Readers have wondered about the child ghost who appears to Syrinada in Siren's Test. She is a powerful witch whose life ended at a young age but she still uses her magic in the afterlife to help guide the descendants of her coven.
Here is a peek inside the short life of Ebon.
Ebon’s life was short-lived.
Born in the depths of the bayous in New Orleans, on the night of the ancestral moons, her eyes lit like orbs of flames from the moment she left the womb. Ebon was marked, marked for power, born for sacrifice, and destined for pain.
The sound of her sister’s laughter was Ebon’s greatest joy in life. Running through the tall fields just behind her home, she searched for the girl who was hiding from her. This was their ritual. Tucked away from the chaos of the world, it was just her and Eloise. No one and nothing else mattered to the two. Eloise was a superb hider but as always, the giggle fits would consume her, and the twinkling sound of her laughter would lead her older sister to whatever hideaway she had created.
“Gotcha!” Ebon called out as she jumped onto her sister who’d skillfully hidden in the tall blades of grass of the unkempt field. Ebon emitted a fake maniacal laugh and started to tickle her younger sister.
“Aw man!” Eloise screamed. “Bet ya can’t find me again!” She hopped up ready to bolt to a new hideaway.
“No, El.” Ebon grabbed her sister’s arm and stopped her escape. “I told you, that was the last time today. We have to get inside before mama makes it back. We aren't even supposed to be out here.”
“I know, I just wish…” Eloise let her sentence runoff. Ebon knew exactly where her thoughts were headed. They held the same desires. Both girls wished for the chance to roam free and live a normal life. Unfortunately, they were marked and therefore had to be hidden, well at least Ebon was. Their world held two dangers and because of their unique situation, those threats were much more terrifying for the girls. If not for the cloak their mother erected to protect them, they’d face tortures worse than they could ever imagine. Being outside of that protective barrier exposed them to the possibilities of being found.
Magic was a curse. Though it helped to protect them, it also brought more attention to the innocent ones. Neither girl did anything to deserve the lives they faced besides being born. Ebon was special, her magic was the sort that could protect them from the darkest evils, it could also take down the world if left unchecked. Both sides of the balance, good and evil, wanted to claim her for their own. Both sides wanted to have control of her power and her destiny.
Ebon was only ten years old when everything in her life went completely haywire. She’d learned to temporarily cloak them while on the move, but it never lasted long, and she always had to make sure they were back inside before it faltered. That day, she thought she did. She thought they were safe, the presence of evil was never felt, which on any other day would have been a good thing. Only, this time, it wasn’t evil that was watching her.
“How was your day today?” Her mother asked her over their supper. “Did you girls have fun?”
“Well, mama, we played and read a few books.” Ebon offered quickly. “Eloise drew you a picture, it’s on the table.”
“You practice your magic?” Her mother spoke with a discerning tone. Nothing was more important than Ebon strengthening her skills as a witch, the stronger her powers, the safer they were.
“Yes, mama.” She nodded and sipped another spoonful of soup.
“What else did you do?” Her mother looked at her with a raised eyebrow and a knowing glare.
“I’m sorry.” Ebon dropped her gaze. There was no sense in lying. Her mother always knew when they broke the rules.
“Never apologize child. Were you safe?” Her mother’s tone softened.
“Yes, mama, always.”
“Did anyone see you?”
“No, mama, we were hiding!” Eloise perked up as she gulped down the rest of her soup and tea.
“Good, that’s good. Eloise please go wash up and get ready for bed. There is a fresh pail of water in the bathroom for you.”
“Alright, mama!” Eloise skipped out of the kitchen and away from the table that had seen better days.
“Ebon,” her mother began.
“I know mama. I’m sorry, I just feel so much guilt over having her stuck up in here all day. It’s not fair. If it were just me, it’d be okay, but it’s not fair for her.”
“I’ve told you, we’re a family. We stick together and Eloise understands that.” Her mother pulled the thin girl onto her lap. “We are going to be okay Ebon. Trust in that.”
“I do trust in that. And I know that she understands, but just because she understands it, doesn’t mean it’s right.”
“It won’t be like this forever. You know that.”
“Sometimes I do, sometimes I believe in that. Other times, it’s much harder to.”
“Don’t worry now girl.” Her mother kissed her cheek. “Now is the time for bed. Wash up and I’ll be there in a moment to tuck you two in.”
It took Ebon hours to fall asleep. The gnawing feeling in her stomach wouldn’t settle. She thought of talking to her mother about it but didn’t want to worry her. Through the crack in the ceiling of her room, she could see the starry night sky. She became lost in thoughts of the endless possibilities the world had to offer and through her imagination, she explored them all until sleep eventually claimed her.
“Look at me, child!” Ebon’s body shook as her mother tried to wake her. “Open your eyes and look at me Ebon!”
Ebon opened her eyes, and as they had twelve years before, they blazed like balls of fire. Her mother released her hold and stumbled back.
“Mama, what’s wrong?” Ebon tried to rub the haze from her vision but it remained. “What’s going on?”
“I tried, I tried to protect you, to keep you safe, but I can’t no more.” Her mother sobbed. “You have to leave.”
“Mama, what?” She sat up in her bed, eyes glowing and watched as her mother threw a satchel together and tossed it at her. “What are you doing?”
“You can’t stay here Ebon, it’s not safe baby. Not for you or us, not for your sister.”
“Eloise?” Ebon looked across the room to her sleeping sister.
“If they come, if you are here, they will harm her if it means they can get their hands on you.” Her mother grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the front door. “You have to leave.”
“Stop it, mama, you’re hurting me!” Ebon pulled from her mother’s clutch and stumbled backward falling on the floor.
“Oh, I’m so sorry baby.” Her mother helped her up. “I don’t want to hurt you and I don’t want to do this, but you have to go.”
“Who? What are you talking about?” Ebon’s mother was now shoving her towards the door. It was pitch-black outside and the dangers that she had been warned of all her life terrified her. Why would her mother do this to here?
“You have to leave!” Again, she was being shoved away from her mother and towards the exit.
“Don’t!” Ebon pushed back at her mother, and just as she did, the light that filled her eyes fired from her palms knocking her mother across the room and into the wall. She screamed as she saw her mother’s body fall to the floor with a terrible thud. “Oh! Mama, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to.”
“Go, child, now.” Her mother cried. Ebon tried to walk away but she couldn’t.
“Mama? Mama! Are you okay?” Eloise jumped from her bed and ran to her mother’s side. “What happened?” She turned her eyes to her sister’s silhouette in the door frame. “Ebon what’s going on?”
“I,” Ebon looked at her hands and then to her sister. She’d done that, she hurt her mother. She didn’t mean to, but she did. If she ever lost control like that with her sister, she would never forgive herself. The small cough from her mother took her thoughts back to the moment. “I have to go.”
“What?” Eloise moaned. “What are you talking about? Go where? Can I come?”
“No, El, you have to stay here with mama.”
“I wanna go with you!” Eloise cried out.
“Mama needs you here.” Ebon ran to her sister and hugged her. “You’ll be safer here.”
“What’s wrong with your eyes?” Eloise touched Ebon’s face. “Are you okay?”
“I will be, trust me?”
“Good.” With tears in her eyes, Ebon turned from the one person she cared about most in the world. “Take care of her.” She cried as she stepped away from her family. Into the darkness, the unknown, and the terrors that awaited her.