This story wants to be more. I can feel it.
Also, without spoilers, I’ll let you in on a secret. I have no idea what the end means. Frequently, I don’t know where my own stories are headed. For me, that’s a lot of the fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy Friday, folks.
“This isn’t The Ring,” Carly huffed. “You’re not going to die from watching it.”
She was holding the VHS tape. Getting it had been easy. Finding a working VCR was the hard part.
Fortunately, Beth’s landlady had one, along with an ungodly collection of One Life To Live recordings going back to the mid-80’s. She rarely locked the back door, so Beth suggested they help themselves.
The irony wasn’t lost on Carly.
They weren’t breaking and entering, but they were probably trespassing. They were cloaked in literal darkness–black clothes, nail polish, lipstick, and heavy mascara. Most people in the small town would cross the street before passing either on the sidewalk. Oh, and they were witches. Not that the good folks of Lubbock knew, but they were. And yet they thought this poor old woman was a freak because she still had a working VCR and a thing for bad TV.
“I’m not scared,” Beth hissed. She was in a pissy mood. Carly knew why, but she wasn’t saying.
“You look nervous.”
“We’re in my landlord’s house without permission. I don’t like attention. Let’s just do this.”
Carly nodded. “Okay. Do you have the book?”
Beth produced a small, bound volume from her monstrous purse. It was black with silver insignia along the spine. No title. No publication information. It predated such ideas.
She held it to her face, breathing in its scent. Sage and incense. Carly popped the tape in the VCR and hit play.
The screen filled with fuzz. There was a popping sound and then the audio came in. It was a home movie, the kind people used to record on camcorders. A man stood before a black wall. He was hooded and masked, dressed all in red. The nature of the lighting suggested a fire just out of frame. He spoke.
“You know the truth,” he said. “Else you would not be watching. You’ve lived the lie. You cannot live it any more. It’s time to stop running.
“This is your orientation to a new life, but watching this tape alone will do nothing. Pause the recording. If you know the words and are willing, say them. Then watch the rest.”
Carly hit pause. Beth opened the book. She knew the page number by heart.
“Are you sure?” Carly asked.
“Now you sound scared.”
“Not scared. Just aware. This will change us. Are you ready for that?”
Beth shrugged. “We’re already on the outside. I don’t want to play by their rules, and neither do you. I say, fuck them. I say, let’s do it. I say, what do we have to loose?”
Carly nodded. “Okay.”
They two stood side by side, shoulder to shoulder, and said the words. Carly struggled a bit. She wasn’t as good with Latin as Beth. When they were done, the room felt eerily quiet. Nothing had changed. No shadows danced on the walls. There wasn’t a strange wind, or whispers from the beyond, or anything.
Once more, Carly hit pause. They listened. Then they changed.
Ten minutes later, the girls left Beth’s landlord’s house. To anyone who saw them, the would appear to be the very same girls who’d entered. They wore the same dark clothes, the same gothic makeup, the same sneers. What no one could possibly know was a switch had been flipped.
Going in, they’d been witches. Now they were something more.
Time would tell if that was good or bad.