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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #2027277
That’s right. An honest-to-God coven of witches in Los Angeles. A "Screams" Entry
The Coven

The editor-in-chief of the Enquirer looked over the top of his half-glasses. His disheveled appearance reflected a tiredness from having been in this job too long and having to deal with too many crazy stories. “Really?” was all he could manage.

“That’s right, Richard. An honest-to-God coven of witches in Los Angeles.”

“Look Liz, you’ve written pieces about two-headed alien babies and Elvis spotting’s but this seems really bizarre.”

“This is the National Enquirer’s bread and butter. My source says it includes famous people,” she said tantalizingly.

“We’ll need pictures!”

“I’ll have you video in the morning.”

“One piece of advice. Hide the camera and make sure they don’t find it. Your future depends on it!”

The alleyway was dark, filled with the waste of urban humanity. Waiting for her contact, Liz double-checked the recorder. It would transmit to a receiver locked in her car.

She jumped when someone or something hit her window. She looked and saw a dark shape motioning her to open the door.

“It’s time. C’mon. The initiation will begin soon,” a low voice grumbled.

“Initiation? Wait, what initiation?”

“How do you think I got you in? Never mind. If you’re afraid …”

“No. It just wasn’t what I expected. There’s no chickens or goats being killed, right?” she nervously laughed.

Only a low, eerie chuckle came in response. “Put this on,” he commanded, handing her a shapeless cloth.

Oh shit. What have I gotten myself into? Taking a deep breath, she did as she was told.

Hooded, she was led to a location that smelled of incense. The hood removal left her blinking. The scene was out of Faust with flaming torches and cowled figures swaying and chanting. Unbelievable! This is going to make me famous! She could almost see the headlines over her byline.

The group went silent as a man was revealed lying on an altar. The details burned into Liz’s mind as she shifted so that her hidden camera would capture the scene. He lay there passive, his chest barely moving. Golden cords held his wrists and legs to the table. Trance-like, he stared at the large inverted cross that seemed to float above him.

One figure stood, separating itself from the group kneeling before the sanctuary and walked to the head of the altar. Raising her head, the cowl slipping back to reveal a tumble of raven-black hair, the priestess began a complicated invocation. Liz couldn’t catch all the words but she was sure she heard variations of Satan’s name several times.

Finally, the woman fell silent. With deliberateness, she held up a large ornate knife that gleamed in the flickering light. With a final invocation, she plunged the blade into the prone figure, blood spurting in the air. The spray of fluid seemed to drift and Liz could feel it spatter her face, like some dark christening. Drops rolled down her cheeks and she could taste the metallic bite of copper as it seemed to fill her mouth.

No! This isn't happening!

“You are now consecrated in the blood of Lucifer,” a distant voice shouted before pandemonium broke out. It was the last thing that Liz remembered.

Liz bolted upright, gasping. “Where?” she began, when she recognized her bedroom. The horror of what she witnessed flooded back and she ran to the bathroom, throwing-up in the toilet. Splashing water on her face, she quickly dressed and went to the car. The box was still there, locked.

She rushed into the editor’s office. “You wanted proof? Here!” she exclaimed her hands shaking as she thrust a thumb-drive toward him.

Richard plugged it in and watched in silence. “You have a sick sense of humor,” he said. “I do have one question.” He turned the screen so Liz could see. “How did you know this is my favorite episode of Bewitched?”

Deep in her mind, Liz heard a chilling laugh.

Divider line

An entry for the 1/24 round of "Weekly SCREAMS!!!
Word Count: 652

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