Alice's fingernails bit deep into the skin on my left arm. I saw her lips curving into a seductive smile, I remembered her words "you're mine now Tom" I awoke suddenly like had from the same dream the previous 7 nights. I turned over in my bed not to find a carefree girl of 14 with shocking black hair and pointy shoes like the girl smiling at me in my dreams but a careworn woman with weathered skin and thinning hair asleep next to me but there was no mistake. It was Alice. She looked like any other woman aged 34 except for a line of green scales running the length of her spine. My fingertips reached out to touch the iridescent scales lightly. My finger tracing the contours of her back to the base of her spine. The truth is that Alice is and always was a domestic lamia witch, capable of killing a man and draining his blood in less than a minute but she was my wife and I loved her didn't I

Why would I, a spook, marry a lamia witch when they were my enemy and especially as I had seen my master's heart broken and his life nearly taken by a malevolent witch named Meg Skelton.

I rolled up my sleeve and in the dusty moonlight I could see mine the scars that Alice left on me that summer's day on the mountains above my masters house. What had Alice meant by "you're mine", did I really belong to Alice. Her smile that day had always bothered me and it was bothering me more now I had dreamt about it seven times in a row. Seven is a special number for me. I am a seventh son of seventh son which means I am particularly susceptible to creatures of the dark. This is why my Mam sent me away to apprentice for a spook named John Gregory. That was how I met Alice. She deceived me then what if she was doing it again? l can sense when something from the dark is near, a chill wind rushes over my body as a warning. I was getting these warnings every time I dreamed about her smile that day and something wasn't right.

Disturbed by my thoughts I crept downstairs careful not to wake our daughter Lizzie, named after Alice's mother. As I thought longer I wondered why I ever agreed for her to be called Lizzie after all I was a spook, I was meant to hunt and catch witches. Alice's mother was a notorious witch who killed many children for their blood and bones yet I named my daughter after her. In fact I can't even remember agreeing to calling her that, yet more things were not adding up. My life was falling apart; suddenly I couldn't feel anything attaching me to this house.

Downstairs on the small and cramped kitchen table a snake was curled around a brass candlestick. The snake would follow Alice everywhere curl around her wrist and hissing her ear. I recalled from my spooks training that many witches kept familiars. Why hadn't I remembered this before, it was basic spooks training yet my head was fuzzy and could barely remember the days when I was apprenticed to the spook. The more I stared at the emerald ribbon snake with its glaring red eyes the more certain I became that this snake was Alice's familiar and that she had turned to the dark. There is only one sure way of telling whether a creature is a witches familiar, threaten to kill it and the witch should come to its aid. I picked up a large knife from the counter and advanced towards the snake its eyes boring into mine. Alice rushed down the stairs in a flurry. We stood their staring at each other. I was fixed in her gaze. She seemed more beautiful than she had when she was asleep her hair seemed thicker and her skin smoother and rosier. There was a memory of something my master had warned me about woman who become more beautiful with eye contact but I couldn't quite remember what it was. I looked at Alice's pointy shoes crammed onto her dainty feet. I knew what she was now. She was a malevolent lamia witch and my life was in danger if I disobeyed her.