to have to meet me." I quietly yelled into the phone.

"We were engaged Esther, engaged!" Mark yelled back, though his family was from a deep Italian root, I could have sworn he was Irish. He dark hair and sparkling green eyes, but besides his dark hair you wouldn't even know he was Italian. Mark was built like an athlete and being the High School and College basketball team made him so. Though being on Harvard's team wasn't saying too much.

"Oh, you think I forgot that? You think I forgot how they tried to kill us and blamed your uncle for kidnapping us? Honestly, Mark you know there was much more for me going to Oxford than, because of the college!" Now, I was getting frustrated. He was a smart guy, but he was taking way too long to catch on. If Elizabeth found out I was going to meet him, she wouldn't hesitate on having the men sent for me. I know shouldn't be so worried about death, but I do want to accomplish a few things before I die.

"I'm sorry. Were do you want to meet?"

"Mark, the usual place and the same time." We had the same meeting place and time for years. I had learned that my phone, room, and computer had been bugged in 8th grade.

It's depressing knowing that every move you make was being kept track of, but there was one thing they never found and never would unless they tour the house apart.

"Ok I'll see you soon, and this had better be good." Mark hung up. He knew better than anyone that the society kept their word, and he also knew everything about my past. The only person outside of mother, not even Charles fully knew all that happened.

I wasn't very old when I first awoke to the sound of chanting; my father had never let me go down to his study. Down in the basement was where they had their séances; momma wasn't the only one who did witchcraft in the family, it all started with daddy. I must have been at 5 when I first realized mommy and daddy were in to evil, bad stuff. They had always said that there were evil things in the world, things that I couldn't comprehend, but I was eager to know. When I turned 10 I was aloud to enter the society under strict eyes of my watchful mother and father, by this time mother was thoroughly engaged in the practice and was getting a taste of power. In the next three years, I would really see what the society had practiced for hundreds of years, and what a real witch my mother was.