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From Inside the Flap
The evening had come with a wave of relief on all of their heads. Uncle Dale even snorted as he tried to clear his nose of all of the dust that had been blowing at them. Boh threw down his sack and watched for a moment in exhausted wonder at the plume of dust that rose from it. Still, his attitude had changed over the last few months and now he rarely complained at their travels, instead he would sigh his perfect happiness at each rest point and campground.
They had stayed a few nights ago in a very small town that had once been bustling - now it only had the odd lingerers that refused to leave the land where they had been raised, or raised their family. With the blessing of the local sheriff, which also had every other duty in the town, they had stayed in the town's abandoned hotel. The sheriff was a funny human, full of life and superstition. For an old man, he also was full of fun and, to some of them, came across as nearly mad - not in a bad way, if you know what I mean. He had spoken of all the haunted houses in the region, claiming that it was this, not the gold running out that had scared most of the people off. He also had said, when asked about his wife and why it was they stayed, he told them that she was of same mind as he. Telling them that they would rather be run off their land by some great hand striking from above, then to allow the town to be fully swallowed by the shifting land.
That night had been spent by all of the travelers inside a building, which a description of would only lead one to believe it was possibly haunted. It was perfect for them, as it had rained during the night, and would for most nights that followed for some time. Well, let us just tell you about that then; the rain that is.
Before the rains had started all of the young witches had settled down themselves for their sleep with only Uncle Dale, Mrs. Lennox and Hesper sitting around a sparsely furnished parlor. Suddenly there had been a dreadful sound coming from outside, sounding as though screams from someone terrified. All of the witches were dressed and assembled in the parlor as quick as ever. Boron came barreling through the door not far after them trying to find what all of the commotion was about. No one could answer him. When the gargoyle, Gideon, pushed through the doors in Boron's wake, he was quick to inform them that the town's people were out in the streets screaming and crying openly.
Uncle Dale, Mrs. Lennox and Hesper told everyone else to remain calm and stay in the hotel while they went to investigate. Gideon was asked to keep his head, not to mention the rest of him, low, as it would not do to be seen by a human. Now, you must remember that there is little to fear in the way of the supernatural when one is such a supposed thing, so it was with no concerns present in their minds that took the three into the streets.
Boh had waited with rest of his class assembled in the tall room. He had nothing more to do than look out the glass windows that stood at the far end of the room. There was nothing to see out of these, as it was dark out and too much light within, still it was better to do this than try and fight for a place to sit on the four reclining chairs about the room. For the first time since leaving the Lepreharn city, Boh had no feeling of fear or concern within him. Perhaps, he thought sleepily, I am getting used to it all.
It had not been long before Uncle Dale returned to inform them that the town was doing a supposed rain dance. Apparently it had not rained in this area properly for some time. The people that remained were starting to get a little desperate and felt that if they did not do something, there would be no chance for them. Uncle Dale had looked around the room with a part frown, showing how serious he was, and asked if the young witches would join in the dance with them in the streets. He told them that it seemed the proper thing to do, especially since they had been offered from these people so much and who, in return, had asked for nothing. How could any of the class say no to this?
The wind was cold and cut into their clothes as they walked down the streets, crying chants that had been given to them by the town's folk. All of the witches knew that there was no real power in the chants that had been given to them, still they did this nevertheless. In fact, after a time and after reading some of the rhymes, they began to enjoy themselves. The rhymes themselves were funny and spoke of poking this and prodding that in ways that neither you nor I would have considered. It was still the way the people of this town did it.
The class, especially Heather and Caitlin, found themselves muffling giggles as they read some of the poems, mostly for the pleasure of saying something that they might have otherwise been scolded for. One poem in particular that caused most glee went as such:
We give you bread, we give you bacon;
We have given you everything till our backs are brakin'.
We'll kick up our legs and hoot and holler;
We will give you something to know what's the bother.
We'll empty our toilets, for the water they give,
Return to the soil and the air us brith.
Come on heaven and rain upon us,
Or we will have to go onto bust.
I guess some of the lines were written with made up words as these were the only ones that they could think of close enough to rhyming which could also be contorted into making any sense at all. Mind you, they also had to do dancing and movements to go with the rhyme, which was all rather amusing to watch.
Finally, they had all met back in the center of the town. There must have been at least fifty people. Boh had no idea where they all came from, as the town had looked deserted when they arrived. What he had not considered was that the people from outlying districts had gotten to the point of trying anything to make it rain for them as well.
Big cheer went up as a bonfire was lit and a scarecrow was waved around near the fire, and then thrown on. Boh did not know what this might signify, then again humans trying to be witches were something in itself. Boh found himself drifting along with the flow of the procession, as they were all ushered to a line of tables that had been assembled in the streets. There they were bought food to eat, meagre though the meal was, it was, perhaps, one the happiest meals that Boh had sat at since feasting with his family at Yuletide quite some while before. The people did not seem to care for a moment that they had troubles, and Boh felt a pang of guilt as he took a long drink from the cup that had been given to him.
The celebration had been going on for a while when there was a mighty crack sounding from above and the bonfire seemed to fade into a dismal shadow of itself for a moment. There was silence and eyes turned upward. There was a rumble and all eyes turned to look at the one next to them. There was another crack and the light tore the sky once more. There was a roll and the growl and thump and spit. Spit? Then all eyes turned to the entrance of the town and a figure was seen.
"The devil! The devil has come!" Screamed one hysterical woman.
Thunder sounded and the lightening cracked, the being was too far away to be seen properly and faded once more into a silhouette.
"Sit down woman!" The mad sheriff yelled forcibly back at the woman. She might have protested this - she did not. Instead she took her seat as she had been commanded. More spits from above started to fall, and the figure drew closer. It was walking, at no great pace, toward the feasting.
The sky cracked again the figure was seen in a most terrifying luminescence, this time it seemed vaguely familiar to Boh. The woman screamed, this time followed by the less accomplished high-pitched sounds of twelve or more children. The sheriff removed himself from the tables, making sure to excuse himself from the conversation that he had been having previously with his wife and some lummox that had been leaning on the table before him showing a less than impressive top portion of his bottom to those behind him.
Blood Moon Publishing is an imprint of Double Dragon Publishing