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Magical Mayhem: A Witchy Mystery Short Story Collection

Magical Mayhem: A Witchy Mystery Short Story Collection

Regular price £1.99 GBP
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This bundle includes five short stories by Elle Adams:

Hauntings & Hardcovers (A Library Witch Short Story)

Witch at Sea (A Blair Wilkes Short Story)

Witch in Need (A Blair Wilkes Short Story)

Old Ghost with New Tricks (A Reaper Witch Short Story) 

A Dragonish Detour (A Wildwood Witch Short Story)

These stories are available for free for subscribers to Elle's mailing list (, but if you don't want to sign up, you can buy them in one handy collection here.


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Read a sample

Preview of Hauntings & Hardcovers

Another day, another book to return to the right shelf. In theory, shelving books shouldn’t be the trickiest part of being a librarian, but since the library I worked at was of the magical kind, sometimes the books could be a little… challenging. 

For instance, this particular book had decided to take flight and chase my crow familiar around the second floor. Jet flew past, shrieking, while I ran in pursuit of the book, waving a net I’d borrowed from my Aunt Adelaide and making a mental note to master levitation spells as soon as humanly possible.

Net in hand, I lunged for the book and missed, catching myself against the nearest shelf. In the last few weeks, I’d fallen into secret passageways, been tricked by disappearing shelves, and dealt with all manner of bizarre situations that I’d have never conceived of in my old life, and I still had yet to unearth even a fraction of the enchanted library’s secrets. Even my aunts didn’t know all of them, and they’d lived here for their entire lives. As biblio-witches, we had more command over the written word than most, but that didn’t make this an easy job. Far from it.

I gave another wild lunge with the net and the book soared past, colliding with a bookshelf and flopping open in mid-air. Ducking underneath, I caught the book in the net, staggering under the sudden weight. With my free hand, I waved my wand at the book and sent it soaring through the open door on my right. The door slammed closed in an instant, and I released a sigh of relief.

Now all I had to do was find my way back downstairs. Which, in a library where everything moved around on a regular basis, was harder than it sounded. I took three wrong turnings before walking headlong into what I thought was a passageway but was actually a solid wall. 

Ow. Rubbing my nose, I stepped back and found myself faced with my own reflection. A bruise was already blooming across the pale, freckled skin of my face, while my red hair was tangled from my flight across the second floor in pursuit of the book. At first, I thought the gleam at my elbow indicated the silver badge on my cloak had slipped out of place, but it turned out to be a door handle sticking out of the mirror. The door wasn’t marked with an X, like the ones leading into the library’s more dangerous regions, so I assumed it must be safe to look inside. Maybe it was a shortcut back downstairs. Since there were no other stairs nearby, it was as good a guess as any.

A wary voice in the back of my mind cautioned me to hesitate before opening an unknown door, but I hadn’t gained anything in my new life without taking a few risks. In the last few weeks, I’d left the world I’d grown up in to move in with my magical family, made new friends, and even started dating the local Reaper. I couldn’t let a mirror disguised as a door intimidate me.

Here goes nothing.

I reached for the doorknob and turned it. The door opened, revealing a corridor with oddly shiny walls. The smell of salt water drifted from somewhere within.

“Don’t go in there,” said Sylvester. My family’s owl familiar swooped overhead, forcing me to duck, and dug his sharp talons into the door, yanking it closed. “That’s cursed, that is.”

“What’s cursed?”

“You are. No, that corridor is.” He released the door and flew over to a bookshelf at my side, perching on top of it. “They say it contains a book that kills everyone who reads it.”

“I’m assuming you haven’t read it, if you’re still with us.” I suspected the owl was winding me up. It wouldn’t be the first time.

“What part of ‘cursed’ do you not understand?” said Sylvester.

“He’s right,” said a spooky voice. “The corridor is cursed.”

I’d nearly kicked the habit of jumping whenever my aunt Candace sneaked up on me, but occasionally, she still took me by surprise. Like now, when she appeared from behind the bookcase, wielding a pen as though it were a wand. Tall and willowy, she had wild red hair that looked like it hadn’t been combed in years and never went anywhere without a notebook and pen to scribble down ideas for her next book.

“If it’s cursed, shouldn’t the door be sealed shut?” I asked.

“It hasn’t been seen in years,” she said. “Really, you can’t expect me to keep track of these things.”

Uh-huh. The only things Aunt Candace kept track of were her manuscripts and the coffee pot. “I assumed a cursed corridor would be right up your alley.”

“It would be,” she said, “but I don’t have a death wish.”

No, but you do have an insatiable sense of curiosity. Or rather, an insatiable knack for finding anything that would make a good story. “What kind of curse are we talking about, then?”

She leaned in closer to whisper in my ear, “They say that corridor is haunted by a cursed spirit.”

“So, a ghost.” Our library had a resident vampire who’d been sleeping in the basement for a few decades, so a ghost didn’t surprise me as much as it might have. After all, vampires scared me a lot more than anything else I’d encountered in the paranormal world so far. 

“You don’t sound suitably impressed,” said Aunt Candace.

“I’d have thought you’d be following the ghost around with your notebook, asking for the morbid story of their death,” I said. “Weren’t you saying the other day that you were short on good research material for your horror pen name?”

“Oh, nobody has ever seen the ghost,” said Aunt Candace. “We just hear her wailing every time the door opens. That’s why we keep it shut.”

“I didn’t hear any wailing.”

I hadn’t seen a ghost, either, though if Aunt Candace of all people was the one warning me away, I should probably take her at her word.

“You can’t see invisible paper-eating worms either,” she said. “Doesn’t mean you want them crawling all over your paperbacks.”

“Ew,” I said. “Thanks a bunch for that mental image. I take it the ghost didn’t actually die here in the library?”

It wouldn’t be the first time someone had stashed a dead body in here—not counting the undead body of the vampire sleeping in the basement—but the library was such a maze that it might go undiscovered for months or years. Like the corridor itself, come to that. Not a pleasant thought in the slightest.

“No, but they say the killer hid evidence of his crime here.” She lowered her voice to a dramatic whisper. “The murder was never solved. Shortly after the police dropped the case, we started hearing the ghost wailing whenever we went close to that door. Then the rumours began. They say a book lies in there that cannot be read without the person dropping dead. They also say the last person to step into that corridor came out with no limbs.”

“Who’s ‘they’?” I asked. “Someone must have survived, if they started the rumours, surely.”

“That doesn’t make for half as good a story.” She sniffed. “Anyway, we never did find the ghost, and after complaints about all the ghastly howling noises, we ended up closing the whole corridor.”

“And Grandma was fine with just… leaving it like that?” 

“It wouldn’t be the first time.”

That didn’t surprise me. Our grandmother, who’d created the library, had left no map of its secrets behind after her death ten years prior, long before I’d moved to the library. I’d never even met her, though I’d seen enough of the library to get a good handle on her personality. I suspected Aunt Candace took after her more than Aunt Adelaide did—and considerably more so than my dad had.

“You’d think there’d be a warning to visitors, if it’s dangerous,” I commented.

“A warning?” The owl hooted with laughter. “If a mere ghost prompted a warning, we’d have to issue them for half the books up on the third floor, and the monstrosities in the Unwritten Books Division—"

“Unwritten?” I glanced at Aunt Candace. “Is he having me on?”

“Of course not,” she said. “If I’m stuck on my work-in-progress, I sometimes look in there for new ideas.”

“You’re just messing with me now, aren’t you?” I shook my head. “Right, I’ll leave the corridor. Guess I’m going the long way around.”

Better to be safe than haunted. As I followed Aunt Candace on a looping route towards the stairs, a whispering noise came from behind my shoulder.

“Sylvester, stop that.”


Honestly. My family were more troublesome than any ghost could possibly be.

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