"Oh my God, Josh! Really?", Brian whispered in a perturbed voice. "Can't you quit making noise!?". "Sorry", Josh replied in an even quieter whisper, as he adjusted his glasses and looked more closely at the ground in front of him before moving on. "We're almost there". The twelve year old boys felt their chests pounding. They tried to stifle the very sound of breathing as they walked on.
The crackling sound of a fire and the distant hum of voices reached them before they could see their source. In a small clearing beyond the grove of trees, the flickering light of a fire could be seen momentarily. Robed figures moved around it, blocking its' light every few seconds. Faintly, the boys could hear the rhythmic sounds, "Aaauummmm, Aaaauummmm".
Suddenly, their hearts beat so hard in their chests that they were sure to be heard. Their own ears were filled with the sound of drumming...how could they remain quiet and watch? Josh's dad had said that the evil Witches gather in the clearing near Willow Creek every full moon. He had said they had orgies there and sacrificed children to the devil. Mr. Proctor had even said that the recent drowning of Billy Williams was the work of those devil-worshippers as he spat on the floor and grabbed up his Bible.
Josh and Brian had it all figured out. They told their parents they were staying at each others' houses that night, but instead, they had sneaked out to the woods to walk the quarter mile to "the Witches Grove" and see for themselves!
"Damn, I shoulda brought a flashlight! It's dark in these woods, even with the full moon", Josh cursed. "Shhussh", whispered Brian, "they'll HEAR us!". Josh chuckled softly, "We're gonna see us some nekked women". "Yeah, and a kid get chopped up!", added Brian excitedly, "That little snot Penny Baker ain't been to school in three days, I bet THEY got her!". "Quiet fool!", Josh retorted.
Still thirty yards off into the cover of woods, the boys settled into a small ditch and watched the events unfold. The Witches were singing and dancing around the firelight. Now and then Josh and Brian caught the glimmer of a metal tool flash in the firelight. Was that a knife? Penny Baker WAS there! As the circle moved round, they caught sight of a much shorter robed-figure. Her long white-blond hair was not to be mistaken.
"Whadda we gonna do, Josh?" Brian's voice sounded desperate. "Just shut up and listen!", Josh was the strong-willed one of the two.
A slight breeze blew toward them now. They caught the smell of burning...was it lavender? sage? along with the woodsmoke. The words of the Witches were clearer now. They were saying blessings to the earth, to the moon, the river and the fields. The Witches raised their arms in unison and chanted, invoking the power of All to guide and protect Penny on her journey...her initiation.
"What the hell?", said Josh. The boys watched as the group passed a large cup around the circle, taking turns drinking from it. "Are they gonna kill her?", asked Brian, wide-eyed and confused. "LOOK, they're walking this way, SHIT!". Josh and Brian moved as fast as they could through the darkness of the woods.
Josh caught a low-hanging branch which stung and cut his left cheek. The hot blood pulsed, quickly covering his jaw. By the time the boys reached Brian's house, they couldn't hear the chanting any longer. Breathless, they crept into Brian's room. Josh wiped the blood away with one of Brian's dirty tee shirts. "You think Penny's a Witch?", he asked Brian. "Well they sure didn't kill her", replied Brian, his voice trailing off.
The next school day was two full days away...then, maybe, they would know...
Here's YOUR Challenge: Write the next installment of this bit of "witchy fiction". Three ways to enter: Submit your entry to me at My Email Address OR post HERE in the Pagan by Design Message boards, OR place your entry as a post on your OWN blog and notify me in the comments below with the URL by March 31st, 2011. The winning entry will receive a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com and be published here! One entry per person please. Good luck my Pagan Pals!______________________________________________________________
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA. She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.