The Witch Cave: The Bell Witch Series Book 3
The Witch Cave: The Bell Witch Series Book 3
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Their worst nightmares lurk in the darkness…
The offspring of four cursed families risked everything to defeat the nightmare that haunts their bloodlines. But when an eerie melody chimes through the trees, they know the Bell Witch has returned. Her harvest of souls has begun, and they are running out of time.
Vowing to put an end to the evil presence, the four survivors venture into a network of caves. They descend deeper into the dark, flooded tunnels only to find demonic spirits tormenting them with nightmarish visions of the past—bitter secrets their families have fought hard to keep buried.
As the frigid water begins to rise, the survivors are confronted with the most horrific terror of all. They soon realize that the only way to get out of there alive is for one of them to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Will they survive? Or will they drown in the shadowy depths of the Witch’s cave?
Slow, rhythmic kicks brought Ozzie deeper into the gloomy depths. The farther he traveled, the heavier the water became, gathering to press against his chest like a stone. His breath left him in a flurry of tumbling bubbles. They rushed past his ears, creating an almost popping noise, the only sound to break the consuming silence. Drawing another breath from his scuba tank brought a slightly plastic taste to play over his tongue. When he had first started his lessons, his instructors had insisted that it wasn’t so bad. He’d get used to it. Several months in and that had yet to happen.
The freshwater pool was state of the art. Specifically designed to cater to all levels of expertise, it was an all in one facility. The central pit was little more than a large cylinder piercing the earth for 131 feet. Perfect for deep water diving practice. Random gaping holes speckled the tiled walls; each opening clearly labeled and ranked. Some simulated cave diving. Others spelunking. The deeper they were situated, the harder they became. Ozzie had heard rumors that the ones on the very bottom of the tank were used solely for Black Ops training. He wasn’t keen to explore them just yet and wasn’t sure he ever would be.
The pressure grew against his chest, making every breath a bit harder than the one before it. Shadows crept in around him as the temperature steadily dropped. Ozzie shivered and pushed himself deeper, conscious of the speed of his kicks, counting off his breaths. Bubbles bounced off of his goggles and rolled over the hood of his wetsuit. His ears popped as he passed by one of the observation windows.
Carefully arranged along the length of the pit, the windows served the dual purpose of providing the instructors with some observation points and letting in a bit of light to break up the gloom. Ozzie always tried to ignore them. What he was training for wasn’t going to give him any measure of a reprieve. But he couldn’t help himself. Ozzie never felt as cool as he did when he got to wave at some awestruck kids. He was a little disappointed to find the observation room empty.
Just as he reached the edge of the light, the cord attached to his weighted belt gave a sharp tug. He returned the gesture, ensuring his instructors that he was fine. It wasn’t the first time he was doing a solo deep dive. The whole point of this was to become as proficient as possible in everything he could. He needed to know he could survive on his own and be useful in a group. This time, he wasn’t going to be the weak one. He wasn’t going to be the one everyone needed to save. Ozzie couldn’t do anything about being the youngest, or the least experienced, but he could get better. And he would. Cadwyn, Basheba, and Mina would be able to rely on him.
They had all started their training around the same time. Not together, they were too scattered about for that. But Mina had picked the locations and Ozzie had been happy to fund it. If they were going to the Witch Caves, he was going to make sure they were all as ready as possible. As determined as they all were, he knew they each still clung to the hope that none of it would be necessary. That they could follow through on Basheba’s Plan ‘B’—a cave diving trip in Mexico to celebrate that the Witch was really dead.
Ozzie counted out his breaths, four seconds in, four seconds out, ensuring they remained slow and deep even as his gut twisted sharply. He rolled his shoulders and glanced past his elongated flippers, back up to the top of the pit. The combination of the tunnel entrance and the azure blue water diffused the light, turning what should have been a single glowing disc into a spiked star.
131 feet. The same as a twelve-story building, Ozzie’s mind unhelpfully reminded him. His stomach knotted again. I’m only about halfway, he thought then cringed. Wow, that’s some bad comforting skills you have there Davis-Sewall. The hyphened version of his name still sounded strange. He had spent his entire life as a Davis, and it seemed that everyone had been happy with the arrangement. At least, no one had been in a hurry to tell him that, biologically, Percival Sewall was his father.
It had been a lot of information to take in all at once. He had known that his ‘father,’ Ethan Davis, had been best friends with Percival since college. And he had known that Ethan and Ha-Yun, Ozzie’s mother, had married within a few months of meeting each other. A whirlwind romance. All the stories, however, had glossed over the part where Percival had dated Ha-Yun first. And, when they had realized that they only loved each other as friends, Percival had been the one to set her up with Ethan. Apparently, it had all happened so fast that no one was sure who Ozzie’s father was. Instead of a DNA test, they agreed on the setup that had carried them for fifteen years. Right up until the moment when the Witch selected him for the Harvest and proceeded to try and murder him. Without the Witch, he probably never would have known that his godfather was actually his father. Or why on earth he had been named Osgood.
He snuck one last glance at the star-shaped light above before forcing himself to re-focus on the bottom. Looking back always left him with a sense of dread that he just couldn’t shake. There was something about diving to the depths that left him feeling insignificant and helpless. It was yet another emotion he needed to learn to suppress. He needed to build himself into someone stronger. Because, when they finally did enter the Witch Caves, it would be the girls facing their deepest fears, not him. When the Bell Witch had tormented him with his fears, the girls had been there to pull him through. This time, they would need him. And I’m sure as hell not going to let them down.
Willimina Crane was notoriously claustrophobic. What was worse, she was what Basheba referred to as a freezer. She clung so much to science and logic, that encountering something that existed beyond that fried her brain. Mina always froze up. Doing that while trapped miles underground, in flooded, ghost-infested caves, wasn’t an option. She was going to need someone to keep an eye on her and push her into motion.
Basheba Bell was different. Her knee-jerk reaction to fear, or any intense emotion, was to set the cause on fire. That’s probably why water terrifies her so much, Ozzie thought. Mina’s voice echoed in the back of his mind. It’s clinically referred to as thalassophobia. The fear of deep water. And I don’t think it helps that her namesake drowned in a shallow pool.
Memories of the past spring flashed through his head as he drew in another deep breath. Everything had gone wrong when they decided to head back into the woods on their own terms instead of being summoned there for the Witch’s Harvest.
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