If the ancient Celts were alive today, they’d be astounded by what had become of Samhain, one of their most important Sabbats. Both the Roman conquerors and the early Church in England had a hand in eclipsing pagan holidays, by renaming and merging them with their own. You can learn more about the history of Halloween here and here. One last point before getting on with our story … There’s a difference between a witch and a warlock; and although not gender specific, it is left open to some interpretation. Basically, it’s the difference between light and dark. You can learn more here and here.
The short story I’d like to share with you isn’t about trick-or-treating, pumpkins, or jack-o-lanterns. It’s about the transformation and transmutation of a disagreeable young woman who plays malicious tricks every day of the year.
A Distinguished Halloween
No one escaped her claws. Everyone felt the hot breath of her rage. She scowled and hissed when met with refusal.
Submit and obey or expect to grovel! Be loyal or be ousted!
Chris stopped at nothing to gratify her perverted ego. She was certain she was entitled.
Her parents cultivated this insufferable attitude by giving her all she ever wanted and catering to her frequent outbursts of teenage angst. Convinced their progeny could do no wrong, they were clueless to having unleashed a monster into the world.
Her teachers wavered between reprimanding and commending, hoping the latter would assuage her obnoxious need for attention and, hopefully, set her on a different path. But she met scolding with insolence and praise with arrogance.
Her friends either idolized her or equaled her repugnance. Those denied entry to her loathsome clique feared for their lives. Notorious for flaunting her superiority, she’d cast an evil sneer, menacing glare, or flip of the hip as she turned her back on the outsiders she detested.
Her most coveted victim was Charlotte, an erudite classmate she secretly envied but openly despised. Her longing for acumen and intellect beyond her potential always evoked contempt when seeing someone with their nose in a book. Yet she abhorred innocence even more.
When a shy naïve country girl transferred in from a rural school, she quickly diverted her attention. She thought the timid and credulous were begging for abuse, and she began a full-scale assault against Becca.
She abhorred the communal nature of holidays. Demonstrations of affection and homage piqued her wrath. Halloween, however, was the one and only exception. It enabled her to fly under the radar, masking all manner of malicious deeds. She intended this Halloween would hallmark the pinnacle of her wickedness.
Her high school’s Distinguished Druid Award was presented to a senior elected by the student body. The school was of Celtic tradition and acknowledged their celebration of the New Year by awarding this honor on Halloween.
She despised award ceremonies and devised a heinous plan to devastate it. She ordered her boyfriend Billy and BFF Sue to nominate Becca. The venomous duo smacked their lips in delight at the prospect of humiliating someone, especially on Halloween; especially if that someone was their worshiped leader’s number one target.
She then commanded her doting coterie to vote for the unsuspecting victim, knowing Becca would be mortified by the mere thought of having to give a speech. Confident her following would obey and Becca would win by a landslide, she wove the threads of her vicious scheme into a nefarious web.
On the eve of nominations, she taped her and Billy’s orgasmic utterances, ensuring they were as offensive as possible. She gave him the tape the following morning and instructed he connect it to the school’s PA system. He was not to listen to it but was to make sure it played when Becca began her speech. He also was to set up the movie screen. Conditioned to blindly obeying orders from his punitive but savory dominatrix, he took the tape without asking a question. She then gave him a peck on the cheek, ushered him to the door, and said not to bother picking her up for the ceremony; she had something she must do beforehand and would meet him there. He left without uttering a word.
As soon as his car pulled away, she jumped into hers and floored it to Tommy’s house, taking care with the precious cargo on her lap. Not only was Billy unaware of the contents of the tape, but he also had no idea she’d videoed their amorous tryst. Tommy was the quintessential techie, and she intended he overlay her and Billy’s faces with that of Becca’s and a nerdy male classmate whom she loathed.
Embroiled in hatred, she sped through a level crossing and into an oncoming train. As she hovered above the wreckage, she howled with laughter at the idiot driver. But she couldn’t hear the sound of her own voice. Bewildered, she looked toward her hands. They were mere diaphanous images. In desperation, she tried to touch her face. She couldn’t feel it. Nor could she pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.
Within seconds, a luminous glow appeared before her, seeming to beckon as it gently pulsated. She heard a whispered voice call her name. It urged her to forestall the contemptible plan she’d put in motion, pleading that she not bear the consequences in her next life.
Oh my god I’m dead!
The realization exploded into consciousness and would have paralyzed had she still been mortal. She was the idiot driver!
No! This can’t be happening, dammit! I won’t allow it!
She tried to scream her thoughts, but she couldn’t speak.
The soft light continued to pulsate as her fear materialized and drifted before her. The dark menace glowered and dared her to fight – fight her fear, or fight the gentle voice. As the threat inflamed her awareness, she recognized the ugly creature she’d become.
She recalled the small child she once was, fists held tight against a multitude of sexual abuse. She wanted to hug the child and tell her everything would be all right. In that moment of recognition, the grotesque shape burst and shattered into pieces, each one hissing as it caught fire and fizzled from sight. She now knew what she must do.
Her thoughts turned to Billy. Instantly she was in the school auditorium. She liked that she could travel to where her thoughts focused. Billy looked so handsome, and she wished she could hug him. This surprised her, because she’d always thought hugs were for dorks. She regretted how utterly foolish she’d been.
Her classmates were in their Celtic attire, looking excited and happy. She’d missed that joyful feeling and wished she could right the wrong she’d done in trying to crush it in others. Delighting in watching everyone gather, she began to feel something familiar – something she hadn’t felt for a very long time – something she remembered as love.
Billy stood on the backstage catwalk, fiddling with equipment. She called to him, but he didn’t respond. She grabbed at his arm, but her hand passed through it. He neither heard nor saw her.
Desperate to stop him from executing her villainous plan, she racked her brain for ideas. As they flooded her mind, she realized that the help she sought – both now and in her past life – was there for the asking. A surge of energy swelled and electrified her spirit. She directed it toward the electronics, intent on making them malfunction.
Billy had set up the movie screen and was now preparing the audio equipment to operate remotely. He pressed the pause and play buttons simultaneously, but they wouldn’t engage. He tried time and again, rechecking all wiring and connections, but nothing worked. Biting his bottom lip, he glanced back and forth between the offstage wings. She knew he was looking for her and hoping he could get the device functioning before she arrived. He didn’t relish the thought of facing her fury. But after a few more attempts, he gave up. Head down and shoulders slumped, he started for the auditorium anteroom, shuffling his feet.
Sue snagged him at the door, licking her lips in fiendish pleasure. She’d just finished counting the votes; Becca won, nearly unrivaled. When Billy told her about the audio problem, she turned toward the stage, insisting they go back up and try again. He straightened his back, grabbed her by the arm, and, for the first time in four years, said NO to his girlfriend’s BFF. Sue tried to pull away, but he held tight and forced her to go with him. Her mouth fell open at his defiance. So did his when he realized what he’d done. Just as he was about to give it a second thought, music for the opening ceremony began to play. It was too late to change his mind.
Boyfriend and BFF fidgeted in their seats, throwing cursory glances at the door as they anxiously awaited the late arrival of their merciless leader. Becca tripped on her way to the podium, as well as over a few words; but none were the result of outside influences. This was fortunate, because she could move objects with her mind. She surely would have focused on the movie screen and exits, extinguishing all with the rage ignited by her humiliation.
But the equipment didn’t burst into flames, catch the heavy stage drapes, travel along the wiring to the back speakers, and set the auditorium ablaze. The doors didn’t slam shut, seal in billowing smoke, and force frantic captives to gag and wheeze as they gasped for their last breath.
No. None of this occurred. Instead, everyone applauded Becca, and all lived to enjoy their Halloween festivities. No one knew they’d escaped an inferno. No one knew Becca Carrie White had telekinetic powers. No one, that is, except Chris. And she wasn’t talking.
© Tina Frisco 2017