A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
|Previously: "Thinking Big"
(text by Masktrix)
There's no time to waste, as far as you're concerned: The sooner you're out of your shit life and into someone else's, the happier you'll be.
"Let’s do it," you say. "Moms. It’s the perfect cover, and there’s something fun about hiding in plain sight like that, under a veneer of respectability. Plus if we pick the right ones, we’re gonna gain expertise in ways we’ve never dreamt." There’s some imperceptible thrill about the idea that you find alluring. And you have to admit, so far your experience of the masks has been limited to guys. You’re curious just how different a feminine perspective might be – not to mention the chance to play with some breasts.
Sydney beams, a smile that just makes her dimple further, and claps her hands a little on the wheel. "This is going to be so much fun!" she enthuses. "I’ll admit, I hadn’t really intended to sacrifice 20 years of my life, but then if I can play musical bodies I guess I can always change up."
"Wait," you say, looking at her in momentary confusion. "What do you mean sacrifice 20 years? You’re still going to be Sydney McGlynn, aren’t you?"
Sydney is caught off guard momentarily. She looks at you from across the cab but isn’t sure how to answer. "I guess. I mean, the whole point of this brotherhood – or coven – is that we can be whoever we want. At least some of them are going to be puppets for us to use, become as we see fit. I don’t have any intention of sitting through the rest of Westside if I can help it. We’re moving on to a school of a different kind now, Will!" She leans over and puts an arm on your shoulder. "I’ll be Sydney for you sometimes. But I can be anyone you want me to be. And you can be anyone you want… although I still want to be with one who looks like Will Prescott some of the time."
"So who do you want to be?" you ask. It’s a question you’ve been thinking about yourself. Your previous early morning thoughts toward the opposite sex have always drifted to Hollywood starlets or girls in your year – you barely know any of the Westside moms save your friends'... which just reminds you of the disastrous conversation earlier.
"I don’t care," Sydney says. "Not really. I just want to do it with you." She thinks for a moment. "I guess there are some caveats. For starters I don’t want to end up in a deadbeat job or living off TV dinners or changing diapers. So scratch off anyone who isn’t from at least a moderately wealthy family, and anyone who has screaming kids to look after. I don’t mind if they have a job that’s fun, but it can’t be anything boring, either."
"That rules out about half the school," you say. "This is Saratoga Falls, not Beverly Hills."
That's the second time in as many minutes that you've thought of "Hollywood."
"You can say that again," Sydney is saying. "Hmm. I’m hoping the mind thing works a little better, too. I know you don’t have too much problem remembering things, but it takes time for me. We don’t want anyone to notice a switch," she muses, "which means we can’t afford to miss high-powered meetings or whatever. Even if it would be fun to wear a tight little business suit."
"That’s why we work on the evenings or weekends," you add, as Sydney pulls up at the lights. "You can get an address from their ID and flub the rest."
"True. All right! Five to begin, and we can always expand outside their social circles. Let’s just say they have to be…" she giggles, "comfortable. Oh! That’s the next requirement. If we’re going to be anyone, I want most of our vessels to be attractive. They don’t all have to be – it’d be nice to have a plus body who can devour a pizza and not worry about it – but at least the first couple." She begins to wiggle in her seat, moving faster and faster as ideas pop into her sinister brain. "So rich, hot, linked to the school. It’d be kind of fun if they weren’t friends, either. Wouldn’t you like to throw insults, play at being bitches but really, deep down…" she dimples again, "lovers?"
You take a breath, heart beating faster. This all sounds so good it’s hard to take in. Right now all you can focus on this beautiful girl – a stunning blonde gymnast – who is sat next to you. "Uh, yeah."
"You like that, Will? A little lesbian action? Meet up for frenemy yoga and as soon as the doors close, those sweat pants come off?" Her voice is a husky whisper in your ear, playful and teasing as she revs the engine. "You know, we could even make it really taboo. Recruit a whole family, do something really corrupting. Or maybe you want me to be someone more personal. Do you want me to do that? Would you like me to be your mom?"
You suddenly recoil, face blanching as you back away in horror as far as you can in the car. The idea of turning your mom – or any of your family – into a walking slave in service to your Baphomet cult is enough to make you feel faint, but doing anything with your mom is downright repellent. You feel a flush of frozen horror, even as Sydney bursts out laughing.
"Oh my gosh, Will! You should see your face! Of course I’m not going to become your mom, I was just fooling around. Besides, I don’t know if your family even qualifies for our criteria. We can talk it over a while then work out what we’re going to do."
Sydney drops you off at the elementary school to get started on things, then leaves to run errands and to pick up some supper. It's barbecue that she brings back, along with a few other things. None of them are ingredients for more masks or memory strips, though, and you're running out of supplies.
"How many can we make?" she asks as she starts cutting up cardboard boxes.
"I can't make any more. We've just got the two masks and memory strips. And we're gonna need seven, at least."
"Well, five for each of the coven, and then two for us. Unless we're going to be two of the coven."
"Oh, I see. Well, we can use those two to get the first two for us."
"Um, no." Sydney looks up at your negative. "One of the masks will be for the first brethren, but the second has to be for one of us. If we're going to do a switch."
"Do we have to do a switch right away? I know what I said earlier, but there’s no rush is there?"
You take a deep breath. "Actually, I'd like to go ahead and switch with someone, if you don't mind."
Sydney shows those dimples again, and drops the box cutters. She sidles over to you, and takes your fingers in hers.
"Um, I got in a bad fight with my friends today." Her brow furrows. "Basically, I'm not friends with them anymore."
She frowns. And then, with a simple touch of her hand, everything – your friends, your run-in with Kirkham – spills out.
An hour later, you’ve hit a natural lull in the work: you the magic, and Sydney scouting among her friends. In between the spells and messages, you’ve found ample time to neck, spoon and make out. You’re still entwined when her phone goes again, and she wriggles free of your grip.
"Hold up a sec. All right! we’ve got our window!" she says, beaming.
"We do?" you ask, not entirely sure what that means.
"Yeah. Actually, we’ve got a couple of windows. While you were busy, I’ve been sending messages around town. Reagan says there’s a party over at Phoebe’s house, which could be a great chance to grab someone."
"Not a parent," you point out. "They're not exactly known to turn up to house parties."
"Well, no", Sydney concedes. "But it's an opportunity to recruit someone whose mom you would want to be. Think about it, it makes things a whole lot easier, doesn't it? And it wouldn't hurt to have another face in Westside."
"I guess," you say, although you'd still need to make more masks, and it just adds a further wrinkle in your plan. "Any other ideas?"
"Two. First up, there's a technical rehearsal tomorrow for some play the drama club are putting on: The Man Who Came To Dinner. God, cliche much?" she says as the thought a play, a movie, Hollywood, races through your head like a starship hitting light speed. "But we could grab one of the inevitable stage moms there, it shouldn't be too hard."
"And what's the other idea?"
"Why Whill," Sydney trills in a fake accent. "Hew and I could go to Saturday brunch aht the country chlub..."
Next: "Calling an Audible"