“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Laura said as she boosted her sister over the wall. The black-haired youth was sixteen-years-old this coming weekend and was mad for everything Halloween.
When her sister’s boyfriend said he knew an actual witch, she practically screamed before demanding that they meet with the man to hold a ceremony.
What ceremony, she hadn’t even thought to suggest (as she didn’t know what ceremonies modern witches performed) but Dillon had said the man was willing to share an experience unlike any other, for a price.
The price was twenty dollars, from each of the teens involved. Laura and her boyfriend, James, paid eagerly, while her sister Maggie paid for Dillon and herself. This left Michael, the oldest member of their troupe at the tender age of seventeen, to reluctantly part with a crisp twenty for the Halloween entertainment.
“This is going to be such a waste of time,” Michael groused, flipping his hair over his shoulder. Snow white and long, it framed his aristocratic features in a way that made the girls at school call him pretty, instead of handsome. “We could be getting drunk right now.”
“We can get drunk after Mikey,” Dillon said. He was helping James, the smallest of them all, over the wall of the cemetery. Laura was waiting for her turn, studying the surrounding woods.
Lincoln Greene was a quiet town that had once been known for it’s bustling streets and vibrant community. But that’d been a century ago, and the town had decayed like a log mired in a swamp, leaving behind broken shells of homes and shuttered warehouses. The Texas heat had been pushed down by the unbridled chill of the Fall, and a fine fog rolled along the streets, licking the curbs and dead bushes hungrily.
All of them lived in the next town over, Kerrville, which was itself a smaller community in Southern Texas. But unlike Lincoln Greene, it was thriving.
“So, the witch—”
“Simon,” Dillon interjected.
“Yeah, Simon,” Maggie said, “is waiting for us in this old graveyard. He said we’d have to stow anything religious in a bag, if we decided to bring anything.”
“Like crosses?” Laura asked as she was boosted over the wall. She caught sight of Maggie in her purple Invader Zim hoodie on the other side.
“Yeah, our necklaces have to be stowed away,” Maggie confirmed. “Simon said that the ceremony we’re going to do involves something diabolic.”
“Ooh, creepy,” Michael said as he pulled himself over the wall, Dillon following right behind.
“Oh, calm down Michael,” James said, his rough voice the sound of a youth who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for the last three years. “We’ll get drunk later. Not like any of us are going to bed this early on Halloween.”
“The freak said that the performance is going to take three hours man, three hours!”
“Well worth your time, young sir,” interrupted a clipped voice.
Spinning, Laura took in the sight of the abandoned graveyard. Looming tombstones and statues of weeping angels were worn by rain and wind. The fog had crept in somehow and snuck around their ankles like a curious feline looking for a treat. Standing in the shade of a towering marble woman was a stooped man, hunched shoulders and shriveled face cast in deep shadows by the pale moonlight. Only his hands, crooked and wrinkled, were visible, each finger adorned with a gaudy ring or bauble. Long, dirty fingernails jutted from the digits, clicking together as they opened and closed rhythmically.
“Simon?” Dillon asked, stepping forward.
The figure emerged from the shadows, revealing the sagging neck and wrinkled face of the man, long lines down his weathered face creating jowls that hung from his face in an almost comical sense, if one considered his hollow looking eyes and found humor in the macabre milky orbs.
“Yes, young sir, I see you and your friends have made it on time,” Simon said, nodding. He held out a hand, arm shrouded in black silk. “The money for my services, if you don’t mind?”
“Sure,” Michael was hesitant, but pulled the rolled-up money from his pocket. Passing it to Dillon, the young man offered it to Simon.
The old man took it, eyeing it with a far away gaze. “Thank you. I can promise a night you will remember for the coming years.”
“You better old man,” Michael grumbled.
Simon didn’t seem to notice, instead turning to stalk into the shadows, charcoal-gray cloth swishing over his frame as he walked. The teens all looked to each other before hurrying after him.