This has become quite the story, to be honest. In writing it as I’ve said, it began as something completely different and the more I wrote, the further it grew from its initial idea. The beauty of writing + this duty I take a bit too seriously sometimes is that I can constantly be surprised, and when I surprise myself it is almost always welcome.
Bad Ritual is a real charm, I promise.
If you missed Part One or Two make sure you read them first!
The kids continued playing a game the believed to be imaginary, hoping to cook up a stir fry instead of a single newt. They read what they could understand, and the ingredients weren’t all that difficult to find. Patton counted along as they collected ingredients one by one. A glass jar filled with tree sap. A sprig of thyme. A twisted knuckle. The children continued on down the list, Angie collecting with Andy drew the circle.
Silence fell upon the basement as Andy finished the pattern scrawled into the center. Clapping his hands gleefully, he stood and called to his sister who stood atop the stairs.
“Angie, do you have everything?” He peeked around the corner, suspiciously eying the staircase as Angie crept down.
“Sort of, I don’t have the last thing.”
Andy glanced around as if someone else was there, telling them what to collect.
“Well, what is it?”
“It says we need a body.” Angie dumped the bag full of ingredients into the center of the circle, careful not to mar the chalk lines that decorated the ground.
“Well.” Andy paused for a moment, his hand wrapped around his chin, mimicking the popular thinkers he had seen in textbooks.
“Don’t do it.” Patton whispered to himself. “Don’t use your own body.”
Andy raised a finger, excitement racing through him.
“We have bodies! What if one of us goes instead?”
Angie looked at him, her eyes wide with mirrored excitement.
“Yes. Let’s do that! I’ll go first.” She quickly worked to mix the ingredients into a small pot she had hauled down the stairs. Within, the contents began to mix together. Andy dropped a small match down, smoke trailing from the tip of it’s bobbing flame. It touched the fluid and ignited, a bright green flame erupting from the center of the cauldron.
“I think we made too much, Angie.” He looked into the cauldron and back to his sister, who was standing in the center of the circle.
“Well, we don’t need the rest we could just dump the jug. We don’t know if it’ll work, either.” She tapped her foot against the concrete, impatience becoming her.
“Hurry up and read the poem!”
Andy returned to the book, looking through and sounding out the words again, even more of them difficult to pronounce. He took a small glass and scooped up the concoction. With a quick pass to his sister, he finished the incantation.
The child consumed the drink and the basement and was immediately enveloped in a brilliant green light. The flash passed quickly and vibrantly, leaving sparkles in his eyes, and there on the other side of the circle in the center, stood another little girl.
A mirror image of Angela.
Andy jumped up and down, exclaiming that it didn’t work. He moved amid the flurries of a temper tantrum into the center of the circle as the second Angela stepped away, silent as she moved.
Angie looked around the room, and seeing nothing different, she took Andy’s place before the book.
“You didn’t read it right. You said stuff wrong.” She took a quick look at the incantation. “Stay there, Andy. I’m going to try it on you.” She held the glass out towards her brother as the second Angela looked on from the corner of the room, basking in the shadows. A devilish grin disguising her face.
Patton watched the echo of the girl, as he slowly coming to realize what had happened to their mother. In the spellbook, below the sigil that had been copied to the ground, Patton noticed that the final note had changed slightly. It read 4/8ths of a soul.
Angie waved to get Andy back into position as he steadily carried his glass, careful not to spill. When he was in the circle once more, Angie read the lines and Patton saw a second blinding light erupt from within the center.
As the light died, a second Andy stood in the room. Staring at his mirror image, and clearly unable to see it as he waved his hands about in frustration.
“Angie let’s just get rid of all of this stuff. Put it back. Mom is gonna find out.” Andy stepped out of the circle, his echo remained.
The little girl nodded and closed the spellbook, quickly working to clean up the chalk sigil from the floor and collect all of the ingredients that had been left over. She dragged the cauldron towards the underside of the stairs and dumped the contents out onto the ground, calling for Andy to help her back up the stairs.
The kids continued with their earnest work, covering their tracks and making sure they laid each item they took back where it belonged. They entered and returned to the basement a number of times until they were finished and Angie called for her brother to meet her out back at the swingset.
In the basement, the echo of Andy stood in place, his hunched shoulders and angry grimace staring towards the staircase. His false sister hiding in the darkness, fidgeting with a wicked grin.
Patton watched both of them, time slowed as they stood. Their unmoving bodies appearing as fixtures within the basement. Still as the grave. From a nearby window the sunset began to dim the poorly lit basement as night approached, and as night fell on the basement the two forms finally broke free from their macabre stand still. Both of them dashed for the basement stairs. Ascending them like serpents as they skipped steps, bursting through the door and making a direct line for mother’s office, crashing through the next set of doors and sending a second bang through the household. Patton, followed them as they crept into the office and found the spellbook, gripping the binding with grimy fingers and creeping away as Angie came downstairs with a flashlight in hand.
She rounded the corner and came face to face with the two figures. The echo of Angela screamed at her, and Angie jumped backward dropping her flashlight. She scrambled away from the sound and stopped when her back had met the wall. She began sobbing in fear as Andy ran down the stairs, the echoes disappearing out the back door.
Thank you so much for reading the third installation of the story. I’ve worked hard on all four of the short stories I’ve released these past few days + I am honored to know that you have taken time out to enjoy them + all of their bite-sized goodness. I am blessed to have you here, and I hope you’ll take some time to stay and check out what else I have to offer. ❤
If you missed anything from Mean for the Holidays, fear not! I’ll have links for everything you may have missed all over my website and on the blog’s main page when you’re all finished.
In the meantime, be sure to catch the latest poem from Wednesday. As for Mean for the Holidays, I’ve done a whole lot of stuff these past few days + I’m so excited for everything else that is coming at the turn of 2019. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my declaration. 2019 is the Year of the Bear.
This one was a ton of fun, and I’m excited to build on it more. I haven’t had a lot of time to work on the next set of tiles while in the midst of Mean for the Holidays, but as soon as Christmas and New Years pass I’ll be releasing a whole bunch more. This book is going to fill up like crazy by the end of the year. I hope you check it out.
The Grimoire is going to be the absolute best way to learn about the lore of my writing and the universe that I am so close to revealing for you all.
Plus a few little surprises along the way.
There are only four more days till Christmas and that means there are only three days left of MftH. These last three days are big boys, so I hope you’re prepared. I have a lot to tell you going into this Christmas holiday, but most importantly…
Have a Merry Christmas. Have a Happy Holiday.
Make it Mean.