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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Holiday · #2172203
Turning fantasy into reality is sometimes the only way to face things.
Fantasy Editor's Pick 11/7/18 "The Bard's Hall Contest prompt: newly minted Halloween tale

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When Morticia Spear put the dark cape on from the Good Will store she knew she had to have it. Even her voice sounded different as her laugh turned into an evil witches cackle at the checkout counter.

“I’m going to be a wicked Witch at my office party.” She announced to everyone within hearing distance.

“Sure looks like one.” A mother said while pushing her kids away in a cart as quickly as she could. “With a crooked nose and stringy black hair like that you were born into the role.”

It made Morticia cackle all the harder. The two children took one look at Morticia's face and began crying. The mom jerked into high gear and raced away. “How much for the cape, kind sir?” Morticia hadn't cared for the stranger's comment. Maybe her makeup wasn’t perfect but she had never gotten a comment like that one before. She wasn’t a beauty queen but neither was she a frog or a toad.

When she turned her attention to the counter help It was like her presence had cast a spell on the clerk. He jerked and gawked without answering her question on price. He slapped a ‘free - no return’ label on the front of the cape and stood back waiting for Morticia to go.

No-one stood in her way while leaving. Several tried to flee in some hurry to get elsewhere. “Nice.” Morticia's cape flew in the breeze as she made her way to her rusted out, Toyota Camry. “I wonder who owned this cape before me? It fits like a charm.”

The world looked different to her as she got in on the driver’s seat. It was as if a spell had been cast on Morticia Spear. The day’s shadows leaned towards her waving and gesturing. They appeared to be ghostly spirits wishing to commune with her.

She shook her head to clear it and brought her engine to life. “Bosh and nonsense.”

One of the shadows detached itself from the alley running behind the store. In disbelief, Morticia watched it form into an odd parody of a Halloween demon. “Did I forget something?” She searched and found her purse at her side.

The figure seemed to barely touch the ground. As it came closer Morticia noticed a queer thing. There was no shadow attached to the things tail or claw-like legs. How any human could fit in such a macabre-looking pulsating mass of ugliness made her doubt her senses. “What do you want?”

A forked tongue licked out at her as the creature unlike any other she had seen came up to her car window. Lizard eyes blinked and a hiss erupted out of the razor-sharp edge of its mouth. “You are late. We’ve been waiting.”

“Is that you, Harold? You have quite a cold if it is. You don’t sound at all like yourself.” Morticia lowered her car window to examine the costume in greater detail. It looked as real as if the man inside were born in it. “Has the party started early? I thought I had plenty of time. Funny, you're finding me here and all.”

A trick of light from the clouds overhead made the eyes behind the facemask she stared at wink and glow red. Morticia wished she had spent the extra bucks at a costume shop for something equally grand for herself. “Well. Get in. I’ll take us. Stop hissing like that. It sounds like you have an air leak somewhere.”

She reached over to push open the door on the other side of her car, drummed her long, tapering fingertips against her steering wheel, and waited.

“Too slow.” There was the hissing again beginning and ending each word. “I’ll do the honors.” Smoke grew up from the ground around them.

“Neat magic act.” Morticia's nose was clogging up with the stink of sulfur. She waved away at the cloud climbing in with her. She cackled and rubbed her eyes. When she opened them again her car had disappeared along with the store and parking lot. In place of an alley, there seemed to be the opening of the dark mouth of a cave.

She began nervously cackling in spite of herself. “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

The demon’s tail flicked back at her as she was motioned to follow. “Your witches services are needed. The master expressly called for you to come and interpret the maniac’s ravening.”

“What the hell did you feed me when I wasn't looking? How long was I out?” Morticia's hands explored her body to make certain it was there in all the familiar bumps and hollows. “This is like no office party I ever saw. When did they find time to decorate like this?” She followed in silent wonder into the glowing mouth of the cave.

The walls seemed to be dripping blood onto a soft spongy floor. The air stank like day old garlic and the ground seemed to ripple under her as she ran to catch up. “Where’s Alice? Or Betty, or Mike? This place is fantastic. It must have cost us a fortune.”

The dressed up demon only moved on faster, made a sudden right turn in a cave lined with several choices and deposited her in front of the most horrendous spectacle she had ever witnessed.

What appeared to be a cabal of witches, warlocks, and sorcerers surrounded a naked woman. “Must be a new employee. They’ll do anything to feel accepted. I wish I had a bust like that.”

The demon stood back, tail twitching nervously as Mary made her way up to the altar. She wasn’t sure what she was expected to do next. “This must be some kind of mystery game I arrived in the middle of. I’ll just have to wing it.”

She glared around her trying to figure out who hid behind each marvelously made up costume. “Might be Tommy from accounting behind that one.” But she wasn’t sure so didn’t press the matter. It didn’t seem the right time, anyway.

“Ah. The virgin.” She combed the long silky blond hair of the youngish girl playing her unconscious part in a reprise role from any B rated horror film.

Murmurs rose around her sung as if they came from an unholy choir. “Quiet.” Mary swung her cape, making it flair out and dance on an invisible wind. She was getting into this and enjoying the play acting to the max.

“Bring me red wine in a golden chalice while I prepare my magic.” She sniffed and leaned down to listen to the girl’s heartbeat. Chains from the beauty’s arms and legs tinkled in a ripple of sound as the virgin’s eyes opened. She pulled and twisted at them but the links held as they grew taught against the altar they were connected to.

“What have you brought me? This is no virgin at all. Brazen hussy.” Morticia accepted the wine goblet and swallowed thirstily. Her joke at there being none available from the secretarial pool brought not even a snicker of laughter.

“What a sorry crowd.” She poured the remainder of the red wine upon the altar girl’s exposed flesh. A scream erupted from the quivering body arching up on the stone altar. The chains snapped apart, rolling, and bouncing away.

The blonde tried covering herself with her hands as she sprang up and ran with several demons racing after. “The young ones have all the fun.” Morticia sighed turning to the demon who had brought her here.

“You have done well, witch.” The thing hissed. “The altar sacrifice scream told all. The lizardman pointed to a crack in the cave room’s wall. It was like looking through an open window to another world.

The other witches and demons, warlocks, and sorcerers were already hastening there. They almost tripped over themselves in their haste. “You will be rewarded with your usual recompense. You have opened up a virgin world ready for rape, ransack, and evil plunder. You alone unlocked the living key allowing us entrance.”

“Enough talk, Harold. That wine I was given is unsettling my stomach. I’m done here. Take me home.” Morticia gulped and swallowed hard, closed her eyes, and fumbled at the demon for support.

When she opened her eyes again she was sitting behind her steering wheel facing the blank wall of the second-hand store. Distant shrieks of ghoulish delight faded from her ears. “Must have caught myself catnapping.” A glance at the car clock showed she was too late for the office party.

She slipped off the heavy Witches cape and sighed. “I really did feel like a witch wearing that. Maybe I’ll wear it next year.”

When she arrived home Morticia stored her new prize away in the back of her hall closet for next Halloween. The little surprise gift waiting for her in her bedroom slithered up from its cloud of hellish smoke, licked its fangs, and waited nervously from inside the pentacle etched in fire around its feet. The imp was ready to do whatever Mary willed for the next hour.

“What a cute hologram. Oh, Harold, you really do love me.” Morticia went in to take a shower before giving him a call to thank him for the best Halloween ever.

She paused at the bathroom door. "You cute little monster. Dream me up a love potion for Harold that will make him mine."

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