Blood splashed on the white sheet I’d thrown over my head in a last minute costume. A few drops, nothing major, but I’d still need to find a way to bleach it out before putting it back on the bed at Grandma’s.
My little sister stared at me, mouth agape in comical disbelief. She was fourteen now, and I half-expected her to be ‘too cool’ to go trick-or-treating this year, but the annual outing was something we enjoyed religiously with our parents and apparently she wasn’t ready to give that up yet.
I blinked, unmoving, as I regarded the middle-aged man clutching his bloodied nose. My sister’s boyfriend promptly dropped her hand to go check on his father.
‘Jesus, Merlinda!‘ My sister shrieked. Guess I ruined her date.
‘He was touching my arse!’ I shouted back.
‘I was brushing dirt off your costume!’ The man whimpered in defence.
I looked over my shoulder. Several dried autumn leaves clung to the sheet over my bum where I’d sat in the garden waiting for my sister to finish collecting her treats from a friend’s house.
‘Sorry,’ I mumbled. The shrug was half-hearted—I’d been groped by far too many Casper the Pervy Ghosts at uni Halloween parties to feel truly apologetic.
Loretta Lynch spends her mornings grinding bones and it’s not to make her bread. She’s not a giant, or a witch, or any other of those silly creatures you might have read about in your fairy tales.
Loretta Lynch is an alchemist, and she knows how to live forever.
It hadn’t been easy, finding the recipe. A life time of work, quite literally. She’d poisoned herself once or twice and quit much more often. But just days before her fifty-third birthday, Loretta tried one last formula. She clutched the phial to her chest and said a prayer to the nameless gods.
Down her throat it went.
That was many years ago now. I was but a boy then, you see. And you were likely not even born.
Yes, you can buy her panacea, if she happens to like your face. But visit her store with care, good child: she charges more than coin.
Selina had a habit of drawing pentagrams on the soles of her shoes. A habit that started as an edgy facade and soon became an obsession.
‘Aces high,’ Deb exclaimed, turning out her hand to reveal a three-of-a-kind windfall.
Jack threw his kings at the couch.
‘Sssh,’ Selina barked; she was getting nervous. The tip of the Sharpie bore deep grooves in the soles of her turquoise Connies where she traced the five-pointed star over and over again. Now her teeth bored grooves in her lower lip, too.
‘Chill out, Sel,’ Deb shrugged. She reached for a bag of marshmallows buried amongst the pile of junk food they’d assembled for the sleep over. ‘Nothing’s going to happen at midnight.’
‘Why midnight anyways?’ Jack crunched a mouthful of Pringles.
‘Because that’s what he told me,’ Selina muttered through clenched teeth. Told being spelt-out on the crude, hand-drawn Ouija board last weekend. ’12. 12. 12 — 12 o’clock on December 12.’